This post is the 10th in a series of rankings catered specifically to fantasy baseball head-to-head points leagues and the second of three focused on starting pitchers.
H2H Starting Pitchers 1-25 Rankings/Profiles
All pitchers in this post and future points league rankings are based on these scoring values:
(W x 7) + (SV x 7) + (IP x 3) + (K x 0.5) - (ER x 2) - (H x 1) - (BB x 1) = Total
Read more on drafting starting pitchers for points leagues here.
Rankings after the jump:
2012 Fantasy Baseball H2H Points League Starting Pitcher Rankings: 26-50
26) Chris Carpenter, STL
2011 Points Scored: 359
Chris Carpenter got off to a slow start for his standards in 2011 with a 4-7 record, 3.85 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. However, he was able to save his season with a dominant second half and lights out 3-0, 2.15 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in September to propel the Cardinals into the playoffs. Health will continue to be a concern for Carpenter as he is only getting older, but considering his pitcher-friendly home ball park and the excellent offense behind him, points shouldn’t be a problem in 2012.
27) Mat Latos, CIN
2011 Points Scored: 288
Mat Latos’ 2011 season started with a DL stint and 0-4 April record and had some wondering if his 2010 second-half swoon had carried over. He quickly dismissed those concerns with an excellent 2.87 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 3.08 K/BB in the second half. The wins never really did come around though, but that should change with his new team, Cincinnati. If Latos is able to remain healthy in 2012, he should be good for another 20-30 IP and possibly as many as 5-6 more wins.
28a) Adam Wainwright, STL
2011 Points Scored: NA
Drafting Adam Wainwright won’t be for the faint of heart as he probably won’t be as cheap as you’d like considering he hasn’t thrown a pitch since 2010. But, that season, his performance was worth 516 points which would likely move him into the Top 10 or Top 5 even if he were able to repeat that production in 2012.
28b) Josh Johnson, MIA
2011 Points Scored: 144
See Adam Wainwright above. Josh Johnson got off to an amazing start in 2011 which put him on pace for 450-500 points if he had pitched a full season. But, Josh Johnson doesn’t pitch full seasons (2009 excluded) thanks to endless shoulder issues and elbow surgery dating back to 2007. If Johnson puts together a healthy season in 2012, there’s a chance for Top 5 production and a run at the NL Cy Young, it’s just whether you want to take the chance or not.
29) Derek Holland, TEX
2011 Points Scored: 320
After a somewhat shaky start to the season, Derek Holland made significant strides in the right direction in the second half with a 9-1 record, 3.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 3.08 K/BB. Depending on the success of Yu Darvish, Holland could emerge as the Rangers ace this season if his ratios continue to trend in the right direction. The run support won’t be going anywhere and the team’s new-and-improved bullpen might be able to hold onto the 4 leads they lost for Holland in 2011.
30) Gio Gonzalez, WAS
2011 Points Scored: 351
The dominant strikeout potential (4th best AL K/9 last season) comes with a high price when considering drafting Gio Gonzalez on your team as he now has a 1.41 WHIP and 11.3 BB% over the course of his career. It also should be noted that while his 0.8 HR/9 isn’t much of a concern, he is now moving to Nationals stadium which is eight spots ahead of O.co Coliseum in terms of hitter-friendly ballparks. With that being said, his K/9 could actually improve considering his move to the NL and there’s the chance he gains a little more run support in Washington than he did in Oakland.
31) Matt Garza, CHC
2011 Points Scored: 318
His transition to the NL didn’t go quite as smooth as it could’ve to start the season, but Matt Garza turned things around in the second half with an elite 2.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 98 strikeouts. Wins could be a problem for Garza to start the season as the Cubs offense could be one of the worst in the NL, but there’s a good chance Theo Epstein trades him before the deadline to a contender. Take the strikeouts and an improvement in BABIP for the time being and hope for the best come trade time.
32) Matt Moore, TB
2011 Points Scored: Minor Leagues
Talk about trial by fire. Matt Moore made his first career start in New York versus the Yankees and pitched 5 innings with 11 strikeouts, 4 H, 1 BB and the W (21.5 points) then followed it up with a postseason start against the Rangers in Texas with 7 IP, 8 strikeouts, 2 H, 2 BB and the W (28 points). Both were ace level performances and have the baseball world abuzz entering 2012. It would be wise to expect up-and-downs from Moore in 2012 as it will be his rookie season and his innings could be limited, but, it will be hard not to reach for this aspiring stud in drafts.
33) Doug Fister, DET
2011 Points Scored: 368
Doug Fister was phenomenal once he arrived in Detroit with an 8-1 record, 1.79 ERA and outstanding 11.4 K/BB and 0.5 HR/9. Fister doesn’t offer quite the K/9 as some pitchers on this list, but his ability to limit base runners via free passes and keep the ball in the park bodes well for his future with the Tigers.
34) Tommy Hanson, ATL
2011 Points Scored: 247
Injuries cut Tommy Hanson’s season short in 2011, but before he was shelved he posted a very solid 3.60 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 11-7 record and 142 strikeouts. His 8.5 BB% isn’t necessarily a concern, but it isn’t great either. What is a concern is his 1.2 HR/9 which he’ll need to cut down immediately in order to progress up these rankings, But, likely due another 70 IP or more in 2012, Hanson should have plenty of chance to prove his worth to fantasy owners and could eclipse 15 W and 200 strikeouts.
35) Jordan Zimmermann, WAS
2011 Points Scored: 248
Finally it’s time to see a full season from Jordan Zimmermann in 2012. After making his debut in 2009, he immediately was shelved thanks to Tommy John surgery. Then made only a handful of appearances in 2010 and faced an innings limit in 2011. Now, he should be the #2 for the Nationals to start the season and possibly their ace when Strasburg is shut down late in the season. In his 26 starts in ’11, Zimmermann posted a 3.18 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and an excellent 4.7 BB%. He’ll need to improve his 0.65 GB/FB and could use a little run support considering his 8-11 record, but there’s plenty to be excited about for Zimmermann in ’12.
36) Ervin Santana, ANA
2011 Points Scored: 341
Ervin Santana showed glimpses of some of his 2008 potential last season, particularly when he no-hit Cleveland in July, but, now at 29 years old, it would seem that he is what he is at this point. Santana doesn’t offer quite the strikeout ability of some on the list, but his 7.6 BB% is solid enough. Where his value could rise in 2012 is his record. Despite a strong 3.38 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, Santana finished ’11 with a 11-12 record and left 5 games with the lead that the team would later go on to lose. With the addition of Pujols to the lineup and a little help from the bullpen, there’s a chance Santana could reach 15 or more wins in 2012.
37) Jaime Garcia, STL
2011 Points Scored: 307
After an excellent rookie season, Jaime Garcia followed it up with a very solid one in 2011. His ERA and WHIP both increased, but he lowered his BB% down to 6.1 and had an impressive 1.15 GB/FB ratio. Garcia suffered a little bad luck as his FIP was 30 points less than his ERA and his BABIP was high at .324. Also, the Cardinals’ bullpen blew 6 leads for Garcia over the course of ’11. If some of the groundballs can start finding gloves instead of holes and the Cardinals’ bullpen shuts down the opponents like they did in the playoffs, then there is a lot of upside to be had with Garcia at only 25 years old.
38) Brandon Beachy, ATL
2011 Points Scored: 256
In a minor league system filled with top-level pitching prospects, Brandon Beachy stood out as possibly the best last season with a 10.74 K/9 and solid 7-3 record in his 25 starts. Beachy missed significant time in the middle of the season with an oblique injury but should be in line for an additional 50-60 more innings in 2011. He’ll need to improve on his 0.52 GB/FB ratio and 1.0 HR/9, but thanks to his elite 28.6 SO% and respectable 7.8 BB%, there’s plenty of opportunity for points for Beachy in 2012.
39) Shaun Marcum, MIL
2011 Points Scored: 347
Leaving the AL East did wonders for Shaun Marcum to start the season in 2011 but the wheels fell off in September with a 5.17 ERA and 1.34 WHIP (and a dreadful postseason, no that that matters to fantasy baseball). Despite the dropoff, he still finished with a respectable 13-7 record, 3.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 6.9 BB%, although his .263 BABIP could regress. Most believe Marcum simply tired at the end of the season and he should be ready to go at the start of 2012 in what will be a contract year in Milwaukee.
40) Justin Masterson, CLE
2011 Points Scored: 331
In his first full season with Cleveland, Justin Masterson impressed with a 3.21 ERA, 7.2 BB% and 1.24 GB/FB and 12-10 record. Were it not for a September collapse (5.65 ERA, 1.70 WHIP) his season could’ve been even better and its likely he simply tired as his 216 IP were 36 more than his previous best. At 28 years old, there’s probably not much more upside with Masterson, but if he can carry his first half success throughout a full season, he should be a very solid #3 pitcher in your rotation.
41) Hiroki Kuroda, NYY
2011 Points Scored: 315
Last season with the Dodgers, Hiroki Kuroda suffered 7 Ltuf (losses in quality starts) and finished with a disappointing 13-16 record despite a 3.07 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and outstanding 5.9 BB%. There’s every reason to believe Kuroda can come close to repeating his 2011 performance as its similar to his past four seasons. If he is able to do so, there’s an excellent chance the Yankees’ offense helps turn some of those losses into wins in 2012.
42) Anibal Sanchez, MIA
2011 Points Scored: 290
Despite reducing his WHIP and BB% and increasing his SO% to an impressive 24.3, Anibal Sanchez won 5 less games in 2011 than he did in 2010. He also had a pretty high .317 BABIP and an ERA over 30 points higher than his FIP. Health had been a concern for Sanchez early in his career, but he has now posted two healthy seasons in a row with his performance improving in each. With a little luck in his record and a declining BB%, there’s a chance Sanchez finds himself close to the Top 20 for a cost you’ll be happy to pay on draft day and 200 IP and 200 K season in 2012 seems more likely than longshot.
43) Alexi Ogando, TEX
2011 Points Scored: 297
Alexi Ogando can bring the heat with a 95.1 MPH fastball and did so when he transitioned from the bullpen to the Rangers rotation in 2011. Ogando tired in the second half and his .270 BABIP shows he was a bit lucky last season, but there’s reason to believe with offseason conditioning he should be ready to pitch a full season for an offense that provides the chance to win every night, as his 13-8 record suggests. Obviously Ogando will have to remain in the rotation to merit this ranking as there are currently six candidates - Ogando, Feliz, Holland, Darvish, Lewis and Harrison.
44) Johnny Cueto, CIN
2011 Points Scored: 308
In 2011 Johnny Cueto established himself as the ace of the Reds’ rotation, but make no mistake, he is nowhere close to a fantasy ace his 2.31 ERA might suggest. His K/9 has decline each season he has been in the league and his .249 BABIP and 3.45 FIP mean he enjoyed quite a bit of luck in ’11. If the strikeouts stabilize or continue to decline and Lady Luck abandons him in 2012, Cueto’s opportunity to score points will take a turn for the worse. Good news is he pitches for the #2 offense in the NL so the chance for wins should continue to be there.
45) Cory Luebke, SD
2011 Points Scored: 237
After starting the season in the bullpen in 2011, Cory Luebke transitioned to the rotation and made 17 starts for the Padres with a 3.31 ERA and jaw-dropping 9.9 K/BB. Luebke will have to fight against low run support and a less-than-stellar 0.65 GB/FB ratio in order to put up a significant point total. But, with that being said, his strikeout potential is legit and he should qualify at SP/RP in 2012, meaning in a points league that separates the two, during his two-start weeks he is likely to accumulate far more points than any closer or setup man your opponent will be starting in their RP slots.
46) Ryan Dempster, CHC
2011 Points Scored: 193
When it comes to bounce-back candidates, Ryan Dempster leads the list. Dempster had a miserable 9.58 ERA in April that completely derailed any chance for a good season. A lot of his lackluster stat line can be attributed to a .324 BABIP and a 3.91 FIP as compared to a 4.80 ERA. Assuming his BABIP returns to career averages, there’s a chance at a ton of points from Dempster at a cheap price as he is still a solid bet for 200 IP and 200 K in 2012.
47) Brandon Morrow, TOR
2011 Points Scored: 242
Last season started with a stint on the DL for Brandon Morrow, but ended with 179.1 IP (a career-best). Morrow merits this ranking for his phenomenal 10.2 K/9, but it comes at the cost of a 1.38 career WHIP and 0.57 GB/FB ratio in the high-powered AL East. There’s reason to believe he can improve on his WHIP and ERA as his .301 BABIP and 3.64 FIP both exhibit a little bit of bad luck, but until he can limit his base runners and 0.9 HR/9, he won’t be for the risk adverse.
48) Wandy Rodriguez, HOU
2011 Points Scored: 279
Wandy Rodriguez is one of if not the only intriguing players on the Astros in terms of fantasy potential, although, even his value is limited as the chance for wins will be few and far between. However, in all likelihood, Houston could move him before the deadline and Rodriguez typically saves his best for last. In 2011 Rodriguez posted a 3.45 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 84 strikeouts in 88 IP.
49) Ubaldo Jimenez, CLE
2011 Points Scored: 193
At this point Ubaldo Jimenez’s Bob-Gibson esque start to 2010 is looking like a fluke. Since the All-Star break of that season, Jimenez has completely fallen off the radar thanks to a significant 3 MPH dropoff in his fastball velocity. There was almost nothing to like about Jimenez in Colorado or Cleveland last season and he finished with a pedestrian 10-3 record, 4.68 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, but if the velocity is able to return in 2012, there’s a chance he returns to a level somewhere in between ’10 and ’11 at a cost you’ll live with as no one is excited about him… maybe for good reason.
50) Scott Baker, MIN
2011 Points Scored: 239
Were health not an annual concern for Scott Baker he could potentially be considered a Top 25 pitcher, but as it is, he has only pitched in 200 innings once in his entire career. When Baker is on the mound he is an excellent source of a low 3.00 ERA, 1.10-1.20 WHIP and a 8.0 K/9 or better. Had his elbow not placed him on and off the DL for most of August and September, Baker could’ve come close to a 450 point season in 2011.
Is there a starting pitcher you think should've made the Top 50? Feel free to comment on these rankings or ask any fantasy baseball question in the comment section below.
Javier Vazquez, MIA
2011 Points Scored: 309
Once again, Javier Vazquez proved he is meant for the NL with an impressive 3.69 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 13-11 record with the Marlins. Vazquez had a 7.6 K/9 for the season and a 9.0 in the second half with a very nice 6.3 BB%. The Marlins new stadium is expected to play similar to their previous one, but the offense is projected to be much better with Jose Reyes and a healthy Mike Stanton and Hanley Ramirez. Unfortunately for the Marlins, Vazquez is heavily considering retirement which lead them to trade for Carlos Zambrano in the offseason.