The royal we just went over the top 20 starters for 2011 fantasy baseball.  For those that skipped the title, this post is the top 40 starters for 2011 fantasy baseball.  If you’re looking for the hitters, it’s under the 2011 fantasy baseball rankings, which is also at the top of the page.  Barring unusual circumstances, I usually try to grab two starters from this list of twenty.  So I’ll have one starter from the first twenty and two from this, which gives me three.  Math’s been berry, berry good to me!  Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2011 fantasy baseball:

21. Dan Haren – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Billingsley.  I call this tier, “Times weren’t always the best for some of these guys last year, but here we are in a new year.  Nice of you to join us.” Wasn’t it swell when Haren could be relied on to only pitch well in the 1st half of the year?  Yeah, swell indeed.  Unfortunately, May and his 6.08 ERA happened.  However, his xFIP was only 3.62 in May.  Across the board in the 1st half of last year, his terrible luck haunted his ERA.  Boo!  He’ll only be 30 years old for the majority of 2011 and we’re about to see a nice bounce back year from him.  Act like you know, MC Lyte.  2011 Projections:  15-9/3.60/1.18/215

22. Tommy Hanson – In May and June combined last year, he had a 5.70 ERA.  Yet, I kinda want Hanson on every team of mine.  Even AL-Only ones where I draft him as Hommy Tanson and pretend he’s on the Mariners.  I’m not thrilled with the drop in K-rate that we saw last year, but there was no velocity loss so I’m not overly concerned.  I’m getting that vibe that this is the last time we see Hanson outside of the top 10 starters for a long time.  (Since I’m going to get it in comments, here’s my attempt to explain why Hanson’s below Haren but has better projections.  A) As I’ve said all along, if a guy is the same tier as another guy, they’re interchangeable.  B) There’s more risk attached to Hanson’s projections than Haren’s.  C)  There’s no C.  2011 Projections:  14-7/3.20/1.15/190

23. Max Scherzer – If the AL Cy Young voting ends up in 2011 as Dan Haren, Max Scherzer and Hommy Tanson, I wouldn’t be surprised, other than, of course, there is no Hommy Tanson.  As for my Scherzer fantasy, it’s under where it says Scherzer fantasy.  I’m drafting Scherzer all over the place and haven’t been this giddy since the first time I touched a boob.  2011 Projections:  14-9/3.40/1.22/210

24. Matt Cain – Member when we let things like xFIP dictate whether or not we were going to draft Cain?  Those were the days, huh?  It was way back in 2010 when we found out a hashtag wasn’t a breakfast item, meat could be worn as a dress and our suspicions were confirmed that a union of Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson made no sense.  Cain is nothing but a 3.50 ERA pitcher with solid Ks, which isn’t bad unless you don’t like number two fantasy starters.  2011 Projections:  13-9/3.50/1.12/180

25. Brett Anderson – During last year’s preseason, I warned you to avoid Anderson because of his innings in 2009.  (Kinda like I’m doing this year with Latos.)  Now that we got 2010 out of the way, we’re back in again on Anderson.  The K-rate that fell to a 6 per nine will bounce back a K or so.  The ERA will be around a low 3.  And he might only win three games because of the A’s hitting.  We’re going to ignore that bit of potential trouble.  2011 Projections:  10-6/3.15/1.18/150

26. Chad Billingsley – He feels like an elder statesman, but he’ll only be 26 years old entering the 2011 season.  Not sure if we ever see the huge Cy Young-type season I once imagined for him, but he’s been a fairly consistent 3.50-ish ERA and around 8 Ks per nine pitcher.  God willingsley, he won’t try to imitate Dorothy Hamill this year.  2011 Projections:  14-8/3.50/1.22/185

27. Chris Carpenter – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Nolasco.  I call this tier, “Some ‘perts are drafting these guys.  I’m not.”  I’m sorry, I just can’t get on board drafting Carpenter.  I mean, I would draft him if he were to fall this low, but it’s not happening.  He gets drafted way too early for me when I look at his K-rate and his age.  You have to draft him as a number one, and, for me, he’s not a number one.  2011 Projections:  14-10/3.45/1.15/150

28. Tim Hudson – I’ll be honest, I almost put Hudson in a tier of guys I would draft.  In fact, I did put him in a tier of guys I don’t want, then switched him to a tier of guys I do want, then switched him back to a tier of guys I don’t want, then I went to the bathroom and forgot what I was doing otherwise I might’ve switched him back again.  What ultimately had me skipping Hudson is his K-rate last year.  I just can’t roll with a 5.47 K-rate, even if he was better at striking guys out in the 2nd half of the year.  2011 Projections:  14-10/3.75/1.20/130

29. Phil Hughes – Know when I’m going to draft Phil Hughes?  After he’s traded away from the Yankees.  Nothing personal.  He just had the 2nd worst fly ball rate in the majors and he plays in The House They Built Next To The House That Ruth Built.  Just can’t draft that headache.  2011 Projections:  14-11/4.00/1.22/160

30. Josh Beckett – I’m getting the sense that people are whirlybirding around Beckett like he’s about to resurrect from the dead.  Yeah, um, maybe, but I have enough stress in my life just waiting for my Netflix Instant Queue to buffer.  I don’t need to pray Beckett’s better in the AL East while pitching in Fenway.  2011 Projections:  15-9/4.15/1.24/170

31. Trevor Cahill – Makes sense that Cahill can’t even buy a K in his last name.  In 2009, Cahill’s K-rate was 4.53.  Last year, it was 5.40.  It’s a good trend but I’ll wait until 2012 when it’s actually up to something presentable.  No Ks is a than, but no thans.  He’ll probably have an ERA over 4.00 in 2011, but I’ll be generous and give him… 2011 Projections:  8-9/3.90/1.15/130

32. Ricky Nolasco – Underlying numbers, schmunderlying numbers.  In his career, he’s had one year of an ERA below 4.50. Let him figure it out on someone else’s team.  You owe it to your ulcer.  2011 Projections:  12-7/4.35/1.25/170

33. Shaun Marcum – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Volquez.  I call this tier, “I kinda love these guys.”  I touched on Marcum briefly in the Adrian Gonzalez trade post.  He needs more press from me.  He was solid in the AL East, now he gets the NL Central.  Here’s my doesn’t-really-make-any-sense-whatsoever-and-is-not-really-reliant-on-anything-but-my-gut prediction, Marcum’s starting the All-Star Game.  You heard it here first!  (But please forget I said anything about this if he has a poor April.)  Nonsense, hedging parenthetical!  Marcum’s going to have a terrific year.  Go all in, loyal Razzball reader.  2011 Projections:  15-8/3.35/1.15/185

34. Daniel HudsonDaniel Hudson is getting a sleeper post this afternoon.  I originally wrote the post on the back of my Trapper Keeper with a giant heart around the whole thing then transcribed it into WordPress.  2011 Projections:  12-9/3.50/1.18/190

35. Gio Gonzalez – He went 13 innings over the 30 inning Verducci threshold last year, but Verducci’s a crackpot who told you to avoid F-Her, Latos and Josh Johnson last year.  I’m sorry, but he’s throwing darts at a board.  Can we all agree to never listen to him again?  This year I expect Gio to up his K-rate from 7.67 to a mid-8 and to keep his walk rate (which isn’t great) around where it is or lower it slightly.  It’s a step forward, ya’ll.  Maybe he slows down next September but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.  2011 Projections:  12-8/3.60/1.28/195

36. Edinson Volquez – I already drooled out a Edinson fantasy post.  2011 Projections:  13-9/3.80/1.35/190

37. Ted Lilly – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Dempster.  I call this tier, “Kinda boring, but reliable number three starters.”  I don’t think anyone gets up and does a jig after drafting a guy in this tier.  There might’ve been a time when the Wandwagon brought you some excitement, but, let’s face it, the only one excited about owning an Astros pitcher is Ed Wade’s toupee.  These pitchers are good to balance out a little bit too much upside in your number two starter like, say, Volquez or Gio.  As for Lilly, he’s about as reliable as they come.  With him pitching the whole year in the NL West, you might even get lucky and find yourself with a solid number two to borderline one fantasy starter.  For instance, Hudson was in my boring tier last year and he far exceeded it.  2011 Projections:  13-9/3.55/1.12/155

38. Wandy Rodriguez – As I went through the top 40 starters, something became apparent.  There’s a crapton of guys I’d draft.  I might be able to grab four starters from the first 40 guys.  And we haven’t even got to my upside 4th and 5th starters yet like Romero, Bumgarner and everyone’s favorite, Yo-Lease.  As for Wandy, he’s a reliable number three fantasy starter.  Don’t expect more and you won’t be disappointed.  2011 Projections:  10-12/3.65/1.28/180

39. Hiroki Kuroda – Hiroki is basically Wandy without the upside, and Wandy doesn’t really have any upside.  Or does he?!  Keep in mind that if you draft Kuroda, you will probably grow bored of him and want to drop him.  2011 Projections:  12-9/3.45/1.18/140

40. Ryan Dempster – You might’ve noticed that C.J. Wilson didn’t even make this list.  He’ll be in the top 60 starters.  It takes me a long time to trust these converted reliever guys.  It’s called being stubborn.  But you can’t say I’m in denial.  As George Bush said to the Iraqi Information Minister, “No sir ree Bob!”  2011 Projections:  14-11/3.85/1.30/190

 
  1. Black Beard says:
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    Great post. 100% agree on Scherzer, he’ll probably be on all my teams.

    Surprised no Morrow in the top 40. Looking forward to hearing your take on him.

  2. Giant JJ says:
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    Your 21-40 SP ranking has me beaming with confidence for 2011. I haven’t felt this giddy since Cody Ross did the River Dance on home plate on Nov 3, 2010.

  3. Alex says:
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    No Jonathon Sanchez? He’s gotta be close though right? also it seems weird that Buchholz was #20 when Haren’s projected stats are so much better does this take into account draft position?

  4. Loving 21-40.

  5. Curt says:
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    Where’s De la rosa or CJ wilson?……..

  6. Jeff says:
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    “So I’ll have one starter from the first twenty and two from this”

    Is this for a 12 team league, 5 SP’s? Just trying to gauge what I need to shoot for in my leagues, a 16 team where we start 8 Pitchers (doesn’t matter is SP or RP) and a 12 team league where we start 5 SP, 3RP, and 1 Pitcher.

  7. Tony says:
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    lots of delicious nuggets in these rankings…. dan haren might be #21 and he’s earned it for roto, H2H stay away, he’s not worth the headache and no one in their right mind will take him in trade, especially if he can’t put up his solid first half even!

  8. Cain Fan says:
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    Figures when I am almost set on dropping Cain from my keepers that Grey finally pushes him! Razzers which 2 would you keep in this group (no restrictions or penalties – R, HR, RBI, SB, OBP, K for hitters and the 5 + H/9 for pitchers): Locks – Teix, Kemp, Dunn, Phillips, Felix, Lester. 2 from – McCann, Jeter, Pence, Cain. Gracias!

  9. quimmy says:
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    good morning all. took part in my first razz mock draft over at mdc last night. good time.

    C Jarrod Saltalamacchia R21 P5
    1B Adam Dunn R3 P5
    1B Carlos Pena R10 P8
    2B Ian Kinsler R5 P5
    2B Juan Uribe R20 P8
    SS Hanley Ramirez R1 P5
    3B Adrian Beltre R4 P8
    OF Carl Crawford R2 P8
    OF Jay Bruce R6 P8
    OF Delmon Young R8 P8
    OF Adam Jones R12 P8
    OF Angel Pagan R16 P8
    DH Luke Scott R19 P5
    SP Cole Hamels R7 P5
    SP Max Scherzer R9 P5
    SP Tim Hudson R11 P5
    SP Dan Hudson R13 P5
    SP Javier Vazquez R18 P8
    SP Brian Matusz R22 P8
    SP Brandon Webb R23 P5
    RP Francisco Cordero R14 P8
    RP Brad Lidge R15 P5
    RP Frank Francisco R17 P5
    RP Evan Meek R24 P8
    RP Aroldis Chapman R25 P5

    Thoughts?

  10. PepeSilvia says:
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    Kinda confused about you putting the Carpenter tier ahead of the Marcum tier. I know the Carpenters are getting drafted way ahead of the Marcums, but judging by your projections you obviously like Daniel Hudson way better than Cahill.

  11. PepeSilvia says:
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    Sorry, meant to say a bit more. My point is that if I’m going to use your rankings as a reference when drafting, seems like it would be more helpful to see the guys in the actual order you think they’ll perform, rather than see Nolasco at #32 and have to remember, “oh, Grey ACTUALLY likes Gonzalez way better.”

  12. LMack says:
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    Very nice list. I see you mention CJ Wilson, but he is not the Rangers pitcher I’m concerned with.

    I love Colby Lewis. Better K/9 than Ceej, better BB/9 than Ceej, subsequent better FIP, and xFIP than Ceej. If Colby can hold the ground he’s gained by keeping the BB/9 down, *drool* I see you point to Lewis’ high FB tendencies, his home ball park’s HR factor, and his HR/9 problems and I nod.
    But it still makes me sad that you do not love Colby Lewis as much as I do.

  13. Doug says:
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    Always looking to see if Jonathan Sanchez makes it inside the top 50 on lists. Control always a bit of an issue but career line with more than 9 K’s per 9 is noteworthy. WHIP and ERA better each of the last four seasons.

  14. Frank Rizzo says:
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    Wow. I’m really surprised not to see Garza in this group. No love for a guy switching from the AL East to the NL Central?

  15. Swagger Jackers says:
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    I’m surprised Volquez and Beckett are that high up. Based on the mocks I’ve seen, you’ll be able to get those guys much later. I’d rather have guys like Colby Lewis, Chacin, Morrow anyway.

  16. Mick Mac says:
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    Love me the boring tier, especially Lilly and Kuroda. Also, Haren and Hanson should outproduce a bunch of guys from the top 20 (Jimenez, Hamels, Oswalt, Gallardo and Buchholz).

    Grey, can you explain why you think Billingsley is suddenly going to put up a 1.22 WHIP after having WHIPs of 1.33, 1.34, 1.32, and 1.28 the last four years? Gallardo is younger and could improve (he did have better control last year), but his projected 1.24 WHIP also seems very optimistic after putting up 1.31 and 1.37 the last two years.

    Also, you say Latos threw too many innings last year but you also criticize the Verducci Effect (Latos is on Verducci’s list again this year). What’s your standard for a dangerous innings increase if it’s different from Verducci’s? Obviously there were plenty of guys on the VE list last year who didn’t get hurt and pitched great, but it does increase the risk of a pitcher in my mind if they’re on that list.

  17. Hebrew says:
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    I have 3 sps kept in wainwright ($14), hamels ($19), and weaver ($15). its a 12 team league and we start 9 total pitchers per week.

    standard league (2c, 1b, 2b, 3b ,ss, ci, mi , 5 of, and util) $260 budget.

    If I am going to draft 6 starting pitchers and 3 relievers and 3 of my starters are the 3 mentioned above, what pitchers should i target to round out my staff?

  18. Oregon Nut Cups

    Oregon Nut Cups says:
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    Daniel Hudson pretty much got me in the playoffs and won my league last year since he was my 5th ‘reliable’ starter. I’m glad to see you in on the bullish trend, Grey. I just hope I can get him for the right price in my league.

  19. LMack says:
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    Colby Lewis’ slider saves children from burning buildings and impregnates women.

  20. Tony says:
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    @grey: in a 12 teamer what round are you looking to snag up Daniel Hudson? Whats the earliest?

  21. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @Dingo: I like that the author brings up Brandon Belt as a sleeper. Not much reasoning behind the logic either. Plus, he’s thinking he’s a 20/20 hitter. Most of those steals came when he was in the lower minors. He’s not going to be a 15 steals first baseman.

  22. quimmy says:
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    @Grey: You are so hard to please!!!!!!!! I keed. Thanks for the input sir.

  23. RemDog Whisperer says:
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    Scherzer and Hudson added a nice boost in the second half on the way to the championship.

    (Random) I just read the Rickie Weeks post…nice work! How many ABs for those projections?

  24. Cole says:
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    Hypothetical sitch. In a draft if I already had three solid SP’s that are not upside guys, but the sound predictable type, would you then pass on the Lilly, Kuroda, Dempster types in the middle rounds for more upside potential like Colby or Chachin? Or would you further stabilize your rotation with another safe player? I say this assuming you like your hitting at that point in the draft.

  25. carlos marmLOL says:
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    Great stuff, I’d love to see an article by a Tom Tango or some saber nut explaining why Matt Cain always exceeds his peripherals and Ricky Nolasco never lives up to them.

  26. RemDog Whisperer says:
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    To Baustista, “You had a nice run, but Castro is coming, Castro is coming,” (Fidel, not Starlin)

  27. little bunny foofoo says:
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    If I’m keeping Hanson/Tim Hudson/Lilly, at what point is it time to grab another starter?

    I’d figure the proper tack-on there is a K/W guy and I’d think a Hamels/Greinke/Gallardo/Haren type would fit the bill for the late sp1/good sp2 type I’d want to complement Hanson

  28. Wilsoniam says:
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    grey,
    marcum threw a ton of innings last year after a year where he didnt throw anything. how come latos we worry about because of the jump, but marcum we dont worry about and go all in?

  29. KCC26 says:
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    I have my leanings already, but would love anyone’s input here: I can keep 3 players from last year’s team. I traded my best keepers last year to go all in on a championship run, so my options are fairly mediocre. Which three to keep?

    player pick with which he can be kept:

    Pujols Rd1, P10
    Teixiera Rd2, P3
    Cano Rd 2, P3
    Youkilis- Rd3, P10
    Wainwright- Rd6, P3
    Werth- Rd7, P10
    Choo- Rd7, P10
    Weaver- Rd8, P3
    Colby Lewis- Rd17, P10
    Shaun Marcum/Jhoulys- either can be kept in Rd18, P3

    pitchers really represent best value. but with so much pitching available late in drafts, how many of my 3 spots can i reasonably afford to sacrifice on SPs?

  30. Grey

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

  31. Rob says:
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    just a comment, on the rankings tab this shows up at 2010 top 40 SP

  32. jay74 says:
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    Draft Strategy for a 14 team 5×5 Roto Keeper League in which only 17 of the top 40 SP are available? Other positions are between 12 and 16 of the top 20 available. Still go for the bats or draft SP early? I’m sitting with Hanson, Romero, Chacin, Morrow, and Wade Davis as keepers, but still feel I need a #1 SP. Help!

  33. jay74 says:
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    Oh and it’s a 12 hitter/12 pitcher league….

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