Matthew Pouliot

Strike Zone

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Starter Keeper Rankings

Thursday, August 18, 2011

This year's final set of Strike Zone player rankings focuses strictly on 2012 and beyond. I'm looking mostly at the next two years in these keeper rankings, though I am providing a little credit for 2014 and '15. As always, there are position rankings with notes and an overall top 250 list.

Click to see other Keeper rankings:
Top 250 | SP | RP | OF | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | C | DH

  • This was the toughest list to put together. I was certain about No. 1, but not much after that. Even at age 34, Halladay still seems like the safest bet to me for these next couple of years. I went back and forth on Kershaw and Lincecum for the third spot. Lincecum is safer, but I think Kershaw has the better chance of claiming a Cy Young Award in 2012 or '13.

  • Strasburg jumps back into the rankings at No. 14. He pretty obviously has top-10 upside, but I want to see him stay healthy for a while before ranking him up there. I stuck Wainwright at No. 37, which may seem a little low given his near-Cy Young performances in 2009 and '10. The reasoning there is that his rehab from Tommy John surgery hasn't progressed as far as Strasburg's. I'll want to wait and see how he throws next spring before projecting an ace-type season from him next season.

  • Prospects considered for the list but coming up a little short included Drew Pomeranz (the prize for the Rockies in the Ubaldo Jimenez deal with Cleveland), Garrett Richards, Matt Harvey, the rehabbing Jenrry Mejia, Ross Detwiler and 2011 first-rounders Gerrit Cole of the Pirates and Danny Hultzen of the Mariners. I did make room for the third overall pick from the 2011 draft, the Diamondbacks' Trevor Bauer. Another who missed the cut was free agent Ben Sheets. He figures to give it another try next year after missing 2010 following Tommy John surgery. Also just missing the list were the Cubs' Andrew Cashner, the Orioles' Jake Arrieta and the Royals' Felipe Paulino.

  • RankPlayer NameTeam
    1 Roy Halladay Phillies
    2 Felix Hernandez Mariners
    3 Clayton Kershaw Dodgers
    4 Tim Lincecum Giants
    5 Justin Verlander Tigers
    6 Jon Lester Red Sox
    7 CC Sabathia Yankees
    8 Jered Weaver Angels
    9 David Price Rays
    10 Cliff Lee Phillies
    11 Tommy Hanson Braves
    12 Cole Hamels Phillies
    13 Matt Cain Giants
    14 Stephen Strasburg Nationals
    15 Madison Bumgarner Giants
    16 Zack Greinke Brewers
    17 Yovani Gallardo Brewers
    18 Dan Haren Angels
    19 Josh Beckett Red Sox
    20 Michael Pineda Mariners
    21 Mat Latos Padres
    22 Jordan Zimmermann Nationals
    23 Jeremy Hellickson Rays
    24 Shaun Marcum Brewers
    25 Gio Gonzalez Athletics
    26 Josh Johnson Marlins
    27 Jaime Garcia Cardinals
    28 Ricky Romero Blue Jays
    29 Ubaldo Jimenez Indians
    30 Ian Kennedy Diamondbacks
    31 James Shields Rays
    32 Matt Garza Cubs
    33 Daniel Hudson Diamondbacks
    34 Tim Hudson Braves
    35 Johnny Cueto Reds
    36 C.J. Wilson Rangers
    37 Adam Wainwright Cardinals
    38 Chris Carpenter Cardinals
    39 Jhoulys Chacin Rockies
    40 Trevor Cahill Athletics
    41 Chad Billingsley Dodgers
    42 Cory Luebke Padres
    43 Max Scherzer Tigers
    44 Clay Buchholz Red Sox
    45 John Danks White Sox
    46 Ricky Nolasco Marlins
    47 Anibal Sanchez Marlins
    48 Brandon Beachy Braves
    49 Matt Moore Rays
    50 Brandon Morrow Blue Jays
    51 Ervin Santana Angels
    52 Francisco Liriano Twins
    53 Jair Jurrjens Braves
    54 Edwin Jackson Cardinals
    55 Johan Santana Mets
    56 Alexi Ogando Rangers
    57 Brian Matusz Orioles
    58 Wandy Rodriguez Astros
    59 Colby Lewis Rangers
    60 Justin Masterson Indians
    61 Ryan Dempster Cubs
    62 Derek Holland Rangers
    63 Jon Niese Mets
    64 Gavin Floyd White Sox
    65 Roy Oswalt Phillies
    66 Jake Peavy White Sox
    67 Julio Teheran Braves
    68 R.A. Dickey Mets
    69 Scott Baker Twins
    70 Chris Sale White Sox
    71 Hiroki Kuroda Dodgers
    72 Edinson Volquez Reds
    73 A.J. Burnett Yankees
    74 Phil Hughes Yankees
    75 Zach Britton Orioles
    76 Jeff Niemann Rays
    77 Kyle Drabek Blue Jays
    78 Jonathan Sanchez Giants
    79 Erik Bedard Red Sox
    80 Ted Lilly Dodgers
    81 Bud Norris Astros
    82 Mike Minor Braves
    83 Brian Duensing Twins
    84 Carlos Zambrano Cubs
    85 Shelby Miller Cardinals
    86 Mark Buehrle White Sox
    87 Vance Worley Phillies
    88 Tim Stauffer Padres
    89 Mike Leake Reds
    90 Brett Anderson Athletics
    91 Matt Harrison Rangers
    92 James McDonald Pirates
    93 Homer Bailey Reds
    94 Ivan Nova Yankees
    95 John Lackey Red Sox
    96 Jordan Lyles Astros
    97 Mike Pelfrey Mets
    98 Danny Duffy Royals
    99 Clayton Richard Padres
    100 Charlie Morton Pirates
    101 Kevin Slowey Twins
    102 Ryan Vogelsong Giants
    103 Bronson Arroyo Reds
    104 Dallas Braden Athletics
    105 Bartolo Colon Yankees
    106 Tyler Chatwood Angels
    107 Brandon McCarthy Athletics
    108 Aaron Harang Padres
    109 Randy Wolf Brewers
    110 Brett Myers Astros
    111 Jeremy Guthrie Orioles
    112 Rick Porcello Tigers
    113 Jorge De La Rosa Rockies
    114 Charlie Furbush Mariners
    115 Jason Vargas Mariners
    116 Wade Davis Rays
    117 Doug Fister Tigers
    118 Javier Vazquez Marlins
    119 Joe Blanton Phillies
    120 Rich Harden Athletics
    121 Derek Lowe Braves
    122 Trevor Bauer Diamondbacks
    123 Jake Westbrook Cardinals
    124 Paul Maholm Pirates
    125 Hisashi Iwakuma Japan
    126 Brett Cecil Blue Jays
    127 Manny Banuelos Yankees
    128 Carlos Carrasco Indians
    129 Joe Saunders Diamondbacks
    130 Carl Pavano Twins

    Matthew Pouliot is the Executive Editor of and has been doing the site's baseball projections for the last 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @matthewpouliot.
    Email :Matthew Pouliot

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