Using tiers rankings can be very beneficial when drafting and when forming your draft strategy. A strategy of using a tiers ranking is to not reach for one player if you think that you can get another player in the same tier in a later round. I think that these rankings are especially useful for drafting 1B, OF, and SP this year, seeing that these positions are very deep and you will have many opportunities to pass up one player for another similar player in a later round.
This year, there is a large amount of quality pitching even in the late rounds. I personally think that drafting hitting first is more beneficial, since hitters can contribute to all 5 hitting categories while a SP only helps in 4/5 pitching and a RP helps in saves but only contributes a little to the rest of the pitching categories.
Tier 1: Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, Zack Greinke
All have won a Cy Young or will win a Cy Young Award. All four are a good bet to have a sub 3.00 ERA and 200+ strikeouts. Lincecum, Halladay, and Felix should have a good chance to be 20 game winners as well.
Tier 2: C.C. Sabathia, Dan Haren, Justin Verlander, Jon Lester, Adam Wainwright, Johan Santana, Josh Johnson, Yovani Gallardo, Cliff Lee, Chris Carpenter
This group is almost as good as the first tier, but will probably have ERAs ranging from 3.00 to 3.50 and should all have a good chance of reaching 180-200 strikeouts. Be cautious drafting Santana, Carpenter, and monitor Lee’s status, as they all have some sort of injury risk.
Tier 3: Josh Beckett, Tommy Hanson, Clayton Kershaw, Ubaldo Jimenez, Javier Vazquez, Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, Wandy Rodriguez, Jake Peavy, Ricky Nolasco
There are some rising young guns in this group, as well as elite starters that are slightly on the decline. Hanson, Kershaw, Jimenez, Cain, and Hamels are all 26 years old or younger, and should still be improving. Vazquez, Beckett, and Peavy have all been good in the past, but are beginning to fall a little. Nolasco and Hamels are coming off forgettable seasons, but you should expect them to bounce back, as they have shown in previous seasons that they can be great pitchers.
Tier 4: Chad Billingsley, John Lackey, Matt Garza, Jered Weaver, James Shields, Scott Baker, Jair Jurrjens, Roy Oswalt, A.J. Burnett, Brett Anderson, Max Scherzer, Rich Harden, John Danks, Ryan Dempster, Brandon Webb
Most of these starting pitchers will have ERAs ranging from 3.50 to 4.00. However most of these guys are very solid draft choices and can be taken in the mid to late draft. I think the biggest risks here are probably Harden and Webb; Harden being a huge injury risk and Webb coming off elbow surgery. Brett Anderson is only 22 years old, and had a very respectable rookie season; watch him to keep improving.
Tier 5: David Price, Scott Kazmir, Carlos Zambrano, Clay Buchholz, Wade Davis, Francisco Liriano, Edwin Jackson, Gavin Floyd, Ervin Santana, Kevin Slowey, Jorge de la Rosa, Randy Wolf, Ted Lilly, Jonathan Sanchez, Hiroki Kuroda, Rick Porcello, Phil Hughes, Jeff Niemann
This group consists of both young pitchers with great talent, as well as waning veterans. Most of the young arms have been highly regarded prospects, yet have not quite put it all together yet. These guys like Price, Buchholz, Davis, Liriano, and Hughes could break out this year to form very good seasons. Santana is also only one year removed from a Cy Young caliber season.
Tier 6: Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, Andy Pettitte, Joe Blanton, Joel Pineiro, J.A. Happ, Brian Matusz, Homer Bailey, Justin Duchscherer, Randy Wells, Bud Norris, Scott Feldman, Mat Latos, Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo
Same description for this group as tier 5. Still some solid veterans that can be useful such as Lowe, Pettitte, Blanton, Arroyo, Pineiro, and Harang. Matusz and Latos are pretty highly regarded prospects, so keep on eye on them.