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Johnson, Garza, Or Cueto?

Cesar writes in to ask:

Just looking at the 2009 season only (not future years) which of these three pitchers do you expect to post the better fantasy numbers?  Randy Johnson, Matt Garza, or Johnny Cueto?

If, for some reason, all three guys pitched exactly 200 innings, it'd be Johnson by a landslide (worth nearly twice as much as the other two).   But, I am currently operating with projections of 160 IP for Johnson, 185 IP for Garza, and 175 IP for Cueto.  The narrows the gap considerably, but I still have the Big Unit worth almost $5 more than Garza (who is pennies above Cueto).

Johnson figures to have the edge in ERA and especially WHIP, mainly because he's tougher to hit than Garza or Cueto.  Better control, too.  Johnson and Cueto should beat Garza in K/9.

So I prefer Johnson over the kids, but I like Cueto's chances of a further breakout over Garza's.  Cueto gets to pitch in the NL Central and whiffed almost a batter per inning in '08.  If his HR per flyball comes down to Earth and he hones his control, he could be a monster.


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