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2008 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Hiroki Kuroda

One starter who is catching my eye in my recent drafts is Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers.  I love the upside he provides as someone you can draft in the last three rounds of a mixed league.

My projection calls for a 4.07 ERA and 1.30 WHIP with 112 Ks in 171 innings.  But such projections are all numbers, no feel.  Sometimes in fantasy baseball you have to make some gut calls.

Read this Rosenthal article about Kuroda.  I think the word "bulldog" appears eight times.  Plus, he throws a shuuto.  Incidentally, I used to toss one of those in Little League but decided to focus on my gyroball.  Last year's slightly disappointing Daisuke Matsuzaka and massively awful Kei Igawa both pitched in the AL East.  Who's to say Kuroda won't run the table in the weaker league?  No projection system predicted 142 innings of 1.77 ERA ball from Takashi Saito, but that's his career thus far.

I could see Kuroda coming in and baffling the NL for a while.  Two months, two years, I'm not sure.  But a low hit rate and high strikeout rate could definitely happen here.  It's just kind of unpredictable and mysterious.  So instead of taking Mark Buehrle, Tom Glavine, Andy Pettitte, and Barry Zito, I'm taking Kuroda.  The worst that can happen is wasting your 25th round pick.

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