Early Look at Value Starting Pitchers For Your Fantasy Baseball Draft

John ZaktanskyCorrespondent IFebruary 13, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 13: Mark Buehrle #56 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Aneheim at Angel Stadium on September 13, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jacob de Golish/Getty Images)
Jacob de Golish/Getty Images

Why blow picks early when you can draft Buehrle?

Cheesy? Yes.

Crazy fantasy advice? You be the judge.

First, I’m not high on Mark Buehrle because of his perfect game. That would put me in the same boat as all the fickle fantasy owners that I so deeply loathe.

Secondly, I’m well aware that Buehrle finished the 2009 season with a 2-7 record and a 4.78 ERA in his final 13 appearances.

What I have grown to respect about Buehrle from a fantasy standpoint is that he is one of the most consistent pitchers in the game.

The White Sox hurler just completed his ninth consecutive season with at least 200 innings pitched and double-digit wins. What other pitcher can say that?

In fact, look a little closer at those stats. He has finished the past five of six seasons with a sub-3.90 ERA. And that was in the American League. Buehrle isn’t going to spot you many K’s, but you can find some of those off this list .

Much like my value players at catcher , first base , second base , third base , shortstop , outfield and closers , here are some value picks outside of Buehrle that I’m high on in 2010:

In 31 innings of relief baseball pitched, Texas Rangers young phenom Neftali Feliz posted a 1.74 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and 39 strikeouts. But why am I discussing a relief pitcher in my value starting pitcher post? Because just imagine what sort of stats Feliz could amass as a starter if his 2009 sample is any indication of his potential…especially with a perennially potent Texas offensive lineup providing run support?

Rangers' team president Nolan Ryan seems to think that Feliz will be a starter sooner than you may think…likely by the beginning of the season if all goes well this spring. Feliz’s dual eligibility at RP will be an asset to consider, too.

In an excessively small sampling last season with the San Francisco Giants, Madison Bumgarner posted a modest 1.80 ERA with 10 strikeouts in 10 innings. Considering his stats at both Single-A Connecticut and Double-A San Jose, Bumgarner was a combined 12-2 with a 1.85 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 131 innings pitched.

The only thing between the southpaw and an opportunity to produce some value fantasy stats was a regular spot in the Giants rotation. That changed on Feb. 5, when manager Bruce Bochy announced that Bumgarner will enter spring training as the team’s No. 5 starter. Monitor this situation closely, and if the 21-year-old can keep his grasp on a roster spot into the regular season, he’s worth a late-round flier.

Perhaps the pitching version of Alex Gordon, there has never been any doubt that Homer Bailey had the skill-set to be a solid fantasy pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. He’s just perennially been a disappointment. However, look closer at his second-half stats from 2009: a 4.37 ERA in 90.2 innings and a respectable 70-37 strikeout-to-walk ratio. This doesn’t mean that Bailey will anchor your fantasy staff this season, but he could be a very nice value pick if he can continue to improve control and harness his potential.

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