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Monday, March 08, 2004

Fantasy Baseball: Top 5 Starting Pitchers, Sleepers and Busts 

My fantasy baseball draft is coming up this week and thought I'd share some thoughts on starting pitchers. Nothing too earth shattering but here's my top 5, a few sleepers and busts.

Studs

1. Mark Prior: After going through some growing pains his first half year with a bloated 3.32 ERA, Prior settled down to a 2.43 ERA with a few Ks (245) last year. Yeah, he’s okay. Maybe if Dusty Baker doesn’t gnaw his arm off like he does those match sticks we’ll have the pleasure of seeing Prior’s career develop past this season.

2. Javier Vazquez: If Andy Pettitte, with his 4.02 ERA, could win 21 games pitching for last year’s “weak” Yankee line-up, how many games do you think an actual stud pitcher tossing for this year’s Yankee line-up can win? 25? Maybe more. Can you say AL Cy Young.

3. Curt Schilling: Schilling seems like he’s on a mission and word on the street is he’s even working on a new pitch; a cutter. In related news, bat maker Louisville Slugger has decided to increase production to meet the inevitable spike in demand from AL hitters.

4. Pedro Martinez: Baseball has been berry berry good to Pedro. And in return, Pedro has been berry berry good to his fantasy owners. With a bona fide closer finally in Bean Town, Pedro might finally accumulate the wins his fantasy owners need.

5. Roy Halladay: 505. What’s that number you ask? No, it’s not the total number of HRs Griffey Jr. needs to creep up to number 19 on the all time HR list behind Mell Ott, it’s the number of innings Roy Halladay has thrown the last two seasons. Doc Halladay has at least one more season before his arm shrivels up and falls off.


Sleepers

Jeff Weaver: Just what the doctor ordered. Out of New York and into Chavez Ravine. Well, not literally. I don't know if Weaver can swim?

Johan Santana: I hopped on Santana’s back the second half of last season and rode him into the playoffs, as he finished the year with 8 straight wins. If Santana can figure out a way to pitch at home (4.07 ERA at home vs. 1.94 away) and if his surgically repaired elbow can hold up, Santana might break out.

Busts

Esteban Loaiza: Pick which numbers look out of place.
5.02, 5.71, 2.90
11, 9, 21
110, 87, 207

Kerry Wood: Okay okay maybe he won’t be a bust, but his inconsistency is maddening. Despite all the hype, Wood has never won more than 14 games and has walked 90 or more batters in each of the last three seasons. Wood’s tendency to put hitters on board combined with his career 5.76 ERA with runners on base is not a good thing. Maybe this is the year Wood ties up all his loose ends and becomes the consistent lights out pitcher he shows signs of. Or maybe not. I wouldn’t take him too early.
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