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Pitching Value Meter: Kicking Off the 2014 Season

Paul Sporer

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 isn't correct, assume that it was a change that has occurred since this was written and feel free to politely bring it up in the comments, and I'll let you know where the new arm slots.

For the week March 31 - April 6

AMERICAN LEAGUE

START

1. Justin Verlander - KC, BAL
Note: Certainly looks poised to reclaim top spot in at least the AL, if not baseball
2. Chris Sale - MIN, at KC
Note: May leave you bummed in leagues that punish losses or heavily favor wins given supporting team
3. Jered Weaver - SEA, at HOU
Note: Comes out underrated in a lot of drafts thanks to modest K rate; feels like AL's J. Zimmermann
4. Felix Hernandez - at LAA, at OAK
5. James Shields - at DET, CWS
6. David Price - TOR, TEX
Note: Two tough lineups, but easier to swallow at home than in either of their launching pads
7. Justin Masterson - at OAK, MIN
8. Jon Lester - at BAL, MIL
9. Sonny Gray - CLE, SEA
Note: Injuries thrust the 24-year-old into Oakland's top spot
10. Erasmo Ramirez - at LAA, at OAK
Note: Do not overreact to ST numbers; he showed flashes down the stretch in '13, too
11. CC Sabathia - at HOU, at TOR
Note: Speaking of ST numbers, his are great, but paired with uninspiring velocity readings
12. Scott Kazmir - CLE, SEA
13. R.A. Dickey - at TB, NYY
14. Max Scherzer - KC
Note: What will he do for a follow-up to his Cy Young season?
15. Anibal Sanchez - KC
Note: Two-week DL stint likely cost the AL's ERA leader the Cy Young Award
16. Alex Cobb - TOR
17. Ricky Nolasco - at CWS, at CLE
18. Chris Tillman - BOS, at DET
Note: Dominated BOS in 6 GS last year, but this isn't a great slate for the HR-prone righty
19. Ivan Nova - at HOU
Note: Doesn't carry the normal Yankees Tax, but he's got real upside and a low price tag
20. Hiroki Kuroda - at HOU
21. Corey Kluber - at OAK
Note: My favorite AL breakout candidate
22. C.J. Wilson - SEA
23. Chris Archer - TOR
24. Matt Moore - TOR, TEX
Note: Can he find the plate regularly this year?
25. Drew Hutchison - at TB, NYY
Note: Surprising spring standout won a role w/an impressive Grapefruit League
26. Danny Salazar - MIN
27. Hector Santiago - at HOU
Note: If he can cut the walks, the 26-year-old lefty carries some upside in his new pitcher-friendly ballpark
28. Jose Quintana - MIN
29. Tyler Skaggs - at HOU
30. Dan Straily - SEA
Note: After a solid rookie season, he'll be asked to do even more in the absence of Parker and Griffin
31. James Paxton - at LAA
Note: Former top prospect is a bit overlooked now; are the small-sample BB gains from '13 legit?
32. Clay Buchholz - MIL
33. Masahiro Tanaka - at TOR
Note: Not exactly a red carpet rolled out for his MLB debut
34. Michael Pineda - at TOR
35. Tommy Milone - SEA
Note: Milone at home is a bankable play
36. Scott Feldman - NYY, LAA
37. Tanner Scheppers - PHI, at TB
Note: Surprise Opening Day starter has K potential, but how will the ratios fare?
38. Rick Porcello - BAL
39. Felipe Paulino - MIN
Note: Excited to see what Don Cooper can do with him; ranking pumped by the matchup
40. Ubaldo Jimenez - BOS
Note: these next four will all rate higher regularly, but a tough opening week bid pushes them down the ranks
41. Yordano Ventura - at DET
42. Phil Hughes - at CWS
Note: Love him out of Yankee Stadium, but not in this U.S. Cellular outing
43. John Lackey - at BAL
44. Drew Smyly - BAL
Note: A lot of excitement for the lefty in debut season as a full-time starter
45. Martin Perez - PHI
Note: There's room for more after a strong debut from the 23-year-old southpaw
46. Jake Peavy - MIL
47. Kyle Gibson - at CLE
Note: Let's see what the former top prospect learned from a rough 10-start stint in '13
48. Erik Johnson - at KC
49. John Danks - at KC
Note: If he can iron out his command, the once-solid asset can return
50. Garrett Richards - SEA
Note: Can he turn the impressive raw stuff into better results?
51. Brett Oberholtzer - NYY
Note: I'm at least moderately intrigued by his solid work in '13
52. Mark Buehrle - at TB
53. Zach McAllister - at OAK

SIT


54. Robbie Ross - PHI
Note: Another RP-to-SP conversion for Texas, but how much upside is there here?
55. Jake Odorizzi - TEX
56. Brandon Morrow - at TB
Note: He has to prove it at this point, two years removed from those gaudy K rates
57. Jesse Chavez - CLE
Note: A very surprising RP-to-SP conversion, but I'm at a loss on what to expect from him
58. Jarred Cosart - NYY
Note: Don't be fooled by last year's 1.95 ERA in 60 IP
59. Wei-Yin Chen - BOS
60. Dustin McGowan - NYY
Note: I'd just love to see him stay healthy; good results would be a bonus
61. Felix Doubront - at BAL
62. Carlos Carrasco - MIN
Note: There's potential here, but let's wait and see
63. Bud Norris - at DET
Note: None of these next three are terrible, but no thanks in Detroit
64. Miguel Gonzalez - at DET
65. Jason Vargas - at DET
66. Chris Young - at OAK
Note: These last nine will find themselves down here often, provided they even hold their rotation spots
67. Jeremy Guthrie - at CWS
Note: He had that streak of excellence vs. CWS when he first joined KC, but then they trounced him a couple times in summer
68. Bruce Chen - at CWS
69. Kevin Correia - at CWS
70. Dallas Keuchel - LAA
71. Lucas Harrell - LAA
72. Mike Pelfrey - at CLE
73. Nick Martinez - at TB
74. Joe Saunders - at TB
75. Roenis Elias - at OAK

NATIONAL LEAGUE

START


1. Jose Fernandez - COL, SD
Note: Not sure he can get better, but he can stay excellent
2. Julio Teheran - at MIL, at WAS
Note: My NL Cy Young pick!
3. Zack Greinke - at SD, SF
4. Andrew Cashner - LAD, at MIA
Note: At least he gets the tougher of his two outings at home
5. Adam Wainwright - at CIN, at PIT
6. Stephen Strasburg - at NYM, ATL
Note: Is this the year of 200-plus IP, sub-3.00 ERA?
7. Madison Bumgarner - at ARI, at LAD
8. Matt Cain - at ARI, at LAD
9. Cliff Lee - at TEX, at CHC
Note: Even a trip to Texas isn't enough to really depress his value
10. Hyun-Jin Ryu - at SD, SF
Note: Keep an eye on out for news on his toe, he could feasibly lose his two-start status because of it
11. Jeff Samardzija - at PIT, PHI
Note: Big K and IP totals keep his floor high
12. Johnny Cueto - STL, at NYM
Note: Ride him while he's healthy because we never know how long it'll last
13. Ian Kennedy - LAD, at MIA
Note: If he's even average outside of Petco, he can have a huge year
14. Francisco Liriano - CHC, STL
15. A.J. Burnett - at TEX, at CHC
16. Nathan Eovaldi - COL, SD
Note: Most MIA SPs will look enticing with pair of starts in that ballpark
17. Clayton Kershaw - SF
Note: Supposed to get a start later in the week; stay tuned
18. Gio Gonzalez - at NYM
19. Gerrit Cole - STL
Note: Tough matchup, but he showed in October that he's not intimidated by them
20. Jordan Zimmermann - at NYM
21. Dan Haren - at SD
Note: A healthy Haren is still good and this is a prime matchup
22. Homer Bailey - STL
Note: Appears to be past the groin issue that hampered him a bit
23. Lance Lynn - at CIN
Note: Enjoyed 11- and 10-K outings against the Reds last year as well as a 3.38 ERA in 32 IP
24. Shelby Miller - at PIT
25. Michael Wacha - at CIN
Note: Lot of excitement for both of these young Cardinal arms
26. Yovani Gallardo - ATL, at BOS
Note: Last year was quite unspectacular as a two-start week didn't guarantee Ks like it used to
27. Dillon Gee - WAS, CIN
28. Jorge de la Rosa - at MIA, ARI
Note: He actually excelled at home with 2.76 ERA in 81.7 IP
29. Wade Miley - SF
30. Charlie Morton - CHC
31. Wandy Rodriguez - CHC
Note: Forgotten vet could take the some of the sting out of the Burnett loss
32. Kyle Lohse - ATL
Note: Will have ups and downs, but you just gotta stick with him; worst starts last year were at MIN and at CHC
33. Zack Wheeler - WAS
Note: Remember, many had him ahead of Harvey when they were minor leaguers
34. Tyson Ross - LAD
35. Jon Niese - CIN
Note: Slated to return late week, but stay tuned in case the elbow isn't ready
36. Matt Garza - at BOS
37. Tony Cingrani - STL
Note: He needs a second reliable pitch to come anywhere near a 2.92 ERA again
38. Tim Hudson - at ARI
39. Tim Lincecum - at ARI
Note: Ks are essentially guaranteed, but at what cost elsewhere?
40. Joe Kelly - at PIT
41. Alex Wood - at MIL
Note: Can those mechanics hold up to a 30-start workload?
42. Brandon McCarthy - SF, at COL
43. Trevor Cahill - SF, at COL
Note: Cahill, McCarthy have the groundball ability to survive in COL, but it's still a little scary
44. Bartolo Colon - WAS
45. Marco Estrada - at BOS
Note: He's kind the NL's Chris Tillman, he needs to cut HR
46. Wily Peralta - ATL
Note: Second half showed some solid upside led by that devastating slider
47. Mike Leake - at NYM
48. Eric Stults - at MIA
Note: Prefer him at home in SD, but at MIA is a nice alternative
49. Bronson Arroyo - SF
50. Tanner Roark - ATL
51. Taylor Jordan - ATL
Note: Both young Nats should get roles now with Fister's injury
52. Travis Wood - PHI
Note: Don't be fooled by last year, he's not a low-3.00s ERA guy
53. Jacob Turner - COL
Note: ERA was solid last year, but the skills lagged; time for a step forward?
54. Brett Anderson - at MIA, ARI
Note: I want to see something first; the MIA start is nice, but how's going to handle Coors?
55. Juan Nicasio - at MIA
Note: Both Rockies carry some intrigue and a great debut matchup earn each a start
56. Tyler Chatwood - at MIA
Note: Left his Friday start with hammy after running out a triple; #DHinBothLeagues
57. Jason Hammel - at PIT
Note: A clean bill of health could bring back the '12 success
58. Edwin Jackson - at PIT
59. Tom Koehler - SD
60. Henderson Alvarez - COL
Note: I'm not as confident as some others, but I'll use him at home in the right format

SIT


61. Ryan Vogelsong - at LAD
62. Mets Fifth Starter? - CIN
Note: This could be Matsuzaka or Mejia; I'd start the latter
63. Roberto Hernandez - at CHC
64. Alfredo Simon - at NYM
65. David Hale? - at WAS
Note: Hasn't officially been given a spot just yet
66. Randall Delgado - at COL
Note: I'm actually a fan of Delgado overall, but not in Coors
67. Edinson Volquez - STL
68. Chris Rusin - PHI
69. Franklin Morales - ARI
70. Kyle Kendrick - at TEX
71. Aaron Harang - at MIL
72. Braves Fifth Starter? - at WAS
Note: This could be someone named Gus Schlosser or you, check your voicemails

MLB TOP 100


1. Justin Verlander - KC, BAL
2. Jose Fernandez - COL, SD
3. Chris Sale - MIN, at KC
4. Julio Teheran - at MIL, at WAS
5. Zack Greinke - at SD, SF
6. Jered Weaver - SEA, at HOU
7. Felix Hernandez - at LAA, at OAK
8. Andrew Cashner - LAD, at MIA
9. Adam Wainwright - at CIN, at PIT
10. Stephen Strasburg - at NYM, ATL
11. Madison Bumgarner - at ARI, at LAD
12. Matt Cain - at ARI, at LAD
13. James Shields - at DET, CWS
14. David Price - TOR, TEX
15. Cliff Lee - at TEX, at CHC
16. Hyun-Jin Ryu - at SD, SF
17. Jeff Samardzija - at PIT, PHI
18. Johnny Cueto - STL, at NYM
19. Justin Masterson - at OAK, MIN
20. Ian Kennedy - LAD, at MIA
21. Francisco Liriano - CHC, STL
22. A.J. Burnett - at TEX, at CHC
23. Nathan Eovaldi - COL, SD
24. Jon Lester - at BAL, MIL
25. Sonny Gray - CLE, SEA
26. Erasmo Ramirez - at LAA, at OAK
27. CC Sabathia - at HOU, at TOR
28. Scott Kazmir - CLE, SEA
29. R.A. Dickey - at TB, NYY
30. Max Scherzer - KC
31. Anibal Sanchez - KC
32. Alex Cobb - TOR
33. Clayton Kershaw - SF
34. Gio Gonzalez - at NYM
35. Gerrit Cole - STL
36. Ricky Nolasco - at CWS, at CLE
37. Chris Tillman - BOS, at DET
38. Jordan Zimmermann - at NYM
39. Dan Haren - at SD
40. Homer Bailey - STL
41. Lance Lynn - at CIN
42. Shelby Miller - at PIT
43. Michael Wacha - at CIN
44. Ivan Nova - at HOU
45. Hiroki Kuroda - at HOU
46. Corey Kluber - at OAK
47. C.J. Wilson - SEA
48. Chris Archer - TOR
49. Matt Moore - TOR, TEX
50. Drew Hutchison - at TB, NYY
51. Danny Salazar - MIN
52. Yovani Gallardo - ATL, at BOS
53. Dillon Gee - WAS, CIN
54. Jorge De La Rosa - at MIA, ARI
55. Wade Miley - SF
56. Hector Santiago - at HOU
57. Jose Quintana - MIN
58. Tyler Skaggs - at HOU
59. Charlie Morton - CHC
60. Wandy Rodriguez - CHC
61. Kyle Lohse - ATL
62. Zack Wheeler - WAS
63. Tyson Ross - LAD
64. Jon Niese - CIN
65. Matt Garza - at BOS
66. Tony Cingrani - STL
67. Dan Straily - SEA
68. James Paxton - at LAA
69. Clay Buchholz - MIL
70. Masahiro Tanaka - at TOR
71. Michael Pineda - at TOR
72. Tommy Milone - SEA
73. Scott Feldman - NYY, LAA
74. Tanner Scheppers - PHI, at TB
75. Rick Porcello - BAL
76. Felipe Paulino - MIN
77. Ubaldo Jimenez - BOS
78. Yordano Ventura - at DET
79. Phil Hughes - at CWS
80. John Lackey - at BAL
81. Drew Smyly - BAL
82. Martin Perez - PHI
83. Tim Hudson - at ARI
84. Tim Lincecum - at ARI
85. Joe Kelly - at PIT
86. Alex Wood - at MIL
87. Jake Peavy - MIL
88. Brandon McCarthy - SF, at COL
89. Trevor Cahill - SF, at COL
90. Bartolo Colon - WAS
91. Marco Estrada - at BOS
92. Wily Peralta - ATL
93. Mike Leake - at NYM
94. Eric Stults - at MIA
95. Bronson Arroyo - SF
96. Tanner Roark - ATL
97. Taylor Jordan - ATL
98. Travis Wood - PHI
99. Jacob Turner - COL
100. Kyle Gibson - at CLE