Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Starting pitcher sleeperz for 2011

Because there are so many starting pitchers, and because pitching performance is so volatile from year to year, there are always plenty of bargains. In mixed leagues, I almost never pay for the top aces, since it's quite possible to build a staff of underrated starters. Focus on low WHIP, high strikeout pitchers and hope that the wins come.

In mixed leagues, here are 33 underrated starters to choose from. Investigate them and decide for yourself. Don't reach, just let them come to you and voila, you'll have your bargain pitching staff. Number in parentheses is the player's ESPN Average Draft Position. I put an asterisk next to my favorite sleeper picks.

Tier 1
Justin Verlander (40)
Ubaldo Jimenez (48)
Cole Hamels (60)
Dan Haren (62)
David Price (69)
Matt Cain (77)
Francisco Liriano* (88) - 28 years old, can still get better
Max Scherzer* (101) - struggled early in 2010, still finished with awesome numbers. About to break out.

Tier 2
Brett Anderson (134)
Colby Lewis (145)
Hiroki Kuroda (148)
Dan Hudson (150)

Tier 3
Brandon Morrow (165)
Josh Beckett (167)
Ricky Nolasco (169)
Jhoulys Chacin* (175) - lots of K's, good command, everything points to more improvement this year
Madison Bumgarner (179)

Tier 4
Ricky Romero (193)
Brian Matusz* (198) - has the pedigree, and showed improvement throughout his rookie year in the AL East
Jake Peavy (207)
James Shields (209)
Gio Gonzalez (211)

Tier 5
Ian Kennedy (213)
Jordan Zimmermann (220)
Javy Vazquez* (224) - back in the NL East, where he racked up 238 K with a 1.08 WHIP in 2009
Gavin Floyd (233)

Tier 6 (after pick 260):
James McDonald
Scott Baker
Erik Bedard
Mike Minor* - youngster has the pedigree, lots of K's, very few walks, great situation
Derek Holland
Homer Bailey

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