Fantasy Insider: AL SP Rankings

Here are the initial fantasy rankings for the American League starting pitchers, including rotisserie dollar values and projections for 2004. Who are the elite? Who are the sleepers? Who should you stay away from? InsidethePark.com members can find out right now!

Projections are listed as follows: Wins - Saves - K - ERA - WHIP.  These prices are for regular 5x5 Rotisserie-style leagues with MLB Universe.  Adjust prices upward for AL/NL-only leagues.

THE ELITE:

 
                               
       

       

Pedro: Best In The         Biz?

 
1. Pedro Martinez, BOS  $27
The best pure pitcher in the business in the opinion of many.  With a little more luck than last year, should win 20.
Projection:  17 - 0 - 220 - 2.30 - 1.05

2. Curt Schilling, BOS  $26
Pedro's brother-in-arms is every bit as good but comes with some minor health questions.  Much better run support in Beantown.
Projection:  19 - 0 - 240 - 3.00 - 1.05

3. Roy Halladay, TOR  $26
Reigning Cy-Young winner.  Doc should have a better season simply because he can't go winless in April again.
Projection:  18 - 0 - 205 - 3.30 - 1.10

4. Tim Hudson, OAK  $25
The bullpen cost Hudson a bunch of wins in '03, this year it will be Oakland's offense.
Projection:  16 - 0 - 160 - 2.80 - 1.10 

5. Mike Mussina, NYY  $24
Could this finally be the year that Moose wins 20?  It's just so close, yet so far away.  Scary that his run and bullpen supports actually improved.
Projection:  18 - 0 - 190 - 3.30 - 1.10

6. Mark Mulder, OAK  $22
Nine complete games in only 26 starts is crazy these days.  That hip injury shouldn't have any ill effects for this season.  Every bit as good as Hudson.
Projection:  17 - 0 - 160 - 3.10 - 1.15

7. Javier Vazquez, NYY  $21
The Yanks are relying on Vazquez to be their backbone for the next few years, you should feel safe doing the same.  "Problems" adjusting to the AL will be inconsequential at worst.
Projection:  16 - 0 - 220 - 3.50 - 1.15

8. Bartolo Colon, ANA  $20
Innings-eater will benefit from a huge increase in run support and a positive new environment, could be huge this year (and not just in terms of his weight).
Projection:   17 - 0 - 160 - 3.50 - 1.20

THE GOOD:

 
                               
       

       

Santana: Poised For         Stardom

 
9. Johan Santana, MIN  $18
Santana will finally have his day in the sun, with a full season in the rotation.  This kid is definitely going places.
Projection:  15 - 0 - 180 - 3.00 - 1.15

10. C.C. Sabathia, CLE  $16
Only thing stopping Sabathia is his lousy team, but Cleveland will actually be better than people think.
Projection:  14 - 0 - 150 - 3.70 - 1.25

11. Jamie Moyer, SEA  $15
Can the ageless wonder continue to pitch so effectively into his 40's?  We've been asking that question for a while now, so let's just let it ride.
Projection:  15 - 0 - 120 - 3.50 - 1.25

12. Barry Zito, OAK  $15
Former Cy-Young winner had a big drop-off in K's last year, but the rest of his numbers stayed very good.  Can't tell if he's on the way down or up.
Projection:  14 - 0 - 150 - 3.20 - 1.20

13. Kevin Brown, NYY  $15
Health questions aside, Brown is absolutely nasty.  Would've won 20 if he were a Yank in '03, but can he stay on the mound?  Riskiness limits trust.
Projection:  15 - 0 - 170 - 3.20 - 1.20

14. Derek Lowe, BOS  $15
Boston's improved defense (at least at 2B) should help some, but he has to learn how to pitch on the road.
Projection:  15 - 0 - 120 - 4.20 - 1.30

15. Sidney Ponson, BAL  $13
Returning to the O's should make Ponson more comfortable, and their offense is actually good this season.  
Projection:  15 - 0 - 130 - 4.00 - 1.25

16. Joel Pineiro, SEA  $13
Breakout player candidate, the M's have been excited about Pineiro for a while now, and this should be the year.  5-0, 1.44 last July.
Projection:  15 - 0 - 155 - 3.60 - 1.20

17. Jarrod Washburn, ANA  $13
Washburn will probably return to his previous form this season.  No reason for him to lose 15 games in Anaheim this season.  Rumors persist about Washburn being dealt to the NL.
Projection: 14 - 0 - 130 - 3.70 - 1.25

18. Esteban Loaiza, CHW  $14
Now's the time to show if he's a one-year wonder or if the new Loaiza is for real.  Our money is on the former, but he should still be good.
Projection:  14 - 0 - 180 - 3.60 - 1.15

THE AVERAGE:

19. Jose Contreras, NYY  $12
The Cuban defector needs to prove he can pitch for a whole season, but he flashed signs of dominance in '03.
Projection:  14 - 0 - 175 - 3.70 - 1.15

20. Mark Redman, OAK  $12
With a better offense behind him in 2004, Redman could top 15 wins and could easily be overlooked on that A's staff.
Projection:  14 - 0 - 145 - 3.60 - 1.25

 
                               
       

       

Escobar: Full-time         Starter Now

 
21. Kelvim Escobar, ANA  $12
Escobar was a highly-coveted prize on the free agent market this winter, and he could thrive in a full-time starter role.
Projection:  14 - 0 - 155 - 4.05 - 1.35

22. Mark Buehrle, CHW  $11
Very up and down season for the ChiSox ace in '03, looking to regain his top-flight status.
Projection:  14 - 0 - 140 - 4.00 - 1.30

23. Ted Lilly, TOR  $10
Lilly finally looked like he was realizing his potential at the end of last season, now is his chance to shine.
Projection:  13 - 0 - 170 - 4.10 - 1.23

24. Tim Wakefield, BOS  $10
Knuckleballers never stop pitching, and Wakefield pitches well enough to justify his presence.  Should win games in Boston.
Projection:  12 - 0 - 165 - 4.05 - 1.28

25. Jon Lieber, NYY  $10
If he wasn't so well known already, he'd be a great sleeper.  Lieber should come back strong from TJ surgery.
Projection:  14 - 0 - 150 - 4.10 - 1.22

26. Brad Radke, MIN  $9
Radke went a ridiculous 9-1 with a 3.24 ERA after the break last season, including 4-0, 1.80 in September.  Let's hope he can keep that up.
Projection:  15 - 0 - 130 - 4.05 - 1.24

27. Byung-Hyun Kim, BOS  $9
The forgotten Boston starter.  Kim was actually quite solid last year, but most of his value came from his 16 saves.  Full-time starter now, though.
Projection:  14 - 0 - 145 - 3.40 - 1.15

28. Miguel Batista, TOR  $8
Batista looked sharp as a starter last season, and he gets to do it all year now in Toronto.  With a high-powered offense behind him, he should do well.
Projection:  14 - 0 - 140 - 3.85 - 1.24

29. Rich Harden, OAK  $8
Harden was brilliant last season before control problems started hindering him.  He's one of the more dominating minor-leaguers in recent memory and should be a solid major-leaguer.
Projection:  13 - 0 - 180 - 3.40 - 1.20

30. Jeremy Affeldt, KC  $7
Affeldt, besides Harden, is the closest of this group of youngsters to being a true contributor this season.  He has filthy stuff, let's just hope he starts.
Projection: 12 - 0 - 140 - 3.50 - 1.26 

31. Cliff Lee, CLE  $6
Lee showed excellent strikeout potential in the minors.  Cleveland has a building block for the future in this kid.
Projection:  11 - 0 - 169 - 3.77 - 1.23

32. Kurt Ainsworth, BAL  $6
Ainsworth was a highly-touted prospect in the Giants' system and has excellent potential.
Projection:  19 - 0 - 165 - 4.10 - 1.30

33. Doug Waechter, TB  $6
Waechter won his first three appearances last year, including a shutout of the Mariners and a good start against the Yankees.  He's going places.
Projection:  9 - 0 - 140 - 4.10 - 1.34

34. Kyle Lohse, MIN  $6
Good shot at having a breakout year.  The Twins love him, so that's got to mean something right?
Projection:  13 - 0 - 140 - 4.00 - 1.28

35. Brian Anderson, KC  $6
The Royals may have a gem on their hands with Anderson, but he doesn't strike anybody out.  Good run support though.
Projection:  14 - 0 - 91 - 4.05 - 1.26

36. Freddy Garcia, SEA  $5
Not sure what to make of Garcia, really.  He had good months followed by terrible months last year.  Quit the Jekyll & Hyde act and let's see what you can really do.
Projection:  14 - 0 - 169 - 4.20 - 1.35

37. Darrell May, KC  $5
A "breakout" player last year, May posted good all-around numbers.  Not many strikeouts though.
Projection:  11 - 0 - 126 - 3.84 - 1.24

38. Matt Riley, BAL  $4
Riley is a feel-good story brought to you by Tommy John surgery.  He has excellent strikeout potential, and could win some games in Baltimore.  Good sleeper pick.
Projection:  12 - 0 - 159 - 4.00 - 1.30

39. Jason Stanford, CLE  $4
Stanford looked excellent in his ML debut last season, could be a good sleeper pick if Cleveland gets off to a good start.
Projection:  10 - 0 - 125 - 3.82 - 1.24

40. Jason Davis, CLE  $4
Davis doesn't have quite the strikeout potential of Stanford, but he's proven more so far.  Big guy, too.
Projection:  9 - 0 - 110 - 4.40 - 1.29

41. John Lackey, ANA  $4
Outside of a good amount of whiffs, Lackey wasn't particularly helpful in '03.  He had a good second half, but just couldn't get wins.  His luck might change this year though.
Projections:  13 - 0 - 159 - 4.31 - 1.41

THE REST:

42. Kevin Appier, KC  $4
After being moved to KC, Appier was good enough, which is strange considering he moved to a hitter's park, but injuries derailed his season.  Look for something resembling a comeback.
Projection:  12 - 0 - 148 - 4.30 - 1.40

43. Gil Meche, SEA  $3
Meche couldn't keep it up for the whole season (3.61 ERA before the break, 6.08 after).  Expect more of the same this season.
Projection:  13 - 0 - 135 - 4.40 - 1.37

44. Ramon Ortiz, ANA  $3
Where are those comparisons to Pedro now?  Ortiz was downright bad last year, we can't figure how he won 16.  Decent candidate for a comeback though.
Projection:  13 - 0 - 97 - 4.70 - 1.35 

45. Pat Hentgen, TOR $3
Hentgen returns to the place of his former glory, but he's much older now.  Jays may have jumped the gun here.
Projection:  9 - 0 - 128 - 4.01 - 1.31

46. Kenny Rogers, TEX  $2
The only Rangers starter even worth considering for your team, and he's not that great himself.  This is his third stint with Texas.  He seems to like it there.
Projection:  11 - 0 - 110 - 4.25 - 1.40

47. Ryan Franklin, SEA  $2
Good ERA last season belied boring other numbers.  Terrible K-rate could lead to ineffectiveness.
Projection:  11 - 0 - 100 - 3.99 - 1.24

 
                               
       

       

Bonderman: Diamond         In The Rough?

 
48. Jeremy Bonderman, DET  $1
At just 21 years old, Bonderman still has elite talent and could be a surprise in 2004.  Don't judge him on his 2003 numbers.
Projection:  8 - 120 - 4.95 - 1.40

49. Jeremi Gonzalez, TB  $1
Definitely one of the more attractive options in Tampa, Gonzalez can be an effective pitcher if he gets his head on straight.
Projection:  9 - 0 - 119 - 4.00 - 1.20

50. Eric DuBose, BAL  $1
Has looked sharp in his ML work so far, could be a good sleeper if he keeps a rotation spot.
Projection:  11 - 0 - 125 - 4.05 - 1.21

51. Grant Balfour, MIN  $1
Balfour looked very impressive in his first long stint with the Twins last year and now he gets a rotation spot.  Could get lots of K's.
Projection:  9 - 0 - 159 - 4.26 - 1.30

52. Josh Towers, TOR  $1
Towers has good upside and good lineup protection, but can he stick in the rotation?
Projection:  10 - 0 - 135 - 4.39 - 1.22

53. Victor Zambrano, TB  $1
All those walks will hurt your WHIP, but anyone that wins 12 games on TB is doing something right.
Projection:  11 - 0 - 149 - 4.20 - 1.39

54. Scott Schoeneweis, CHW  $1
Injuries killed a decent enough season for this "potential-filled" pitcher in '03, let's see if he bounces back.
Projection:  8 - 0 - 126 - 4.38 - 1.29

55. Rodrigo Lopez, BAL  $1
What happened to our former ROY contender?  That .313 BAA is hideous, but he could win some games behind the O's offense.
Projection:  10 - 0 - 139 - 4.23 - 1.40

56. Jon Garland, CHW $1
White Sox land is highly confusing right now.  Garland still has potential, but he needs to realize it.
Projection:  9 - 0 - 106 - 4.62 - 1.39

57. Jeff D'Amico, CLE  $1
D'Amico's career path is very confusing.  Chances are he's actually like the last two years' version though.
Projection:  9 - 0 - 106 - 4.81 - 1.40

58. Miguel Asencio, KC  $1
Asencio has a good track record in the minors and could be a reasonable sleeper pick.  Strikeout rate took a nosedive though.
Projection:  8 - 0 - 94 - 4.90 - 1.48

59. Joe Mays, MIN  $1
Forced to the 'pen last year after ineffectiveness, injured in 2002, how did he win 17 in '01?  Looks like a one-year wonder.
Projection:  8 - 0 - 82 - 5.40 - 1.48

Rafael Soriano, SEA $10
If Soriano's starting, he's worth every penny.  In the bullpen, he'll be decent enough (not for $10 though).  Right now, his role is up in the air as he works through an abdominal injury.

Zack Greinke, KC  $1
Baby Royal has excellent numbers in just one minor-league season.  Could be a mid-season call up if KC needs the help (and they probably will).

Mark Hendrickson, Damian Moss, TB $1
New pair of Devil Rays here.  Hendrickson's decent, but not worth taking.  Moss walked more guys than he struck out last year.  

Mike Maroth, DET    Nate Cornejo, DET    Gary Knotts, DET    Nate Robertson, DET  $1
Just say 'no' to pitchers in Detroit uniforms.  Even if they could pitch well they wouldn't earn you any wins.  Bonderman was the only 100 K pitcher here by the way.

Colby Lewis, R.A. Dickey, Ricardo Rodriguez, Chan Ho Park, Joaquin Benoit, TEX $1
We have pretty much the same thing to say about these guys.  Don't draft them.  Park used to be good, but has been just awful lately and Benoit has a bit of upside, but stay far, far away.

   


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