I have a question.. if there are 30 teams, shouldn't there be 30 #1 pitchers? Or, is that too simplistic?
I notice from a lot of different prospect analyses that there are very few potential #1's out there, probably only 4: Cain, Verlander, Billingsley, and Liriano. Even highly thought of pitchers like Lester, Olsen, etc. do not project as "#1 starters". Where do they all come from?
I will now try to list my top 30 starters for 2006 (in no particular order), with no prospects and excluding Clemens, to see if I think they are all #1's...
In retrospect, I'd say there are about 20-22 sure-fire #1 pitchers (depending on how you feel about guys like Burnett, Zito, Hudson, and Pettitte) with Patterson, Lackey, Bonderman, Scott Kazmir, and Oliver Perez representing some potential #1 guys. I wouldn't consider Webb, Millwood, Schilling, Sabathia, and Haren to be shutdown #1-type guys, either, but they seem to be in the mix of the top 30, so maybe they should be considered #1 starters.
Long post... whew!