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2011 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit: Starting Pitchers Rankings

March 29, 2011 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Clayton Kershaw has become the ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Clayton Kershaw is one of the best in the biz, but beware of his increased workload.

By Phillip Heilman, Tim McLeod and RotoRob

The 2011 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit surges forward today with the release of another Fantasy baseball cheat sheet. So while you wonder if the Boston Red Sox can avoid another injury-plagued season, let’s take a look at the top 141 starting pitchers for 2011.

You really don’t need us to tell you that starting pitching is as deep heading into 2011 as we’ve seen it in recent years. Undoubtedly it is, but here’s a word to the wise: Just because it is a very deep category the crème de la crème is still exactly that and don’t be remiss and think playing a late pitching game strategy is the key to success. Yes, you can draft a rotation for Fantasy purposes late, but those Top 20 stud starting pitchers provide you with a rather large cushion — especially in the strikeout category. The likes of Clayton Kershaw, Jon Lester, Jered Weaver, Tim Lincecum and Felix Hernandez and what they bring to the table simply can’t be overlooked. Securing at least one of the top-tier starters ensures that you won’t be too far behind the eight-ball when you’re filling in your rotation from the middle-tier and those late-round gems. A balanced approach to building a rotation will be both the safe and winning approach come draft day in 2011.

Last year’s rankings are in parentheses.

1. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies (2): While the Jays are still praying that Kyle Drabek can help offset the loss of Halladay, the Phils have been quite happy with their acquisition, thank you very much. All Halladay did in his first year in Philadelphia was throw at least 250 IP for the second time in his career, improve his already ridiculously stingy control, set a new career high in strikeouts and just miss tying his career bests in wins and ERA. Oh, and did I mention that he happened to toss a no-hitter in his first ever playoff start? No pitcher in the majors can put the ball where he wants like Doc can, and other than a hiccup a few years back, he’s also been pretty much as durable as they come. There are tons of great starting options this year, but few are as safe as Halladay. – RR

2. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners (3): Many people thought King Felix didn’t deserve his Cy Young last year, but we weren’t one of them. We love the fact that he sharpened his control and absolutely dominated down the stretch – despite the fact that his club had nothing to play for. The rumours that the Mariners will deal him just won’t go away, but that’s just not going to happen any time soon. Hernandez will continue to play his trade in one of the best pitcher’s parks in the game. – RR

3. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants (1): The head of a simply superb rotation in San Francisco, Lincecum showed some cracks in his game last year, suffering double-digit losses for the first time, proving more hittable than ever and surrendered a career high in home runs. But to say he had a bad year it’s simply unfair; it’s just that he didn’t match the standard he set during his back-to-back Cy Young seasons the two previous years. So he’s human. And he’s got a stupid haircut. But make no mistake: Lincecum remains the top hurler in the NL West and one of the top arms to own in the game. Fear not, Fantasy owners. – RR

4. Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado Rockies (14): Despite Jimenez’s major breakout – as well as those of a couple of his teammates – the Rockies failed to win a damn thing last year. But of greater concern to Fantasy owners is the big question of which Jimenez was the real deal – the one that dominated the game in the first half, or the one that was much more hittable after the break? Put it all together and Jimenez set career highs across the board while striking out more batters than all but two NL pitchers. It’s a very difficult question to answer, but if you take his two halves and split the difference, he’s still a damn fine pitcher to own. Don’t pay for a repeat of the first half, but he’s quite capable of repeating or slightly bettering his 2009 output (15 wins, almost 200 Ks, a sub-.3.50 ERA and a sub-1.25 WHIP). Fine numbers, but not otherworldly like he was in April and May of last year when people actually thought he was going to win 30 games. – RR

5. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers (15): Will the Verducci effect bring Kershaw down this year? It’s a concern, and one we looked at in a January Podcast. While Kershaw’s increased workload wasn’t dramatic, he wasn’t as unhittable as he was in 2009 and he wound up reaching double digit losses for the first time, although that’s more a product of a down year for the Dodgers. I really like the fact that Kershaw got through hitters a lot quicker last year, reducing his P/PA to 4.0. If that’s a trend, his win total is due to spike as long as he can stay healthy. There’s a Cy Young in the future of the Dodgers’ ace; whether it comes this year will depend on whether he continues to adapt. – RR

6. Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox (11): Lester should continue to thrive under new Red Sox pitching coach Curt Young. Already scheduled to be Boston’s Opening Day starter, Lester matched his career best in strikeouts last year while putting up his lowest WHIP and just missing out on his lowest ERA. Tougher to hit then ever in 2010, Lester’s improving two-seam fastball helped him get more ground balls than fly balls for the first time in his career. – RR

7. C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees (8): If the Yankees’ pitching additions don’t pan out, Sabathia may need to start every third day. The scary thing is, he’s such a bull, he could probably handle the workload. Last year, Sabathia had a bit more of a problem with homers allowed, but it didn’t stop him from topping 20 wins for the first time in his career. His pitch counts have dropped the past couple of years, and that’s not a bad thing for his long-term prognosis. Sabathia has recorded at least 12 wins with a winning percentage of least .600 in each of the past three seasons and to give you an idea of how rare that is, just seven other pitchers have done that in each of the past two seasons, never mind three in a row. – RR

8. Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels (21): The 2010 MLB strikeout king, Weaver still doesn’t get the love you’d expect from Fantasy owners. But for our money, he’s arrived as a top 10 starter. Okay, so his record last year didn’t scream “ace,” and all those Ks meant he had to work deeper into counts than ever before, but 9.35 Ks/9? That’s sweet. Weaver has a long and fruitful career ahead of him, making him a great option in keeper or redraft leagues. – RR

9. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies (22): Lee was phenomenal for the Mariners last year and then pretty much just as good with Texas (except for the uptick in home runs allowed). He’s always had amazing command, but to issue his fewest walks ever while striking out more batters than ever in the same season? Wow. We’re talking about more than 10 strikeouts to every walk. Just let that roll around in your brain for a while. The big question for the Phillies this year is will they even need a bullpen? – RR

10. Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins (13): Johnson’s ability to stay healthy this year is the key to the Marlins’ rotation being better than most people expect. Armed with a superb fastball, Johnson has gotten progressively harder to hit in each of the past three seasons. He was right in contention for the Cy Young before getting hurt last year, but in many ways Johnson’s three-month run from May to July was even more impressive than Jimenez’s run at the beginning of the season. If the Marlins’ ace can stay healthy enough to make 32 starts this year, he may very well take home his first Cy Young. – RR

11. Zack Greinke, Milwaukee Brewers (4): Greinke’s a hell of a pitcher, but apparently not much of a basketball player as he busted a rib in a pickup game this offseason that could cost him the first few weeks of the season. That might be a blessing in disguise for those of you that have yet to draft, as you’ll be able to get him cheaply, especially coming off last year’s down season. Notwithstanding his b-ball exploits, Greinke has actually been quite durable in recent seasons. Last year, his command – while still excellent – wasn’t as dominant as it was in his Cy Young 2009 season, and was a big reason for the difference in his results. Greinke was also much more hittable last year, but the Brewers were not dissuaded when they dealt for him this winter. – RR

12. Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants (12): As durable as they come, Cain has done everything a starter can do the past few years, except rack up a high win total. Don’t get me wrong; Cain’s been a consistent winner, but doesn’t it feel like he should have earned more victories based on his peripherals? His command has really ramped up the past couple of years to near elite levels and one of these days that trend should manifest itself in a season of 18-to-20 wins. Will it be this year? The righty’s elbow issues this spring are worrisome, but he’s bounced back nicely and should again be a nice low-end No. 1 Fantasy starter. – RR

13. Dan Haren, Los Angeles Angels (6): Having Haren team with Weaver for a full season this year should help the Angels turn things around after a disappointing 2010. Haren’s extremely durable, but was easier to hit last year than at any time since he was a rookie. Still, few hurlers have as good command as he does, and he looked much sharper once he escaped the disaster in the desert. Part of a solid front four for the Angels (which could be a great rotation if the real Scott Kazmir ever re-emerges), Haren is an underappreciated Fantasy asset that makes a superb No. 2 starter for your team. – RR

14. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers (7): Verlander seems to be on a mission this year, pitching in Spring Training games as if they counted. If he gets much better, look out. Last year, Verlander was harder to hit than ever before even though he also had to work deeper into counts than ever (career-high 4.05 P/PA). Look to nab Verlander in Round Four or Five of your draft. – RR

15. David Price, Tampa Bay Rays (48): Price didn’t live up to the unrealistic hype in 2009, so he slipped in drafts last year, becoming a major steal in the process. The young lefty, blessed with outstanding off-speed stuff and a big-time fastball, was extremely difficult to hit last year while being quite stingy with the gopher balls. Price not only upped his strikeout rate, but was also able to dispatch hitters a lot earlier in the count last year. Expect him to be nabbed around the fourth round of your draft. – RR

16. Tommy Hanson, Atlanta Braves (16): Depending on how much Hanson – as well as some of the Braves’ other young starters – improves this season, Atlanta’s rotation won’t be as inferior to Philadelphia’s as many expect. The way he’s pitching this spring, he certainly looks poised to bounce back from what was marginally a sophomore slump, although in fairness, Hanson actually progressed in several areas last year, even if it didn’t manifest itself in a strong won-loss record. He struggled in May and June, but was dynamite over the final three months of the season. The Braves have a ton of young talent on their team now, and Hanson’s ability to morph into an ace is arguably the most important development if they have any chance of chasing down Philly. — RR

17. Mat Latos, San Diego Padres (88): Latos is one of the young arms that experienced a significant increase in workload last year, and that’s always something to monitor as we discussed in an off-season Podcast. (In fact, just before press time, it was announced he’ll begin the season on the DL, so there you go.) We all knew Latos had a chance to be a special, but how fast it happened and how good he was last year was a big-time surprise. His hit rates were dominant, his control was very strong and he even reduced the extreme flyball tendencies he showed as a rookie. Latos was supposed to be the Padres’ Opening Day starter, but it’s a role this youngster should get many more opportunities to fill in the years to come. – RR

18. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies (24): Part of the Phantastic Four, Hamels was able to erase his awful 2009 season in admirable fashion last year, bringing his hit rates back to career norm levels and enjoying his best strikeout rate since he was a rookie. This dude is good enough to be an ace on plenty of teams, but for the Phillies, he could be just their No. 4 man. For your Fantasy team, however, he makes a solid No. 2 starter, especially since you’ve got to figure he’ll almost always be matched up against an inferior starter. – RR

19. Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers (23): While he’s avoided major injury, we’re still waiting for Gallardo to record his first 200-IP season. Still, he improved his control last year while recording a second straight season of at least 200 strikeouts. There’s likely upside here, but if this is as good as it gets, Gallardo has settled into a pretty darned good groove. The fact that Milwaukee went out this winter and added two more big arms to its rotation could inspire Gallardo to rise to even greater heights this season. – RR

20. Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox (54): Scheduled to open the season as Boston’s No. 3 starter (although, he’s really the second best starter on the team), Buchholz has gotten better each year as he learns to pitch more to contact. Take a note of his diminishing ERA as it relates to a diminishing strikeout rate. Obviously, Buchholz has figured out he can be successful without trying to blow every hitter away as he shaved his WHIP by 13 per cent while dropping his ERA by almost two runs a game. It’s working, kid – keep it up! – RR

21. Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals (9): Carpenter stayed healthy enough last year to set a new career high in starts and reach 235 IP for just the second time. Can this soon-to-be 36-year-old righty make it three years in a row without a major injury? Normally, an extreme groundball pitcher, Carpenter trended closer to neutral than he has in years and that resulted in him surrendering three times more homers than he did in 2009. If this trend continues, I worry about the effect it will have on his bottom-line results, so that’s something to keep an eye on as the season progresses. One thing’s for sure – with no Adam Wainwright to rely on, the Cardinals will need their de facto ace to be at his very best if they have any shot of sticking around in the NL Central race. – RR

22. Roy Oswalt, Philadelphia Phillies (32): Oswalt was having a nice bounce-back season for the ‘Stros, but once he arrived in Philly in a deadline deal, he was filthy good. His control wasn’t as sharp as normal last year, but he managed to rack up his highest strikeout rate since his rookie season way back in 2001. Once the face of the franchise in Houston, Oswalt is just another ace on the Phillies, but that doesn’t mean he still won’t make a decent No. 2 starter for your Fantasy team. – RR

23. John Danks, Chicago White Sox (33): Danks dealt with some wildness early this spring, but he seems to have nipped that problem in the bud and looks ready to enjoy another solid campaign for the Pale Hose. His control was improved last year, helping him reach 15 wins for the first time as he becomes more and more of a workhorse starter. Danks’ strikeout rate bounced back a bit last year, but he’s never been a dominant hurler in that respect. Still not 26, Danks may have plenty of upside in his left arm, so don’t be shy about plucking him off the draft board this spring. – RR

24. Francisco Liriano, Minnesota Twins (47): Liriano’s fine bounce-back effort earned him some consideration for a coveted RotoRob Award as the Fantasy Baseball Comeback Player of the Year. He recovered nicely from an awful record in 2009, getting through hitters quicker (3.75 P/PA) than ever before, allowing him to work deeper into games than ever. The best may yet be coming for this talented southpaw. – RR

25. Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers (36): Mad Max spent the first half of the season driving his owners insane, and then simply pitched out of his mind in the second half, earning a place on the revered All-Wire Troll team for his efforts. He neared 200 IP, a mark he assuredly would have reached if not for his brief mid-season demotion to the minors, and cut his homer rate while also slightly sharpening his control. Those that plucked Scherzer off the wire last year probably did quite well in team ERA and WHIP and, based on his dominant second half, you can bet he’ll again be a fantastic asset in that regard this season. – RR

26. Trevor Cahill, Oakland Athletics (107): Cahill was brilliant last year. In fact, we think he was a bit too brilliant, and as a result, have him pegged as a flop this year. Thanks to an incredibly low – and pretty much impossible to repeat – BABIP of .236, Cahill’s hit rates were extremely low last year. And while the A’s should continue to improve this year, it’s hard to envision Cahill having such a fine record again in 2011. I do like the fact that he upped his still modest strikeout rate and recorded way more groundballs last year – those are signs that his season wasn’t a complete fluke. This young righty is a solid starter; just don’t pay based on his 2010 numbers. – RR

27. Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves (40): Hudson’s first full season back from Tommy John surgery was nothing short of incredible. He recorded his lowest WHIP since 2003, a damn good thing because he gave up more homers than usual. If not for a poor September, Hudson’s final numbers would have been even more impressive. And what’s up with his batting prowess this spring? Hey, if you’re in a league that tracks pitcher’s batting numbers, Hudson looks ready to rake this year. – RR

28. Colby Lewis, Texas Rangers (66): Lewis’ return to the majors last year was triumphant as he rode improved control to establish himself as the new No. 2 man in the Texas rotation. Unwilling to rest on his laurels, Lewis has been working on a new changeup grip this spring, a weapon that could make him even tougher for opposing hitters to solve this year. – RR

29. Gio Gonzalez, Oakland Athletics (93): After winning 15 games last season and enjoying a strong spring in 2011, Gonzalez should be on the radar of every Fantasy owner. He logged 200+ innings last season with an ERA of just over 3.00 and if he can overcome some wildness issues he has shown so far in his career, 2011 should be a breakout season for him. The Athletics are counting on him to anchor a staff that they are hoping will be the strong point on the team. Gonzalez should add to his win total from last season and is a good choice to draft a little earlier than expected this season. – PH

30. Wandy Rodriguez, Houston Astros (18): Rodriguez’s performance last year earned him consideration for a spot on our All Wire Troll team. While he was unable to reach 200 IP and his bottom line results didn’t compare favourably to 2009, Rodriguez was filthy good after the break (5-1, 2.11 with a .204 BAA and 101 strikeouts in 93 2/3 IP), so don’t be afraid to assume he’ll reach or better his 2009 results this year. The tendinitis he dealt with this spring had some worried, but it’s a non-factor, so go ahead and employ Wandy as a solid No. 3 starter for your Fantasy team. – RR

31. Phil Hughes, New York Yankees (69): Through the first two months of 2010, Hughes looked headed for a Cy Young caliber season with six wins and an ERA well below 3.00. However, the rest of the season was a struggle as his ERA was over 4.00 in each of the final four months while his strikeout numbers dropped significantly. However, Hughes still won 18 games, and yes, being on a team with the offensive prowess of the Yankees is a good way to rack up undeserved wins, even pitching in a tough AL East. Still, Hughes should be able to grow from last season, making him a good number three pitcher for your rotation. – PH

32. Shaun Marcum, Milwaukee Brewers (60): If Marcum is available as your third or fourth starter, pick him up. Like right away. While he was not an elite pitcher in the AL East, he is now in the NL Central, a whole different beast. Marcum managed 13 wins last season for the Jays, and this year his numbers should jump across the board. Look at what Sabathia did for the Brewers down the stretch during his time there. While Marcum is no CC, he is talented and should fare very well against pedestrian NL Central foes and now that his shoulder problems seem a thing of the past, he should be good to go. – PH

33. Brian Matusz, Baltimore Orioles (72): Looking at his numbers as a whole last season will scare many Fantasy owners away from Matusz this season. However, take a closer look and there’s far more promise than at first blush. After August 1, he only lost one game while winning seven with an ERA of just over 2.00. Matusz remains a top-notch post-hype bargain to target, although he may not be quite as good as he showed over the final two months. As the O’s number two-guy behind Jeremy Guthrie, Matusz should be seen as a decent third starter for your Fantasy team. – PH

34. Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox (17): Since 2007, Beckett has compiled just 18 wins in even years as opposed to 37 wins in odd years. This is surely some kind of fluke, but it seems he can only be counted on every other year. Last year, Beckett faced nagging injuries all season and relied far too much on his cutter. He has vowed to get back to his fastball-curveball mix in the hopes of regaining his 2007 form. Still, at this point, he is the fourth starter for the Sox and should be drafted as such, although another successful odd numbered year could be in the cards. – PH

35. Brandon Morrow, Toronto Blue Jays (112): Morrow is a guy that should be drafted as a third or fourth Fantasy starter, but you have to watch his matchups. In 2010, he got raked multiple times by the Red Sox and Yankees. Like most pitchers (especially those in the AL East that have to take multiple turns against these powerhouses), Morrow should probably not stay in your lineup against these teams. However, he was still 10-7 last year, which means he was pretty good against the rest of the league. He should top 200 strikeouts this season if he stays healthy, and is definitely worth drafting as long as you monitor his matchups. – PH

36. Brett Anderson, Oakland Athletics (31): Anderson is another guy that dealt with injuries in 2010, and as a result, he’s going later in drafts than his talent would suggest. Like Gonzalez, Anderson is going to benefit from the Athletics’ revamped bullpen, which should help win him his share of games. Also, his strikeout-to-walk ratio during his first two seasons has been impressive, so if Anderson can stay healthy (admittedly, a fairly big if), he should bring back more value than his drafting spot would suggest and is worth a look around Round 15 of your standard mixed league draft. – PH

37. Ricky Romero, Toronto Blue Jays (100): Like Morrow, Romero is a pitcher that found success against teams other than his big three AL East counterparts. Romero established himself as one of the most exciting lefties in the game, and is pegged to be the Jays’ Opening Day starter. This season should only bring more success for him as he enters his third full campaign. It would be no surprise if Romero hit the 17-win mark and racked up 200 or more strikeouts, great numbers for a guy going around Round 14 in drafts. – PH

38. Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles Dodgers (27): Billingsley’s numbers last year were not much of an improvement on his 2009 performance that had many Fantasy owners down on him following his tremendous 2008. The Dodgers are hoping for more consistency out him this year as he settles in as their number two guy. Since arriving in the majors, Billingsley has been plagued by severely rough stretches. Even with these stints of inconsistency, he has posted double-digit wins in each of the last four seasons. This year should be no different, and if the 2008 version of Billingsley ever reappears, Fantasy owners will get great bang for their buck. – PH

39. Jonathan Sanchez, San Francisco Giants (44): The Giants rode a strong pitching staff to a title last season. While overshadowed by Lincecum and Cain, Sanchez had a very strong season. So far this spring, Sanchez has showed consistency, something which has dogged him throughout his career. Even with a few rough patches last year, he still strung together 13 wins and over 200 Ks. It’s a slight worry about how he’ll react after throwing a career high in innings last year, but he is tabbed as the number three guy in San Francisco this year, and is worth a look in the middle rounds as a rising star. – PH

40. Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays (138): The buzz around this guy is one of the few things Rays’ fans are pinning their hopes on after a significant change in personnel heading into 2011. After posting a 49-16 record in the minors, Hellickson busted onto the scene with four wins in four starts last season. Questions have been raised about whether he has typical ace stuff, but he is certainly a solid choice at this point. The Tampa Bay bullpen has been completely remade, which could cost Hellickson wins this year, but his potential is enough to make him worthy of some consideration. – PH

41. Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs (30): Even though Garza is inconsistent and somewhat of a headcase, the rest of the AL East is surely glad to see him and his no-hit stuff on the Cubs this year. He headlined an eight-player deal that landed him in Chicago after spending the last few years in Tampa. Garza won 15 games last season, and taking into consideration the he’s headed to the more pitcher-friendly NL, he should be a stud this year. He will be looked on to take pressure off Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster, and is a candidate to have a breakout season in 2011. – PH

42. Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs (29): Dempster is well known for his joking with both fans and teammates, and this offseason was no different. Considering this, his Fantasy value is probably less than his real world value, but he is still a more than capable middle of the rotation starter. He topped 200 innings for the first time in 10 years last season, and should be good for 12-to-15 wins this year. With those numbers, Dempster is worth drafting as a third or fourth starter. – PH

43. Ted Lilly, Los Angeles Dodgers (41): After signing Lilly to a three-year, $30-million extension this winter, the Dodgers are counting on him to continue to pitch well in 2011. Lilly consistently has been in the top 10 in WHIP, but because of relatively low win totals the last two years, he has slid down in most drafts. He’s not a dominant hurler, but Lilly should bring you 150-to-165 strikeouts and is good for a sub-4.00 ERA and double digit wins. – PH

44. Brett Myers, Houston Astros (102): Despite pitching for a lousy Houston team last season, Myers still collected a respectable 14 victories. Manager Brad Mills has announced that Myers will start Opening Day for the Astros this season, and he could be the ace of an underrated staff. If last year’s trend continues, definitely count on Myers for his home starts, where he won eight without a loss, while posting an ERA of 2.01. Counting on him in general as a back of the rotation starter for your Fantasy team makes sense. – PH

45. Jaime Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals (103): The fact that Garcia managed to pitch 155 innings in 2010 — coming off Tommy John surgery, which ended his 2009 season – was a positive sign. He put together the sixth lowest ERA in baseball last season, and at the age of just 24, there’s likely still upside here. You can expect his ERA to likely rise somewhat this year, but he could earn more wins. Garcia could be a fine middle of the rotation guy for your Fantasy team. – PH

46. Ervin Santana, Los Angeles Angels (59): Santana’s numbers suggest that he is pretty terrible in odd years, winning less than half the number of games he’s won in even years. However, this should be the year he breaks that trend. He has turned in a pedestrian spring, but is still considered by most to be one of the most dependable third starters in baseball for the Angels. If Santana can keep his ERA under 4.00 again this season, he should be on track for 15 wins and 180 strikeouts. – PH

47. Ian Kennedy, Arizona Diamondbacks (94): In his first season in Arizona last year, Kennedy pitched well enough to be named the Opening Day starter this year. He has been beaten around like a red headed stepchild thus far this spring, but his job as staff ace does not appear to be in jeopardy for the time being. The Diamondbacks, like Fantasy owners that draft him, are hoping Kennedy can regain control of his stuff and pitch like the guy Arizona was hoping to get when it picked him up from the Yankees in 2009. – PH

48. Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds (78): Late this spring, Cueto began experiencing inflammation in his throwing shoulder. The Reds have said he will not start the regular season with the team, as he takes some time off to regain strength in the arm. This is a setback for the Reds, as Cueto posted double-digit wins once again last season, and seems to be developing into an elite pitcher. Track his status during the year, as he could be a major pickup sometime around May. – PH

49. Hiroki Kuroda, Los Angeles Dodgers (65): Last season was a career year for Kuroda, and with a 10-13 record and 3.39 ERA, it’s unclear whether that should attract Fantasy owners or push them away. He turned 36 last month, so his ceiling has clearly been reached. Those that draft Kuroda should hope for numbers similar to the ones he had last season, and stats like that are worth a look later in the draft. Don’t set your expectations much higher, and be ready to pick up other serviceable options should he falter in 2011. – PH

50. Ricky Nolasco, Florida Marlins (28): A thumb injury has sidetracked Nolasco this spring, and his ERA is a putrid 24.75 so far. However, he’s said that he has felt much better in his most recent starts as opposed to his first spring start. The Marlins are a team that have lost quite a bit the last few seasons, but Nolasco has been dependable for at least 13 wins in each of the last three seasons, earning 14 last year in just 26 starts. Based on his progress, he should be good to go for the start of the season. – PH

Others to Consider

51. Wade Davis, Tampa Bay Rays (85)
52. Daniel Hudson, Arizona Diamondbacks (NR)
53. Anibal Sanchez, Florida Marlins (101)
54. Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati Reds (NR)
55. Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants (110)
56. Jorge De La Rosa, Colorado Rockies (35)
57. Jeremy Guthrie, Baltimore Orioles (111)
58. C. J. Wilson, Texas Rangers (NR)
59. James Shields, Tampa Bay Rays (26)
60. Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati Reds (77)
61. Jeff Niemann, Tampa Bay Rays (81)
62. Jhoulys Chacin, Colorado Rockies (NR)
63. Fausto Carmona, Cleveland Indians (87)
64. Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs (43)
65. Clayton Richard, San Diego Padres (116)
66. John Lackey, Boston Red Sox (25)
67. Jair Jurrjens, Atlanta Braves (20)
68. Scott Baker, Minnesota Twins (34)
69. Jordan Zimmermann, Washington Nationals (NR)
70. Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox (52)
71. Bud Norris, Houston Astros (133)
72. Carl Pavano, Minnesota Twins (68)
73. Brett Cecil, Toronto Blue Jays (NR)
74. Randy Wolf, Milwaukee Brewers (42)
75. Javier Vazquez, Florida Marlins (37)
76. Edwin Jackson, Chicago White Sox (53)
77. A.J. Burnett, New York Yankees (39)
78. J.A. Happ, Houston Astros (56)
79. Dallas Braden, Oakland Athletics (75)
80. R.A. Dickey, New York Mets (NR)
81. Rick Porcello, Detroit Tigers (50)
82. Jake Westbrook, St. Louis Cardinals (121)
83. Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston Red Sox (49)
84. Joe Blanton, Philadelphia Phillies (84)
85. Tommy Hunter, Texas Rangers (106)
86. Erik Bedard, Seattle Mariners (64)
87. Gavin Floyd, Chicago White Sox (38)
88. Kyle Drabek, Toronto Blue Jays (NR)
89. Michael Pineda, Seattle Mariners (NR)
90. Brian Duensing, Minnesota Twins (NR)
91. Derek Lowe, Atlanta Braves (80)
92. Travis Wood, Cincinnati Reds (NR)
93. Joel Pineiro, Los Angeles Angels (70)
94. Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets (123)
95. Tim Stauffer, San Diego Padres (NR)
96. Randy Wells, Chicago Cubs (74)
97. Kevin Slowey, Minnesota Twins (67)
98. Jason Hammel, Colorado Rockies (71)
99. Jake Peavy, Chicago White Sox (19)
100. Brandon Beachy, Atlanta Braves (NR)
101. Joe Saunders, Arizona Diamondbacks (62)
102. Brad Penny, Detroit Tigers (73)
103. Ivan Nova, New York Yankees (NR)
104. Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds (NR)
105. Jon Garland, Los Angeles Dodgers (128)
106. Mike Minor, Atlanta Braves (NR)
107. Jarrod Parker, Arizona Diamondbacks (NR)
108. Jon Niese, New York Mets (127)
109. Johan Santana, New York Mets (10)
110. Brandon Webb, Texas Rangers (45)
111. Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants (57)
112. Livan Hernandez, Washington Nationals (NR)
113. Chris Narveson, Milwaukee Brewers (NR)
114. Derek Holland, Texas Rangers (132)
115. Chris Capuano, New York Mets (NR)
116. Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds (86)
117. Kevin Millwood, Free agent (89)
118. Jake Arrieta, Baltimore Orioles (NR)
119. Yunesky Maya, Washington Nationals (NR)
120. Vin Mazzaro, Kansas City Royals (151)
121. Brad Bergesen, Baltimore Orioles (97)
122. Justin Masterson, Cleveland Indians (114)
123. Cory Luebke, San Diego Padres (NR)
124. John Lannan, Washington Nationals (125)
125. Aaron Harang, San Diego Padres (83)
126. Bruce Chen, Kansas City Royals (NR)
127. Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians (NR)
128. Jeff Francis, Kansas City Royals (148)
129. Kevin Correia, Pittsburgh Pirates (58)
130. Paul Maholm, Pittsburgh Pirates (129)
131. Chris Young, New York Mets (90)
132. Phil Coke, Detroit Tigers (NR)
133. Justin Duchscherer, Baltimore Orioles (126)
134. Barry Enright, Arizona Diamondbacks (NR)
135. James McDonald, Pittsburgh Pirates (NR)
136. Marc Rzepczynski, Toronto Blue Jays (122)
137. Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh Pirates (96)
138. Felipe Paulino, Colorado Rockies (119)
139. Sean O’Sullivan, Kansas City Royals (NR)
140. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals (NR)
141. Scott Kazmir, Los Angeles Angels (46)

Cheat Sheet Archives

2011 Preseason

First Base
Second Base
Third Base
Designated Hitters


Starting Pitchers
Relief Pitchers

2010 Preseason

First Base
Second Base
Third Base
Designated Hitter


Third Base
Designated Hitter
Relief Pitchers
Starting Pitchers

2009 Preseason

First Base
Second Base



2008 Preseason

Starting Pitchers
Relief Pitchers


Third Base
Second Base
First Base

2007 Preseason


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