MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

Ranking the 30 best starting pitchers

Ranking the 30 best starting pitchers

Every year at this time, fans start making lists of players and pitchers to follow or to draft in their fantasy leagues.

I have established a list of my Top 30 starters for the coming season. The list is based upon each pitcher's chances for wins, quality starts, ERA, WHIP and strikeouts.

As in all rankings, a case can be made to include different pitchers or change the ranking order. In my estimation, many factors contribute to these rankings. For example, I factor in their team's offensive lineup, their home park, their league and division, their career history, proclivity to injury and much more.

There will likely be more than 215 starting pitchers during the season. In my opinion, these are the cream of the crop -- a list of 30 starting pitchers, with their 2014 stats, and another eight who easily could have been included.

30. Jeff Samardzija, White Sox: 7-13, 2.99 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 202 SO

29. Jacob deGrom, Mets: 9-6, 2.69 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 144 SO

28. Alex Wood, Braves: 11-11, 2.78 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 170 SO

27. Sonny Gray, Athletics: 14-10, 3.08 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 183 SO

26. Julio Teheran, Braves: 14-13, 2.89 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 186 SO

25. Tyson Ross, Padres: 13-14, 2.81 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 195 SO

Ross' strong start

24. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers: 14-7, 3.38 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 139 SO

23. Gerrit Cole, Pirates: 11-5, 3.65 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 138 SO

22. Alex Cobb, Rays: 10-9, 2.87 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 149 SO

21. Carlos Carrasco, Indians: 8-7, 2.55 ERA WHIP, 0.99, 140 SO

20. Jake Arrieta, Cubs: 10-5, 2.53 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 167 SO

Outlook: Arrieta, SP, CHC

19. Garrett Richards *, Angels: 13-4, 2.61 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 164 SO

18. Jose Fernandez **, Marlins: 4-2, 2.44 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 70 SO

17. Hisashi Iwakuma, Mariners: 15-9, 3.52 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 154 SO

16. Matt Harvey ***, Mets: 9-5, 2.27 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 191 SO in 2013

15. Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals: 14-5, 2.66 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 182 SO

Zimmermann completes no-no

14. Cole Hamels, Phillies: 9-9, 2.46 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 198 SO

13. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals: 20-9, 2.38 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 179 SO

12. Yu Darvish, Rangers: 10-7, 3.06 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 182 SO

11. Zack Greinke, Dodgers: 17-8, 2.71 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 207 SO

10. Madison Bumgarner, Giants: 18-10, 2.98 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 219 SO

Outlook: Bumgarner, SP, SF

9. Jon Lester, Cubs: 16-11, 2.46 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 220 SO

8. Stephen Strasburg, Nationals: 14-11, 3.14 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 242 SO

7. Max Scherzer, Nationals: 18-5, 3.15 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 252 SO

6. Johnny Cueto, Reds: 20-9, 2.25 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 242 SO

5. David Price, Tigers: 15-12, 3.26 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 271 SO

Price's 15th win secures Central

4. Corey Kluber, Indians: 18-9, 2.44 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 269 SO

3. Chris Sale, White Sox: 12-4, 2.17 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 208 SO

2. Felix Hernandez, Mariners: 15-6, 2.14 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 248 SO

1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: 21-3, 1.77 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 239 SO

(On my bubble) Cliff Lee, Phil Hughes, Yordano Ventura, Masahiro Tanaka, R.A. Dickey, Lance Lynn, Jered Weaver, Chris Tillman.

* Returning from patellar tendon surgery (hopes to be ready for start of season)

** Returning from Tommy John surgery (midseason return anticipated)

*** Returning from Tommy John surgery (hopes to be ready for start of season)

Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.