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Scott Pianowski

Shuffle Up: Pricing the starting pitcher market

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Okay, amigos, let's get this party started. Here's how I'd price every starting pitcher worth owning if I were heading into a brand new mixer tonight.

A few assumptions: we're talking about 5x5 value here, so strikeouts matter. Don't get hung up on the actual prices but rather how the players rank compared to other players; that's the key. I reserve the right to tweak this list within 12 hours of initial posting; make a good argument and I'll consider it. And this list isn't made with the idea of justifying any previous list, pick or opinion I've floated out there this spring – I literally construct this list from scratch every time I do it. It's a complete re-do every time.

Bring your respectful disagreement in the comments, and bring a strong argument. It's cool if you don't agree – that's why we have a game. But support why you have a difference of opinion, further the conversation. Game on.

$35 Roy Halladay(notes)
$33 Tim Lincecum(notes)
$32 Felix Hernandez(notes)
$32 Cliff Lee(notes)
$31 Jon Lester(notes)
$30 Clayton Kershaw(notes)
$29 Josh Johnson(notes)
$28 CC Sabathia(notes)
$28 Cole Hamels(notes)
$27 Justin Verlander(notes)
$26 Ubaldo Jimenez(notes)
$26 Tommy Hanson(notes)
$26 Jered Weaver(notes)
$25 Yovani Gallardo(notes)
$25 Matt Cain(notes)

You can't go wrong with a Lester pick, but if he were in the National League, he'd probably be my No. 1 pitcher. … Lee sometimes goes a round or so under value, perhaps because he doesn't have that one "wow" pitch when you watch him. His best skill is spotting his fastball, putting it exactly where he wants it. But the walk/strikeout rate jumps off the page at you. … The only thing better than Kershaw's curve is hearing Vin Scully describe it.

$24 Dan Haren(notes)
$23 David Price(notes)
$22 Mat Latos(notes)
$22 Zack Greinke(notes)
$21 Roy Oswalt(notes)
$21 Max Scherzer(notes)
$20 Francisco Liriano(notes)
$20 Chris Carpenter(notes)
$20 Brett Anderson(notes)
$20 Ted Lilly(notes)
$19 Clay Buchholz(notes)
$19 Shaun Marcum(notes)
$19 Wandy Rodriguez(notes)
$19 Chad Billingsley(notes)
$19 Jonathan Sanchez(notes)
$19 Gio Gonzalez(notes)
$19 Ryan Dempster(notes)

Greinke probably would have been in my Top 5-6 arms if not for the ribs injury. How you feel about him today is probably a matter of style. … Hard to go wrong with the front of that Oakland rotation, factoring in the roomy park and all that extra foul territory. … Lilly's quietly been a WHIP master for a few years, and working in the NL West (LA, San Diego, San Francisco) has obvious advantages. You can always skim him away from Colorado if you so desire.

$18 Brandon Morrow(notes)
$17 Madison Bumgarner(notes)
$17 Hiroki Kuroda(notes)
$17 Daniel Hudson(notes)
$16 John Danks(notes)
$16 Matt Garza(notes)
$16 Colby Lewis(notes)
$15 Trevor Cahill(notes)
$15 Ricky Romero(notes)
$15 Tim Hudson(notes)
$14 Phil Hughes(notes)
$14 Jordan Zimmermann(notes)
$13 Javier Vazquez(notes)
$13 Brian Matusz(notes)
$13 Jaime Garcia(notes)
$13 Ervin Santana(notes)
$13 C.J. Wilson(notes)
$13 Gavin Floyd(notes)

Let the Regression Police keep carping about Cahill – it's to the point that he's so overrated, he's underrated again. I'll bet on the ground-ball rate and the hope that some of his fallback can be offset by the growth of a young, talented pitcher. A similar theme qualifies with Buchholz, though his upside is higher than Cahill's. … Hudson also strikes me as a safe pick, especially if you're not capped by your innings. Ground-ball specialists tend to be underrated by some of the modern metrics, but we know one thing about ground balls – they never fly over the fence.

$12 Ricky Nolasco(notes)
$12 Jeremy Hellickson(notes)
$11 Josh Beckett(notes)
$11 Edinson Volquez(notes)
$11 Ian Kennedy(notes)
$11 Edwin Jackson(notes)
$11 John Lackey(notes)
$10 Jorge De La Rosa(notes)
$10 Brett Myers(notes)
$10 Jhoulys Chacin(notes)
$10 Tim Stauffer(notes)
$10 Jonathon Niese(notes)
$10 Clayton Richard(notes)
$10 Carlos Zambrano(notes)
$9 James Shields(notes)
$9 Johnny Cueto(notes)
$9 Jair Jurrjens(notes)
$8 Brett Cecil(notes)

Stauffer's pedigree and park push him in this tier, along with his handy work last year (both in the bullpen and in the rotation). And Richard was quietly solid in a sneaky 2010 breakthrough. … If you have to own anyone on the Mets staff for the full year, Niese is the play. The upside here is a mid-3s ERA and 175 strikeouts. … Shields is a BB/K tease, but when he makes a mistake in the zone, it gets hammered. Gopheritis is always going to be a problem here.

$7 Wade Davis(notes)
$7 Travis Wood(notes)
$7 Carl Pavano(notes)
$6 Anibal Sanchez(notes)
$5 Scott Baker(notes)
$5 Derek Holland(notes)
$5 A.J. Burnett(notes)
$5 Jake Westbrook(notes)
$4 A.J. Burnett
$4 Bronson Arroyo(notes)
$3 Rick Porcello(notes)
$3 Ivan Nova(notes)
$3 Bud Norris(notes)
$3 Jeff Niemann(notes)
$3 James McDonald(notes)
$3 J.A. Happ(notes)
$3 Jake Peavy(notes)
$3 Michael Pineda(notes)
$3 Joel Pineiro(notes)
$3 Erik Bedard(notes)

If hitting batters were a category, Burnett would be a $40 arm. The best thing I can say about him right now is that he's a dead ringer for Nuke LaLoosh. … Arroyo is better for NL-only groups where he gets you a value just by showing up. In a mixer, you want to swing at a higher upside. … It's a shame McDonald is dinged up right now, not to mention stuck with perhaps the NL's worst team. The Dodgers gave up on him too quickly. … Freedom to use the slider more should help Porcello get that strikeout rate moving in the right direction. I doubt he'll ever be an ace, but he's a lot better than we saw in 2010.

$2 Homer Bailey(notes)
$2 Mike Pelfrey(notes)
$2 Brandon Beachy(notes)
$1 Johan Santana(notes)
$1 Jon Garland(notes)
$1 R.A. Dickey(notes)
$1 Mike Leake(notes)
$1 Jeremy Guthrie(notes)
$1 Daisuke Matsuzaka(notes)
$1 Joe Blanton(notes)
$1 Aaron Harang(notes)
$1 Fausto Carmona(notes)
$1 Chris Young
$1 Derek Lowe(notes)
$1 Tom Gorzelanny(notes)
$1 Jason Hammel(notes)
$1 Mark Buehrle(notes)
$1 Kyle McClellan(notes)
$0 Brandon Webb(notes)
$0 Kevin Slowey(notes)
$0 Cory Luebke(notes)
$0 Randy Wells(notes)
$0 Chris Narveson(notes)
$0 Dallas Braden(notes)
$0 Justin Masterson(notes)
$0 Brian Duensing(notes)
$0 Barry Zito(notes)
$0 Randy Wolf(notes)
$0 Chris Volstad(notes)
$0 Carlos Silva(notes)
$0 Joe Saunders(notes)


Image courtesy Associated Press

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