There are so many good pitchers this season, as we come off the Year of the Pitcher. With depth like we project this year, 2011 is yet another season when you want to pick up some top-notch hitters before you take a starter.
Obvious exceptions to this rule include Halladay and Hernandez, but solid starters like Matt Cain will be available in the middle rounds. The Oakland A’s starters, mentioned above, will be available even after that.
It is hard to go wrong in a year that has such an abundance of starting pitchers who are capable of carrying a fantasy lineup.
2011 Starting Pitcher Primer: Stock Watch
Oakland A’s starters: Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Braden and Trevor Cahill are all progressing very quickly. A year after leading the American League in ERA, this young foursome only seems to be moving up. Anderson and Gonzalez are the best fantasy options, although the others are still worth owning despite low strikeout numbers.
Mat Latos, San Diego Padres: Latos is one of the best young pitchers in baseball. He puts up great numbers in strikeouts and ERA. Although the Padres will not provide him with many wins this year, Latos must still be looked at as an elite pitcher. Playing in the canyon that is Petco Park, the young righty should be seen as a top option in the quest for a fantasy championship. Do not be afraid to take him early in your draft.
Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox: Beckett has slowly been falling apart over the last few years. Once seen as one of the top ten pitchers in fantasy baseball, it is impossible to imagine Beckett regaining that title any time soon. He should not be avoided in drafts, but he has been overvalued by many people, who do not realize that this is the same Beckett as three years ago.
Dan Haren, LA Angels of Anaheim: Haren had an ugly year last year. After being traded from the Diamondbacks, where he struggled significantly, his season kept getting worse. Haren was arguably one of the top pitchers in baseball as late as 2 years ago. The question remains whether last year was a fluke or a sign of things to come for the right hander. Expect a better year, but not as good as he has had in the past.
2011 Starting Pitcher Primer: The Big Questions & Sleepers
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