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2012 Tiered Position Rankings: AL Starting Pitcher

Following Wednesday's NL starting pitcher rankings, it's now time to check out the Junior Circuit's starters.

Something to remember, as you peruse these rankings. Starting pitchers contribute to a maximum of four out of five categories, unlike the very best of their hitter brethren. This is why less of your budget goes to pitchers at auction, and also why you'll see very few five-star caliber pitchers -- if any -- on the list. A starter needs to be absolutely ridiculous to have five-star value, and while there are a few of those arms every year, they also rarely repeat.

If you missed a position, or the explanation for the tiered ranking system, you can check out the first base, second base, third base,shortstop, catcher, left field, center field, right field, and NL starting pitcher rankings.

Four-Star ($20-29)

Verlander, Justin SP DET
Haren, Dan SP ANA
Weaver, Jered SP ANA
Hernandez, Felix SP SEA
Sabathia, CC SP NYA

There's no real "first" ranking here, as I would take any of these guys in a heartbeat. Felix Hernandez is probably better than his 2011, but the Mariners can't score, so it helps to keep him from being any kind of absolute #1. CC Sabathia deserves bonus points for extra Ws as a Yankees pitcher, but since he also has to face the tough AL East all the time, he tends to have a hard time maintaining superior fantasy value to these other arms.

Three-Star ($10-19)

Price, David SP TBA
Wilson, C.J. SP ANA
Shields, James SP TBA
Beckett, Josh SP BOS
Lester, Jon SP BOS
Jimenez, Ubaldo SP CLE
Darvish, Yu SP TEX

David Price is excellent, and could easily be a four-star guy. But, like with Sabathia, I worry about the AL East. Same with Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, James Shields... pretty much anyone in that division. I don't expect 2010 again out of Ubaldo Jimenez, but an improvement on 2011, another year removed from the effects of Colorado, isn't asking much. Yu Darvish is something of an enigma, but I'm willing to spend the $15 or so to test him out, as he's more likely to be worth that (or more) than he is to totally fall apart, at least while he remains unfamiliar to his opponents.

Two-Star ($9 & under)

Hellickson, Jeremy SP TBA
Feliz, Neftali SP TEX
Sale, Chris SP CHA
Bard, Daniel SP BOS
Scherzer, Max SP DET
Santana, Ervin SP ANA
Moore, Matt SP TBA
Floyd, Gavin SP CHA
Danks, John SP CHA
Lewis, Colby SP TEX
Pineda, Michael SP NYA
Baker, Scott SP MIN
Kuroda, Hiroki SP NYA
Buchholz, Clay SP BOS
Peavy, Jake SP CHA
Morrow, Brandon SP TOR
McCarthy, Brandon SP OAK
Masterson, Justin SP CLE
Nova, Ivan SP NYA
Romero, Ricky SP TOR
Cecil, Brett SP TOR
Holland, Derek SP TEX
Harrison, Matt SP TEX

Putting these arms here makes it seem like I don't like these guys, but I do! It's just that there are so many pitchers to choose from who can do about the same amount in terms of value, so this supply-and-demand thing gets all out of whack and drives their value down.


  • Feliz, Sale, and Bard should all be successful starters. Possibly with innings limitations, but successful nonetheless. If you'd like a full appraisal of the three, I've got you covered.
  • I love that Pineda and Kuroda will get more wins in 2012. I hate that it requires them to pitch in the AL East and Yankee Stadium to do so.
  • I don't trust Jake Peavy to stay healthy, so I'm already teetering on this ranking. Ask me tomorrow, and I could have him at the bottom of two-star.
One-Star (AL/NL-only)

Hughes, Phil SP NYA
Tomlin, Josh SP CLE
Vargas, Jason SP SEA
Liriano, Francisco SP MIN
Fister, Doug SP DET
Davis, Wade SP TBA
Slowey, Kevin SP CLE
Iwakuma, Hisashi SP SEA
Braden, Dallas SP OAK
Pavano, Carl SP MIN
McGowan, Dustin SP TOR
Porcello, Rick SP DET
Sanchez, Jonathan SP KCA
Hammel, Jason SP BAL
Colon, Bartolo SP OAK
Humber, Philip SP CHA
Milone, Tom SP OAK
Noesi, Hector SP SEA
Chen, Wei-Yin SP BAL
Chen, Bruce SP KCA
Hochevar, Luke SP KCA
Millwood, Kevin SP SEA
Villanueva, Carlos Swing TOR
Garcia, Freddy Swing NYA
Wada, Tsuyoshi SP BAL
Lowe, Derek SP CLE
Arrieta, Jake SP BAL
Badenhop, Burke Swing TBA
Litsch, Jesse Swing TOR
Camp, Shawn Swing SEA
Turner, Jacob SP DET
Crow, Aaron SP KCA
Ross, Tyson Swing OAK
Blackburn, Nick SP MIN
Hunter, Tommy Swing BAL
Axelrod, Dylan Swing CHA
Paulino, Felipe SP KCA
Maloney, Matt Swing MIN
Williams, Jerome SP ANA
Britton, Zach SP BAL

This is your $1 crew. They might provide a boost to you, but it's likely, given their assorted defects, that they won't. But hey, that's why $1 round players exist. Don't be shy about picking them up, just don't rely on them to win the league for you.