After taking a look at what the National League has to offer, we now switch our attention to the equally impressive, slightly younger, American League. In case you missed the National League rankings, here is one of those convenient blue links .
The American League pitchers have to deal with a crop of hitters slightly more patient than those of the National League, which is an important aspect since both leagues boast similar K/9 rates with their better pitchers.
It is those 10 best that we want to take a look at as each fantasy builds a list of quality players to consider before entering the 2010 fantasy baseball draft.
So let’s switch our view, shall we?
10. Jake Peavy—White Sox:
If you take into consideration that Peavy posted a 9-6 record in 2009, with a 3.45 ERA, and a career 9 K/9 rate while pitching for an offensively disastrous Padres team, you have to admit he is still very much in elite consideration.
Not enough? How about the fact that, while with the White Sox, the guy went 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA and a scoreless last 15 innings? Is that enough? He’s healthy, he is on a far better team than the Padres, and he is ready to show us what he is truly capable of.
9. Kevin Slowey—Twins:
Call me crazy, but I have a very good feeling that this kid is going to surprise just about every person you can think of, whether it’s the “experts,” his coaches, or the managers that take a chance on him. His wrist is good to go, and he is ready to pick up where he left off in 2009. He could prove to be a huge sleeper pick late.
8. John Lackey—Red Sox:
Lackey posted a modest 11-8 record with a 3.83 ERA in 2009, and while most view his $82 million contract as incredibly bloated, one has to also remember that the guy is a solid workhorse; he is capable of throwing strikes, getting wins, and playing in clutch situations, making him an excellent top 10 pitcher.
7. Cliff Lee—Mariners:
There is no denying the abilities of Cliff Lee or his work ethic. It showed in Philadelphia. When you take into consideration that Seattle is not a very hitter-friendly place, and Lee’s low K/9 rate from last year was just 7, one has to be mindful of Lee’s potential, rather than his luster. Still, he is very much worthy of being a top 10 pitcher.
6. C.C Sabathia—Yankees:
After a sub-par performance before the 2009 All-Star break, Sabathia lit things up in New York, going 11-2 with a 2.74 ERA after the break. While Sabathia is not going get as many strikes as last year, you can rely on his win totals with the type of run support he has.
5. Justin Verlander—Tigers:
Verlander shocked those who owned him as well as those who passed on him in 2009 by dominating nearly everyone he faced. He posted a 19-9 record with a 3.45 ERA, and an incredible K/9-rate of 10. It’s a shame, because most only remember his disastrous 2008 season. While that may shy many away from him, perhaps you won’t be so bashful when it’s your turn in the draft.
4. Josh Beckett—Red Sox:
It seems as if every year when pitching rankings are done, the Red Sox graciously provide us with at least three pitchers; this year is no different. Josh Beckett has been one of the most consistent pitchers for both Boston and fantasy baseball in a very long time. Historically, Beckett has always had a elevated ERA, but with the type of run support and bull pen the Red Sox have, he can more than make up for it in strikes and wins.
3. Felix Hernandez—Mariners:
Hernandez broke out last year be going 19-5 with a stellar 2.49 ERA, and a brilliant K/9 rate of 8, on a very average Mariners team. Now, in 2010, the team is far better offensively, which should allow Hernandez another fine—if not better —2010 season.
2. Jon Lester—Red Sox:
And here we have the third Red Sox pitcher, and by far the best. Last year Lester enjoyed a wonderful 15-8 season while posting a respectable 3.41 ERA, but it was his improvement to his K/9 rate that hold the most fantasy relevance. Lester gets better every single year, and you should see him win at least 16 games this year while his K/9 rate should hover around 9.
1. Zach Greinke—Royals:
There were some who really felt last year’s season was to be expected, while there were others who had serious doubts about Greinke as a starting pitcher for their fantasy team. Luckily for me and the ones who drafted him, we believed.
Greinke was the No. 1 overall pitcher in draft and trade leagues for nearly all season long. He posted a 16-8 record, with a 2.16 ERA, and an equally impressive K/9 rate of 10. There is little room to think he won’t put up those numbers again in 2010.
And so we have it, both the National League and American League are out, but what about other position rankings in baseball?
Here is a collection of rankings from first to third.