Friday, February 1, 2013

Top 10 Fantasy Baseball Pitchers

Article by Jeremy McCabe
SportsWiseGuy Writer

Justin Verlander

    Pitching wins championships, right? Well that phrase also pertains to fantasy leagues. I love a stacked lineup as much as the next person, but to dominate pitching categories, you need to draft the goods. There are very few true aces in the game today. Here is my top 10 fantasy starting pitchers.

10- C.C. Sabathia
    The ace of the Bronx Bombers, C.C. Sabathia is a large man, but he can sure throw the ball. The former Cy Young winner is entering the 2013 season on a streak of six consecutive 200+ innings seasons, accompanied by six straight 197+ strikeout years. Last season, C.C. recorded his highest ERA since putting on the pinstripes in 2009 (3.38). His ERA may have been skewed because even though he allowed a career high 22 homeruns last season, his WHIP was his lowest since being a Yankee (1.14).  Playing in that stadium for 81 games, you almost expect all the Yankee starters to allow a lot of homeruns. Sabathia and his 290 pound frame are ready for the long summer nights. Your team will look even scarier next year with C.C. Sabathia going every fifth day.

9- Gio Gonzalez
    Gio Gonzalez is the number two starter on one of the best starting rotations in the majors. In his first season with the Nationals, Gio posted career highs in strikeouts, wins, ERA, and WHIP. Gio finished second in the NL Cy Young voting in 2012, if it weren’t for R.A. Dickey, he would’ve went home with the award. Going into his fifth season, Gio is looking to expand on his recent success. I don’t expect Gonzalez to reach the 20-win mark, but he is going to have an excellent season. The Nationals will win a lot of games this season, and this southpaw will definitely help achieve that.

8-Cole Hamels
    One of the members of the “Big Three” cracks the top 10, maybe not the pitcher you thought would be here. Ironically, he is the third lefty so far on this list, I promise I am not favoring them. Cole happily with a fat new contract, had simply one of his best seasons last year. He set a career high in wins with 17 and strikeouts with 216 in 2012. With his 31 starts last year, he continued his streak of seasons with 30+ starts consecutively, which is now at five. I’m excited for all of the NL East divisional games next year. A lot of great pitching match ups with huge fantasy implications. Cole will be a fantastic addition to your fantasy team this season.

7-Matt Cain
    No longer the staff that Tim Lincecum commands, Main Cain leads the defending champions into the 2013 season after celebrating their second championship in three years. Cain emerged last season after the struggles of Lincecum landed him in the bullpen. He set careers highs in wins (16), strikeouts (193), WHIP (1.04) and ERA (2.79). Cain brings his streak of seven straight 30+ start seasons into 2013. How many starts a pitcher gets is an important stat to at least me. The first right-hander that cracks my list is in for a monster season. I had Matt Cain last season on my team and I can say on this day I had no regrets about taking him. Not too many pitchers are for-sure guys, but Cain is one of the best.

6-Jered Weaver
    One of the most touching moments of last year’s season was the moment after Jered Weaver threw his first no-hitter. The emotion and joy that I felt as someone watching was crazy, I can’t even imagine what was going through his head. Anyway, Weaver followed up an exceptional 2011 season with arguably an even better 2012 campaign. He set a career high in wins with 20 which led the American League, and also led the AL with a 1.02 WHIP. Weaver is a proven ace who is a dominate force every time he takes the mound. Hopefully you are wise and benefit from the nasty stuff this right hander is throwin’ down.

5- Felix Hernandez
    Then we come to Felix Hernandez.  The presence of number 34 on the mound shakes the knees of the opposing offense, just ask Tampa. King Felix rapped up the 2012 season with his fifth straight 200+ inning season, and posted his career high K/9 with 8.65. All those strikeouts add up to his fourth season in a row in which he struck out over 200 hitters. He’s a straight horse. Moving the fences in won’t help Felix, but it won’t hurt. He only allowed a career low 14 bombs last season. Felix Hernandez is a beast, and one of the best pitchers in the league. He will look great on anybody’s team this season.

4- Stephen Strasburg
    To all the fantasy owners that had Stephen Strasburg last year and got screwed because he got shut down, I am sorry. The 24-year old right hander posted a remarkable 11.13 K/P. Granted, he was forced to shut down and miss seven starts, he ended the season three strikeouts away from his first 200 strikeout season. Risking that Strasburg will be shut down just in time for your fantasy playoffs is a risk that I would take. Knowing Stephen is getting the ball every fifth day for an excellent Washington team is an exciting experience for all future fantasy owners.

3- David Price
       David Price is a stud. The 2012 AL Cy Young winner had his best pro season a year ago, leading the AL in wins (20) and ERA (2.56). Price just finished this third straight 200+ inning season and his second straight 200+ strikeout season. The lefty is in for a huge season. His WHIP has decreased every year since his rookie year. Price’s name will without a doubt be brought up in the trade rumor mill this season, but that won’t matter, because the 27-year old is primed to back up his Cy Young award season with an even better campaign. Price is a guy who as a number one pitcher on any fantasy team will deliver.

2- Clayton Kershaw
    Clayton Kershaw had a terrific season last year, after following his Cy Young season in 2011. Last year he finished first in the NL in ERA and WHIP, and was second in innings and strikeouts. He has posted an ERA under three each of the last four seasons, looking to extend that streak this season. Yeah, he only finished 14-9 last season, which probably kept him from winning his second straight Cy Young. The Dodgers and their new front office have this team in a spot to win, and Kershaw is a key contributor. Scoop him up in your leagues and you will appreciate having this lefty on your team.

1-Justin Verlander
    Verlander to me, is the best pitcher in the game hands down. After winning not only the Cy Young, but the MVP in 2011, he finished his 2012 season leading the AL in innings, strikeouts, and complete games and finished second in ERA and WHIP. In six of his seven big league seasons, Verlander has won at least 17 games. Justin Verlander is a flame thrower. How he ends his games throwing faster than how he started is something I will never understand. The 2012 season was his sixth straight 200+ inning season and his fourth straight 200+ strikeout season. Oh, and Justin Verlander has lost more than 9 games only once.  The man goes on the mound every five days and deals. If you want someone who will make an impact on your team every time he starts, then Justin Verlander is your man.

1 comment:

  1. To me you have strasburg and felix a little high, otherwise it is pretty spot on