Thursday, April 29, 2010

Early fantasy surprises, Part 2. Pitchers

It's probably not a coincidence that 4 out of these 5 pitchers are in the NL, or that 4 out of 5 make their homes in pitcher-friendly parks.

Mike Pelfrey (age 26)
Pelfrey is off to a hot start, due to an increased strikeout rate and suddenly stingy hit rate. This could be a breakout season, but Pelfrey is still walking too many, and doesn't project to have the K/inning upside needed to be a top fantasy pitcher. Verdict: sell high

Barry Zito (age 31)
Zito definitely changed something over the offseason. His stuff looks good, he's throwing more strikes, and he's enjoying a microscopic WHIP and ERA over his first 4 starts. The underlying numbers say he's been very lucky so far, but Zito should finally be able to notch an ERA under 4 for the first time as a Giant. Verdict: sell high

Brad Penny (age 31)
Once again Dave Duncan has worked his magic with a retread pitcher. Penny has only walked 3 in 28.2 innings, by far the lowest walk rate of his career. Unfortunately, Penny's strikeout rate hasn't been useful since 2006. He did pitch 173 combined innings last year, but even if he can stay healthy all season, his lack of strikeouts means he's expendable. Verdict: sell high

Kevin Correia (age 29)
Correia was solid over 198 innings last year and is off to a great start in 2010. His strikeout rate is up in 2010, but he may actually sustain some of that increase. Probably still not a K/inning guy, but should be able to top 150, with an ERA a shade under 4 and WHIP around 1.35. His numbers at PETCO are stellar. Verdict: believe

Doug Fister (age 26)
Fister has been lucky so far, but is strictly streaming or AL-only material due to hittable stuff and lack of K's. He's probably OK to start at Safeco, but that only makes him half a pitcher. Verdict: sell high

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