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30 Starting Pitchers To Watch

Last year our list of 25 starting pitchers to watch included Francisco Liriano, Mat Latos, Phil Hughes, Max Scherzer, Ervin Santana, Colby Lewis, and Ian Kennedy.  Our criteria was that the pitcher had to have been going in the 13th round or later in a 12-team mixed league at the time of writing, which was March 17th.  Note that this filter removes Dan Hudson, Ricky Romero, Wandy Rodriguez, Brandon Morrow, Colby Lewis, and Neftali Feliz.  Anyway, how about some names for 2011?

  • Josh Beckett, Red Sox.  You have to like Beckett in the 16th round; his SIERA was 3.84 last year and he's backed by a good offense.  If his control returns and his HR/flyball and BABIP come down, I don't see why another '07 or '09 is out of reach.
  • Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals.  He managed to give up eight home runs in 31 innings last year after coming back from August '09 Tommy John surgery.  Otherwise the numbers looked good, and Zimmermann is back to being the intriguing pitcher he was after his '09 rookie season.
  • Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers.  Not an exciting name, and you worry about him reaching 190 innings again, but the numbers were fantastic across the board last year.
  • Ted Lilly, Dodgers.  He's homer-prone, but still keeps the WHIP down and gets Ks.
  • Mike Minor, Braves.  I can envision an ERA under 4.00 with a strong K rate, if he gets the fifth starter job.
  • Bud Norris, Astros.  We did some cherry-picking with Norris last month; he had an intriguing 13-start stretch last year.
  • Homer Bailey, Reds.  Not unlike Norris, there were injury issues but you can cherry-pick a very interesting stretch from his '10 season.  Post-hype sleeper.
  • Jeremy Hellickson, Rays.  You might have to spring for him in the 13th or 14th round, but even with 185 innings I see big things.
  • James Shields, Rays.  He had a 3.57 SIERA, and has a lot in common with Beckett in terms of their 2010 seasons.
  • Edwin Jackson, White Sox.  Very strong 75 inning stint with the White Sox; maybe Don Cooper showed him something.
  • Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks.  He'll give up some home runs, but still has value in most categories.
  • Brett Anderson, Athletics.  Aside from the injury concern, I didn't like the dip in Anderson's K rate.  You can probably find safer choices, but maybe he'll slip a few rounds in your league.
  • C.J. Wilson, Rangers.  Won't help your WHIP but could whiff 180.
  • Phil Coke, Tigers.  He will need to find a way to get righties out.
  • Jake Peavy, White Sox.  One of many health gambles worth taking late.
  • Javier Vazquez, Marlins.  He doesn't need to be the Vazquez of '09 to provide value.
  • Brian Matusz, Orioles.  We've seen the cherry-picking, though the hype is starting to grow.
  • James McDonald, Pirates.  Might be homer-prone, but will have a long leash in Pittsburgh and may at least give you Ks.
  • Ricky Nolasco, Marlins.  The ERA has to catch back up one of these years...interesting peripheral kings Nolasco and Vazquez are in the same rotation.
  • Jonathan Sanchez, Giants.  Another example of sacrificing WHIP for Ks.
  • Phil Hughes, Yankees.  I can see another step forward here.
  • Brett Myers, Astros.  File him under boring but useful.
  • Gio Gonzalez, Athletics.  Can provide Ks, gets groundballs, walks too many.
  • John Lackey, Red Sox.  Finished strong, and could be a good pick if he does better against lefties.
  • Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies.  Big-time strikeout numbers as a rookie; needs to find-tune the control.
  • Madison Bumgarner, Giants.  I can see a better K rate this year.
  • Gavin Floyd, White Sox.  Had the best groundball rate of his career last year.
  • Jorge de la Rosa, Rockies.  See Chacin, Sanchez, Wilson, Gonzalez.
  • Erik Bedard, Mariners.  Who knows if guys like Bedard and Brandon Webb will hold up, but the risk is tiny.
  • Travis Wood, Reds.  Might be homer-prone, but the ratios should be helpful.
  • This list isn't meant to be comprehensive - there are at least a dozen more undrafted starters to monitor closely for mixed leagues.  Let me know who you like in the comments.

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