Fantasy Baseball

Mound musings: Ranking the keepers

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foxsports admin

In keeping with last week's theme around lists, here's another one to chew on. As a writer, one of the questions I'm often asks goes like this:

"Who would you rather have for the rest of the year, John Danks or Roy Oswalt?" In that vein, here are my top 100 starters to own for the rest of 2009.

  1. Tim Lincecum - SF - Appears headed for back-to-back Cy Young awards ...
  2. Dan Haren - ARI - ... unless this guy can stop him.
  3. Johan Santana - NYM - We know about his second halves, but can he rise above Mets' mess? I say yes.
  4. Roy Halladay - TOR - Guessing he won't clear waivers, so Doc stays in Canada.
  5. Felix Hernandez - SEA - Free agent after 2011 season. Yankees and Red Sox already salivating.
  6. Josh Beckett - BOS - Leads majors in wins with 13 and likes the pressure of a pennant race.
  7. Matt Cain - SF - Only worry: his newly-found run support evaporates.
  8. Cliff Lee - PHI - So far so (very) good. I see him thriving despite the home park.
  9. Jon Lester - BOS - Beckett/Lester is the reason I like the Sox to win the AL East.
  10. Zack Greinke - KC - Felix is his competition for AL Cy Young.
  11. Justin Verlander - DET - A bit spotty lately, but leads AL in strikeouts with 180.
  12. Chris Carpenter - STL - Would rank higher if not for just 6.5 K/9.
  13. Josh Johnson - FLA - A nice Tommy John success story: 10-2, 2.87 ERA.
  14. Cole Hamels - PHI - Too inconsistent this year, but talent to finish very strong.
  15. Javier Vazquez - ATL - Mr. Underrated is fourth in baseball with 158 strikeouts.
  16. Adam Wainwright - STL - Has raised K/9 from 6.2 to 8.0 over last year.
  17. Yovani Gallardo - MIL - I worry about fatigue, but few NL hurlers are more talented.
  18. CC Sabathia - NYY - 3.95 ERA and 27th in baseball in strikeouts. THAT for $161 million?
  19. John Lackey - LAA - Free agent-to-be and the Dodgers shed Jason Schmidt's contract after 2009. Hmmm.
  20. Chad Billingsley - LAD - Struggles lately, but assuming hamstring is OK, look for a strong finish.
  21. Wandy Rodriguez - HOU - Houston has the market cornered on talented, diminutive starters.
  22. Ricky Nolasco - FLA - May have returned to 2008 stud form. A 5.00 ERA, but 118:28 K:BB in 117 IP.
  23. Tommy Hanson - ATL - Talent to be Atlanta's No. 1 for years to come.
  24. Clayton Kershaw - LAD - Leads MLB in walks. Otherwise, I'd have him top 10.
  25. Mark Buehrle - CHW - Ol' Mr. Reliable.
  26. Roy Oswalt - HOU - Back issues are a concern, but they don't seem too troublesome at this point.
  27. John Danks - CHW - Think the Rangers could use him right now?
  28. A.J. Burnett - NYY - Walks are up and strikeouts down, but he's been pitching pretty well lately.
  29. James Shields - TB - He's regressed a little and the Rays aren't providing much in the way of runs.
  30. Jair Jurrjens - ATL - Doubt he maintains a sub-3.00 ERA, but still an impressive young talent.
  31. Edwin Jackson - TB - Dodgers could use him as their No. 5 right now. Lance Carter and Danys Baez.
  32. Scott Baker - MIN - Big fantasy disappointment, but focus more on the 106:27 K:BB.
  33. Carlos Zambrano - CHC - Back is a concern, but he's got his strikeout rate up over 2008's.
  34. Jered Weaver - LAA - HRs are an issue, but like the 11 Ks last time out.
  35. Derek Lowe - ATL - Had a couple hiccups earlier in the season, but he's the old Lowe now.
  36. Matt Garza - TB - Every time I see him I see elite starter potential, but maybe I'm wrong.
  37. Joba Chamberlain - NYY - Will innings be limited later this year?
  38. Joel Pineiro - STL - Apparently one CAN succeed without striking anyone out.
  39. Joe Blanton - PHI - 2.33 ERA since May 21. He credits a mechanical adjustment.
  40. Ubaldo Jimenez - COL - Suddenly Colorado starters are reliable? He sure has been, mostly.
  41. Rich Harden - CHC - Top-15 talent, but while he's been good lately, I've been down this road before.
  42. Ryan Dempster - CHC - Walks up, strikeouts down, and Cubs aren't scoring for him (five wins).
  43. Max Scherzer - ARI - Consistency is key to getting him into the top 20. He has that sort of stuff.
  44. Jarrod Washburn - DET - Lost first start, but should fare well in his new park.
  45. Randy Wolf - LAD - Healthy and reliable. Can't complain about what he's done this year.
  46. Jason Marquis - COL - We keep waiting and waiting for the drop-off.
  47. J.A. Happ - PHI - Will he get the boot for Pedro? Doesn't deserve to, but somehow has to.
  48. John Lannan - WAS - He's probably not 3.41 ERA good, but he's better than I'd thought.
  49. Gavin Floyd - CHW - Strong follow-up to 2008 and a 7.6 K/9 (last year: 6.3).
  50. Zach Duke - PIT - Will never return to rookie form, but still a nice surprise this year.
  51. Aaron Cook - COL - 10 wins and a 3.88 ERA, but don't like the 1.41 WHIP.
  52. Ted Lilly - CHC - Easily top 40 if not for the knee injury.
  53. Brett Anderson - OAK - Worried about run support, but he's been great recently.
  54. Ricky Romero - TOR - No longer just "that guy the Jays took instead of Troy Tulowitzki."
  55. Aaron Harang - CIN - 10 Ks in last start and 125:36 K:BB for the year.
  56. Chris Volstad - FLA - Odd stat: 1.5 HR/9 in 2009, 0.15 in 2008.
  57. David Price - TB - Maybe we shouldn't have expected immediate dominance. Patience.
  58. Hiroki Kuroda - LAD - Supposedly has ironed out a mechanical flaw.
  59. Jake Peavy - CHW - Too much uncertainty to rank him too high.
  60. Brian Matusz - BAL - He's good folks, very good.
  61. Johnny Cueto - CIN - 9.85 ERA over last six starts, but appears healthy.
  62. Rick Porcello - DET - My only fear is him reaching some sort of innings limit.
  63. Randy Wells - CHC - Just not convinced yet that he's this good, but you could consider him top 50.
  64. Chris Tillman - BAL - He's going to be very good, but probably not until 2010/2011.
  65. Mat Latos - SD - He's looked great, but remember he's still young and lacking offensive support.
  66. Kyle Lohse - STL - 4.50 ERA in four games since returning from DL. Should get a little better.
  67. Andy Pettitte - NYY - Nearing retirement, but Yankees can provide runs.
  68. Clayton Richard - SD - Really improved his fantasy prospects with the trade from the Cell.
  69. Kevin Millwood - TEX - Not as good as his 3.39 ERA indicates. Just look at his K/9, K:BB, FIP, BABIP.
  70. Brian Bannister - KC - Even if the stuff is subpar, his intellect should keep him in rotation.
  71. Luke Hochevar - KC - Back-to-back poor outings, but 12 K in those 11 innings.
  72. David Hernandez - BAL - 3.28 ERA is nice, but 29:17 K:BB and 4.9 K/9 are not.
  73. Gil Meche - KC - Should return soon. Has back-to-back sub-4.00 ERA seasons for what it's worth.
  74. Scott Kazmir - TB - A glimmer of hope on occasion, but still a disappointing season.
  75. Joe Saunders - LAA - Was never a big fan, but he's had good stretches and the Angels win a lot.
  76. Brett Cecil - TOR - A 1.67 ERA in last four starts for this No. 4-type lefty.
  77. Anthony Swarzak - MIN - Slowey injury keeps him around, and he's got some talent.
  78. Pedro Martinez - PHI - 11 K in rehab start. NL-only league material for now, though.
  79. Mike Pelfrey - NYM - ERA up a full point over last year's 3.72. A big disappointment.
  80. Brad Penny - BOS - So-so season, but with Wakefield's back and Smoltz's struggles, he's secure.
  81. Jordan Zimmermann - WAS - About ready to return, but could get shut down early.
  82. Clay Buchholz - BOS - Could be a nice buy-low right now. I just see him exploding at some point.
  83. Ian Snell - SEA - Very impressive in first start for new team in Texas of all places.
  84. Jonathan Sanchez - SF - No-hitter was nice. Consistency would be nicer, but talent is there.
  85. Dallas Braden - OAK - A 7.40 ERA over last four starts is concerning.
  86. Paul Maholm - PIT - Miscast as a No. 1 in PIT, but can be a decent back-of-the-rotation guy.
  87. Doug Davis - ARI - Five wins and a 4.7 BB/9. Could get traded this month.
  88. Francisco Liriano - MIN - A 5.56 ERA and forearm issues. Maybe worth a small roll of the dice.
  89. Tim Hudson - ATL - Considering the options below him on this list, why not roll the dice?
  90. Nick Blackburn - MIN - Hasn't been very good since the break. Tiring or just being exposed?
  91. Manny Parra - MIL - Can be very good and then mediocre for a few starts.
  92. Jeff Niemann - TB - 10 wins despite 72:39 K:BB and 5.7 K/9. Not sure I foresee a strong finish.
  93. Bud Norris - HOU - First start was very impressive, but I need to see more before going all-in.
  94. Jorge De La Rosa - COL - Fewer BB would be nice, but he's been excellent for a while now.
  95. Derek Holland - TEX - Talent to be a No. 2 starter, but this year don't see it happening.
  96. Jon Garland - ARI - A 2.81 ERA in last seven starts.
  97. Tim Wakefield - BOS - Sounds like he's improving, but he's 43 with a sore back? Hmmm.
  98. Erik Bedard - SEA - The gift that keeps on giving ... for the Orioles. Major health concerns.
  99. John Smoltz - BOS - How long can Sox stomach his 7.12 ERA? Just don't see this ending well.
  100. Tim Stauffer - SD - Not a huge fan, but he's been good. Then there's the Petco thing.


Just missed

Trevor Cahill - OAK
Jeremy Guthrie - BAL
Tom Gorzelanny - CHC
Ryan Rowland-Smith - SEA
Chad Gaudin - SD
Armando Galarraga - DET
Scott Feldman - TEX
Kenshin Kawakami - ATL - May move to pen when Tim Hudson returns.

Sleepers among the remaining

Sean O'Sullivan - LAA
Luke French - SEA
Kevin Hart - PIT
Marc Rzepczynski - TOR
Charlie Morton - PIT

Potential rookie call-ups

Michael Bowden - BOS
Madison Bumgarner - SF
Wade Davis - TB
Stephen Strasburg - WAS

Returning from injury

Randy Johnson - SF
Shaun Marcum - TOR
Jake Westbrook - CLE
Chris Young - SD
Brad Bergesen - BAL

Guys I'm not touching with an 11-foot pole

Jason Schmidt - LAD
Jeff Suppan - MIL
Jason Berken - BAL
Daisuke Matsuzaka - BOS
Carl Pavano - CLE
Glen Perkins - MIN
Barry Zito - SF
Carlos Villanueva - MIL
Oliver Perez - NYM
Fausto Carmona - CLE
Garrett Mock - WAS


Jon Niese - NYM - Tough break for the Mets
Carlos Torres - CHW
Jose Contreras - CHW
Homer Bailey - CIN
Jason Hammel - COL
Andrew Miller - FLA
Livan Hernandez - NYM
Gio Gonzalez - OAK
Ross Ohlendorf - PIT
Mitchell Boggs - STL
Vicente Padilla - TEX
Tommy Hunter - TEX
Collin Balester - WAS
Sean West - FLA
Vin Mazzaro - OAK
Bronson Arroyo - CIN
Rick Vanden Hurk - FLA
Phil Hughes - NYY - Will he stick in pen? Probably.
Ervin Santana - LAA
Braden Looper - MIL Article first appeared 8/6/09

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