Updated Top 50 Starting Pitcher Rankings for 2014

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Ray updates his Top 50 starting pitcher rankings for 2014, and takes a closer look at Doug Fister in Washington.

After posting a few articles over the weekend that looked at using a draft strategy that targets starting pitchers that strike out more than seven batters per nine, walk less than three batters per nine, and keep the ball on the ground at a 45% clip, I decided it was a fine time to update my Starting Pitcher Rankings for 2014.

Before I get to my rankings, here are links to the articles I wrote over the weekend:

Starting Pitcher Draft Strategy: Strikeouts per 100 Pitches

Starting Pitcher Draft Strategy: Target Ground Ball Pitchers, part 1

Starting Pitcher Draft Strategy: Target Ground Ball Pitchers, part 2

These articles and the Doug Fister trade to the Nationals caused me to have the urge to update my rankings. That and our annual offseason rankings project is right around the corner, so there is no better time than the present to get going with the rankings.

Without further ado, here are my not-so-early 2014 starting pitcher rankings:

Rank

Name

Team

1

Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers

2

Yu Darvish

Rangers

3

Adam Wainwright

Cardinals

4

Felix Hernandez

Mariners

5

Cliff Lee

Phillies

6

Max Scherzer

Tigers

7

Stephen Strasburg

Nationals

8

Cole Hamels

Phillies

9

Jose Fernandez

Marlins

10

David Price

Rays

11

Chris Sale

White Sox

12

Justin Verlander

Tigers

13

Zack Greinke

Dodgers

14

Madison Bumgarner

Giants

15

Anibal Sanchez

Tigers

16

Jordan Zimmermann

Nationals

17

Hisashi Iwakuma

Mariners

18

Mike Minor

Braves

19

Mat Latos

Reds

20

Matt Cain

Giants

21

James Shields

Royals

22

Gerrit Cole

Pirates

23

Homer Bailey

Reds

24

Doug Fister

Tigers

25

Alex Cobb

Rays

26

Francisco Liriano

Pirates

27

Matt Moore

Rays

28

Jered Weaver

Angels

29

Andrew Cashner

Padres

30

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Dodgers

31

Gio Gonzalez

Nationals

32

C.J. Wilson

Angels

33

Jeff Samardzija

Cubs

34

Bartolo Colon

Athletics

35

A.J. Burnett

Pirates

36

Ubaldo Jimenez

Indians

37

Jon Lester

Red Sox

38

Clay Buchholz

Red Sox

39

John Lackey

Red Sox

40

Jhoulys Chacin

Rockies

41

Zack Wheeler

Mets

41

Jarrod Parker

Athletics

42

Tony Cingrani

Reds

43

CC Sabathia

Yankees

44

Chris Archer

Rays

45

Dan Haren

Nationals

46

Tim Lincecum

Giants

47

Derek Holland

Rangers

48

Hiroki Kuroda

Yankees

48

Patrick Corbin

Diamondbacks

49

Matt Garza

- - -

50

Michael Wacha

Cardinals

Is it me or is it crazy that Madison Bumgarner is the 14th ranked starter for 2014? Others may like him higher, but this tells me that starting pitching is deep and you can wait on grabbing an ace till around the 5th round, even the 6th round, in 2014. Heck, Jordan Zimmermann at #16 is solid value.

I moved David Price up to #10 as he was a little disappointing in 2013, dealing with an injury, and making just 27 starts, but he is still one of the best starters in the game. If he gets traded to a National League team, he will move up my rankings, probably up to #5 or 6, depending on where he lands.

I like Rays starters in 2014, as they just traded for one of the best defensive catchers, Ryan Hanigan, in the game on Tuesday. And they have another solid defensive catcher, and pitch framer, in Jose Molina. They both could help lower the team ERA in 2014.

I ranked Cardinals starter Michael Wacha at #50 and I am sure many will disagree, but I want to see more than nine major league starts before ranking him any higher. He looked like an ace in the postseason, but I want to see more.

I moved new Nationals starter Doug Fister into my top 25 for 2014, as he should see a bump in his strikeout rate pitching in the National League. He walks less than two batters per nine innings, and keeps the ball on the ground at a 54% rate. His ground ball rate has risen in each of the last four seasons, so he is could put up ace-like stats this season.

No surprise where I ranked Pirates starter Gerrit Cole. I wrote about him in my top 5 Pirates for 2014 on Wednesday morning:

Cole was completely dominant in the majority of his 19 starts this season. After putting up a 3.89 ERA in his first 41.2 innings, he struck out almost a batter per inning over his last 75.2 innings, with a 2.89 ERA. He was especially dominant in September, with a 39-10 strikeout to walk rate and a 1.69 ERA. I ranked him in my top 25 starting pitchers earlier this offseason, and maybe that is too high. He should strike out close to nine batters per nine, walk less than three batters per nine, and keep the ball on the ground at a high clip in 2014. He could win 15-16 games in 2014.

Don't be afraid to reach for Cole a round early in 2014. He is worth the risk.

So, who am I too high on? Who am I too low on? Let's discuss in the comments section below.

Fantasy Rundown

If you are looking for more fantasy baseball rankings, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, the one stop spot on the internet for all the fantasy baseball information you need all year round.

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