Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy 2012: Mid-Round Pitching Studs to Build Around

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIMarch 30, 2012

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 28: Tim Hudson #15 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field on September 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

In every fantasy baseball draft I have ever done, I have maintained the stance that drafting pitching early is a bad move. Even the best pitchers only play in 20 percent of the team's games. 

Instead, you should take good hitting early and use some of the middle rounds to load your rotation up with guys like this. You can bring in more than one and still build a potent offense. 


Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals

The Nationals are a good team this year, and Gonzalez is the kind of pitcher who will do fine moving out of Oakland. The ones to worry about there are guys like Trevor Cahill, who used the spacious outfield to his advantage. 

VIERA, FL - FEBRUARY 28:  Gio Gonzalez #47 of the Washington Nationals poses during photo day at Space Coast Stadium on February 28, 2012 in Viera, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Gonzalez is more of a power pitcher, and those numbers don't tend to be dramatically hurt when going to a new division. Also, the National League East is not loaded with great hitting parks. Philadelphia is hitter-friendly and we don't know about Miami yet. Still, Atlanta and New York are great to pitchers, and Washington is fair. 

On top of all of that, Gonzalez is now pitching in a league without a DH and on a better team. I expect his numbers from Oakland to improve in nearly every area. 

Dixon's Projections

207  181 83 74 196  16  3.22  1.28

Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves

The disadvantage to Hudson is that he pitches to contact, so he'll allow a lot of hits. Fortunately, he won't surrender many walks. 

Additionally, there's a lot of ground balls with him, which lead to double plays. That keeps the ERA down in a big way.

On top of all of that, Hudson pitches in a spacious park for a good team, so the opportunities to win games will be there all year. He's certainly a guy that you can count on being taken late in the draft, but the numbers won't make you miss any of the perennial Cy Young contenders that will be going early. 

Dixon's Projections

209  186   61  79 153   14  3.40  1.18 


Vance Worley, Philadelphia Phillies

He really got the attention of many people last year. The best thing about Worley is he's got the stuff to neutralize both lefties and righties at Citizens Bank Park. 

As is the case with the other players, the Phillies are going to win a lot of games, so the pitchers will be in position to bring that category in. 

The drawback is that Worley pitches to a lot of contact, so the strikeouts aren't going to be high. Fortunately, the contact is not loud at all, so we're not usually looking at much more than seeing-eye singles against him. That limits the threat of big innings, which keeps the ERA consistently strong. 

Dixon's Projections

173  163   55  72 148  13  3.75  1.26