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Pitching Value Meter: Kicking Off the 2011 Season

David Regan

David Regan

David Regan is a five-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner, and was named the 2010 Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year.

Welcome to the 2011 inaugural edition of RotoWire's Pitching Value Meter. For those unfamiliar with this tool, we help you with the tough decisions on which of your starting pitchers to go with each week. This piece is especially valuable for leagues that set lineups in advance for the week (as opposed to leagues with daily lineup changes), but hopefully there's a bit of something for everyone here. As to how I come up with the rankings, it's a combination of the following:

1. Number of starts for the week
pitchers with two starts are usually more productive from a fantasy perspective than those with one start. However, I'm not going to ever rank Paul Maholm (extreme example, yes) over Roy Halladay, for example, just because Maholm is a two-start pitcher that week and Halladay is only scheduled for one.

2. Past performance
it will take a long string of poor starts for me to drop the likes of a Tim Lincecum too far on this list due to Lincecum's history.

3. Recent performance
if a pitcher has a good run going and/or looks to be breaking out, then he'll get a bump in the rankings.

4. Opponents and ballpark
clearly, all else being equal, I'd rather start a pitcher facing the Nationals over a similar pitcher in Coors Field against the Rockies.

That's it. Nothing too scientific there, but hopefully this will serve as a valuable tool for some of you this season. I'm always open to feedback, so please feel free to email me with any comments or suggestions, or sound off in the comments section below. I have a thick skin.

The Pitching Value Meter is posted Saturday mornings during the season, covering the upcoming seven days of games. However, because Opening Day is Thursday this year, we'll start early this week and stretch these rankings over 11 days March 31 to April 10.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Start 'Em

1. Roy Halladay - HOU, NYM
2. Clayton Kershaw - SF, @COL, @SD
3. Yovani Gallardo - @CIN, ATL, CHC
4. Tim Lincecum - @LAD, @SD
5. Cliff Lee - HOU, @ATL
6. Josh Johnson - NYM, WAS
7. Ubaldo Jimenez - ARI, LAD
8. Cole Hamels - NYM, @ATL
9. Chris Carpenter - SD, PIT
10. Derek Lowe - @WAS, @MIL, PHI
11. Tommy Hanson - @WAS, @MIL
12. Ricky Nolasco - NYM, @HOU
13. Tim Hudson - @WAS, PHI
14. Roy Oswalt - HOU, @ATL
15. Shaun Marcum - @CIN, ATL
16. Ryan Dempster - PIT, ARI
17. Matt Cain - @LAD, STL
18. Chad Billingsley - SF, @COL
19. Matt Garza - PIT, @MIL
20. Brett Myers - @PHI, @CIN
21. Jorge De La Rosa - ARI, @PIT
22. Jordan Zimmerman - ATL, @NYM
23. Edinson Volquez - MIL, HOU
24. Anibal Sanchez - WAS, @HOU
25. Jhoulys Chacin - ARI, @PIT
26. Jonathan Sanchez - @LAD, STL
27. Wandy Rodriguez - @PHI, FLA
28. Jaime Garcia - SD, @SF
29. Carlos Zambrano - PIT, @MIL
30. Travis Wood - MIL, HOU

Borderline Depending on League Format

31. Mike Pelfrey - @FLA, @PHI
32. R.A. Dickey - @FLA, WAS
33. Tim Stauffer - @STL, SF
34. Bronson Arroyo - MIL, @ARI
35. Hiroki Kuroda - SF, @SD
36. Ted Lilly - SF, @SD
37. Ian Kennedy - @COL, @CHC
38. Jake Westbrook - SD, @SF
39. Dan Hudson - @COL, CIN
40. Brandon Beachy - @MIL, PHI
41. Clayton Richard - @STL, LAD
42. James McDonald - @STL, COL
43. Javier Vazquez - NYM, @HOU
44. Randy Wells - ARI, @MIL
45. Jonathon Niese - @FLA, @PHI
46. Kyle McClellan - PIT
47. Livan Hernandez - ATL, @FLA
48. Joe Blanton - NYM
49. Mike Leake - HOU, @ARI
50. J.A. Happ - @CIN, FLA
51. Madison Bumgarner - @SD
52. Bud Norris - @PHI, FLA
53. Randy Wolf - @CIN, CHC
54. Jair Jurrjens - @MIL (check status)
55. Barry Enright - @CHC, CIN
56. Jason Hammel - LAD, @PIT
57. Chris Volstad - WAS
58. Paul Maholm - @CHC, COL
59. Tom Gorzelanny - @NYM

Extreme Caution Advised

60. Chris Narveson - ATL, CHC
61. Kevin Correia - @CHC, @STL
62. Chris Young - @PHI, WAS
63. John Lannan - ATL, @FLA
64. Chris Capuano - WAS
65. Ross Ohlendorf - @CHC, COL
66. Kyle Lohse - PIT, @SF
67. Sam LeCure - @ARI
68. Nelson Figueroa - @CIN
69. Joe Saunders - @COL, CIN
70. Aaron Harang - SF, LAD
71. Barry Zito - @LAD, STL
72. Jason Marquis - @FLA, @NYM
73. Andrew Cashner - ARI
74. Colt Morton - @STL, COL
75. Armando Galarraga - @CHC
76. Esmil Rogers - @PIT
77. Dustin Moseley - @STL, LAD
78. Marco Estrada - ATL

Projected No. 5 starters skipped:
LA Dodgers (John Ely?), perhaps the Padres No. 5 slot

Two-start starters:
Pretty much 80 percent of the pitchers listed.

Three-start starters:
Derek Lowe, Yovani Gallardo, Clayton Kershaw

Notes:
Brandon Beachy has won the Braves' No. 5 starter job off a strong spring, but while he does have solid minor league numbers, he seems unlikely to hold off the likes of Mike Minor and, later, Julio Teheran. Still a worthy NL-only pitcher, but I'm pessimistic on the long-term upside. ... Coming off a 5.32 ERA in the AL and dealing with elbow soreness this spring, Javier Vazquez gives me reason to worry. Don't expect anywhere near a repeat of the last time he flipped from the AL to the NL (2009 2.87 ERA, 238 strikeouts). ... Jenrry Mejia opens in Triple-A where he'll work as a starter. If Mejia is ready come July, the Mets will certainly have an opening. ... Great reports on Jordan Zimmerman's work this spring. He should easily be the Nats' best starter this year. That said, his 2011 innings cap is reportedly 165, thus limiting his value a bit. If he gets off to a hot start in non-keeper leagues, sell. ... Andrew Cashner might be a cheap source of strikeouts this year, but make sure you have some solid command guys to offset the large number of walks he'll likely issue. ... Here's why you can never have too much pitching: Marco Estrada (8.04 career ERA) will apparently fill in for Zack Greinke (rib). Brutal. ... If James McDonald can make strides in his command, he could approach 200 strikeouts this year. Now if the Pirates could just develop some of their own pitchers. ... Save a seat for me on the Kyle McClellan bandwagon. McClellan finishes spring with a 0.78 ERA and so-so 16:8 K:BB in 23 innings. Still, he showed enough to get an extended look in St. Louis' No. 5 slot. ... Aaron Heilman blew his chance at a spot in the rotation with an ugly outing over the weekend, leaving Armando Galarraga as Arizona's No. 5. Neither is exactly appealing. ... Mat Latos is on the DL with a shoulder strain, but it doesn't appear serious. He could start sometime in the upcoming scoring period, so keep an eye on his player page. ... I'm not sure how the Reds rotation will shake out once Homer Bailey (shoulder) and Johnny Cueto (shoulder) return, though Sam LeCure is probably just a placeholder. A 7.5 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 a year ago suggests Travis Wood keeps his spot. ... Chris Capuano's 1.93 ERA this spring was interesting, but here's yet another case for taking spring training stats with a grain of salt. ... Nelson Figueroa's nickname: Jordan Lyles placeholder.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Start 'Em

1. CC Sabathia - DET, MIN, @BOS
2. Felix Hernandez - @OAK, @TEX
3. Jon Lester - @TEX, @CLE
4. David Price - BAL, @CHW
5. Justin Verlander - @NYY, @BAL
6. Francisco Liriano - @TOR, @NYY
7. Jered Weaver - @KC, @TB
8. Brett Anderson - SEA, @MIN
9. Dan Haren - @KC, @TB
10. Ricky Romero - MIN, OAK
11. John Danks - @CLE, TB
12. Trevor Cahill - SEA, @TOR
13. Colby Lewis - BOS, @BAL
14. Max Scherzer - @NYY, KC
15. Brian Matusz - @TB, DET
16. Fausto Carmona - CHW, BOS
17. Gio Gonzalez - SEA, @MIN
18. C.J. Wilson - BOS, SEA
19. Josh Beckett - @CLE, NYY
20. Clay Buchholz - @TEX, NYY
21. Philip Hughes - DET, @BOS
22. Brett Cecil - MIN, @LAA
23. Ervin Santana - @KC, TOR
24. Edwin Jackson - @CLE, TB
25. Rick Porcello - @BAL, KC
26. Carl Pavano - @TOR, @NYY

Borderline Depending on League Format

27. John Lackey - @TEX, NYY (tough starts)
28. Ivan Nova - MIN, @BOS
29. Kyle Drabek - MIN, @LAA
30. Jeremy Guthrie - @TB, DET
31. Erik Bedard - @TEX, CLE
32. A.J. Burnett - DET, MIN
33. Wade Davis - BAL, @CHW
34. James Shields - BAL, @CHW
35. Jeff Niemann - LAA, @CHW
36. Jeremy Hellickson - LAA
37. Jake Arrieta - DET, TEX
38. Mark Buehrle - @CLE, @KC
39. Gavin Floyd - @KC, TB
40. Dallas Braden - @TOR, @MIN
41. Carlos Carrasco - CHW, @SEA
42. Justin Masterson - CHW, @SEA
43. Derek Holland - SEA
44. Bradley Bergesen - @TB, TEX
45. Daisuke Matsuzaka - @CLE
46. Scott Baker - @NYY, OAK

Extreme Caution Advised

47. Brian Duensing - @NYY, OAK
48. Jo-Jo Reyes - OAK, @LAA
49. Brad Penny - @NYY, @BAL
50. Bruce Chen - LAA, @DET
51. Josh Tomlin - BOS, @SEA
52. Freddy Garcia - MIN
53. Kyle Davies - LAA, @DET
54. Phil Coke - KC
55. Jeff Francis - LAA, CHW
56. Joel Pineiro - TOR
57. Brandon McCarthy - @TOR
58. Jason Vargas - @OAK, CLE
59. Doug Fister - @OAK, CLE
60. Matt Harrison - BOS, @BAL
61. Chris Tillman - TEX
62. Michael Pineda - @TEX (tough MLB debut venue)
63. Nick Blackburn - @TOR, OAK
64. Jesse Litsch - OAK
65. Phil Humber - TB
66. Mitch Talbot - BOS
67. Alexi Ogando - SEA, @BAL
68. Luke Hochevar - LAA, CHW, @DET
69. Scott Kazmir - @KC, TOR

Projected No. 5 starters skipped:
Vincent Mazzaro

Two-start starters:
Pretty much 80 percent of the pitchers listed.

Three-start starters:
CC Sabathia, Luke Hochevar

Notes: Scott Kazmir
has made the rotation in spite of a terrible 2010 and an ugly spring (7.70 ERA, more BB than K), but that's the money talking. Look for the Angles to try to deal him if he gets off to a slot start. In that scenario, Tyler Chatwood is an interesting pitcher to watch in Triple-A. ... The Rangers go four deep at first base, so perhaps they look to parlay that depth into pitching, as breaking camp with Alexi Ogando and Matt Harrison in the rotation appears less than ideal. Ogando will apparently transition back to the bullpen once Tommy Hunter is healthy, which should be relatively soon. ... Odd decision by the Yankees to go with Freddy Garcia over a pitcher who significantly out-pitched him this spring, Bartolo Colon. I guess workload is the concern for Colon, who hasn't throwing a major league pitch since 2009; but still, odd. ... Chris Tillman will open in the Baltimore rotation and Zach Britton in Triple-A, but both should be in the rotation no later than June. Love the O's young arms, but can I get a nice year out of Matt Wieters, please? ... Kevin Slowey's career peripherals (6.9 K/9, 1.5 BB/9) weren't enough to win him a spot in the Minnesota rotation. ... Jake Peavy's shoulder likely will sideline him until sometime in May. The White Sox didn't give up much to get him out of San Diego, but Peavy is guaranteed $37 million through 2012 depending on whether a bloated $22 million 2013 option is picked up (it won't be). ... The list of pitchers who've struck out 200-plus in a single minor league season over the last five years: Francisco Liriano and Tampa Bay prospect Matthew Moore. Moore could jump to the majors quickly this year. .. Here's one name I didn't think I'd be ranking on this list any time soon: Jo-Jo Reyes. Reyes will open as Toronto's No. 5 starter. Brandon Morrow (elbow) is only expected to miss one regular season start, leaving little time for a decision to be made on who gets the boot between Reyes, Kyle Drabek and Jesse Litsch. Drabek seems a near-lock to stick around.

MIXED LEAGUE TOP 100

1. CC Sabathia - DET, MIN, @BOS
2. Roy Halladay - HOU, NYM
3. Clayton Kershaw - SF, @COL, @SD
4. Felix Hernandez - @OAK, @TEX
5. Jon Lester - @TEX, @CLE
6. Yovani Gallardo - @CIN, ATL, CHC
7. Tim Lincecum - @LAD, @SD
8. David Price - BAL, @CHW
9. Cliff Lee - HOU, @ATL
10. Justin Verlander - @NYY, @BAL
11. Josh Johnson - NYM, WAS
12. Francisco Liriano - @TOR, @NYY
13. Ubaldo Jimenez - ARI, LAD
14. Jered Weaver - @KC, @TB
15. Cole Hamels - NYM, @ATL
16. Chris Carpenter - SD, PIT
17. Brett Anderson - SEA, @MIN
18. Dan Haren - @KC, @TB
19. Derek Lowe - @WAS, @MIL, PHI
20. Tommy Hanson - @WAS, @MIL
21. Ricky Romero - MIN, OAK
22. Ricky Nolasco - NYM, @HOU
23. Tim Hudson - @WAS, PHI
24. Roy Oswalt - HOU, @ATL
25. John Danks - @CLE, TB
26. Shaun Marcum - @CIN, ATL
27. Ryan Dempster - PIT, ARI
28. Matt Cain - @LAD, STL
29. Trevor Cahill - SEA, @TOR
30. Chad Billingsley - SF, @COL
31. Matt Garza - PIT, @MIL
32. Brett Myers - @PHI, @CIN
33. Colby Lewis - BOS, @BAL
34. Jorge De La Rosa - ARI, @PIT
35. Max Scherzer - @NYY, KC
36. Brian Matusz - @TB, DET
37. Jordan Zimmerman - ATL, @NYM
38. Edinson Volquez - MIL, HOU
39. Anibal Sanchez - WAS, @HOU
40. Jhoulys Chacin - ARI, @PIT
41. Jonathan Sanchez - @LAD, STL
42. Fausto Carmona - CHW, BOS
43. Wandy Rodriguez - @PHI, FLA
44. Jaime Garcia - SD, @SF
45. Gio Gonzalez - SEA, @MIN
46. C.J. Wilson - BOS, SEA
47. Josh Beckett - @CLE, NYY
48. Carlos Zambrano - PIT, @MIL
49. Clay Buchholz - @TEX, NYY
50. Philip Hughes - DET, @BOS
51. Brett Cecil - MIN, @LAA
52. Travis Wood - MIL, HOU
53. Ervin Santana - @KC, TOR
54. Edwin Jackson - @CLE, TB
55. Rick Porcello - @BAL, KC
56. Carl Pavano - @TOR, @NYY
57. Mike Pelfrey - @FLA, @PHI
58. R.A. Dickey - @FLA, WAS
59. Tim Stauffer - @STL, SF
60. Bronson Arroyo - MIL, @ARI
61. Hiroki Kuroda - SF, @SD
62. Ted Lilly - SF, @SD
63. Ian Kennedy - @COL, @CHC
64. Jake Westbrook - SD, @SF
65. John Lackey - @TEX, NYY (tough starts)
66. Dan Hudson - @COL, CIN
67. Ivan Nova - MIN, @BOS
68. Kyle Drabek - MIN, @LAA
69. Jeremy Guthrie - @TB, DET
70. Erik Bedard - @TEX, CLE
71. Brandon Beachy - @MIL, PHI
72. A.J. Burnett - DET, MIN
73. Wade Davis - BAL, @CHW
74. James Shields - BAL, @CHW
75. Jeff Niemann - LAA, @CHW
76. Clayton Richard - @STL, LAD
77. Jeremy Hellickson - LAA
78. James McDonald - @STL, COL
79. Javier Vazquez - NYM, @HOU
80. Randy Wells - ARI, @MIL
81. Jake Arrieta - DET, TEX
82. Jonathon Niese - @FLA, @PHI
83. Mark Buehrle - @CLE, @KC
84. Gavin Floyd - @KC, TB
85. Dallas Braden - @TOR, @MIN
86. Carlos Carrasco - CHW, @SEA
87. Kyle McClellan - PIT
88. Justin Masterson - CHW, @SEA
89. Livan Hernandez - ATL, @FLA
90. Joe Blanton - NYM
91. Mike Leake - HOU, @ARI
92. J.A. Happ - @CIN, FLA
93. Madison Bumgarner - @SD
94. Bud Norris - @PHI, FLA
95. Derek Holland - SEA
96. Randy Wolf - @CIN, CHC
97. Bradley Bergesen - @TB, TEX
98. Daisuke Matsuzaka - @CLE
99. Scott Baker - @NYY, OAK
100. Jair Jurrjens - @MIL (check status)

Regan, a four-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner, was named the 2010 Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year.

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