Who were the Top 20 Starting Pitchers in the Second Half?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Ray takes a look at who were the top 20 starting pitchers in the second half of the season, analyzing each of the four fantasy scoring categories.

Today, I take a look at the top 20 starting pitchers in the second half of the season in each of the four scoring categories: wins, ERA, K/9 and WHIP. I know most 5 x 5 leagues use strikeouts, and not K/9, but I am using k/9 since it is a good indicator of future success. Plus, you really can't compare strikeout totals for a pitcher who made 33 starts vs a pitcher who made just 17 starts.

Wins Leaders

A couple guys stand out for me in the wins category: Kris Medlen and Joe Kelly, as they each won 9 games in the second half of the season. Medlen went 9-3 with a 2.38 ERA in the second half. Yes, the same Kris Medlen that was so dominant in the second half of 2012 and was very close to being sent to the bullpen when Brandon Beachy returned from the DL.

Kelly was tremendous in the second half, going 9-2 with a 1.91 ERA. The issue with Kelly is whether he can keep this up as he is not a big strikeout pitcher (4.90 K/9) and walks more than three batters per nine innings.

Name

Team

W

Kris Medlen

Braves

9

James Shields

Royals

9

Joe Kelly

Cardinals

9

Max Scherzer

Tigers

8

Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers

8

C.J. Wilson

Angels

8

Jered Weaver

Angels

8

Jose Fernandez

Marlins

7

Julio Teheran

Braves

7

Anibal Sanchez

Tigers

7

Francisco Liriano

Pirates

7

Adam Wainwright

Cardinals

7

Ricky Nolasco

Dodgers

7

Zack Greinke

Dodgers

7

Jon Lester

Red Sox

7

Jordan Zimmermann

Nationals

7

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Dodgers

7

Rick Porcello

Tigers

7

David Price

Rays

7

ERA Leaders

Marlins starter Jose Fernandez was really dominant in the second half, but I had no idea he was THAT dominant. He posted a 1.32 ERA in the second half, better than Clayton Kershaw's 1.59 ERA. He struck out 11 batters per nine innings in the second half as well. The Marlins have found themselves their ace for years to come. Until he is traded.

The shocking name at the top of the ERA leaderboard is Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez, as he went 6-5 in his 13 second half starts, with a 1.82 ERA, a 10.71 K.9 and a solid 2.89 BB/9. His 2.17 second half FIP shows he wasn't lucky, as he showed flashes of the Jimenez from 2010.

Dodgers starter Zack Greinke finished the season giving up 2 runs or less in each of his last 12 starts, and owned a second half ERA of 1.85.

Brett Oberholtzer? Wow. Can you believe an Astros starter put up a second half ERA of 2.14? Is this a sign of things to come from the young starter, or just beginner's luck? Well, he doesn't walk many batters, as his 1.63 BB/9 indicate, but he doesn't strike out many batters either (5.65 K/9).

Another young starter had a hot second half, and despite questions about whether he can hold up as a starter, Andrew Cashner put up an ace-like performance in the second half of 2013. Cashner went 10-9 with a 3.09 ERA for the season, but was tremendous in the second half, with a 61-19 strikeout to walk rate and a 2.14 ERA in 75.2 innings of work.

Name

Team

ERA

Jose Fernandez

Marlins

1.32

Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers

1.59

Ubaldo Jimenez

Indians

1.82

Zack Greinke

Dodgers

1.85

Joe Kelly

Cardinals

1.91

Hisashi Iwakuma

Mariners

2.14

Andrew Cashner

Padres

2.14

Anibal Sanchez

Tigers

2.2

Brett Oberholtzer

Astros

2.24

Madison Bumgarner

Giants

2.36

Matt Cain

Giants

2.36

Kris Medlen

Braves

2.38

Max Scherzer

Tigers

2.44

Bartolo Colon

Athletics

2.54

Jon Lester

Red Sox

2.57

Yu Darvish

Rangers

2.59

Mat Latos

Reds

2.68

Dillon Gee

Mets

2.74

Sonny Gray

Athletics

2.76

K/9 Leaders

Like I mentioned earlier, I like to use K/9 rather than strikeouts when analyzing starting pitchers, and some of the usual suspects are on this list, like Yu Darvish, Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee. Two names that jump out at me are Ubaldo Jimenez and Tyson Ross. Jimenez was truly dominant in the second half and only time will tell whether it was just a hot streak or he has turned they corner.

The other name that jumps off the page is Padres starter Tyson Ross. Where did this come from? Our own Brian Creagh took a closer look at him inthis piece from early September.

Name

Team

K/9

Yu Darvish

Rangers

11.96

Jose Fernandez

Marlins

11.12

Ubaldo Jimenez

Indians

10.71

Felix Hernandez

Mariners

10.42

Cliff Lee

Phillies

10.39

Scott Kazmir

Indians

10.25

Stephen Strasburg

Nationals

9.88

A.J. Burnett

Pirates

9.79

Tyson Ross

Padres

9.56

Bud Norris

- - -

9.48

Julio Teheran

Braves

9.41

Max Scherzer

Tigers

9.35

Sonny Gray

Athletics

9.29

Todd Redmond

Blue Jays

9.25

Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers

9.23

Gio Gonzalez

Nationals

9.12

Anibal Sanchez

Tigers

9.1

Madison Bumgarner

Giants

9.08

Chris Sale

White Sox

9.06

WHIP Leaders

Once again, many of the usual suspects are atop the WHIP leaderboard in the second half, but there is that Tyson Ross again. It will be interesting to see if he can carry this over into 2014, or not.

The other name that makes you do a double take is Brewers starter Marco Estrada. He was a popular sleeper candidate last offseason, and will be again this offseason. He won 7 of his 21 starts this season, with an ERA under 4.00 and an 8.30 strikeout rate.

Name

Team

WHIP

Marco Estrada

Brewers

0.75

Jose Fernandez

Marlins

0.82

Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers

0.93

Stephen Strasburg

Nationals

0.94

Andrew Cashner

Padres

0.95

Max Scherzer

Tigers

0.96

Matt Harvey

Mets

0.97

Zack Greinke

Dodgers

0.98

Tyson Ross

Padres

0.99

Kris Medlen

Braves

1.00

David Price

Rays

1.00

Dan Haren

Nationals

1.02

Cliff Lee

Phillies

1.04

Henderson Alvarez

Marlins

1.05

Some fantasy writers like to use second half stats when analyzing players in the offseason in an effort to find some hidden gems ready to breakout. I hope this effort helps in your offseason research, as there are a few interesting names discussed above, including Jose Fernandez and two Padres starters, Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross. I ranked Fernandez in my top 10 starting pitchers for 2014 earlier this week, as he has turned into an ace at a very young age. Among the Padres starters, Cashner is the better option on draft day and will get plenty of love this offseason. He will probably rank in my top 40 - 50 starters for 2014.

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