Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers 2012
So the 2012 MLB season has officially started even though most people missed it. Dustin Ackley had an incredible opening game and Yoenis Cespedes hit his first career MLB home run. My prediction about Felix Hernandez not getting wins looks good and Bartolo Colon was effective but pitched against one of the worst offenses in the majors.
Now that I wrapped up the short Japan series let’s get into the top 5 for my last position ranking of the preseason.
5. Jered Weaver – Los Angeles Angels
Jered Weaver was virtually unhittable at the beginning of his 2011 campaign. He finished 2nd in Cy Young voting but his 18-8 record was disappointing to some people after his incredible start.
Weaver got off to a 6-0 start but lost his next 4 and didn’t win a game in the month of May. Then he got hot again in June and ran his record to 14-4 before losing 3 of his next 4 starts.
Weaver had nearly 200 Ks, a 1.01 WHIP and an ERA under 2.5 but he’s too streaky to be ranked higher. This ranking might even be generous.
4. Cliff Lee – Philadelphia Phillies
Cliff Lee is the #2 arm in the loaded Phillies rotation. I ranked Cole Hamels a few days ago and I’m not even done ranking Phillies starters yet.
Lee is a strike-throwing machine. His high K total and incredibly low walk-rate make him a control freak (Get it? He has control of his pitches… I know its lame) but that is the exact type of pitcher you want in fantasy baseball. Lee’s value increases in leagues with K/9 and Walk total categories.
3. Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers
The reigning AL Cy Young and MVP winner is probably ranked 1st on a lot of people’s starters list. Not mine.
Many people are prisoners of the moment and we’re living in a moment when starting pitchers can be named MVP. He can do it again but the odds are stacked very high against him and I see some regression in his stats.
Verlander is coming off a season where he threw hundreds more pitches than he is used to and is under more pressure than any starter in the league. He will be very, very good but let’s be realistic about him.
2. Roy Halladay – Philadelphia Phillies
Halladay is the second Phillies starter in the top 5 and 3rd in the top 10 (top 6 to be exact). He’s also a two-time Cy Young winner and finished 2nd in the 2011 NL Cy Young voting.
Halladay is an even bigger control freak than his teammate Cliff Lee. In 2011 he had a few less Ks than Lee but also walked fewer batters. He is a fantasy stud and is my #1 pitcher in leagues with K/9 and walk categories.
1. Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
I may be a year early on this prediction but I see nothing but great things coming from Clayton Kershaw’s Dodgers with Magic Johnson as their new owner.
Those great things will happen when the Dodgers add a few more pieces to their roster but I can think of a lot of hitters that would rather play with Kershaw than bat against him.
The 2011 NL Cy Young winner went 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA and 248 Ks. He also walked 54 batters for an incredible WHIP of 0.97.
I would never bet on a pitcher to win the MVP award but if I had to bet on the starter that I think will have the most MVP votes at the end of 2012 I would bet heavily on Kershaw.