Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft: 10 Starting Pitchers Worth a Late-Round Flier
With news that pitchers and catchers are to report to Spring Training in just under a month, we’re all anxious for the 2012 baseball season to get underway.
Even better, we are now readily anticipating the 2012 fantasy baseball season.
The 2012 starting pitching class will be headlined by the normal Justin Verlanders and Roy Halladays of the league, but how about we dig a little deeper?
The following is a rundown of 10 pitchers that will make an impact in your rotation that you won’t have to waste a high pick on.
Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants
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Giants starting Ryan Vogelsong made his return to the MLB worthwhile when he tossed his way straight to the 2011 All-Star Game.
His 2.71 ERA was good for fourth best in the National League, and his 13 wins were tied for tops on his team.
Vogelsong certainly has the potential to revert back to his old Pittsburgh Pirates self, but he looks like a new player that has the attitude to improve upon his 2011 campaign.
Jake Arrieta, Baltimore Orioles
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A year ago Orioles pitcher Jake Arrieta recorded a 10-8 record pitching in the American League East—you know, that division that boasts the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays.
Many people may not be aware of who Arrieta is, primarily because he plays for the Orioles, but barring any setbacks from elbow surgery, he should be the No. 3 starter in Baltimore’s rotation.
Arrieta has a high ceiling, and he’s a guy you can snag in the late rounds. Just remember that you heard it first here.
Jhoulys Chacin, Colorado Rockies
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Depending on where you look Jhoulys Chacin may be ranked high or he may be ranked lower. I like Chacin’s chances of being a reliable starting pitcher in fantasy baseball this season.
He posted a losing record at 11-14, which isn’t great, but he had a respectable 3.57 ERA in the hitter-friendly Coors Field.
Chacin is the projected No. 2 starter in the Rockies rotation that should maintain his ERA from a season ago and improve upon his record.
Vance Worley, Philadelphia Phillies
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Vance Worley is the forgotten man of the Philadelphia Phillies and not surprising, considering he’s hidden behind Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels.
2012 will be the Vanimal’s second full year in Major League Baseball, and he’ll look to improve his numbers despite having average stuff. Fortunately fantasy baseball doesn’t calculate average stuff, just results.
In 25 games last season, he posted 11 wins with a 3.01 ERA, which are very good numbers for a rookie.
John Danks, Chicago White Sox
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John Danks posted an impressive 2010 season with 15 wins and a 3.72 ERA but followed that up with a sizeable drop off in 2011.
With the departure of Mark Buehrle, Danks is the projected No. 2 in the White Sox rotation—a spot that I think he’ll benefit from.
I like Danks this season to hover around 13 wins, a sub-3.75 ERA and also flirt with 160 strikeouts.
He may be a lone bright spot for an otherwise woeful Chicago White Sox team in 2012.
Josh Collmentor, Arizona Diamondbacks
The rookie from Central Michigan was stellar in 2011 posting a 3.38 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 100 strikeouts in 24 starts.
He’s a real deep sleeper in most leagues, mainly because he’s projected as the fifth starter in the Diamondbacks rotation.
I’m not expecting a drastic increase in production from a year ago, but look for Collmentor to match a lot of the numbers he posted as a rookie in 2011.
Jon Niese, New York Mets
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It’s only a matter of time until we find out just how bad the Mets are, but for now let’s take a look at one of their few bright spots—Jon Niese.
Niese is the projected No. 3 starter and posted 138 strikeouts in 157 innings in 2011.
Many could argue that Niese’s biggest issue was a treacherous defense behind him that forced him into so many difficult jams.
If the Mets can figure out at least a few of the kinks that haunted them in 2011, Niese could be a solid pitcher in your fantasy rotation.
Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays
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Jeremy Hellickson has the makings of a star and will look to build upon his resume in his second full season in Major League Baseball.
In his first season he posted a decent 13-10 record and a stellar 2.95 ERA pitching in the American League East.
He’s the projected No. 3 starter behind David Price and James Shields, but don’t be surprised to see him improve his number significantly and end up on the same level as those other two.
Jordan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals
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With the addition of Gio Gonzalez in Washington, Jordan Zimmerman will most likely become the No. 3 starter in the rotation.
Zimmerman only recorded an 8-11 mark but he had a solid 3.18 ERA in 26 starts, but what was most impressive was his 31 walks 161.1 innings pitched.
Zimmerman has the makings of being one of the major steals in Fantasy Baseball 2012.
Brandon Morrow, Toronto Blue Jays
If Brandon Morrow could find some sort of consistency he’d be an absolute monster, but that currently is something he lacks that he’ll look to improve on in 2012.
In 2011 Morrow had an 11-11 record with a 4.72 ERA but did strike out 203 batters in 179.1 innings.
He’s the No. 2 pitcher in the Jays rotation, and if he improves at all on his ERA from a year ago, he’s going to be a star. For now, he’ll likely slide down the list come draft day.