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A Look At Jeremy Hellickson

Early mock drafts have Rays righty Jeremy Hellickson going in the 16th round on average.  Is this a chance for big profit in mixed leagues?

Hellickson, just 24 in April, cruised at Triple-A this year with a 2.45 ERA, 9.4 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, and 0.4 HR/9 in 117 2/3 innings.  The effort earned him Minor League Player of the Year honors from Baseball America.  When the Rays gave him an overdue look, he was excellent in 36 1/3 innings.  The only concern in that small sample was a 49.5% flyball rate, which would have ranked third-highest in baseball in 2010 if maintained over 150+ innings.

Projection-wise, ZiPS calls for a 3.58 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, and 0.73 HR/9 from Hellickson in 2011.  Baseball HQ sees a 3.78 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, and 1.03 HR/9.  As you'd expect, Hellickson's WHIP is below 1.30 in both projections.  Given Hellickson's flyball rate in his big league trial, I lean toward HQ's HR/9 and ERA projections.

From a scouting standpoint, Hellickson draws tons of praise.  BA says he has a "dynamic repertoire, throws four pitches for strikes, and has outstanding fastball command."  They see him as the team's No. 2 or 3 starter before long.

Hellickson's innings will go a long way toward determining his value.  With the Rays trading Matt Garza, he's now penciled into the starting five.  Last year's 155 2/3 pro innings was a career-high for Hellickson, so perhaps the Rays will be inclined to keep him under 190.

I can see Hellickson ranking around 25th among fantasy starters, so even if you grab him around the 12th round you should be happy with the results.  Pitchers don't have a ton of control over their hits allowed or win total, so if he does well there he'll jump up the rankings.

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