In the fantasy league I participated in last year, my team was hurt hard by injury, suspension, and poor management on my part. Some players I picked up last year made an impact in my fantasy league. It's now my turn to tell you about five of those pitchers, who won me my last ten games.
While all these pitchers are young, sometimes a gamble is worth the risk in the later rounds of your draft.
The once prized prospect of the Cincinnati Reds, Homer Bailey finally has his game back on track. After being rushed into the big leagues and dealing with delivery problems and velocity troubles, Bailey proved last season he can produce at the Major League level.
While Bailey's overall stats from last year don't dazzle, his 8-5 record and 4.53 don't really tell the story of how well he pitched down the stretch. When Bailey was recalled on June 3, 2009, he was an inning eater. From July 27 to his last start, Bailey posted a 7-3 record. He also posted a 2.41 ERA in the month of September. With 51.1 innings pitched during that span, Bailey also stuck out 49 batters, while walking 20 batters.
Bailey will finally start the 2010 season as the Reds fourth starter, a slot that will work in his favor.
Mat Latos. The young hurler of the San Diego Padres. Why he's fighting for a rotation spot in 2010? That's beyond me. If I were Padres management, I'd start him right away. The only thing holding him back is his lack of minor league experience in the inning category.
The Padres shut him down last season because of innings, and it came at a terrible time. Latos was shutting down Major League opponents. While Latos struggled in four of his last five starts last season, he showed promising talent and future to a Padres team that was playing for nothing.
In 49.2 innings of work, Latos produced 39 strikeouts. Doesn't seem so impressive but it's because Latos was usually get yanked by the fifth inning, again because of his pitch count.
If Latos does make the 2010 club, he's sure to produce big stats in the strikeout category as well as the wins column.
The former sixth round pick out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, has earned a job in the starting rotation for the 2010 Houston Astros.
Bud Norris is his name. Norris pitched himself last year to a 2.62 ERA, earning the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year. While his 4-9 record didn't jump out, Norris produced at the MLB level when he was called up in August.
Appearing in 12 games last year, where he started 11 of them, Norris went 6-3 with a 4.53 ERA. To accommodate that, he had 54 strikeouts in 55.2 innings of work. Bud has proven he can strikeout opponents through his minor league career.
He's flying under everyone's radar right now, but selecting Norris in the later round of your draft wouldn't hurt you. He's also a nice option in any keeper league.
A fifth round selection of out Old Dominion in 2008, Dan Hudson proved last season that he was ready for the show. In 2009, Hudson pitched in every league, including the Major Leagues. He posted a 14-5 record with a stunning 2.32 ERA to add some extra padding to his resume. Also, he added 166 strikeouts in only 147.1 innings of work.
While he has to battle former White Sox's ace Freddy Garcia for the fifth starting spot in the rotation, Hudson has made his case for why he deserves to be in the majors. While he's struggled this spring, it's a smarter decision for the Sox's to call upon him rather than the injured and worn down Freddy Garcia.
Like Bud Norris, Hudson would be a solid late round selection. He's an inning eater and a strikeout king. Oh and not to mention he doesn't walk many batters either (only 34 walks in 147.1 innings).
Jeremy Bonderman has had a rocky career. After one season where he lost 19 games, he turned his career around racking up sub 4.00 ERA and a load of strikeouts. However, the past two seasons have been somewhat cruel to the 28-year-old.
Bonderman was hurt for the majority of 2009 and is looking to rebound in a big way. While he's fighting for a starting position with once god Dontrelle Willis and Nate the Snake Robertson, Bonderman is poised to take over as the fourth or fifth starter. He'll get you the strikeouts you need, but you must be aware of his injuries.
He serves a three game suspension to start the season for hitting Twins outfielder Delmon Young last season.