Here are some very preliminary 2014 starter rankings for your perusal. Try not to take the lists all too seriously; I haven't actually done projections for any of these players and many, many changes will be in store for the first official rankings in January.
These aren't true keeper rankings, since only the 2014 season is being taken into consideration here. But if you're looking to make trades in keeper leagues in the coming weeks, I hope this piece will help you along.
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Click to see other preliminary 2014 rankings:
Top 300 | SP | RP | OF | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | C | DH
2014 Starting pitcher Rankings
- I'm pretty sure I'll have Kershaw at the top again next year. The rest of the top 12 could get jumbled again. Verlander could come in as high as No. 2 if his velocity comes back, but right now, I have him towards the bottom of the top tier. King Felix is fascinating; he has his highest ever K rate and swing-and-miss rate this year, even though his velocity has continued to decline. He's looking like the AL's best pitcher right now.
- Shields is nearly a lock to have his option exercised by the Royals, so the top free agent starters look like Garza, Kuroda, Josh Johnson, Burnett, Hughes, Ervin Santana, Lincecum, Tim Hudson, De La Rosa and Colon, with Halladay and Chris Carpenter as wild cards. Lester probably won't be in the mix; even though he's been a disappointment, his $13 million option is likely to be exercised by the Red Sox.
- Just for fun, here's the breakdown of the 150 starters by team. I'm including Shields and Lester with their current teams, but not Halladay, Jimenez, Rodriguez or Vogelsong, since their options aren't as assured of being picked up.
7 - Cardinals, Diamondbacks
6 - Athletics
5 - Braves, Cubs, Dodgers, Mets, Orioles, Pirates, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Tigers, White Sox
4 - Brewers, Mariners, Marlins, Nationals, Padres
3 - Astros, Blue Jays, Indians, Phillies, Royals
2 - Angels, Giants, Yankees
1 - Rockies, Twins
Some notable teams at the bottom of the list. The Yankees should be able to keep Kuroda, and they'll want one more starter to replace Hughes. If they pull that off and Pettitte comes back, that'd leave one spot for Pineda, Ivan Nova and David Phelps. The Giants need to decide on Vogelsong's $6.5 million option and replace Lincecum and Zito. Chad Gaudin is a free agent, too, so even if he maintains his surprising success, he can't be penciled in for 2014. The Angels owe Joe Blanton $7.5 million next year, so he'll likely rejoin Weaver and Wilson in the rotation. They're going to have to buy one starter, if not two.
- Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is a mystery to me, but he had to be in there somewhere. I slotted him in at No. 85 for now. He's expected to sign with a team within the next week or two.