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9 Pitchers Who Should Post A Higher WHIP Next Year

BABIP used to be a cool, underground fantasy stat when we fired up this blog in 2005, but now it's on every street corner.  Nonetheless, here are nine pitchers with BABIPs of .265 or below in 2010.  We should expect these BABIPs to rise in 2011, meaning more hits and a higher WHIP and ERA.

  • Trevor Cahill - .238 BABIP.  Cahill had a 4.16 SIERA as opposed to his 2.97 ERA.  He's obviously talented, and gets a lot of groundballs, but I typically stay away from low-strikeout starters in fantasy baseball.
  • Bronson Arroyo - .246 BABIP.  His lowest figure since becoming a full-time starter in '04.  He did manage a .270 mark in '09, but previously bounced around in the .285-.321 range.  He's not big on strikeouts or groundballs and had a 4.66 SIERA next to his 3.88 ERA.  Fill out your rotation with someone more interesting in the late rounds.
  • Tim Hudson - .250 BABIP.  He had a ridiculous groundball rate, and posted a 3.70 SIERA against his 2.83 ERA.  If you have to take a low strikeout guy Hudson is probably your best bet.
  • Ted Lilly - .259 BABIP.  He's never been above .283 in the NL (Expos debut aside), so I think he does suppress hits as a skill.  His 3.8 K/BB is sparkling, but he allows a ton of flyballs.  I'd look for an ERA in the 3.80 range from Ted.  Always a solid choice when solid second-tier starters fall off the board in the 10th-15th rounds.
  • Matt Cain - .260 BABIP.  Cain has a .274 career BABIP and has allowed as many as eight hits per nine innings in only one of his 5+ seasons.  He's another flyball guy, but he showed the best control of his career this year.  His SIERA was 3.90 this year though his ERA over the past two seasons was 3.02.  I'm not sure projection systems have a good read on Cain.  He's a fine mid-rotation fantasy choice.
  • Roy Oswalt - .261 BABIP.  Oswalt seemed undervalued coming into this season, but in March 2011 the opposite might be true.  There's nothing not to like, but his incredible work with the Phillies might push him into the fifth or sixth round.  I'm not prepared to do that.
  • Jonathan Sanchez - .262 BABIP.  Sanchez led the NL with the lowest hits per nine innings at 6.6, but also led the league in walks.  He was helpful in WHIP this year, but probably won't be in 2011 unless he suddenly finds control.  I fear that Sanchez's big year will push him out of sleeper territory, even though he still walks a ton.
  • Clay Buchholz - .265 BABIP.  We know he's talented, but the 2.33 ERA is nowhere near the 4.29 SIERA.  Buchholz didn't excel with strikeouts or walks.  You have to think he'll be overrated in drafts, but there's always a chance he pulls a Justin Verlander and his peripherals catch up.
  • Ian Kennedy - .265 BABIP.  Nice sleeper for strikeouts, but he's homer-prone.  Those longballs should come with more baserunners next year.  Draft him with caution, but I don't think he'll go too early anyway.

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