Opening Day is on the horizon. Sports fans across the country will partake in numerous fantasy baseball drafts and look to cash in on the game's biggest stars.
To be successful in baseball, a team must possess good starting pitching. The same can be said for fantasy baseball—a game where starting pitchers usually rack up the most points.
Here are the fantasy baseball 2013 top five starting pitchers.
Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit Tigers
Verlander is a given. He’s completely dominated baseball over the last two years.
Last season, Verlander worked over 238 innings while amassing a record of 17-8 and a 2.64 ERA. He struck out 239 compared to walking 60.
In 2011—his best season—the Detroit right-hander won both the American League MVP and Cy Young award after turning in a stellar season on the mound, which included a 24-5 mark and a 2.40 ERA. Verlander tied for the second-highest wins above replacement, 8.4 according to Baseball-Reference.com, in all of baseball.
Barring a devastating injury, Verlander is destined to be the most dominant pitcher this season.
Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
After racking up 21 wins in 2011, Dodgers hurler Clayton Kershaw saw his win total drop to 14 last season. No matter, Kershaw was one of seven pitchers to record more than 220 strikeouts last season—a feat that earns you mega points in fantasy land.
Continue to expect Kershaw to dominate both sides of the plate for the Dodgers, which have a real shot at making a deep run in the postseason.
Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington Nationals
Strasburg didn’t disappoint in 2012. He proved his arm is as lively as ever after coming back from reconstructive elbow surgery. Though Strasburg started just 28 games and managed a record of 15-6, he struck out 197 batters.
It’s plausible to assume Strasburg will be allowed to take on more of a workload this season after being carefully monitored by the Washington coaching staff last season.
Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle Mariners
Now that Felix Hernandez boasts the richest contract ever dealt to a starting pitcher, expect him to up his game from here on out.
Hernandez is talented, there’s no question. He was a 19-game winner in 2009 and still boasts an incredibly strong, reliable arm capable of working bunches of innings while striking out many batters. Despite winning just 13 of his 35 starts last season, Hernandez struck out 223 hitters—fifth most in all of baseball.
David Price, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
The final component to the top handful of starting pitchers is none other than Tampa Bay’s David Price. The 2012 AL Cy Young award winner had a career season. His 20 wins tied him for first in the AL with Jared Weaver. Moreover, his 2.56 ERA was tops in the league.
Expect nothing less from Price in 2013.