Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2012: Pitchers That Will Keep You in Playoff Race

T.J. McaloonContributorMarch 21, 2012

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 10:  Starting pitcher Michael Pineda #36 of the Seattle Mariners reacts after giving up a two-run homer in the first inning to Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals at Safeco Field on September 10, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Royals defeated the Mariners 4-2. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Pitching will get you to the playoffs in the Major Leagues and the same can be said about fantasy baseball. If you have a great pitcher, like the New York Yankees' Michael Pineda, your chances of making the playoffs is great.  

However, Pineda isn’t the only pitcher who you have to draft this year. These other pitchers will carry you to fantasy baseball supremacy. 


Michael Pineda, New York Yankees

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 21: Michael Pineda #36 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the third inning on September 21, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Pineda had a strong rookie year with the last-place Seattle Mariners, posting nine wins, an ERA of 3.74 and 173 strikeouts. During the offseason he was traded to the defending American League East Division champion New York Yankees, where his numbers should thrive in his second year.  

According to Yahoo! Sports' fantasy write-up about Pineda, he could be a steal in the middle of your draft:

Michael Pineda has a shot to put up some great numbers for the New York Yankees in 2012 and his fantasy baseball value just went through the roof. Pitching for the Seattle Mariners, there was a ceiling for the number of wins he could put up with the worst offense in baseball standing behind him. Now he goes to a team that has some of the best weapons the game has to offer and his run support could actually double in 2012.

If he can duplicate his numbers from the first half of last year, Pineda could become a steal in most fantasy baseball draft formats.

Pineda should see his ERA come down, while his wins and strikeouts increase as he moves into the No. 3 spot in the Yankees' rotation. 


Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 02:  Cliff Lee #33 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Two of the National League Division Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 2, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Lee is a part of the two-headed monster in Philadelphia with Roy Halladay. If you cannot draft Halladay, then picking Lee shortly there after will be just as good. 

According to Thomas George's Fantasy Baseball Breakdown, he projects that Lee will have another season of 15 wins, an ERA around 2.75 and 200-plus strikeouts:

Season Prognosis: Cliff Lee is a #1 pitcher on just about any other team but will settle for #2 behind Roy Halladay. Lee enters his second full season with the Phillies looking to duplicate his numbers from last year. Lee should be good for 220 innings, 200+ K's, 18-20 W's and a sub 3.00 ERA 

Lee is a great draft choice who will be a solid start every time he takes the mound. 


Ian Kennedy, Arizona Diamondbacks

MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 07:  Starting pitcher Ian Kennedy #31 of the Arizona Diamondbacks on the mound in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game Five of the National League Division Series at Miller Park on October 7, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wi
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Kennedy exploded onto the baseball scene last year with a career season of 21 wins, an ERA of 2.88 and 198 strikeouts. He has had a strong spring training so far according to CBS Sports, with a 7-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. 

Their fantasy profile on the pitcher goes onto say:

He had a career campaign a year ago by going 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA in 33 starts so keep an eye on his progress going forward. The 27-year-old could just be scratching the surface of his potential so target Kennedy in the early rounds of mixed leagues on Draft Day.  

You have to watch Kennedy on your draft day as someone may take the Diamondbacks pitcher early because of his success last year. But, if he’s still around in rounds four to six, you have to select him.

These three pitchers could all be on your team this year. If you can grab all of them you will be in the playoffs come September.