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Weekly Pitcher Rankings: How the Sausage is Made

David Regan

David Regan is a six-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner, including the 2015 Baseball Article of the Year.

So, if you're wondering how I put this together each week (dartboard with the names, random number generator in Excel, my kids, etc.), here's a little insight into how I go about the rankings for the Pitching Value Meter:

I have a master list in Excel of each team's five-man (or six-man, Chicago) rotation and each week, I plug in the schedule.

Then I assign a number to each pitcher 1 through 5: 1 being a legit, must-start, no-brainer and 5 being pitchers I wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole (a.k.a. the Joe Saunders' of the world). Some pitchers get fractional numbers (i.e. 3.9) if they are better than the other 4s but nowhere near a solid 3. Then I sort in descending order, paste into Word and the "fun" begins. There is much shuffling around after this process is complete.

Two-start starters are given preference unless of course it's a pitcher I wouldn't go with under most circumstances regardless of the number of starts i.e. Livan Hernandez this week.

Opponent is obviously taken into account. Pitchers who are relatively equal in terms of talent often have their opponents that week break the tie.

Overall track record I'm not moving Roy Halladay down too much if he has a bad start or two, but if Charlie Morton starts getting shelled, he's going to take a nosedive in these rankings.

Recent performance Two or three solid outings in a row from marginal pitchers starts to move them up my list, particularly if they come with reports of improved velocity, control, etc.

Hope that helps a little.

Twitter: Yes, I'm on Twitter (@vtadave).

For the week May 30 - June 5


Start 'Em

1. Roy Halladay - @WAS, @PIT
2. Mat Latos - @ATL, HOU (too early to elevate him this high?)
3. Tommy Hanson - SD
4. Cole Hamels - @PIT
5. Jaime Garcia SF
6. Cliff Lee - @WAS
7. Tim Lincecum - @STL
8. Zack Greinke - @CIN
9. Jair Jurrjens - @NYM
10. Chad Billingsley - COL, @CIN
11. Anibal Sanchez - @ARI
12. Clayton Kershaw - @CIN
13. Josh Johnson - @ARI (tentative check status)
14. Tim Hudson - SD, @NYM (back should be okay)
15. Madison Bumgarner - @STL, COL
16. Roy Oswalt - @WAS
17. Chris Narveson - @CIN, @FLA
18. Kyle Lohse - CHC
19. Matt Cain - COL
20. Ryan Vogelsong - @STL, COL (how high can he go?)
21. Dan Hudson - FLA, WAS
22. Chris Carpenter - SF, CHC
23. Ubaldo Jimenez - @LAD
24. Dillon Gee - PIT, ATL
25. Kyle McClellan - SF, CHC
26. Bud Norris - @SD
27. Jason Hammel - @LAD, @SF
28. Charlie Morton - @NYM, PHI
29. Shaun Marcum - @CIN
30. Yovani Gallardo - @FLA
31. Carlos Zambrano - HOU
32. Ricky Nolasco - MIL
33. Ian Kennedy - FLA
34. Johnny Cueto - LAD
35. Aaron Harang - @ATL, HOU
36. Hiroki Kuroda - @CIN
37. Bronson Arroyo - LAD
38. James McDonald - @NYM, PHI
39. Jordan Zimmerman - @ARI
40. Mike Minor - SD
41. Jhoulys Chacin - @SF
42. Tim Stauffer - HOU
43. Dustin Moseley - HOU

Borderline Depending on League Format

44. Josh Collmenter WAS (odd delivery figured out?)
45. Travis Wood - MIL, LAD
46. Paul Maholm - @NYM
47. Derek Lowe - @NYM
48. Jonathan Sanchez - @STL
49. Randy Wolf - @FLA
50. Ted Lilly - COL
51. Mike Pelfrey - PIT
52. Wandy Rodriguez - @SD
53. Jonathon Niese - ATL
54. Vance Worley - @PIT
55. Ryan Dempster - @STL
56. Kevin Correia - @NYM
57. Jake Westbrook - SF
58. Javier Vazquez - MIL
59. Brett Myers - @CHC
60. Aneury Rodriguez - @CHC, @SD
61. Chris Volstad - @ARI, MIL
62. R.A. Dickey - PIT, ATL (tentative)
63. Chris Capuano - PIT
64. Mike Leake - MIL

Extreme Caution Advised

65. J.A. Happ - @CHC, @SD
66. Doug Davis - HOU
67. Clayton Mortensen - @LAD
68. Clayton Richard - @ATL
69. Livan Hernandez - PHI, @ARI
70. John Lannan - PHI
71. Jason Marquis - PHI, @ARI
72. Ross Detwiler - @ARI (tentative)
73. Randy Wells - @STL
74. Sam LeCure MIL (tentative)
75. Jeff Karstens - PHI
76. Joe Saunders - FLA, WAS
77. Zach Duke - WAS
78. Aaron Cook - @SF (likely)
79. Jon Garland COL
80. James Russell - HOU, @STL (tentative)

Projected No. 5 starters skipped:

Two-start starters:
Tim Hudson, Chris Volstad, Dillon Gee, R.A. Dickey (tentative), Roy Halladay, Livan Hernandez, Jason Marquis, James Russell, Travis Wood, J.A. Happ, Aneury Rodriguez, Chris Narveson, Charlie Morton, James McDonald, Kyle McClellan, Chris Carpenter, Joe Saunders, Ian Kennedy, Jason Hammel, Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang, Mat Latos, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong.

Notes: Tom Gorzelanny
heads to the DL with an elbow injury, with Ross Detwiler the probable call-up. ... Wandy Rodriguez is dealing with a sore elbow and will miss his Saturday (5/28) start. For now, we won't shuffle the Astros rotation around, but monitor this up until your lineup deadlines. ... Carlos Zambrano should be fine despite dealing with a sore neck from sleeping "funny" while watching television. Nice. What's also nice is his .375 batting average. No truth to the rumor that the Dodgers have inquired about him in the hopes he can play first base for them when he's not on the hill. ... The long-awaited return (OK, that's a stretch) of Zach Duke (hand) is upon us. See how he looks Saturday against the Astros before considering using him in NL-only formats this week. ... Ryan Vogelsong with a 1.77 ERA and 1.06 WHIP? Yep. With Barry Zito (foot) likely out until the end of June, Vogelsong's spot is secure. Of course even if Zito was returning tomorrow, we'd have to think Vogelsong isn't going anywhere. Great, great story. ... Edinson Volquez takes a much-deserved trip to Triple-A while Mike Leake gets the call back to the Reds. Hopefully, the lockers in the Reds clubhouse have sturdy locks. ... Pretty sure Casey Coleman (7.32 ERA after his latest ugly outing) will be the one to get the boot for Randy Wells' (shoulder) return from the DL. Of course that doesn't mean we recommend running out to pick up probable No. 5 starter James Russell. ... Chris Carpenter has tossed back-to-back quality starts, but they have come in Kansas City and in San Diego, so don't get too excited. He'll have one more shot at exiting May with a whopping two wins. ... Consider R.A. Dickey (heel) as tentative for this week. Seems likely that Chris Schwinden would get the call from Triple-A if Dickey needs to miss a start or two. ... For now I'm slotting Sam LeCure for the injured Homer Bailey (shoulder) on Tuesday, though consider that a "TBA" situation. ... Aaron Cook (shoulder) looks to be the best bet to replace the injured Jorge De La Rosa (elbow) in the Colorado rotation. You folks are smart enough to where I don't have to say to exercise caution with Cook (but guess I just said it regardless). ... Dustin Moseley is 1-6 with a 3.05 ERA. Might just have something to do with the Padres scoring two runs or less in seven of his 10 starts. Rough. ... Given a 33:29 K:BB in 62 innings, the wheels have to come off soon for Charlie Morton (2.61 ERA), right? Thing is I say that every week, so not sure what to make of the guy. ... Jonathan Sanchez has walked just four batters over his last three starts (1.9 BB/9) after issuing 26 free passes in his previous seven starts (6.5 BB/9). Too early to call this improvement, but maybe this helps pump up Sanchez's trade value. ... Josh Johnson might not return until the week of June 6. Make sure you're on top of this situation if you're a Johnson owner.


Start 'Em

1. Josh Beckett - OAK
2. James Shields - @SEA
3. CC Sabathia - @LAA
4. Felix Hernandez - TB
5. Michael Pineda - BAL
6. Jon Lester - CHW
7. Justin Verlander - @CHW
8. C.J. Wilson - @TB, @CLE
9. Ricky Romero - @BAL
10. Erik Bedard - BAL, TB (having trouble with this ranking too high, too low?)
11. Jered Weaver - NYY
12. Dan Haren - NYY
13. David Price - TEX
14. Trevor Cahill - NYY, @BOS (tough matchups, but obviously you use him)
15. Rick Porcello - MIN
16. Zach Britton - TOR
17. Bartolo Colon - @LAA, @OAK (tempted to go higher here)
18. Jake Peavy - @BOS
19. Brandon Morrow - CLE
20. Brett Anderson - NYY
21. John Danks - DET
22. Alexi Ogando - @CLE
23. Ervin Santana - @KC, NYY
24. Clay Buchholz - OAK
25. Fausto Carmona - @TOR, TEX
26. Wade Davis - TEX, @SEA
27. Justin Masterson - TEX
28. Nick Blackburn - @DET, @KC
29. Gio Gonzalez - NYY
30. Colby Lewis - @TB
31. Doug Fister - BAL, TB
32. Freddy Garcia - @OAK
33. A.J. Burnett - @OAK
34. Jason Vargas - TB
35. Jake Arrieta - @SEA, TOR
36. Alfredo Aceves - CHW
37. Gavin Floyd - @BOS
38. Jeremy Guthrie - @SEA
39. Mark Buehrle - DET
40. Jeremy Hellickson - @SEA
41. Edwin Jackson - DET

Borderline Depending on League Format

42. Brad Penny - MIN, @CHW
43. Tyler Chatwood - @KC
44. Max Scherzer - MIN
45. Phil Humber - @BOS (tentative)
46. Francisco Liriano - @KC (sore shoulder tentative)
47. Danny Duffy - MIN
48. John Lackey OAK (tentative)
49. Matt Harrison - @CLE
50. Brian Matusz - @SEA
51. Scott Baker - @DET
52. Carl Pavano - @KC
53. Andrew Oliver - @CHW
54. Joel Pineiro - @KC
55. Derek Holland - @TB, @CLE
56. Kyle Drabek - CLE
57. Tim Wakefield - CHW
58. Josh Tomlin - @TOR

Extreme Caution Advised

59. Josh Outman - @BOS
60. Bradley Bergesen TOR (tentative)
61. Ivan Nova - @LAA
62. Carlos Carrasco - TEX
63. Luke Hochevar - LAA, MIN
64. Jeff Francis - LAA, MIN
65. Sean O'Sullivan - MIN
66. Brian Duensing - @DET, @KC
67. Guillermo Moscoso - @BOS
68. Andrew Sonnanstine - TEX, @SEA (very tentative)
69. Carlos Villanueva - @BAL (tentative)
70. Jo-Jo Reyes - CLE, @BAL
71. Nathan Adcock - LAA
72. Mitch Talbot - @TOR, TEX (tentative)

Projected No. 5 starters skipped:

Two-start starters:
Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Bartolo Colon, Wade Davis, Andrew Sonnanstine (tentative), Jo-Jo Reyes, Fausto Carmona, Mitch Talbot (tentative), Brad Penny, Luke Hochevar, Jeff Francis, Nick Blackburn, Brian Duensing, Ervin Santana, Trevor Cahill, Doug Fister, Erik Bedard, Derek Holland, C.J. Wilson.

Because the doesn't have the track record and tenure of his fellow rotation-mates, Philip Humber is likely the odd man out as the White Sox look to transition back to a traditional five-man rotation. Humber's 2.85 ERA is the lowest among Chicago starters, but who said life (and baseball) was fair? ... You can look at the seven runs Max Scherzer allowed Thursday and know something was off. Scherzer was leaving changeup after changeup over the heart of the plate while dealing with diminished velocity. No need to get overly concerned yet, but Scherzer taking a big step forward this year might not be happening. ... Pretty amazing that Alfredo Aceves has a 16-1 career record. He's not quite that good, but probably good enough to stick around for a while. ... Brian Matusz (back) is expected to rejoin the Baltimore rotation June 1 of this week, a day where Chris Tillman is listed as the starter. I'm going to go ahead and say that Tillman is the odd man out and Bradley Bergesen lives another day, but that could change. ... John Lackey (elbow) appears set to return on June 5 (Sunday), so going with six Red Sox starters in the upcoming week. ... Jesse Litsch is dealing with a shoulder issue in Toronto, and it appears Carlos Villanueva is first in line as his replacement. If it's a long-term issue for Litsch, the Jays could turn to Brett Cecil or prospect Zach Stewart, though both are struggling a bit on the farm. ... Alex White could unfortunately miss up to three months with a finger injury, and his replacement, Mitch Talbot, allowed eight runs in three innings Thursday. That could mean a shot for Zach McAllister, 7-0 with a 2.29 ERA in Triple-A. ... Andrew Oliver's stint in the Detroit rotation will be short-lived, as he'll head back to Triple-A once Phil Coke (ankle) is ready to return, likely around June 8. ... The Rays have recalled Alexander Cobb from Triple-A Durham, though his role is not yet known. I can easily see Cobb replacing Andrew Sonnanstine in the rotation this week, but for now, that's up in the air. In eight starts for Durham, Cobb was 5-0 with a 1.14 ERA and 50:10 K:BB in 47.1 innings, so he's certainly worth grabbing in deeper leagues.


1. Roy Halladay - @WAS, @PIT
2. Mat Latos - @ATL, HOU (too early to elevate him this high?)
3. Josh Beckett - OAK
4. James Shields - @SEA
5. CC Sabathia - @LAA
6. Felix Hernandez - TB
7. Michael Pineda - BAL
8. Jon Lester - CHW
9. Tommy Hanson - SD
10. Justin Verlander - @CHW
11. Cole Hamels - @PIT
12. Jaime Garcia SF
13. Cliff Lee - @WAS
14. Tim Lincecum - @STL
15. C.J. Wilson - @TB, @CLE
16. Zack Greinke - @CIN
17. Ricky Romero - @BAL
18. Erik Bedard - BAL, TB (having trouble with this ranking too high, too low?)
19. Jair Jurrjens - @NYM
20. Chad Billingsley - COL, @CIN
21. Anibal Sanchez - @ARI
22. Jered Weaver - NYY
23. Clayton Kershaw - @CIN
24. Josh Johnson - @ARI (tentative check status)
25. Dan Haren - NYY
26. David Price - TEX
27. Tim Hudson - SD, @NYM (back should be okay)
28. Trevor Cahill - NYY, @BOS (tough matchups, but obviously you use him)
29. Madison Bumgarner - @STL, COL
30. Roy Oswalt - @WAS
31. Rick Porcello - MIN
32. Chris Narveson - @CIN, @FLA
33. Kyle Lohse - CHC
34. Matt Cain - COL
35. Zach Britton - TOR
36. Bartolo Colon - @LAA, @OAK (tempted to go higher here)
37. Ryan Vogelsong - @STL, COL (how high can he go?)
38. Jake Peavy - @BOS
39. Brandon Morrow - CLE
40. Brett Anderson - NYY
41. Dan Hudson - FLA, WAS
42. Chris Carpenter - SF, CHC
43. Ubaldo Jimenez - @LAD
44. John Danks - DET
45. Alexi Ogando - @CLE
46. Ervin Santana - @KC, NYY
47. Clay Buchholz - OAK
48. Fausto Carmona - @TOR, TEX
49. Wade Davis - TEX, @SEA
50. Dillon Gee - PIT, ATL
51. Justin Masterson - TEX
52. Nick Blackburn - @DET, @KC
53. Kyle McClellan - SF, CHC
54. Bud Norris - @SD
55. Jason Hammel - @LAD, @SF
56. Charlie Morton - @NYM, PHI
57. Shaun Marcum - @CIN
58. Gio Gonzalez - NYY
59. Yovani Gallardo - @FLA
60. Colby Lewis - @TB
61. Carlos Zambrano - HOU
62. Ricky Nolasco - MIL
63. Ian Kennedy - FLA
64. Doug Fister - BAL, TB
65. Johnny Cueto - LAD
66. Aaron Harang - @ATL, HOU
67. Hiroki Kuroda - @CIN
68. Freddy Garcia - @OAK
69. Bronson Arroyo - LAD
70. James McDonald - @NYM, PHI
71. A.J. Burnett - @OAK
72. Jason Vargas - TB
73. Jake Arrieta - @SEA, TOR
74. Alfredo Aceves - CHW
75. Jordan Zimmerman - @ARI
76. Gavin Floyd - @BOS
77. Jeremy Guthrie - @SEA
78. Mark Buehrle - DET
79. Mike Minor - SD
80. Jeremy Hellickson - @SEA
81. Edwin Jackson - DET
82. Jhoulys Chacin - @SF
83. Tim Stauffer - HOU
84. Dustin Moseley - HOU
85. Josh Collmenter WAS (odd delivery figured out?)
86. Travis Wood - MIL, LAD
87. Paul Maholm - @NYM
88. Derek Lowe - @NYM
89. Jonathan Sanchez - @STL
90. Randy Wolf - @FLA
91. Brad Penny - MIN, @CHW
92. Ted Lilly - COL
93. Tyler Chatwood - @KC
94. Max Scherzer - MIN
95. Mike Pelfrey - PIT
96. Wandy Rodriguez - @SD
97. Jonathon Niese - ATL
98. Phil Humber - @BOS (tentative)
99. Francisco Liriano - @KC (sore shoulder tentative)
100. Danny Duffy MIN

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

Follow @vtadave on Twitter.