Dirty Dining

Surprising starting pitcher results

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - TSN's SSRD360 Starting Pitcher Evaluator has become an excellent tool in comparing starting pitchers. Which is why this week's rankings are so interesting.

Check out the top five in both leagues. How many of the 10 pitchers you predicted at your draft would be a top fantasy pitcher?

If your answer is above four, you are likely kidding yourself.

American League

1) Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox - SSRD360 rating 2.689

Monday's 15-strikeout game may have been the loudest pronouncement to Sales' arrival, but he's been pitching well for most of the season. He's gone 6-2 with a 2.34 ERA and 1.066 WHIP, averaging more than a strikeout an inning. The former closer has become a staff ace. He's still available in one out of every five leagues. The question is why?

2) Justin Verlander, Detroit - 2.726

Obviously, the American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner was one of the guys you expected to be a top starter, and he's fulfilled all expectations. Verlander leads the AL in ERA, WHIP, complete games, hits-per-nine innings and strikeouts.

3) Andy Pettitte, New York Yankees - 2.935

Pettitte was retired in 2011 and not even a blip on the radar until he signed a minor league contract with the Yankees in mid-March. Figuring in his rust and that he wouldn't be available until mid-season, he wasn't picked on many rosters to open the season. After an opening game stumble against Seattle, he's been nearly untouchable in his next two starts. He's still available in a majority of all fantasy leagues despite a 2.53 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 19 Ks in 21 1/3 innings.

4) Jason Hammel, Baltimore - 2.967

Hammel has done a complete makeover to his pitching style and through the first quarter of the season has become a fantasy stud. He's 6-1 with a 2.78 ERA, 1.127 WHIP and 53 Ks in 55 innings. Playing in the AL East, Hammel has dominated a number of quality lineups along the way. After six starts yielding two runs or less, Hammel stumbled in mid-May, but returned to form against Kansas City last Friday night. He's still available in 25 percent of all leagues.

5) Jake Peavy, Chicago White Sox - 2.995

Peavy hasn't been fantasy relevant since 2007 when he pitched in San Diego, but reappeared on the radar with a 3-1 April that included a 1.67 ERA and 0.690 WHIP. While May's numbers have not been nearly as crisp, he's still gone 3-0 and the White Sox bats have more than made up for his pitching errors.

National League

1) Gio Gonzalez, Washington - 2.392

After Gonzalez posted a 16-12 record with the mediocre-at-best Oakland A's, fantasy owners recognized Gonzalez's ability. The jump to the up-and-coming Nationals made Gio a popular choice this spring and he went around the eighth round in most leagues. He's rewarding those who valued his work in Oakland with a 7-1 record, 2.04 ERA, 0.941 WHIP, a league-leading 79 strikeouts and the best SSRD360 rating in baseball.

2) Cole Hamels, Philadelphia - 2.652

Roy Halladay is hurting, Cliff Lee doesn't have a win yet while spending some of the season on the disabled list and Hamels is the only one of the Phillies aces who has been worth his draft position (ADP 34). Hamels is 8-1 with a 2.43 ERA, 1.009 WHIP and 72 Ks in 70 1/3 innings pitched.

3) Chris Capuano, Los Angeles - 2.722

Given his ADP of 314, Capuano wasn't on many fantasy rosters at the start of the season. Eight weeks and seven wins later, he's now owned in 81 percent of all leagues. He's gone 7-1 with a stunning 2.14 ERA and 1.000 WHIP. Considering the eight-year veteran owns a 4.25 lifetime ERA and 1.333 WHIP, Capuano may only be a temporary resident in the top 10.

4) Lance Lynn, St. Louis - 2.798

Lynn only became a starter when the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter went down with an injury. But getting Lynn out of the starting rotation may be a lot tougher. Lynn is tied with Hamels for the NL lead in wins with eight and has a 2.54 ERA and 1.068 WHIP. Based on his preseason ADP of 297, he was available as a free agent early on, but now it's too late to claim him.

5) Stephen Strasburg, Washington - 2.903

Strasburg continues to be everything the media made him out to be when he was drafted out of San Diego State in 2009. This season, he's 5-1 with a 2.64 ERA, 1.103 WHIP and 70 strikeouts in 58 innings pitched. The only reason Strasburg wasn't one of the top-three pitchers off the board is the annoying innings limit the Nationals have placed on him. The limit has cost Strasburg a number of wins as the team is 8-2 in his 10 starts, but he's yet to go past the seventh inning in a game.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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