SL 2001 Starters Preview

It is probably not going to be possible to do any sort of meaningful analysis of the starting pitchers available for SL 2001 with only partial information on over half the league's pitchers. This is especially true when one considers that the real battle during the 2001 SL draft will be not for top-line starters, but for sixth starter extraordinaire Barry Zito. With ony 14 starts, Zito won't qualify as a full time starter for any SL team. His 14X(G)(+2) rating, however, will make him a coveted backup. So much so that I expect Steve to take him in the 5th round.

[NOTE: Whoever doesn't get Zito will undoubtably jump on someone like Royals part-time starter Chad Durbin, whose 1(W)(L) rating should allow him to perform at the same level as Omar Daal of the 2000 Woollum Mammoths.]

A quick look at the starting pitcher rating posted during the APBA chat suggests the following groupings of talent:

P.Martinez   22XYZ(G)

K. Brown   16XZ
R. Johnson  16XY
J. D'Amico  15Z

T.Glavine  14YZ
G. Maddux  13YZZ

M. Hampton  13Y
A. Leiter  13X
C.Ho Park  14XW

M.Mussina  11XZ
D. Kile  11YZ
B. Colon  13XYW(+2)
R. Dempster  12X
R. Clemens  12X
M. Sirotka  12Y(+1)
D. Wells  10YZZ(+1)

L. Hernandez  10YZ
R. Ankiel  11XY
T. Hudson  11X
R. Person  12XW

Schilling  9YZ
Williams  9YZ
Heredia  9Z
Garcia  10Y
Chen  10
Pettite  10(G)

Washburn  10(L)
Mercedes 9(+2)   
Benson  9Y
Sele  8YZ

Finley  8X
Burba  8X
Vazques  7YZ
Rusch  7YZ
Reed  7YZ
Stephenson  7Z
Reuter  7Z
Moehler  7Z

Estes  9YW
Elarton  8
Parque  8
Lopez   8

Helling  7Y
Suzuki  7Y
Neagle  7Y(+1)
Driefort  7Y
It may be that some of the National League pitchers mentioned here will go up in rating with the addition of an H or an excellent pitching move or whatever. For example, the five best pitchers in MLB 2000 with respect to fewest HR per 9/IP were in the National League: Hampton (0.41), Estes (0.52), J. Wright (0.66), R. Person (0.68) and Maddux (0.69). In addition, B. Anderson of Arizona and A. Leiter led the NL in pickoffs at 10 each. Kile, Reuter, Schilling, Park and D'Amico were the league leaders at keeping stolen bases down.

Ultimately, I will be the first to admit that I don't know how to weigh the subtleties of APBA ratings, such as whether an 8Z is better than a 10 or whether a 7 is better than a 9W, etc. However, my talent groupings above do seem to follow the pattern of last year's draft, which may or may not be helpful.

In addition to Zito, I suppose other potential super 6th starters are Brian Tollberg of the Padres at 9Z or Steve Sparks 7Z(G) of Detroit. I could be missing someone obvious or I may have put someone on the list above who won't qualify as a full time starter. I didn't check everyone's starts or innings.