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2009's Top Pitchers

The Top 50 starting pitchers of 2009, with '09 draft round in parentheses:

  1. Zack Greinke (13)
  2. Tim Lincecum (3)
  3. Felix Hernandez (8)
  4. Javier Vazquez (12)
  5. Justin Verlander (11)
  6. Dan Haren (5)
  7. Roy Halladay (4)
  8. Adam Wainwright (11)
  9. Chris Carpenter (25)
  10. C.C. Sabathia (3)
  11. Josh Johnson (13)
  12. Jon Lester (9)
  13. Matt Cain (11)
  14. Josh Beckett (6)
  15. Wandy Rodriguez (22)
  16. Jair Jurrjens (16)
  17. Ubaldo Jimenez (24)
  18. Ted Lilly (17)
  19. Cliff Lee (6)
  20. Randy Wolf (28)
  21. Jered Weaver (20)
  22. Clayton Kershaw (18)
  23. Johan Santana (2)
  24. Yovani Gallardo (10)
  25. Joel Pineiro (N/A)
  26. Scott Baker (19)
  27. Edwin Jackson (N/A)
  28. J.A. Happ (N/A)
  29. Jorge de la Rosa (N/A)
  30. Ryan Dempster (14)
  31. Tommy Hanson (27)
  32. Bronson Arroyo (28)
  33. John Danks (13)
  34. Gavin Floyd (13)
  35. Chad Billingsley (8)
  36. Matt Garza (15)
  37. A.J. Burnett (9)
  38. Ricky Nolasco (11)
  39. Scott Feldman (N/A)
  40. Randy Wells (N/A)
  41. Joe Blanton (28)
  42. John Lackey (8)
  43. Kevin Correia (N/A)
  44. Brett Anderson (N/A)
  45. Mark Buehrle (27)
  46. James Shields (7)
  47. Kevin Millwood (N/A)
  48. Cole Hamels (4)
  49. Jake Peavy (4)
  50. Andy Pettitte (19)

Convincing evidence that you can wait until the 8th round to draft your first pitcher.  34 of the top 50 were under 30 years old.

A look at the top 20 closers:

  1. Jonathan Broxton (11)
  2. Joe Nathan (7)
  3. Mariano Rivera (7)
  4. Andrew Bailey (N/A)
  5. Heath Bell (15)
  6. Brian Wilson (14)
  7. Huston Street (16)
  8. David Aardsma (N/A)
  9. Trevor Hoffman (16)
  10. Jonathan Papelbon (5)
  11. Ryan Franklin (28)
  12. Rafael Soriano (28)
  13. Francisco Cordero (13)
  14. Joakim Soria (9)
  15. J.P. Howell (N/A)
  16. Francisco Rodriguez (7)
  17. Jose Valverde (10)
  18. Brian Fuentes (11)
  19. Mike Gonzalez (15)
  20. George Sherrill (24)

A lot of saves come from the waiver wire, but it pays to start snagging closers in rounds 13-16.  Not only are save totals unpredictable, but win totals matter more than you might think.  Papelbon had a great year but was hurt by getting just one win.  Broxton and Bell saw over 16% of their total value come from their wins, as opposed to just 3% for Papelbon.  Save totals typically account for half of a closer's value, with ERA/WHIP combining for 19%.  Strikeouts were typically about 26%.

I wouldn't worry too much in a 12-team mixed league about getting value from non-save relievers.  Among relievers with fewer than five saves, only Mike Wuertz, Phil Hughes, and Alfredo Aceves provided more than $5 in value.


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