ESPN Rankings Summit: Top 25 SPs

The ESPN fantasy crew is in the midst of the rankings summit where they get together and hash out the initial run of their positional ranks. It accompanies a chat moderated by one of the parties involved and it’s a pretty interesting watch/read. They are coming down the home stretch with their starting pitchers where I believe they’ll go 50 deep. Here are the top 25.

  1. Justin Verlander
  2. Clayton Kershaw
  3. Felix Hernandez
  4. Stephen Strasburg
  5. David Price
  6. Matt Cain
  7. Cliff Lee
  8. Cole Hamels
  9. Jered Weaver
  10. Zack Greinke
  11. Gio Gonzalez
  12. Adam Wainwright
  13. Madison Bumgarner
  14. Yu Darvish
  15. R.A. Dickey
  16. C.C. Sabathia
  17. Chris Sale
  18. Johnny Cueto
  19. Mat Latos
  20. Jordan Zimmermann
  21. Roy Halladay
  22. Aroldis Chapman
  23. Kris Medlen
  24. Matt Moore
  25. James Shields

I had some minor quibbles early, but my first real contention was Chris Sale at 17. Of course that was immediately blown out of the water by Aroldis Chapman at 22. I just can’t get behind that on any level. It assumes so many things go perfectly for him. Bret Sayre did point out that it’s a tough rank on overall value because if he implodes, he will likely move back to the bullpen. A fair point, but I just don’t see how they came to this ranking because even if Bret’s scenario comes to pass, he will have x amount of horrible innings on his ledger before transitioning back. I think he’d have to be truly awful to go back into the bullpen, not just fantasy bad. A 4.20 ERA/1.35 WHIP would be fantasy bad, especially at his cost, but Cincinnati can definitely live with that out of their fifth starter especially if he’s fanning 25 percent of the batters he faces and going six innings a game.

Chapman basically has to have Sale’s season to fulfill that ranking and while there is at least chance of that, it’s pretty low on the probability spectrum making such a lofty ranking tough to justify for me. I also think Kris Medlen is too high at 23, but at least he has starting experience at the major league level and an actual arsenal of pitches. Chapman has major name value and Medlen has his brilliant end to 2012, factors that will keep both very high on most lists this year. I just think the talent pool is too deep to take the added risk of them in lieu of more consistent performers who also have greatness in their profile (e.g. Matt Moore, Max Scherzer).

The summit is a very cool event that ESPN does every year. I love reading some of the thinking going on in the room and I hope they show some videos again as they’ve done in the past.

What do you think?

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3 Comments to “ESPN Rankings Summit: Top 25 SPs”

  1. I love Gio and think he’s low even at 11. Yu Darvish would be in my top 10 also maybe bumping one of the Phillies pitchers. I’ve had a distaste for Jered Weaver ever since he threw at Alex Avila’s head and threw a tantrum when Justin Verlander kicked his butt two years ago, so I could never draft him on my fantasy team. Personally I would stay away from R.A. Dickey that early since I just don’t trust a knuckleballer to have two good seasons in a row especially now that he’s in the AL East. Finally, Max Scherzer should definitely be in top twenty based off how he did last year. He’s in his prime and I think his awful April takes away from the fact that he was simply amazing for the Tigers during the pennant race.

  2. Paul -Where do you stand on Bumgarner this year? Was the blip at the end of the year a sign of danger to come or did he fix his delivery in the playoffs and we should expect more of same?

    • Bruce, you must be in my brain! I’m in the midst of writing up the Giants for the SP Guide and just wrote up MadBum this morning. I still rate him relatively high, but I’m unnerved by the insane slider usage given what the pitch does to guys. I’m playing it a bit cautious with him this year. if I’ve got two ace-level guys I like and it’s MB and pitcher X, I’m going with pitcher X this year whereas last year I couldn’t get enough MadBum stock.

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