Roto Arcade - Fantasy

Shuffle Up: Crowning Justin Verlander, trusting Ryan Vogelsong

Today we head to the mound for the starting pitchers, the most important calls we make in a roto season. Bring an open mind, a clipboard, and a radar gun (rosin bag not included).

The pitchers below are ranked as I expect them to perform for the rest of the year, 5x5 rotisserie scoring. What's happened to this point is an audition, but everyone starts fresh tomorrow. Players at the same price are considered even. Don't obsess over the actual price tags; what matters is how the players relate to one another. I reserve the right to tweak this list over the next few hours, and I'll add additional comments as well.

Intelligent disagreement is always welcome, just make sure you support your argument. See someone that's too high, or too low, in your opinion? Suggest how you'd fix the list. Further the conversation, gamer.

Remember the golden rule: players on your own team don't automatically rise 20 percent in value. Preamble over, time for the rankage:

$32 Roy Halladay(notes)
$31 Justin Verlander(notes)
$31 Cliff Lee(notes)
$30 Cole Hamels(notes)
$29 Clayton Kershaw(notes)
$28 James Shields(notes)
$28 Felix Hernandez(notes)
$28 Tim Lincecum(notes)
$27 Jered Weaver(notes)
$26 Josh Beckett(notes)
$25 David Price(notes)
$25 Zack Greinke(notes)
$25 Jon Lester(notes)
$25 C.C. Sabathia(notes)
$24 Matt Cain(notes)
$23 Tommy Hanson(notes)
$23 Dan Haren(notes)

I considered putting Verlander at the top of the list but Halladay's NL environment was the ultimate tie-breaker. Still, Verlander has to be considered the AL's top arm at this point. He's thrown at least six innings and 104 pitches in every start, he's allowed more than three runs once all season, and he hasn't lost a game since April. Heck, the no-hitter he threw in Toronto was merely the second-best start of the season for Verlander; he was sharper in the two-hit shutout over Cleveland two weeks ago, and he was plenty dominant when he struck out 14 Diamondbacks last week. Verlander has a positive value score on all four of his pitches, and he's fashioning the lowest walk rate of his career. Any Verlander start is must-see TV.

$22 Shaun Marcum(notes)
$21 Michael Pineda(notes)
$20 Yovani Gallardo(notes)
$20 Ian Kennedy(notes)

So far it sounds like Operation Shutdown won't happen for Pineda, but I'd like that in writing. If we were 100 percent sure he will pitch the entire season he'd be ranked a lot higher.

$19 Ubaldo Jimenez(notes)
$19 Jaime Garcia(notes)
$18 Wandy Rodriguez(notes)
$18 Jair Jurrjens(notes)
$17 Anibal Sanchez(notes)
$17 Ricky Romero(notes)
$17 Daniel Hudson(notes)
$17 Matt Garza(notes)
$17 Brandon Beachy(notes)
$16 Gio Gonzalez(notes)
$16 C.J. Wilson(notes)
$16 Bud Norris(notes)
$16 Josh Johnson(notes)*
$16 Johnny Cueto(notes)

If I were a contending club, I'd call about Wandy Rodriguez 4-5 times a week. … The Beachy injury was almost a blessing in disguise to head-to-head players. Now that his innings pace has slowed considerably, we probably don't have to worry about September. … There's never a right answer with injured guys. Josh Johnson's price, really, is "none of us have a clue." The Marlins have tried to spin the James Andrews visit positively (and the Wednesday post-visit news is apparently optimistic), and JJ and Andrews already have a relationship since Andrews did his elbow reconstruction. I'd like to believe this is not a gigantic red flag, but maybe it is. Teams have no incentive to tell us the truth, or get into details.

$15 Jordan Zimmermann(notes)
$15 Tim Hudson(notes)
$14 Jhoulys Chacin(notes)
$14 Scott Baker(notes)
$14 Ervin Santana(notes)
$14 Ryan Dempster(notes)
$14 Madison Bumgarner(notes)
$14 Chad Billingsley(notes)
$14 Jonathon Niese(notes)
$14 Trevor Cahill(notes)
$14 Clay Buchholz(notes)
$13 Tim Stauffer(notes)
$13 Ryan Vogelsong(notes)
$13 Hiroki Kuroda(notes)
$13 Jeremy Hellickson(notes)
$13 Philip Humber(notes)
$13 Carlos Carrasco(notes)

Vogelsong has been dominant at home (1.01/0.90), and while his road numbers don't match up, the only two missteps there were in New York (back on May 3) and this week with the wind gusting out at Wrigley (he still got a win, and six strikeouts, anyway). He's getting ground balls 45 percent of the time and while his luck stats don't completely support his 2.09 ERA, a 3.48 FIP still leads to an endorsement. I'll gladly use him for 80-90 percent of his turns until something goes wrong.

$12 Chris Carpenter
$12 Mat Latos(notes)
$12 Francisco Liriano(notes)
$12 Mike Leake(notes)
$11 Brandon Morrow(notes)
$11 Chris Capuano(notes)
$11 Edwin Jackson(notes)
$11 Alexi Ogando(notes)
$11 Edinson Volquez(notes)
$11 Erik Bedard(notes)
$11 Doug Fister(notes)
$11 Carlos Zambrano(notes)
$11 Homer Bailey(notes)
$10 Colby Lewis(notes)
$10 Max Scherzer(notes)
$10 Jason Vargas(notes)
$10 Bartolo Colon(notes)
$10 Cory Luebke(notes)
$9 Jake Arrieta(notes)
$9 Randy Wolf(notes)
$9 Dillon Gee(notes)
$9 Kevin Correia(notes)
$9 Kyle Lohse(notes)

Fister almost never pitches poorly, but he doesn't get any run support, either. … Bedard was initially at $16 before I saw the DL move on Wednesday. At least it's a knee injury and nothing arm, shoulder or elbow related. Still, depending on a brittle Bedard historically leads to roto heartbreak.

$8 Justin Masterson(notes)
$8 Roy Oswalt(notes)
$7 Ted Lilly(notes)
$7 Paul Maholm(notes)
$6 Ricky Nolasco(notes)
$6 James McDonald(notes)
$6 Josh Outman(notes)
$5 Zach Britton(notes)
$5 Jeff Karstens(notes)
$5 Tom Gorzelanny(notes)
$5 Josh Collmenter(notes)
$5 Gavin Floyd(notes)
$5 John Danks(notes)
$5 Jake Peavy(notes)
$4 A.J. Burnett(notes)
$4 Brett Myers(notes)
$4 Jason Marquis(notes)
$4 Joel Pineiro(notes)
$4 Matt Harrison(notes)
$4 Mark Buehrle(notes)
$4 Carl Pavano(notes)

I'm just about done with Nolasco. You never know when the next crooked number is coming. Maybe he throws too many strikes, maybe he hangs too many curves. He's similar to the pitcher Javy Vazquez was a few years back (and that's not a compliment).

$3 Jonathan Sanchez(notes)
$3 Livan Hernandez(notes)
$3 R.A. Dickey(notes)
$3 Freddy Garcia(notes)
$3 Jeremy Guthrie(notes)
$3 Derek Holland(notes)
$3 Josh Tomlin(notes)
$3 Derek Lowe(notes)
$3 Nick Blackburn(notes)
$3 John Lannan(notes)
$3 Rick Porcello(notes)
$2 Chris Narveson(notes)
$2 Chris Volstad(notes)
$2 Ivan Nova(notes)
$2 Dustin Moseley(notes)
$2 Charlie Morton(notes)
$2 Bronson Arroyo(notes)
$2 Aaron Harang(notes)
$2 Jason Hammel(notes)
$2 Jake Westbrook(notes)
$2 Jordan Lyles(notes)
$2 Vance Worley(notes)
$2 Andrew Miller(notes)
$1 Joe Saunders(notes)
$1 Mike Pelfrey(notes)
$1 Tyler Chatwood(notes)
$1 Tim Wakefield(notes)
$1 Brad Penny(notes)
$1 Alex Cobb(notes)
$0 Javier Vazquez(notes)

Recent Shuffles: Outfield (6/23), Corners (6/16), Middles (6/9)

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