MLB 2012 Preview: 7 Young Emerging Starting Pitchers to Watch

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MLB 2012 Preview: 7 Young Emerging Starting Pitchers to Watch
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Opening Day has technically passed, with the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A's bringing their talents and goodwill to Japan for a short stint. However, with the real domestic Opening Day just days away for the rest of the 28 teams, fresh arms will return to the mound and America will soon fall in love with new names. It was only a few seasons that names like Kershaw, Lincecum, King Felix and Tommy Hanson were known only by diehards in their organizations, and now they are Cy Young winners and household names.

With the Washington Nationals vying to challenge the Philadelphia Phillies (and stud Vance Worley pictured here) in the NL East, new arms other than Stephen Strasburg will be needed to knock the perennial power down. Enter Jordan Zimmermann, a lefty on the verge of a breakout season. 

For pitchers like Jarrod Parker and Drew Pomeranz, they were the big names in big trades, so there is a decent amount of pressure on them to have success early on. Both pitchers could be the go-to guy in their respective rotations by midseason if they perform up to their potential. 

Both Jacob Turner and Henderson Alvarez can barely drink legally, but they throw in the upper 90s and have been turning heads in Florida all spring. Turner, with the Detroit Tigers, might be right in the middle of the AL Central title chase, and Alvarez has already had some success against the three-headed monster that is the AL East's Yankees, Rays and Red Sox. 

Finally, young lefty Chris Sale might be the best pitcher both sides of Chicago have seen in a long time. Moving into the rotation after honing his skills in the bullpen, the big kid has been lights-out this spring—if he finds consistency, he might be pushing Robin Ventura's first year with the White Sox back into relevance.

Let's take a closer look at these seven phenomenal young arms who you will definitely want to find in your fantasy league. For those readers involved in keeper leagues, do not pass go or collect $200 after reading this; go try to pick up these guys and thank me later.  

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