Starters

With the home run era over, successful starters will be easier to find
March 20, 2006

[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

            W L K WHIP ERA  
1. AL Johan Santana, Twins 16 7 238 0.97 2.87 The American League leader in strikeouts two yearsrunning threw a career-high 231 2/3 innings in '05.
2. NL Pedro Martinez, Mets 15 8 208 0.95 2.82  
3. NL Chris Carpenter, Cardinals 21 5 213 1.06 2.83  
4. AL Roy Halladay, Blue Jays 12 4 108 0.96 2.41  
5. NL Jake Peavy, Padres 13 7 216 1.04 2.88 One of the NL's best power pitchers, he's won leagueERA and strikeout titles--and has yet to turn 25.
6. NL Roy Oswalt, Astros 20 12 184 1.20 2.94  
7. AL Rich Harden, A's 10 5 121 1.06 2.53  
8. NL Andy Pettitte, Astros 17 9 171 1.03 2.39  
9. AL Bartolo Colon, Angels 21 8 157 1.16 3.48  
10. AL Randy Johnson, Yankees 17 8 211 1.13 3.79  
11. AL Felix Hernandez, Mariners 4 4 77 1.00 2.67 Forget Mark Prior and Kerry Wood; no Cubs starter hasbeen more consistent than Zambrano, who has never finished a full season withan ERA above 4.00.
12. NL Carlos Zambrano, Cubs 14 6 202 1.15 3.26  
13. NL Dontrelle Willis, Marlins 22 10 170 1.13 2.63  
14. NL John Smoltz, Braves 14 7 169 1.15 3.06  
15. NL Ben Sheets, Brewers 10 9 141 1.07 3.33  
16.   Roger Clemens, free agent 13 8 185 1.01 1.87 Word is he's leaning heavily toward retirement;still, it's not a bad idea to think that he might come back for one moreseason.
17. AL Mark Buehrle, White Sox 16 8 149 1.18 3.12  
18. NL Jason Schmidt, Giants 12 7 165 1.42 4.40  
19. NL Jeff Suppan, Cardinals 16 10 114 1.38 3.57  
20. NL Mark Mulder, Cardinals 16 8 111 1.38 3.64  
21. AL Cliff Lee, Indians 18 5 143 1.22 3.79  
22. NL Chris Capuano, Brewers 18 12 176 1.38 3.99  
23. AL A.J. Burnett, Blue Jays 12 12 198 1.26 3.44 Three years removed from reconstructive elbowsurgery, he can be overpowering; look for the righthander to easily eclipse hiscareer high of 12 wins.
24. AL Barry Zito, A's 14 13 171 1.20 3.86  
25. AL Jon Garland, White Sox 18 10 115 1.17 3.50  
26. AL Josh Beckett, Red Sox 15 8 166 1.18 3.38  
27. NL Tim Hudson, Braves 14 9 115 1.35 3.52  
28. NL Mark Prior, Cubs 11 7 188 1.21 3.67  
29. NL Jae Seo, Dodgers 8 2 59 1.11 2.59  
30. AL Joe Blanton, A's 12 12 116 1.22 3.53  
31. NL Jon Lieber, Phillies 17 13 149 1.21 4.20  
32. NL Zach Duke, Pirates 8 2 58 1.20 1.81  
33. AL Jeff Weaver, Angels 14 11 157 1.17 4.22  
34. AL Dan Haren, A's 14 12 163 1.22 3.73  
35. AL Freddy Garcia, White Sox 14 8 146 1.25 3.87  
36. AL Curt Schilling, Red Sox 8 8 87 1.53 5.69  
37. NL Kerry Wood, Cubs 3 4 77 1.18 4.23  
38. NL Brett Myers, Phillies 13 8 208 1.21 3.72  
39. AL Tim Wakefield, Red Sox 16 12 151 1.23 4.15  
40. AL Jose Contreras, White Sox 15 7 154 1.23 3.61 After a lackluster first half in 2005, he went 11-2with a 2.96 ERA down the stretch. Confidence should carry over, thoughcareer-high 204 2/3 innings is a concern.
41. AL Mike Mussina, Yankees 13 8 142 1.37 4.41  
42. AL Gustavo Chacin, Blue Jays 13 9 121 1.39 3.72  
43. AL C.C. Sabathia, Indians 15 10 161 1.26 4.03  
44. NL Livan Hernandez, Nationals 15 10 147 1.43 3.98
45. NL Chris Young, Padres 12 7 137 1.26 4.26 Fly ball pitcher gave up 19 homers in 164 2/3 inningsin '05; he'll appreciate deep power alleys at Petco and fleet-footedoutfielders behind him.
46. NL Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks 14 12 172 1.26 3.54  
47. AL Brad Radke, Twins 9 12 117 1.18 4.04  
48. NL Matt Morris, Giants 14 10 117 1.28 4.11  
49. AL Javier Vazquez, White Sox 11 15 192 1.25 4.42  
50. AL John Lackey, Angels 14 5 199 1.33 3.44  
51. AL David Wells, Red Sox 15 7 107 1.31 4.45  
52. NL John Patterson, Nationals 9 7 185 1.19 3.13  
53. AL Josh Towers, Blue Jays 13 12 112 1.27 3.71  
54. AL Kevin Millwood, Rangers 9 11 146 1.22 2.86 Reigning AL ERA champ unlikely to retain his crownpitching in hitter-friendly Ameriquest Field, but he should improve on hispaltry 2005 win total.
55. AL Shawn Chacon, Yankees 8 10 79 1.33 3.44  
56. NL Tom Glavine, Mets 13 13 105 1.36 3.53  
57. NL Jorge Sosa, Braves 13 3 85 1.39 2.55 Always known to have a live arm; after failing inmiddle relief with Devil Rays, he settled in nicely as a member of the Braves'rotation.
58. AL Ervin Santana, Angels 12 8 99 1.39 4.65  
59. NL Steve Trachsel, Mets 1 4 24 1.32 4.14  
60. AL Esteban Loaiza, A's 12 10 173 1.30 3.77  


SPOTLIGHT

Cliff Lee

Despite a 32-13record over the last two years, Indians lefthander Cliff Lee is one of thefantasy game's most underrated starters. How does a pitcher who is notoverpowering win as often as he does? Lee has an odd arm angle, making hispitches hard to pick up, and he's not afraid to challenge hitters. "He'ssneaky, aggressive and very smart," says manager Eric Wedge. Because Leehas the benefit of Cleveland's formidable lineup, no significant injuryhistory, and the potential to pitch 225 innings and strike out 160, there can'tbe more than a dozen AL pitchers you'd take over him. And Lee may last longerin the draft than you'd think because fellow owners will be scared off by his3.79 ERA last year. Don't be.

DEEP SLEEPERS(AL)

BRANDON MCCARTHY,White Sox As a rookie last year he made 10 starts and had a 1.17 WHIP in 67innings. The 22-year-old has great command and the potential to be the futureace of the staff.

JON PAPELBON, RedSox The 25-year-old righty is next in line for a spot in the rotation afterfinishing '05 as the team's most effective reliever, but he needs a hole toopen by trade or injury.

AARON SMALL,Yankees Last season he went from nonroster invitee in the spring to goingundefeated in 10 decisions, mostly as a starter. Still, he started camp thisyear rated seventh among starters.

DEEP SLEEPERS(NL)

AARON HEILMAN,Mets Mediocre in seven starts (4.71 ERA), he adjusted his delivery and wasoutstanding in relief (2.18 ERA, 72 K's, five saves in 66 innings). He returnsto the rotation with confidence.

RYAN MADSON,Phillies After 130 relief appearances over the last two seasons, therighthander gets his wish and moves into the rotation. In the minors, he was asolid starting prospect in '02 and '03.

ANTHONY REYES,Cardinals The club's top prospect has to beat out newly acquired Sidney Ponsonto replace Matt Morris in the rotation. Even if Ponson wins the job, Reyescould get at least 20 starts.

SPOTLIGHT

Zach Duke

If you wereprescient enough to have Duke stashed among the prospects on your roster lastseason, you enjoyed an unexpected bump in wins and ERA. But now take a long,sober look at the Pirates' 22-year-old lefthander. Despite the quality of hisstuff and his clean mechanics, Duke comes with a few caveats. First, hisprofile has risen dramatically, so he's no longer a bargain. Second, he'll losegames because of poor support from a lineup that ranked 14th in the NL in runslast year. Third, and most important, Duke's 1922/3 innings last year, splitbetween Triple A and Pittsburgh, is his professional high, so fatigue is anissue; the Pirates will treat him attentively, monitoring pitch counts anderring on the side of caution when dealing with injury. Still, Duke is a goodbet to make 25 starts, get double-digit wins and log a respectable ERA.

TWO PHOTOSTOM DIPACE (LEE); BRAD MANGIN (SMALL) TWO PHOTOSROB TRINGALI/SPORTSCHROME (DUKE); DAVID BERGMAN (MADSON)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)