A list of the top starting pitchers to draft for 2014 fantasy baseball.
1. Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw took home his second NL Cy Young award in three years, recording the lowest ERA (1.82) since Pedro Martinez posted a 1.74 mark in the 2000 season. Kershaw also led the league in strikeouts (232) and WHIP (0.92) while tossing a career-high 236 innings. Basically, he's the best pitcher in "real life" and in fantasy. Amazingly, he'll pitch all of 2014 as a 26-year-old, and the 2.0 BB/9 that Kershaw carried last season was actually the best result he's ever returned in that department.
2. Chris Sale Chicago White Sox
Sale's win total dropped from 17 in 2012 to 11 in 2013, but the rest of his repertoire was impressive enough to lead him a fifth-place finish in the AL Cy Young race. His 9.5 K/9 was tops among the league's left-handed starters, and his walk rate fell to a career-best 1.9 BB/9. Opposing batters hit a measly .138 off his slider, and the pitch was virtually unhittable for left-handed batters. Sale was pegged as a reliever in his early days in the league because of durability concerns, but he threw 214 innings in 2013 and led the league with four complete games. There should not be much cause for concern about regression in 2014. Sale will potentially be an injury risk to some due to his "inverted W" delivery, but he has yet to hit the disabled list through his first 512 professional innings. Look for him to lead the White Sox's rotation again in 2014.
3. Felix Hernandez Seattle Mariners
A late-season back injury put a damper on an otherwise outstanding season for Hernandez in 2013. At the time of the injury, he had a 2.63 ERA. He made it into the seventh inning once over his last four starts, twice going no more than four innings and he posted a 6.86 ERA in that span. So, his year-end 3.04 ERA is a bit deceiving. Hernandez should dominate again this season. As a high-strikeout (fifth in the AL), groundball pitcher with outstanding control and command, few pitchers in baseball can touch him. Better run support this season (4.45 last year, 15th in AL) should help him notch more than the 12 wins he posted in 2013.
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2014 Fantasy Rankings
Who are the top players you should be considering in your fantasy baseball drafts this year? Find out by browsing our overall rankings for 2013.
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