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This is almost the end of the 2011 fantasy baseball rankings.  With these top 80 starters for 2011 fantasy baseball, there’s a few names that I’m really gunning for on my teams… My deeper teams.  On last year’s top 80, there was one guy who truly emerged (Mat Latos) and a few who kinda did (Filthy Sanchez, Trevor Cahill and Brandon Morrow), so I imagine a lot of you won’t need most of the names on this list.  But humor me.  There’s tiers and projections mentioned for everyone.  Anyway, here’s the top 80 starters for 2011 fantasy baseball:

61. Javier Vazquez – This tier is a continuation of the last tier in the top 60 starters for 2011 fantasy baseball.  This tier goes from here until McDonald.  I called this tier, “Grey’s going upside your head.”  Vazquez wouldn’t surprise me if he goes from here to a top 20 starter because of his history in the NL.  I already went over my Javier Vazquez fantasy after he went to the ‘lins.  2011 Projections:  12-10/3.75/1.25/170

62. Matt Garza – I didn’t go over Garza when he was traded because I think I started the rankings already.  I’m only one man!  (But sometimes I carry a mullet wig so I can pretend to be my alter ego, Grey Dirt.)  Garza goes to the NL Central from the AL East.  That’s a boon for anyone’s value.  Carlos Silva even made the NL Central look silly at times last year.  Unfortunately, Garza likes to give up fly balls and in Wrigley that’s a bigger issue than in the Trop.  I have a feeling Garza’s going to beat my projections, but, for a guy who hasn’t had a xFIP below 4.00 in his career, I’m not willing to go any lower.  2011 Projections:  12-8/3.75/1.27/165

63. Jordan Zimmermann – Zimmermann’s probably going to keep getting drafted earlier and earlier as the season approaches.  I nearly put him in the top 60 starters, but he’s coming off major surgery and he won’t throw an entire season.  My guess is 150 IP from him.  Of course, if J. Z’s having health problems, I feel bad for you, son.  He’s got 99 problems but a pitch ain’t one.  2011 Projections:  10-8/3.70/1.26/140

64. Jeremy Hellickson – Already went over my Hellickson fantasy.  2011 Projections:  9-5/3.60/1.10/140

65. James McDonald – Has made his way firmly into the category of “People who think they know more than you are drafting this guy.”  It’s clearly because of his September numbers — 2.31 ERA, 30 Ks in 35 IP.  Hey, I get it.  When you’re this deep, you have to latch onto something.  I’m all for it.  You shouldn’t draft safe with your last anything.  I guarantee that there will be Clayton Richard or Aaron Harang types on waivers in just about every league.  If McDonald has a good April, he’ll not only be owned but people will hold him with a death grip.  2011 Projections:  9-9/3.80/1.30/160

66. Jair Jurrjens – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until I call this tier, “Vets I’m ignoring.”  Meesa wasn’t burned by Jar-Jar last year because meesa turned away from him as soon as he was injured in the spring.  This year, he’s supposedly going to be fine.  That’s nice, let him prove it on someone else’s team.  2011 Projections:  11-8/4.00/1.30/140

67. A.J. Burnett – Last year I was burned by Burnett (say that fast 117 times!).  It still hurts when I sit down.  This year I’m letting Burnett treat someone else like an extra on Oz.  2011 Projections:   12-10/4.15/1.35/160

68. Scott Baker – Member the smush session we had with Baker last year?  Yeah, he gave you the clap.  And not the good clap but the bad clap.  2011 Projections:  11-9/4.00/1.32/140

69. Gavin Floyd – Seems to consistently do worst than his FIP, which would be great if FIP were a category in my league.  He’s about as unexciting as they come.  Oh wait, Jeff Niemann’s next!  2011 Projections:  10-9/4.05/1.30/160

70. Jeff Niemann – I wrote this long diatribe about how I have nothing to say about Niemann then when I went to copy and paste it I lost it somewhere.  Teach me to write filler!  (Unlike this.)  2011 Projections: 10-10/4.15/1.30/130

71. Kevin Slowey – Honestly, I almost suggested you draft Slowey and Baker.  It’s…so…hard…for…me…to….ignore…them.  I’m trying to learn from past mistakes.  (Okay, if you have to draft Baker or Slowey, go for Baker, his K-rate is better.)  2011 Projections:  10-7/4.10/1.28/125

72. Brett Cecil – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Davis. I call this tier, “There’s some upside here, but I wouldn’t expect anything.”  There’s a good chance that if you draft one of the guys from this tier, you’re going to end up dropping them by mid-April.  re: Cecil — He was once considered better than Romero.  There’s signs of a terrific K-rate in the minors, the Jays have watched his innings well and he cut his walk rate last year.  Great, wonderful, fantastic!  Unfortunately, he’s still in the AL East, his K-rate last year was terrible and his xFIP was 4.32.  2011 Projections:  9-11/4.10/1.34/155

73. Anibal Sanchez – He’s only going to be 27 in 2011.  I tell you that because that’s really the only thing I see as far as upside.  Chances are he won’t be good as far as ERA goes and his K-rate falls the longer into the season he pitches.  Eh, like I said, “He’s only 27!”  2011 Projections:  9-8/4.00/1.35/150

74. Brian Matusz – “The O’s successfully petition the league to switch them to the NL East.”  ”The question, Alex, is there any way Grey drafts Matusz?”  2011 Projections:  7-10/4.10/1.32/160

75. Wade Davis – I like Davis a lot, but I think we still might be a year too early on him.  (See David Price’s 2009 for further reading.)  I have a feeling I’m going to go crazy for Davis in 2012.  As for 2011, there’s upside but his K-rate needs to make a major U-turn from last year and the whole AL East thing.  On the bright side, his post-All-Star Break ERA was 3.28.  2011 Projections:  14-10/3.85/1.32/135 (<–pretty optimistic)

76. Jake Peavy – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Webb.  I call this tier, “I’m not drafting any of them.”  Maybe I’ll return for more tsuris in 2012 but right now I’m not going anywhere near these guys.  There’s too many issues juggling healthy players as it is to worry about drafting an unhealthy one.  2011 Projections:  5-3/3.70/1.22/100

77. Johan Santana – If he were healthy going into the season, I wouldn’t own him in 2011.  Too many bad trends associated with his name.  2011 Projections:  6-3/3.65/1.20/80

78. Brandon Webb – I already went over my Brandon Webb fantasy when he went to the Rangers.  There’s not a whole lot there, but there’s not a whole lot to say until he actually pitches again in the majors.  I’d let him do it on someone else’s fantasy team.  2011 Projections:  6-9/4.25/1.26/120

79. Mike Minor – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until the end of the list.  I call this tier, “Total shots in the dark.”  Mike Minor is getting a whole post dedicated to him later today.  I wrote it behind my Rita Hayworth poster on my cell wall.  Just need to transcribe it.  2011 Projections:  10-8/3.85/1.28/180

80. Travis Wood – If Wood doesn’t get a rotation spot, then ignore this.  If Leake gets the rotation spot, ignore him in mixed leagues.  Last year, Wood had a 7.54 K/9, a 2.28 walk rate and .227 BAA.  That tells me I want Wood!  Okay, Beavis, stop giggling.  Only problem with Wood is Dusty may have Extenze’d him a little too much last year and his arm may fall off.  2011 Projections:  12-8/3.85/1.16/150

There’s a lot of pitchers after the top 80 starters for 2011 fantasy baseball, but here’s a few that stand out:

Bud Norris – You want a guy that could be this year’s Jonathan Sanchez?  Here ya go.  I mean that in the best of ways and the worst of ways.  He could strikeout 200 while having a walk rate north of 4, a WHIP north of 1.45 and an ERA north of 4.50.  If he can dance between the walks without giving up runs, he might have an incredible year.  Take the chance on him.  If it explodes in your face, you drop him.  2011 Projections:  10-7/4.00/1.40/180

Clayton Richard and Aaron Harang – Hodgepadres!  2011 Projections: Home starts that give you value and away starts that give you agita.

Jonathon Niese – He should’ve been ranked much higher.  I moved him down here to highlight him with my “After Top 80″ spotlight.  (Don’t shine it in your eyes, you will go blind.)  Let’s go over some positives.  Niese had a 7.67 K/9 last year and he can bump that up over 8 this year.  Metco is a nice place to pitch.  The Mets could win some games.  The only real negative I can think of is everything the Mets touch manages to turn to crizzap.  If Niese can avoid Mr. Met’s mal de ojo, you could have a sneaky top 25 starter.  2011 Projections:  15-9/3.50/1.28/160 (<–crazy optimistic but whatevs)

Homer Bailey – I don’t think a top 80 starters post is ever complete without Homer Bailey.  If Homer is going to break out, this is the year.  His xFIP last year was under 4 and his K-rate was above 8 for the first time in his major league career after rocking a solid K-rate in the minors.  If he can keep his K-rate over 8 and his walk rate below 3.50 over the course of 170 IP, you’re going to have a top 30 starter.  The park he pitches in takes a slight bit of shine off him (4.97 ERA last year at home) and I don’t see anyway he pitches more than 170 innings.  Yes, even with Dusty garnering advice from his chewed-up toothpick.  2011 Projections:  12-9/3.90/1.35/135

Chris Narveson – “Hey, Grey, my friend who knows a thing or two about a thing or two really likes Narveson this year.  But his ERA was 4.99 last year.  Can you explain what he sees in him?  Oh, and play that Wu Tang joint.”  Narveson had a 3.13 ERA in September.  The difference between someone like James McDonald putting together a nice September and Narveson doing it is about three years.  Narveson is 29 years old so I tend to think his September was just a good month.  If he had a good July and a crappy September, we wouldn’t even be talking about him.  But just in case, he’s worth an endgame flyer.  2011 Projections:  9-9/4.15/1.34/160

Felipe Paulino – It’s a shame Ed Wade’s toupee split up Norris and Paulino because they were like peas and carrots.  Nice Ks, bonkers walks.  The Coors thing doesn’t have me putting Paulino below Norris.  Bud’s a bit younger in his development, so I like him better.  I.e., there’s a better chance Norris can get his shizz together.   So draft Felipe Paulino, but you may drop him after his first start.  Oh, and am I the only one that wants to call him Filipino?  Yeah, probably.  2011 Projections:  8-6/4.35/1.42/150

43 Responses

  1. Steve says:
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    Hmmm. Not going to comment on who should or shouldn’t be here, but it really is a reminder to keep your expectations in check when you’re this deep into the pitchers.

    That said, Grey, who is your favourite out of this group?

  2. Bob from Germany says:
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    no love for justin masterson? Or did i miss him? Still believe in Masterson and gonna target him late in the draft.

  3. malacoda1970 says:
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    J Z’s 99 problems – hilarious!

  4. Swagger Jackers says:
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    Cincy has some really interesting arms from a fantasy perspective right now. I’m curious to see which pitchers really breakout.

  5. Eddy says:
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    *** There are still spots left on this weeks Razzock!****

    It’s at 7pm EST on Thursday!

    I’ve seen plenty of commenters who havent participated in a single one. Cmon now, we don’t bite (emoticon)

    Password is balboni.

  6. Tony says:
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    @Swagger Jackers: they’ve got a nasty young surplus of arms…. if more than a couple can put together good yrs with a young developing offense they can do some big things….

  7. Jim says:
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    Need some Help

    I’m in a high stakes league, start any 9 pitchers, no trading. What would be the best rotation to have. 6 starters, 1 relief pitcher, 2 closers?

    Thanks in advance

  8. polczek5 says:
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    Grey, I know that you are a fan of filling your bench with upside SP and closers/closers-in-waiting, but are you taking these guys over any “starters” on your team, say your second catcher?

  9. Eddy says:
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    Is having an OBP and an AVG category pointless?

  10. Tom says:
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    Hey Grey – where would you rank Neftali Feliz if he becomes a SP?

  11. Tarasco's Secret Stash says:
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    Thoughts on Derek Holland as an upside flier option?

  12. potus says:
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    “….treat someone else like an extra on Oz.”

    –priceless!!!!! Keep the rankings and great comments coming!

    pick a keeper side– traditional 4×4(no SO) 20 team $260 budget

    Greinke $17 vs Chacin $1

    only 7 guys from your top 20 will be available in the draft but 4 will be from the top 2 tiers

    YHL

  13. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    stauffer a possible mid level sleeper?12-8 3.5 150?

  14. Tom Thumb says:
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    Joined the Mock on Thursday…my first Razz mock, ever

  15. Tom Thumb says:
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    @Grey: Grey, I have seen a lot of people put Anibal as a sleeper this year but I just don’t see it. Is there more upside there than meets the eye?

  16. Wilsonian says:
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    I’m in a small (8 Team) H2H keeper where we keep 5. I have a sick lineup, I probably could keep 10-12 if the league rules allowed it. These are the guys you told me to keep:

    Fielder, Utley, Longoria, Wright, Kemp

    That leaves a ton of quality that will get sent back to the draft pool: CarGo, Holliday, Lincecum, Verlander, Hamels, Josh Johnson, Kershaw

    It has come to my attention that the guy who has Pujols AND Votto would make one available for the right price. Would you deal CarGo for one of those guys and not keep one of those five you told me to keep? Or is the upgrade not worth it? If you would do it, who would you shoot for? Thanks.

  17. Eddy says:
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    @Tom Thumb:

    Good to have ya’ on board.

  18. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: Those Ks are probably on the high side and the Padres have been messing with him for a while now. If he has a rotation spot, he’s a great last round flyer.

    @Tom Thumb: I would’ve mentioned it above if there was.

    @Wilsonian: I’d trade CarGo for either and throw back Fielder.

  19. BKK says:
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    @Eddy: Were you in a MDC mock last night around 7 or 8 last night?

  20. Wilsonian says:
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    @Grey: thanks man, definitely looking into it

  21. Back To Minors says:
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    Hellickson with a 1.10 whip?! seriously? me like!!

  22. Eddy says:
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    @BKK:

    I created a 14-team Yahoo one, but I wasn’t able to make it.
    @Grey:

    So in my keeper league we decided to remove BB and AVG in favor of OBP. Are your rankings still pretty much in the same order you’d have guys?

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Wilsonian: No problem.

    @Back To Minors: Probably a bit optimistic. But can be there.

    @Eddy: More or less, there will obviously be a few differences.

  24. sean says:
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    @Eddy: Thanks for the invite, but I’m not too sure that the 14-team format is going to help me much. The cash leagues I play online are all 10s.

  25. Jay says:
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    @Grey: If you have one at all, what would you say is your overarching theory on drafting starting pitchers? (e.g. go for upside, go for a mix of steady + upside, go for high K-rates, etc) I always seem to end up with a good hitting team and all the wrong SPs…

  26. BKK says:
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    @Eddy: I was going to join a mock around that time but it filled up before I joined and one of the participants team name was Eddy. There is an impostor out there!

  27. vinko says:
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    Will Nolan Reimold have any fantasy relevance this season? Bill James seems a bit “high” on his PA. (592)

  28. sean says:
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    @Grey: Grey: I see Josh Beckett really falling in a lot of drafts (MDC ADP 185). I know he had a terrible year last year, but even in a “meh” 2008 he posted 12/4.03/1.19/172k in 174 IP. There has to be value in that, especially when he’s being drafted in 4-5th starter territory, no?

  29. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Jay: A balanced staff.

    @vinko: A bit? How can he get 592 PAs?

  30. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @sean: There’s value in that but there’s no reason to think that’s who he will be in 2011.

  31. Eddy says:
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    @sean:
    No problem, that’s fine. I’m actually drafting in a 14-team and 16-team league for the first time this season. I usually play in 12-team leagues.
    @BKK:
    Rat-bastard!

  32. Buddo Chezuski says:
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    Grey, would love if you could weigh in on a growing trend in my league. Its a 10 team Keeper H2H WEEKLY league, 6×6 (OPS and QS).

    Several teams are pretty much punting Saves/Closers and loading up all pitching slots (using RP-eligible starters) and going after the most W’s, K’s, QS at the expense of Saves. Just doesn’t seem right when there are decent closers on FA list. We’re thinking of changing K’s to K/9 so its a ratio not a counting stat. Any other ideas? Thanks.

  33. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Buddo Chezuski: I’d do the same as them. Your league is slanted for SPs. K/9 should help. Or lose QSs for Holds. QSs tilts your league towards SPs.

  34. Jay says:
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    @Buddo Chezuski: What Grey said. Also, a weekly (or season) innings limit might help encourage teams to sub in a closer for a weak SP.

  35. Grey

    Grey says:
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    *******THERE’S A NEW POST FOR FOLLOWUPS.*******

  36. vinko says:
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    Didn’t really think he would be able to. More like, hoping he bounces back.

  37. napoleongs says:
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    @Eddy:

    How do I sign up for the mock??

  38. Jacob says:
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    Grey, do you think Jarrod Parker ends up in the Diamondbacks rotation this season? And if so, where would you rank him?

  39. Chupacabra says:
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    Grey, are your rankings for a certain scoring system?

    If you were ranking for a head to head league, would your rankings change?

  40. Matt says:
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    I didn’t see Gavin Floyd in any of the pitcher ratings-did I overlook him or are you that low on Floyd? (other less informed sites have him rated top 200 overall-should I try to sell before the season starts?)

  41. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Matt: I originally left him off, but I reconsidered. Still don’t really like him.

  42. Ro Bauti says:
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    Filipino! Too bad he’s not even as good as half of Tim Lincecum….

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