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A Look back at our 2014 Starting Pitcher Rankings

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Ray takes a look at our 2014 consensus starting pitcher rankings to see what we got right and what we got wrong in our rankings.

Jason Miller

Today I will look at our 2014 consensus starting pitcher rankings to see if I can learn from what we got right/wrong in our rankings last preseason. This is the last in the series where I review our 2014 consensus position rankings, having completed analysis of the following position rankings:

Catcher

First Base

Second Base

Shortstop

Third Base

Outfielders

Every year, we see starting pitchers in both leagues breaking out, and 2014 was no different, as Indians ace Corey Kluber pitched so well that he will give Mariners ace Felix Hernandez some competition for the American League Cy Young award this offseason. A few other starters who surprised us this season include Reds ace Johnny Cueto, Twins starter Phil Hughes, Angels starter Garret Richards, and Astros starter Dallas Keuchel.

With that said, aces like Clayton Kershaw, Hernandez, Adam Wainwright, Chris Sale and others performed as expected in 2014.

Here is a look at the starting pitchers we ranked 1 - 25:

Rank Player Team Ranking Points Ray Matt Brian Alex Daniel Joe Jason Zack
1 Clayton Kershaw LAD 616 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
2 Yu Darvish TEX 606 2 3 2 2 2 3 2 2
3 Adam Wainwright STL 587 3 7 6 7 3 5 3 3
4 Felix Hernandez SEA 576 4 4 7 3 8 7 10 5
5 Max Scherzer DET 575 7 8 5 4 7 2 8 8
6 Cliff Lee PHI 573 5 11 12 5 4 6 4 4
7 Chris Sale CHW 571 8 6 3 11 6 4 9 6
8 Stephen Strasburg WSN 556 10 2 9 9 11 9 5 13
9 David Price TBR 554 9 9 10 6 9 10 6 11
10 Jose Fernandez MIA 547 6 5 23 8 10 11 7 7
11 Madison Bumgarner SFG 544 11 10 8 10 12 8 12 9
12 Justin Verlander DET 539 15 13 4 13 5 12 11 12
13 Cole Hamels PHI 517 13 18 11 14 15 13 13 10
14 Zack Greinke LAD 508 12 12 13 19 13 14 19 14
15 Anibal Sanchez DET 498 14 20 15 12 17 15 17 16
16 Jordan Zimmermann WSN 479 18 23 14 20 19 18 14 19
17 Mat Latos CIN 476 20 19 16 18 23 19 18 15
18 James Shields KCR 468 23 14 17 16 20 33 16 17
19 Matt Cain SFG 448 22 17 21 23 21 25 24 23
20 Homer Bailey CIN 444 17 29 20 17 24 24 28 21
21 Mike Minor ATL 444 19 26 22 24 18 26 25 20
22 Hisashi Iwakuma SEA 433 40 27 18 15 16 30 15 30
23 Gio Gonzalez WSN 431 27 25 24 22 35 22 20 18
24 Alex Cobb TBR 414 16 22 42 25 14 16 38 37
25 Gerrit Cole PIT 402 24 21 28 21 36 27 29 36

And here are the starting pitchers we ranked 26 -  50:

Rank Player Team Ranking Points Ray Matt Brian Alex Daniel Joe Jason Zack
26 Julio Teheran ATL 387 28 16 39 32 22 29 33 38
27 Doug Fister WAS 384 30 46 29 27 29 32 21 26
28 Matt Moore TBR 372 32 24 37 28 25 38 37 31
29 Kris Medlen ATL 369 30 28 27 26 32 34 36 42
30 Masahiro Tanaka NYY 360 21 15 34 30 40 22 24
31 Francisco Liriano PIT 355 25 34 19 31 44 58 30 28
32 Shelby Miller STL 350 35 40 33 43 26 36 32 29
33 Jon Lester BOS 327 33 36 31 33 42 46 31 45
34 Hyun-jin Ryu LAD 311 48 32 34 31 23 23 44
35 Justin Masterson CLE 304 47 52 26 37 54 28 26 50
36 Jered Weaver LAA 303 31 37 45 47 33 42 45 41
37 Jeff Samardzija CHC 293 42 59 25 29 70 52 27 27
38 Andrew Cashner SDP 284 26 44 40 36 34 44 69 47
39 Patrick Corbin ARI 282 42 38 40 28 35 39 42
40 C.J. Wilson LAA 267 34 47 47 49 30 62 54 34
41 Clay Buchholz BOS 266 43 38 36 38 27 41 57
42 Michael Wacha STL 259 44 30 56 46 55 17 48 69
43 Sonny Gray OAK 258 37 33 39 53 20 44 62
44 Hiroki Kuroda NYY 255 60 58 46 35 37 51 34 48
45 Johnny Cueto CIN 231 38 41 35 52 47 60 66 54
46 CC Sabathia NYY 231 36 42 48 44 71 52 22
47 A.J. Burnett PHI 222 39 39 44 48 51 25
48 Tony Cingrani CIN 208 50 32 59 43 31 49 74
49 Danny Salazar CLE 206 45 35 57 67 21 64 51
50 Matt Garza MIL 206 63 55 41 41 73 68 42 35

And the starting pitchers we ranked 51 - 75:

Rank Player Team Ranking Points Ray Matt Brian Alex Daniel Joe Jason Zack
51 Corey Kluber CLE 202 52 50 49 65 39 56 33
52 R.A. Dickey TOR 200 48 43 45 38 73 60 39
53 Tim Lincecum SFG 175 55 61 58 62 46 53 71 43
54 Ubaldo Jimenez BAL 161 53 43 57 75 59 46 52
55 Chris Archer TBR 159 49 49 66 56 63 71 50 61
56 Lance Lynn STL 158 54 65 42 37 40 72
57 Yovani Gallardo MIL 150 56 56 50 61 61 53 59
58 Zack Wheeler NYM 145 51 45 67 48 74 61 55
59 Dan Haren LAD 134 71 60 69 63 66 47 68 46
60 Jarrod Parker OAK 133 61 66 54 67 65 35 65
61 Jake Peavy BOS 127 57 64 50 64 66 58 60
62 Ervin Santana FA 125 61 51 39 67 57 68
63 John Lackey BOS 125 59 51 58 45 75 75 58
64 Chris Tillman BAL 123 72 64 55 41 64 49
65 Marco Estrada MIL 118 62 55 66 74 56 62 53
66 A.J. Griffin OAK 109 57 54 52 40
67 Rick Porcello DET 102 58 70 54 64 49 71
68 Bartolo Colon NYM 99 64 69 58 45 55
69 Dan Straily OAK 98 67 60 56 43 66
70 Josh Johnson SDP 90 51 75 49 47
71 Ian Kennedy SDP 84 75 68 73 50 40
72 Ivan Nova NYY 78 70 72 72 57 41
73 Tyson Ross SDP 73 46 60 55
74 Taijuan Walker SEA 70 69 31 69 73
75 Ricky Nolasco MIN 65 63 51 70 63


What we got right

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

Ranking Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw as our #1 starting pitcher was an easy choice, but I didn't think he could actually improve his performance when compared to 2013. Kershaw went 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA, 1.81 FIP, 2.08 xFIP, and an absurd 239-31 strikeout to walk rate in 198.1 innings. He continues to be the best, and most consistent, starting pitcher in the game. One can make an argument that he could be the #1 overall pick in drafts in 2015, although it goes against the drafting philosophy of many fantasy owners here at Fake Teams.

Jose Fernandez, Marlins

Fernandez's season ended after only eight starts, as he was one of many pitchers to have Tommy John surgery this season. Before he went under the knife, Fernandez was pitching like the ace we thought he was, going 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA, a 2.18 FIP and xFIP, a 0.95 WHIP and was striking out more than 12 batters per nine innings.

He has already begun throwing this offseason, and it will be interesting to see if he will be ready for Opening Day. I doubt the Marlins will rush him, but he should be ready by May 2015, I imagine.

Adam Wainwright, Cardinals

We ranked Wainwright as our consensus #3 starting pitcher and he did not disappoint his owners this season, going 20-9 with a 2.38 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 3.34 xFIP, a 1.03 WHIP and a 179-50 strikeout to walk rate in 227 innings pitched. He was the old Wainwright in 2014, but there are some reasons for concern, as his strikeout rate dipped from 8 K/9 to 7 K/9, his walk rate finished just under 2 BB/9 and his ground ball rate dropped from 49% to 46%.

What we got wrong

Johnny Cueto, Reds

We ranked Cueto as our 45th ranked starter in the preseason, but Cueto surprised us all by taking a big step up in 2014, winning 20 games for the first time, with a 2.25 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 3.21 xFIP, a 0.96 WHIP and an excellent 242-65 strikeout to walk rate in 243.2 innings. His ground ball rate took a dip from 51% to 46%, but his strikeouts per nine innings jumped from 7.57 K/9 to 8.94 K/9. He comes with injury risk, but he will be in my Top 10 starting pitcher rankings in 2015.

Corey Kluber, Indians

We ranked Kluber as our 51st ranked starter, but he ended the season as the #1 starting pitcher in baseball according to FanGraphs fWAR (7.3). Kluber took another step up after a breakout 2013 season, going 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA, 2.35 FIP, 2.57 xFIP, a 1.09 WHIP, and a 269-51 strikeout to walk rate in 235.2 innings this season. He ranked second in MLB with 269 strikeouts this season, just two strikeouts behind Tigers ace David Price. Like Cueto, he will be in my top 10 starting pitcher rankings in 2015.

Tyson Ross, Padres

We ranked Ross way too low in our consensus starting pitcher rankings this season, ranking him as our 73rd ranked starter, but Ross proved his 2013 breakout was for real. Ross went 13-14 with a 2.81 ERA, 3.24 FIP, 3.11 xFIP, a 1.21 WHIP and a 195-72 strikeout to walk rate in 195.2 innings. He walks more than three batters per nine, but he was able to limit the damage for the most part. He could take the next step up if he can reduce the walk rate in 2015.

Fantasy Rundowm

If you are looking for more fantasy baseball, football or basketball rankings, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, your one site on the internet for all things fantasy.