2014 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Starting Pitchers

These 2014 Fantasy Baseball Closer Rankings will be updated occasionally, so make sure you check back from time to time. Also, be sure to check out WalterFootball.com’s 2014 Fantasy Football articles, which will include sleepers, busts, tons of 2014 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

  1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
    I�m not gonna write too much on Kershaw. He�s the best pitcher in the game. If Kershaw isn’t the first pitcher off the board, something is wrong. He�s the Calvin Johnson of fantasy baseball. Kershaw’s the first of his position off the board every year and probably the only pitcher I�d consider in the first two rounds of a draft.

    Projections: 16 W 8 L 2.65 ERA 1.00 WHIP 216 K

  2. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
    Wainwright is incredibly consistent and is worth taking because of it. His curveball is ridiculous; he doesn’t walk many batters; and he plays on a really good team. Wainwright is a stabilizer for any fantasy-pitching staff. The only thing he is missing is elite strikeout numbers. If you feel those are really important, drop him down a few slots. I have him this high because of the win totals he will bring to your team.

    Projections: 16 W 9 L .2.84 ERA 1.11 WHIP 194 K

  3. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies Dynasty –
    Why does Cliff Lee have to be with the Phillies. Uck. Anyhow, Lee would be a Cy Young candidate every year if his club would be able to get him some more wins. He amazingly has figured out how to strike out more hitters as he has gotten older. His ERA is always stellar and he walks a batter LESS THAN ONCE A GAME. That’s simply out of this world good,

    Projections: 14 W 8 L 2.99 ERA 1.03 WHIP 202 K

  4. Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
    Darvish turned in an excellent 2013 season and could have been the Cy Young had he not suffered an injury late in the year. Darvish has a few things working against him that have me just the slightest bit concerned. He has a larger walk rate then one would like, and he plays in Texas, where those walks could come back to haunt him. However, Darvish has done a great job of keeping the ball in the park over his career, so that’s just being picky.

    Projections: 15 W 8 L .3.21 ERA 1.19 WHIP 231 K

  5. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
    Strasburg was maddeningly inconsistent last season. He would have a game where he would look like the best pitcher in the game and then follow it up with a mediocre performance. Strasburg is still just 25, so hopefully he puts the consistency into his repertoire this season. If he does, Strasburg easily could push for the No. 2-pitcher ranking.

    Projections: 15 W 8 L 3.04 ERA 1.14 WHIP 202 K

  6. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
    It blows my mind that I am able to put sleeper next to Justin Verlander�s name. He�s ranked out of the top 10 by most sites. The detractors will point to a slight velocity loss, which is true. However, Verlander should now have adjusted and should return to top form. The defense behind him was abysmal last season. This is a guy who doesn’t get hurt and from 2009 to 2012 was the best pitcher in the game. Get him on the cheap this year and laugh at the haters.

    Projections: 17 W 7 L 3.20 ERA 1.18 WHIP 217 K

  7. Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers
    Scherzer has been absolutely dominant the past two seasons and should be drafted highly in your draft. He is a strikeout machine, and you should have no problems with him in your lineup. Playing in Detroit really allows him to pile up the wins. The park also helps him in that he has a huge flyball percentage (47 percent of balls hit off of him are flyballs). Still, draft him as an elite pitcher like many others will.

    Projections: 15 W 8 L 3.14 ERA 1.28 WHIP 207 K

  8. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
    King Felix is the last of the “can’t miss” top-tier starting pitchers. The Mariners have sucked for so long that Hernandez rarely gets his due. He has amazingly increased his strikeout rate and decreased his walk rate each of the last three seasons. Note … they weren�t bad before. Now that the Mariners have actually spent some money on some hitting, Hernandez may actually get up to 15+ wins.

    Projections: 14 W 9 L 2.97 ERA 1.17 WHIP 209 K

  9. Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
    Sale was a revelation for the White Sox and fantasy owners in 2013. He is absolutely filthy against left-handed hitters (.135 batting average against with zero – that’s right ZERO – home runs hit off of him). Sale is lower because the White Sox are gruesomely bad, as are his mechanics. He manages to make it work, but I worry about the innings of the herky-jerky motion he has. Also, bench him when he plays the Indians; they destroyed him 4 times last season.

    Projections: 13 W 9 L 3.16 ERA 1.25 WHIP 206 K

  10. Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins Dynasty+
    Everyone loves this kid, and as well they should. He is just 21 years old and blew the fans away in 2013 at Marlins Park (well, the fans that showed up anyhow). My concerns are that hitters now have tape on him and a lot of pitchers have a bit tougher of a time their second year in the majors. Also, Fernandez got incredibly lucky last year (less than one out of every four balls hit off of him made it for a hit, which led the majors). Outside of that, the strikeout potential is huge and the talent is indescribable.

    Projections: 14 W 10 L 3.19 ERA 1.18 WHIP 203 K

  11. Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
    The 24-year-old with the funny last name has been greatly effective for the Giants the past three seasons. He has never had an ERA over 3.40 and puts up respectable strikeout numbers. His home park is huge, and he succeeds greatly while there. Bumgarner is only 24, so there is some room for growth. He has been as consistent as they come and doesn’t come with a high price as he doesn’t have a huge name-recognition fan base yet.

    Projections: 12 W 9 L 3.18 ERA 1.11 WHIP 190 K

  12. James Shields, Kansas City Royals Sleeper
    Shields may be the most underrated pitcher in all of baseball. This could be because he has played for small-market teams in Tampa and Kansas City, or it could be because he simply does everything great, but nothing elite. Expect solid numbers across the board and enjoy the proven steady veteran arm. He also is in a contract year that should give him extra incentive.

    Projections: 14 W 9 L 3.33 ERA 1.21 WHIP 190 K

  13. Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals
    Gonzalez has put up four consecutive solid seasons, and I am willing to buy into him this coming season. His main issue has always been his control, so he will harm your WHIP rate if your league uses that as a stat. However, Gonzalez strikes out plenty and will get a fair amount of wins. His ERA should come well below 3.50. He’s a solid No. 2 pitcher for your squad.

    Projections: 13 W 10 L 3.40 ERA 1.25 WHIP 190 K

  14. Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds
    Bailey may be the third Reds pitcher off the board in your draft, but he should be the first. Bailey has lowered his WHIP each of the past four seasons and added strike outs to his numbers last year. A post-hype sleeper, he now enters the prime of his career after seemingly have the lights click on for him last year. A definite steal who you can get much later than this 14t- place ranking.

    Projections: 14 W 8 L 3.42 ERA 1.18WHIP 180 K

  15. David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
    Price had two different seasons last year. In his first handful or so of starts, he was absolutely terrible. He was getting crushed and eventually the Rays put him on the disabled list for �arm soreness,� i.e. they gave him a mental break. Price came back and returned to the Cy Young form he previously had. If Price continues down that road, he will be a steal. However, which Price shows up is for you to decide.

    Projections: 13 W 9 L 3.14 ERA 1.11 WHIP 175 K

  16. Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants
    See Price, David. Cain inexplicably started giving up home runs like they were candy during the first half of last season (16 bombs in all). However, after the break, he rounded into form and showed why he was one of the safest picks in the league for years. 2014 should be a return to normal numbers, but beware if Cain starts getting torched early, a regression may be in line.

    Projections: 13 W 10 L 3.50 ERA 1.15 WHIP 170 K

  17. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies
    Hamels has become more hittable each of the past three seasons and as pointed out earlier, I expect the Phillies to be a train wreck this upcoming season. His ERA and WHIP are headed in the wrong direction. He still strikes out a ton of batters, and that’s where his value lies. If you don’t mind not getting many wins and want a guy who won�t hurt your other ratios, Hamels is a good pick. Just don�t expect to see him on my team.

    Projections: 10 W 7 L 3.40 ERA 1.14 WHIP 166 K

  18. Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers
    Once a dominant strikeout pitcher, Greinke has refined his game with age. He now pitches more to contact and walks a lot fewer batters. Playing for the Dodgers should net Greinke a lot of wins. However, he has an extensive injury history and may even miss the beginning of the season. Buyer beware.

    Projections: 14 W 9 L 3.23 ERA 1.14 WHIP 177 K

  19. Jordan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals
    Zimmerman has shown improved command every season with the Nationals. He posts OK strikeout numbers and is a solid pitcher with a good ERA and WHIP. Wins, as with most, depends on how well his team does this season. The valuation will fluctuate based upon this, but Zimmerman is a completely solid pitcher who could be a low-end No. 2, or high-end No. 3 for your team.

    Projections: 13 W 8 L 3.42 ERA 1.16 WHIP 148 K

  20. Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves Dynasty+
    Julio Teheran (where did tehrun to? sorry, couldn’t help it) would’ve been a shoo-in for rookie of the year last season if it wasn’t for Jose Fernandez. Teheran struck out a ridiculous eight batters for every batter who he walked. Teheran gives up a few too many home runs, but that shouldn’t really be an issue. The Braves’ offense needs to click for him to reach his maximum value. It was once believed that he may be on an innings limit, but with all the injuries to Atlanta’s staff, those have vanished.

    Projections: 14 W 9 L 3.67 ERA 1.23 WHIP 168 K

  21. Garrett Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates Dynasty+
    Cole won 10 of his 19 starts for the Pirates last year and posted excellent peripheral numbers. Compared to the other rookies from last season, Cole forced a lot of ground balls and kept home-run rates low. This makes him the safest play amongst the second-year pitchers. He does not have the talent of Teheran or Fernandez, but his floor is much higher.

    Projections: 13 W 10 L 3.40 ERA 1.24 WHIP 154 K

  22. Matt Latos, Cincinnati Reds
    Latos has all the makings of a great big-league pitcher. He strikes out a good amount of hitters, and despite playing in Cincinnati, he allowed only 14 home runs. Latos should remain a top-notch starter this season and for the foreseeable future. His ranking this low is due to offseason knee surgery, which sometimes has lingering effects on pitchers with his motion.

    Projections: 12 W 8 L 3.54 ERA 1.20 WHIP 166 K

  23. Mike Minor, Atlanta Braves
    Minor has lowered his ERA and WHIP each of the past two seasons. He really turned the corner in the second half of 2012 and never looked back. Minor has a downside in that he allows a ton of fly balls that can lead to bloated starts. In a season-long league, those should be offset by his other starts and he should be a rock for your rotation.

    Update: Minor had a, wait for it, a “Minor” injury in the spring and may start the season on the disabled list.

    Projections: 11 W 9 L 3.60 ERA 1.12 WHIP 155 K

  24. Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox
    Lester welcomed back his former pitching coach John Farrell as his manager last year and his numbers rebounded. Lester no longer is the strikeout king he once was. However, Lester has learned how to use his arsenal in a different way and has actually become a more successful “real life” pitcher. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help us in fantasy – besides stuffing his win total.

    Projections: 15 W 9 L 3.82 ERA 1.31 WHIP 171 K

  25. Anibal Sanchez, Detroit Tigers
    Sanchez came into Detroit as a mid-level starter and performed like an ace. I am always a bit skeptical of someone who basically doubles his production at 30 years of age. Sanchez basically cut his home-runs allowed in half last year. I think he is going to have a hard time repeating that, and it should lead to a higher ERA and WHIP. Don’t draft Sanchez as a top-15 pitcher like most drafts have going.

    Projections: 12 W 7 L 3.51 ERA 1.26 WHIP 189 K

  26. Andrew Cashner, San Diego Padres
    Three out of every four starts were quality for Cashner in the second half of 2013. His numbers at home in San Diego are absolutely Cy Young worthy. The only thing that keeps him lower on this list is that he is not a strikeout kind of guy. There are durability concerns as before last year he was used only as a reliever. If Cashner just continues his success from the second half of last season, this Padre will be a steal for you.

    Projections: 11 W 11 L 3.48 ERA 1.18 WHIP 160 K

  27. Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals
    Wacha was an absolute force for the Cardinals in September and in the postseason. In three of his last five regular-season starts, he didn’t allow a single run. Now, one of the biggest mistakes drafters make is taking a super small 1-or 2-month sample of a youngster and projecting it over the course of the following seasons. Wacha won’t be able to keep up last year’s numbers, but he should be a successful middle-of-the-rotation pitcher this season.

    Projections: 14 W 10 L 3.55 ERA 1.25 WHIP 160 K

  28. Jeff Samardzija, Chicago Cubs
    Jeff, no I am not typing his last name again, is a strikeout machine. Unfortunately, his ERA and WHIP has risen steadily throughout his career. I really like his make-up though and rumors of him being traded need to come true for him to be deemed a middle-of-the-rotation fantasy pitcher. I am putting him here in hopes that it happens, because his value will immediately skyrocket outside of Wrigley Field.

    Projections: 11 W 12 L 3.67 ERA 1.24 WHIP 196 K

  29. Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay Rays
    Cobb won half the games he started last year and provides both solid walk and strikeout rates. He plays with a superb defense behind him and should be able to win 12-15 games this season. Cobb is now entering the prime of his career and should be a starter worth owning in all fantasy formats this upcoming season.

    Projections: 14 W 9 L 3.45 ERA 1.22 WHIP 163 K

  30. Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays
    Moore is a guy I have owned in many leagues over the years. His stuff is undeniable, and he has been working on a changeup that could be a huge difference-maker if he can throw it for strikes. Moore has had command issues with all of his pitches, which have led to extremely high walk ratios that have killed his WHIP value. Still, he generally puts up a solid ERA and a nice win total, plus dominates in strike outs – especially against lefties.

    Projections: 12 W 10 L 3.60 ERA 1.30 WHIP 188 K

  31. Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds
    Cueto was once in the yearly running for the National League Cy Young Award. Recently, he has had trouble staying healthy. Cueto has had four trips to the disabled list in the past three seasons. When he is healthy, he has an amazing ERA and solid-enough WHIP. Cueto should be able to win a bunch of games with the Reds as well. Not a huge strikeout guy, Cueto can be a top-20 guy IF he stays healthy

    Projections: 12 W 8 L 3.21 ERA 1.20 WHIP 130 K

  32. Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates
    For those who bought low on last year, congratulations, you hit the jackpot. He was lights out against left-handed hitters last year, allowing only two extra base hits all season. Liriano throws an obscene amount of sliders however, which put a lot of torque on the arm. With his already cluttered injury history, don’t expect another disabled-list-free season

    Projections: 11 W 11 L 3.22 ERA 1.24 WHIP 170 K

  33. Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels
    Weaver has lost a few ticks off his fastball in the past few seasons, which have led to lower strikeout totals and more balls put in play. He has evened out some of these issues by walking far fewer batters than he once did. There is some buy-low opportunity here as Weaver is still an above-average pitcher; just don’t expect to get ace numbers out of him.

    Projections: 12 W 9 L 3.45 ERA 1.20 WHIP 141 K

  34. Sonny Grey, Oakland A�s
    Grey has been gradually climbing up draft boards this spring. He has increased his strikeout rate each year in the minors and even managed to strike out more batters last year in Oakland then he had in his minor-league stint. As mentioned earlier, I always err to the side of caution with pitchers who have a short call-up history to rely upon, but Grey indeed passes the eyeball test.

    Projections: 15 W 11 L 3.58 ERA 1.31 WHIP 162 K

  35. R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays
    R.A. Dickey had an astonishing season in 2012, but struggled mightily in 2013. Some have blamed this on a back injury that would not allow him to throw his hard knuckleball. Dickey is a bit of an unknown as most knuckleballers age gracefully, but he throws a much faster knuckle, which could be troublesome as he grows older. The truth in his numbers probably lies between last year and two years ago.

    Projections: 12 W 10 L 3.82 ERA 1.22 WHIP 177 K

  36. Jae Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers
    Ryu is the perfect No. 3 guy for your fantasy roster. He has a solid strikeout rate, doesn’t walk many, and plays in spacious Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers should also provide a lot of runs, and thus win potential. Last year, Ryu threw 30 games and was consistent for most of the season. Despite this being his second year, I don’t see much in terms of regression for 2014.

    Projections: 13 W 10 L 3.69 ERA 1.21 WHIP 154 K

  37. Ubaldo Jimenez, Baltimore Orioles
    Amazing arm and skill; terrible mechanics. This is the enigma who is Ubaldo Jimenez. He will dominate for months, but something will happen that will throw his mechanics out of whack, and he will then suck for a while. It’s how Jimenez has been his entire career. Last year, the stretch of good lasted much longer than the stretch of bad, and it landed him a nice contract with the Orioles. Beware of the inconsistencies and you will be ok.

    Projections:13 W 10 L 3.67 ERA 1.32 WHIP 183 K

  38. Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinal Dynasty+
    Miller has an electric set of pitches and is viewed as a better prospect than Michael Wacha in many circles in baseball. Why the low ranking? It always concerns me if a manager loses faith in a pitcher in the playoffs. Miller was missing in action during the month of October for St. Louis. That could just be a bump in the road. He’s definitely a No. 3 guy for a roster based on strikeout potential as he fans about a fourth of the batters he faces.

    Projections: 13 W 7 L 3.54 ERA 1.20 WHIP 158 K

  39. Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays Dynasty+
    Archer stepped right into the rotation spot that opened up in Tampa last year after an injury hit the team’s rotation. He looked right at home and finished with solid numbers across the board. Archer’s downside is that he really only has two pitches, a fastball and changeup. Archer has been working on a third pitch this spring, but really he should work on his command before toying with other pitches.

    Projections: 12 W 8 L 3.71 ERA 1.28 WHIP 157 K

  40. Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
    Tanaka has a very high ceiling, but I just don’t know enough about him to be able to fully recommend a high draft slot. Watching a spring start, I would put this year’s expectations right around what Ryu did last year. Those numbers would rank Tanaka higher, but I simply can’t tell you one way or the other what you will get.

    Projections: 13 W 10 L 3.65 ERA 1.26 WHIP 170 K

  41. Rounding out the top 50:

  42. Matt Garza, Texas Rangers

  43. Doug Fister, Washington Nationals

  44. Justin Masterson, Cleveland Indians

  45. Pat Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks

  46. Ervin Santana, Atlanta Braves

  47. Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians

  48. Tony Cingrani, Cincinnati Reds

  49. C.J. Wilson, Los Angeles Angels

  50. Huroki Kuroda, New York Yankees

  51. Scott Kazmir, Oakland A�s

More 2014 Fantasy Football Articles:
Fantasy Football Rankings

2014 Fantasy Football Rankings:
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks - 8/30 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends - 8/27 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defenses - 6/4 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Kickers - 6/4 (Walt)
Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings - 5/18 (Walt)
Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings: Dynasty - 8/22 (Walt)

2014 Fantasy Football Mock Drafts:
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 2-QB - 8/21 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Standard - 8/14 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: PPR - 8/12 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 3-WR - 8/7 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Standard - 7/31 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 3-WR - 7/24 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: PPR - 7/17 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Standard - 7/10 (Walt)

2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets:
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - PPR - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - 2-QB - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - TD - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Custom - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Spreadsheets - 8/28 (Walt)

2014 Fantasy Football Articles:
2014 Fantasy Football Stock Report: Training Camp - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football: It's All About Value - 9/1 (Kenny)
2014 Fantasy Football Sleepers - 8/31 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Busts - 8/31 (Walt)
2014 NFL Preseason Recap, Fantasy Football Notes - 8/30 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Preseason Stock - 8/30 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Quarterback Targets - 8/30 (Walt)
FanDuel $1 Million Contest - 8/30 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator - 8/30 (Walt)
Fantasy Football Round-by-Round Strategy - 8/17 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Stock Report: Running Backs - 3/28 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football: Overdrafted Players - 2/16 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football: First-Round Bust History - 2/14 (Walt)
Running Backs with Most Carries - 2/14 (Walt)

Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23

2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12

Injured/injury risk
Potential bust
Potential sleeper