Shuffle Up and Deal: Ranking Stephen Strasburg and 163 other starting pitchers

You should know the rules by now, but let's quickly recap. Below is my pitching cheat sheet for a hypothetical draft that starts tomorrow. Stats to this point are nice, but we're truing to figure out what's going to happen from this point forward. Assume a 5x5 scoring system, as always.

Your respectful disagreement is most welcome in the comments, but be sure to bring your best argument. Support your answer. I know you're going to have differences of opinion here, but if you want to discuss them with us, make sure you're forwarding the conversation, make it a win-win.

To the rankage.

$33 Ubaldo Jimenez(notes)
$32 Roy Halladay(notes)
$32 Adam Wainwright(notes)
$31 Tim Lincecum(notes)
$31 Josh Johnson(notes)
$30 Cliff Lee(notes)
$30 Jon Lester(notes)
$28 Justin Verlander(notes)
$28 Chris Carpenter(notes)
$28 Yovani Gallardo(notes)
$28 Felix Hernandez(notes)
$28 Matt Cain(notes)
$27 CC Sabathia(notes)
$27 Stephen Strasburg(notes)

Comments: Strasburg might the hardest rank of the season, for several reasons. We know how electric the stuff is, he's in the right league, and the strikeouts are going to come immediately. But we've got a shutdown looming due to an innings cap, he's also going to have his pitch count monitored very carefully, and in a head-to-head format, there's no guarantee he'll be around to help you in September. I heartily encourage everyone to rank Strasburg in the comments . … Jimenez doesn't blow you away with his strikeout and walk numbers – they're good, not ridiculous – and obviously his strand rate is going to rise eventually, but when you see him dominating hitters with his three plus pitches, you start thinking that this season for the ages is going to run all summer. Everything is hard, everything moves. Hitting against this guy is like hitting a brick . … Ken Rosenthal believes that Lee is destined to be a Yankee, it's just a matter of when – maybe New York gets him in the 2010 season, and maybe they sign him after the year. Fantasy owners would be better off if Lee went to a National League city, of course.

$25 Dan Haren(notes)
$25 Johan Santana(notes)
$25 Clayton Kershaw(notes)
$25 Zack Greinke(notes)
$24 Matt Garza(notes)
$24 Chad Billingsley(notes)
$24 Roy Oswalt(notes)
$23 Jered Weaver(notes)
$23 Tommy Hanson(notes)
$22 Cole Hamels(notes)
$22 Phil Hughes(notes)
$21 Francisco Liriano(notes)
$21 A.J. Burnett(notes)
$21 John Danks(notes)
$21 Ricky Nolasco(notes)
$20 Ervin Santana(notes)
$20 David Price(notes)
$20 Mat Latos(notes)
$20 Jonathan Sanchez(notes)
$20 Clay Buchholz(notes)

Comments: Haren needs to keep the ball in the park much better than he has to this point, but I wonder if a midseason trade would provide an emotional lift that translates to the field as well. We all know about his career trends with first and second-half splits, but we shouldn't treat that sort of thing like it's unbreakable . … Billingsley and Kershaw both look a lot better of late after so-so opening months. When they're around the plate, they're awfully tough to beat . … If you're looking for a group discussion on Greinke, we had one earlier this week . … I'm taking a leap of faith keeping Nolasco this high – his performance to this point doesn't justify it. He seems to get punished for 2-3 bad pitches every start, undoing what otherwise might be a useful turn. In short, he's one of the most frustrating players on the market right now.

$19 Mike Pelfrey(notes)
$19 Kevin Slowey(notes)
$19 James Shields(notes)
$19 Ryan Dempster(notes)
$18 John Lackey(notes)
$18 Shaun Marcum(notes)
$17 Josh Beckett(notes)
$17 Scott Baker(notes)
$17 Ricky Romero(notes)
$17 Jeff Niemann(notes)
$17 Ted Lilly(notes)
$16 Jaime Garcia(notes)
$16 Javier Vazquez(notes)
$15 Edwin Jackson(notes)
$15 Anibal Sanchez(notes)
$15 Ian Kennedy(notes)
$15 Barry Zito(notes)
$15 Tim Hudson(notes)
$15 Hiroki Kuroda(notes)
$15 Wandy Rodriguez(notes)
$15 Andy Pettitte(notes)
$15 Gio Gonzalez(notes)

Comments: I suppose this price means I've bought in on Pelfrey, and I'm fine with that. He's got the pedigree, a roomy park, a new pitch of value (splitter) and nine weeks of solid results . … I'd feel a lot better about Sanchez if he pushed that walk/strikeout rate into a plus territory. He's certainly not a sure thing yet . … With Rodriguez in Houston, it all comes down to the curveball. If he rediscovers the feel of the pitch, he could be one of the Top 10-12 pitches in the NL, but I can't see him being successful without it. In one 13-team mixer where I have excellent pitching depth (Wainwright, Cain, Kershaw, Strasburg, Dempster, Hudson), I actually dropped Wandy two weeks ago and don't regret it. But on that particular team, floor is far more important to be than upside; if your team is in the bottom half of the standings, you might be better served with the upside of a Rodriguez over the floor of a Hudson or Dempster.

$14 Colby Lewis(notes)
$14 C.J. Wilson(notes)
$14 Jake Peavy(notes)
$14 Mike Leake(notes)
$14 Clayton Richard(notes)
$14 Brett Cecil(notes)
$14 Max Scherzer(notes)
$14 Brett Myers(notes)
$14 Kris Medlen(notes)
$14 Trevor Cahill(notes)
$14 Jeremy Bonderman(notes)
$14 Jonathon Niese(notes)
$14 Homer Bailey(notes)
$13 Johnny Cueto(notes)
$13 Jon Garland(notes)
$13 Fausto Carmona(notes)
$13 Brandon Morrow(notes)
$12 Carlos Silva(notes)
$12 Ben Sheets(notes)
$12 Jorge De La Rosa(notes)
$12 Carlos Zambrano(notes)
$12 Felipe Paulino(notes)

Comments: I don't know if Cueto loses confidence or focus on the mound, but he's the type of guy who can mow down 10-12 hitters in a row, then throw batting practice for the next 15 minutes. A real conundrum, he is. Of course the homer-friendly park doesn't help, especially if you're not getting a slew of ground balls . … For guys like Wilson and Medlen, it comes down to stamina – how much will they have left in the tank come the dog days of August? If I had to choose between the two, Medlen might get a slight edge given the NL environment and the fact that he doesn't have to toil in Arlington . … Cahill isn't getting a lot of strikeouts but his ground-ball rate and gigantic home park go a long way. He's been a real asset over his last seven turns.

$11 Mark Buehrle(notes)
$11 Daisuke Matsuzaka(notes)
$11 Bronson Arroyo(notes)
$11 John Ely(notes)
$11 Aaron Harang(notes)
$11 Jason Hammel(notes)
$10 Rich Harden(notes)
$10 Carl Pavano(notes)
$9 Jeremy Hellickson(notes)
$9 Hisanori Takahashi(notes)
$9 Luke Hochevar(notes)
$8 Randy Wells(notes)
$8 Livan Hernandez(notes)
$8 Brad Penny(notes)
$8 Joe Blanton(notes)
$8 Kevin Millwood(notes)
$8 Tommy Hunter(notes)
$8 R.A. Dickey(notes)
$7 Jair Jurrgens
$7 Dallas Braden(notes)
$7 Joe Saunders(notes)
$7 Mitch Talbot(notes)
$7 Armando Galarraga(notes)
$7 Jeremy Guthrie(notes)
$7 Justin Masterson(notes)

Comments: I hate to be a killjoy on the Ely story, but he's the type of pitcher who should get exposed once he gets around the league a second and third time. He'll throw strikes and not beat himself, but he's got ordinary skills otherwise . … Hellickson should be with the Rays at some point this summer – they're clearly all-in for 2010 – and Wade Davis(notes) is doing all he can to make it an easy decision for the front office . … Some pitchers should never be watched, even if they're in the midst of a solid run. Arroyo has always been in that camp, and I suppose Dice-K is as well . … Talbot's probably more valuable to the Indians than he is in our number-grab. I've been impressed with him every time I've watched one of his starts.

$6 Brett Anderson(notes)
$6 Gavin Floyd(notes)
$6 Tom Gorzelanny(notes)
$6 Chris Volstad(notes)
$6 J.A. Happ(notes)
$6 Freddy Garcia(notes)
$6 Jake Arrieta(notes)
$6 Gil Meche(notes)
$5 Randy Wolf(notes)
$5 Scott Kazmir(notes)
$5 Joel Pineiro(notes)
$5 Jeff Francis(notes)
$4 Doug Fister(notes)
$4 Jason Vargas(notes)
$4 Nick Blackburn(notes)
$4 Paul Maholm(notes)
$4 Brian Matusz(notes)
$4 Wade LeBlanc(notes)
$4 Manny Parra(notes)

Comments: I've got nothing against Anderson, I just don't know about the elbow. Really, the Athletics don't know, either . … Garcia has quietly turned into an efficient middle-staff fill for the White Sox, but a summer on the South Side still makes me nervous . … Kazmir looked good in his turn at Oakland but I never feel confident this guy will get deep into any of his starts. Command constantly eludes him, and he has trouble putting away batters at times . … Matusz looks like the sort of guy you want in 2012, after he's been around the block a few times and the buzz dies down (lowering the price).

$3 Kevin Correia(notes)
$3 Rick Porcello(notes)
$3 Kenshin Kawakami(notes)
$3 Jhoulys Chacin(notes)
$3 Carlos Monasterios(notes)
$3 Aaron Cook(notes)
$3 Chris Young
$3 John Lannan(notes)
$3 Ross Ohlendorf(notes)
$2 Derek Lowe(notes)
$2 Jamie Moyer(notes)
$2 Scott Feldman(notes)
$2 Derek Holland(notes)
$2 Tim Wakefield(notes)
$2 Brian Bannister(notes)
$2 Brad Lincoln(notes)
$2 J.D. Martin(notes)
$2 Dave Bush(notes)
$2 Jeff Karstens(notes)

Comments: Feldman's win total made him an overrated commodity into the season, but there's no way I want a piece of him this summer, working in that offensive Disnleyland . … Porcello's not missing bats and at this point the Tigers really need to consider giving him a confidence-fixer in Triple-A, similar to what they did with Scherzer . … Just be happy you're not stuck paying the freight on Lowe's contract. His strikeout rate stinks and his walk rate is at an all-time high. Even in stream-aggressive leagues, I want no part of this.

$1 Wade Davis
$1 Kyle Lohse(notes)
$1 John Maine(notes)
$1 Zach Duke(notes)
$1 Jake Westbrook(notes)
$1 Bud Norris(notes)
$1 Kyle Kendrick(notes)
$1 Luis Atilano(notes)
$1 Rodrigo Lopez(notes)
$1 Kyle Davies(notes)
$1 David Huff(notes)
$1 Bruce Chen(notes)
$1 Sam LeCure(notes)
$1 Vin Mazzaro(notes)
$1 Chris Capuano(notes)
$1 Jeff Suppan(notes)
$0 Ryan Rowland-Smith(notes)
$0 Scott Olsen(notes)
$0 Nate Robertson(notes)
$0 Chris Narveson(notes)
$0 Charlie Morton(notes)
-$4 Ian Snell(notes)
-$5 Dontrelle Willis(notes)

Comments: If you can't figure out the case against Willis, maybe roto isn't your game . … Suppan's move to St. Louis will be an interesting test of the Dave Duncan rejuvenation machine . … I've had my say, over to you in the comments. Bring your best stuff, amigos. I reserve the right to tweak this list over the first few hours as new data and better arguments come to the forefront; I'm just looking for a win-win here. Let's figure this out together.

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