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Weekly Pitcher Rankings: Ace of the AL

Paul Sporer

Sporer covers pitching for RotoWire. He also writes for Baseball Prospectus and publishes an annual guide on starting pitcher. In his spare time, he roots for the Tigers.

As always, remember that rotations are subject to change so if you see something that's incorrect, assume that it was a change that has occurred since this article was posted. Feel free to bring it up in the comments, and I'll let you know where the new arm slots.

For the week of June 3-9

NATIONAL LEAGUE

START

1. Matt Harvey – MIA (the second of back-to-back starts against the Marlins)
2. Clayton Kershaw – SD
3. Adam Wainwright – ARI
4. Jordan Zimmermann – NYM, MIN (gave up seven ER in BAL and still posted a 2.68 ERA in May)
5. A.J. Burnett – at ATL, at CHC (battled against a tough DET lineup to pull the baseline QS)
6. Mike Minor – PIT, at LAD (speaking of DET, it is the only team to post more than 3 ER on Minor)
7. Lance Lynn – ARI, at CIN
8. Jeff Samardzija – PIT (posted 2.31 ERA, 0.91 WHIP in 35 May IP)
9. Cole Hamels – MIA (the ultimate prescription for a pitcher coming off of a tough start)
10. Shelby Miller – ARI (impressed by composure after first-inning runs in each of last two outings)
11. Mat Latos – STL (he and Minor are most overlooked arms in upper tier as they just quietly dominate)
12. Madison Bumgarner – at ARI
13. Gio Gonzalez – MIN (shakes off 5.34 April ERA with 2.48 mark in May)
14. Johnny Cueto – COL
15. Matt Cain – at ARI
16. Cliff Lee – at MIL (gave up four ER in first May start, then five ER in next five combined)
17. Trevor Cahill – at STL, SF (a challenging week ahead for Cahill and his rotation mates, but I think they come out looking sharp)
18. Kris Medlen – PIT, at LAD (liner off calf caused early exit, but isn't expected to impact two-start week)
19. Brandon McCarthy – at STL, SF (implosion in TEX doesn't erase his quality May)
20. Andrew Cashner – at LAD, at COL
21. Kyle Kendrick – MIA, at MIL (10 BB in first eight GS, 11 in last three; matchups keep ranking high)
22. Patrick Corbin – SF (those waiting for shoe to drop may wanna get comfy)
23. Zack Greinke – ATL (still gathering himself; don't just judge off name value)
24. Matt Garza – PIT (Operation: Build Trade Value is under way for Garza and the Cubs)
25. Hyun-Jin Ryu – ATL (salvaged May K:BB with 7:0 in shutout of LAA)
26. Jonathon Niese – MIA (mechanical fix has spurred three-start run of 1.33 ERA)
27. Homer Bailey – COL (has inning of three ER or more in each of his poor start; problems snowball quickly for him)
28. Francisco Liriano – at CHC (still not sure what we have as L in DET is hardly a crime)
29. Wandy Rodriguez – at ATL
30. Paul Maholm – at LAD
31. Travis Wood – at LAA (both he and Feldman bounced back from five-ER outings at CIN with two ER against CWS)
32. Scott Feldman – at LAA
33. Stephen Strasburg – NYM (looks like a strained oblique, which is almost a guaranteed DL trip)
34. Jonathan Pettibone – MIA, at MIL (Petti, Hef, Koe all rise due to great two-start slates)
35. Jeremy Hefner – at WAS, MIA
36. Tom Koehler – at PHI, at NYM
37. Tyler Chatwood – at CIN, SD (buying in as his 58-percent GB rate mitigates Coors Field danger)
38. Michael Wacha – ARI, at CIN (the rookie will be challenged with these two opponents)
39. Ted Lilly – SD, ATL
40. Chris Capuano – SD, ATL
41. Ricky Nolasco – at PHI (finally stifling hits for first time since '08, he's once again a WHIP stud)
42. Julio Teheran – PIT
43. Jose Fernandez – at NYM (still has just one outing over 87 pitches, which is just another roadblock to wins)
44. Jeff Locke – at ATL (dodged raindrops v. DET to extend scoreless streak to 19.3)
45. Dan Haren – NYM (tremendous outing in BAL; can stay hot with favorable match this week)
46. Jorge De La Rosa – SD
47. Wade Miley – at STL (starts recovery from awful May with third-lowest OPS offense vs. LHP)
48. Marco Estrada – OAK, PHI (10 HR in April = 4.58 ER; two HR in May = 5.40 ERA .. good ole baseball!)
49. Bronson Arroyo – COL, STL
50. Mike Leake – STL (13.7 scoreless in MIA, NYM doesn't move the needle; 1 ER in 7.3 vs. CLE does)
51. Kevin Slowey – at NYM
52. Tim Hudson – at LAD
53. Jhoulys Chacin – SD (home: 4.83 ERA and 1.6 K:BB; road: 2.66 and 2.6; has allowed 16 ER in last three home GS)

CAUTION

54. Edwin Jackson – PIT
55. Ian Kennedy – at STL (scratched from Monday start, stay tuned for details; cautious ranking)
56. Shaun Marcum – at WAS (lefties pounding him; WAS has 4-5 LHB in the lineup on any given day)
57. Yovani Gallardo – OAK (has just two no-walk outings)
58. Tyler Lyons – at CIN (StL spinning gold from this non-prospect who gets his first big test this week)
59. Eric Stults – at LAD, at COL
60. Juan Nicasio – at CIN, SD
61. Kyle Lohse – OAK, PHI (Elbow has to be a factor in 6.51 May ERA after a 2.53 in April, right?)
62. Tim Lincecum – TOR (if it weren't for name value, would you even *consider* starting him in mixed leagues?)
63. Jacob Turner – at PHI (season debut was impressive, let's see more)
64. Jeanmar Gomez – at CHC
65. Mike Fiers – PHI
66. Dillon Gee – at WAS
67. Jason Marquis – at LAD (four BB in four straight outings; 14:16 K:BB, 2.03 WHIP during stretch yet only 4.58 ERA ... run)
68. Barry Zito – TOR
69. Tyler Cloyd – at MIL
70. Nate Karns – MIN
71. Clayton Richard – at COL
72. Chad Gaudin – at ARI
73. Jon Garland – at CIN
74. Wily Peralta – PHI
75. Edinson Volquez – at COL

AMERICAN LEAGUE

START

1. Felix Hernandez – CWS, NYY (the only unquestioned AL superstud with two-start slate)
2. Yu Darvish – at TOR
3. James Shields – HOU (Shields, Iwakuma, Kuroda top JV because of matchup only; CLE is that scary)
4. Hisashi Iwakuma – CWS (Sox have second-lowest OPS vs. RHP, fourth-lowest vs. LHP; they're a new team to stream against)
5. Hiroki Kuroda – at SEA
6. Justin Verlander – CLE (9:1 K:BB last time he faced CLE, but 10 H, five ER; very intriguing start)
7. Max Scherzer – TB
8. Chris Sale – OAK (scratched start followed by washed out start creates two-week gap between outings)
9. Jake Peavy – at SEA, OAK (still has that one dud every five or six outings keeping ERA in mid-3.00s instead of low-3.00s)
10. Anibal Sanchez – TB, CLE (gets the top two scoring teams from May that he can face: TB 166, DET 148, CLE 146)
11. Jered Weaver – CHC, at BOS
12. Justin Masterson – at NYY, at DET (finally taming LHBs with consistency; facing a big week)
13. John Lackey – TEX, LAA (he's a better HR/9 rate away career-bests across the board)
14. Alex Cobb – at DET, BAL (BAL trailed CLE by four runs to finish fourth in May scoring)
15. Jon Lester – TEX (several tough matchups for next six one-starts arms)
16. Clay Buchholz – LAA (can afford a 9.6-percent BB rate when you're giving up just 6.1 H/9)
17. Derek Holland – at BOS
18. Doug Fister – TB (hit parade boosted ERA to 4.15 in May, but 7.4 K:BB and one HR allowed impressed)
19. Matt Moore – at DET (11-percent BB and 91-percent LOB rates say 2.18 *must* rise eventually)
20. CC Sabathia – CLE
21. Jason Vargas – CHC (2.53 home ERA in 42.7 IP as he once again leverages a great home park)
22. Ervin Santana – HOU
23. Alexi Ogando – at TOR (could return earlier and start in BOS; rank wouldn't change)
24. Zach McAllister – at DET
25. Joe Saunders – CWS, NYY (not a fan, but 2.41 home ERA and two weak LHP-hitting teams says start)
26. A.J. Griffin – at MIL, at CWS (21-percent K and 5-percent BB rates in May led to 3.55 ERA)
27. Andy Pettitte – CLE, at SEA (rough landing with outing vs. CLE after DL stint; be careful)
28. David Phelps – CLE, at SEA
29. Jarrod Parker – at CWS (gave up more than three ER just once in May: four ER in CLE)
30. Bartolo Colon – at MIL (takes 18 scoreless IP streak into MIL)
31. Chris Tillman – at HOU, at TB (three HR in first six GS; 11 HR in five GS since explains the 5.02 in that span)
32. Jose Quintana – OAK
33. Dan Straily – at CWS (back-to-back gems with a chance to extend it to three against anemic CWS)
34. Corey Kluber – at NYY (since demolition in DET: 3.00 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 32-percent K rate, 3-percent BB rate, 13.0 K:BB in 21 IP)
35. Phil Hughes – at SEA (was either brilliant or downright awful in May)
36. Tommy Milone – at MIL, at CWS (has the ugly home/road ERA split again, but 2.9 K:BB on road is much more palatable)
37. Justin Grimm – at BOS, at TOR
38. C.J. Wilson – at BOS (10-percent BB rate against LHP gives BOS the third-best rate in MLB)
39. Scott Diamond – at WAS (the 575 OPS v. LHP for WAS is MLB's worst)
40. Scott Kazmir – at NYY
41. Jason Hammel – at TB
42. R.A. Dickey – at SF (so maddening; can barely be trusted)

CAUTION

43. Ryan Dempster – TEX (K'd seven-plus in all five April GS; topped six just once in May)
44. John Danks – at SEA, OAK (still working into form)
45. Dylan Axelrod – at SEA
46. Kevin Gausman – at TB
47. Jeremy Guthrie – MIN (0.60 ERA v. CWS in 15 IP; 4.68 ERA vs. rest of league in 57.7 IP)
48. Jeremy Hellickson – BAL (cannot be trusted in any format)
49. Brandon Morrow – TEX (see above)
50. Nick Tepesch – at BOS
51. Bud Norris – BAL
52. Tommy Hanson – at BOS
53. Chris Archer – at DET (currently penciled, but rotation is influx with Moore being rain-shortened after 11 pitches and David Price eventually coming back; stay tuned)
54. Rick Porcello – CLE
55. Ubaldo Jimenez – at DET
56. Samuel Deduno – at KC, at WAS (not a bad slate, but how many formats can you really run him out there?)
57. Luis Mendoza – MIN, HOU (3.14 ERA in last five GS despite 1.46 WHIP, 15-percent K and 8-percent BB rates; pass)
58. Lucas Harrell – BAL, at KC
59. Joe Blanton – HOU, at BOS
60. Esmil Rogers – at SF (sharp in GS at ATL, but only went 3.3 IP)
61. Kevin Correia – at WAS
62. Felix Doubront – LAA (Franklin Morales is at the doorstep if Doubz doesn't keep up the recent good work)
63. Miguel Gonzalez – at HOU (two, maybe three of these remaining 13 will throw gems, but guessing which is a fool's errand)
64. Roberto Hernandez – BAL
65. Mark Buehrle – TEX
66. Freddy Garcia – at HOU
67. Chad Jenkins – TEX
68. Wade Davis – MIN
69. Jordan Lyles – at KC
70. Erik Bedard – at KC
71. P.J. Walters – at KC
72. Mike Pelfrey – at KC
73. Jeremy Bonderman – NYY
74. Aaron Harang – NYY
75. Dallas Keuchel – BAL

MLB TOP 100

1. Felix Hernandez – CWS, NYY
2. Matt Harvey – MIA
3. Clayton Kershaw – SD
4. Adam Wainwright – ARI
5. Jordan Zimmermann – NYM, MIN
6. A.J. Burnett – at ATL, at CHC
7. Mike Minor – PIT, at LAD
8. Lance Lynn – ARI, at CIN
9. Jeff Samardzija – PIT
10. Yu Darvish – at TOR
11. James Shields – HOU
12. Hisashi Iwakuma – CWS
13. Hiroki Kuroda – at SEA
14. Justin Verlander – CLE
15. Chris Sale – OAK
16. Max Scherzer – TB
17. Cole Hamels – MIA
18. Jake Peavy – at SEA, OAK
19. Anibal Sanchez – TB, CLE
20. Jered Weaver – CHC, at BOS
21. Justin Masterson – at NYY, at DET
22. John Lackey – TEX, LAA
23. Alex Cobb – at DET, BAL
24. Shelby Miller – ARI
25. Mat Latos – STL
26. Madison Bumgarner – at ARI
27. Gio Gonzalez – MIN
28. Johnny Cueto – COL
29. Matt Cain – at ARI
30. Jon Lester – TEX
31. Clay Buchholz – LAA
32. Derek Holland – at BOS
33. Doug Fister – TB
34. Matt Moore – at DET
35. CC Sabathia – CLE
36. Cliff Lee – at MIL
37. Trevor Cahill – at STL, SF
38. Kris Medlen – PIT, at LAD
39. Brandon McCarthy – at STL, SF
40. Andrew Cashner – at LAD, at COL
41. Kyle Kendrick – MIA, at MIL
42. Patrick Corbin – SF
43. Zack Greinke – ATL
44. Matt Garza – PIT
45. Hyun-Jin Ryu – ATL
46. Jason Vargas – CHC
47. Ervin Santana – HOU
48. Jonathon Niese – MIA
49. Homer Bailey – COL
50. Francisco Liriano – at CHC
51. Wandy Rodriguez – at ATL
52. Alexi Ogando – at TOR
53. Zach McAllister – at DET
54. Paul Maholm – at LAD
55. Travis Wood – at LAA
56. Scott Feldman – at LAA
57. Stephen Strasburg – NYM
58. Jonathan Pettibone – MIA, at MIL
59. Jeremy Hefner – at WAS, MIA
60. Tom Koehler – at PHI, at NYM
61. Tyler Chatwood – at CIN, SD
62. Joe Saunders – CWS, NYY
63. A.J. Griffin – at MIL, at CWS
64. Michael Wacha – ARI, at CIN
65. Ted Lilly – SD, ATL
66. Chris Capuano – SD, ATL
67. Andy Pettitte – CLE, at SEA
68. David Phelps – CLE, at SEA
69. Jarrod Parker – at CWS
70. Bartolo Colon – at MIL
71. Chris Tillman – at HOU, at TB
72. Ricky Nolasco – at PHI
73. Julio Teheran – PIT
74. Jose Fernandez – at NYM
75. Jose Quintana – OAK
76. Dan Straily – at CWS
77. Corey Kluber – at NYY
78. Jeff Locke – at ATL
79. Dan Haren – NYM
80. Jorge De La Rosa – SD
81. Wade Miley – at STL
82. Phil Hughes – at SEA
83. Tommy Milone – at MIL, at CWS
84. Justin Grimm – at BOS, at TOR
85. Marco Estrada – OAK, PHI
86. Bronson Arroyo – COL, STL
87. C.J. Wilson – at BOS
88. Scott Diamond – at WAS
89. Mike Leake – STL
90. Kevin Slowey – at NYM
91. Tim Hudson – at LAD
92. Scott Kazmir – at NYY
93. Jason Hammel – at TB
94. R.A. Dickey – at SF
95. Jhoulys Chacin – SD
96. Edwin Jackson – PIT
97. Ian Kennedy – at STL
98. Shaun Marcum – at WAS
99. Yovani Gallardo – OAK
100. Tyler Lyons – at CIN