Fantasy Baseball 2011: Top 15 Pitchers—Where Does Roy Halladay Rank?
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After the so-called "Year of the Pitcher" in 2010, what does the 2011 season hold for us? Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez won their leagues' respective Cy Young Awards, but who will challenge them this year?
Does Tim Lincecum still hold up? What about CC Sabathia? Maybe this season holds a breakout pitcher like last year's David Price or Mat Latos.
Who know what's in store this season?
Well, you're about to find out...
15. Chris Carpenter
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Rounding out the top 15 is Chris Carpenter. He is incredibly good, and on most other teams he would be the ace on the staff. The Redbirds feed off his long outings, but the only problem with Carp is his ability to stay healthy.
After Tommy John surgery in 2007, Carp hasn't posted an ERA over 3.30. He has the ability to perform at the highest level, but don't be surprised to see him miss time with an injury.
14. Justin Verlander
Verlander at the All-Star Game in 2010.
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Verlander, for all the animosity, is remarkably consistent. He has kept his ERA under 3.70 in four of the past five seasons.
Did I mention that he strikes out everyone? He has a career 8.2 K/9 rate, which means he strikes out nearly one batter per inning.
He is one of the best pitchers in the game and should be treated as such.
13. David Price
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David Price has the ability to be a top five starter. He has a fastball that touches over 100 MPH, and the starter for the AL All-Star team in 2010 has a curveball that falls off the table.
He could be drafted this year in the top 10 after recording a 2.72 ERA and 188 punchouts. He needs to be able to go deeper into the game, but if he does, watch out.
12. Cole Hamels
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Cole Hamels is not your typical fourth starter.
Hamels is part of the Phillies' amazing rotation, and he should be going up against other teams' fourth starters. Any top 15 starter that gets the opportunity to do so should be on your team. Period.
11. Zack Greinke
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In the past two seasons, Zack Greinke has won 26 games and lost 22. His combined ERA from 2009-2010 is 3.16. These are not typical statistics for any player that is one year removed from a Cy Young Award.
He posted a 4.16 ERA in 2010, and he needed something to change his demeanor. Thankfully, Greinke was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers this offseason, and the offense behind him is a welcome change of scenery.
He should flourish in Milwaukee and should be drafted as such.
10. Ubaldo Jimenez
Ubaldo high-fives his teammates.
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After his 15-1 start to the 2010 season, Ubaldo was a lock to win the Cy Young Award. But after the All-Star break, Ubaldo lost more games than he won.
After finishing 19-8, Ubaldo's 2010 season may have been a disappointment. He still finished the season with a 2.88 ERA, but he killed fantasy owners down the stretch.
He has tons of upside, and his success is proven, but he needs to be able to finish an entire season without fading when fantasy owners need him most.
9. Clayton Kershaw
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Clayton's jersey No. 22 now stands for something more than just a jersey number. He's 22 years old, and after posting back-to-back sub-3.00 ERA seasons, Kershaw is one of the best young pitchers in the game.
If managers were to pick one pitcher to start a new franchise, Kershaw might be the first one off the board. He has many years of good baseball in front of him, and 2011 should be no different.
8. CC Sabathia
CC celebrates after a job well done.
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CC hasn't registered a season in which he has an ERA over 3.40 since 2006. Consequently, he hasn't had a full season in which he has registered fewer than 17 wins since 2007.
Stats don't lie, and neither does fantasy. Draft CC and you won't be sorry.
7. Josh Johnson
Johnson gets his sign.
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Josh Johnson, all 6'10" of him, is a premier starter. Although he only has three developed pitches, they are all incredible and every bit as good as the next person's.
His fastball reaches up to 100 MPH, and his slider breaks from batter's box to batter's box. His 2.30 ERA in 2010 was amazing, and he has the ability to repeat his success for this upcoming season.
Who remembers Roy Halladay's perfect game against the Florida Marlins? Well, Johnson was actually pitching a no-hitter through the sixth inning in that game.
Johnson could change the Marlins from a .500 team to an above-average team. Draft him and you won't be sorry.
6. Jon Lester
Jon Lester celebrates after throwing his first career no-hitter.
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Jon Lester is one of the premier left-handed pitchers in the game. After last season, he has established himself at the elite level of starters in MLB.
He is able to cut his fastball to both sides of the plate, throw his curveball for strikes and make his change-up fall off the dish. What more can you ask for?
5. Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies this offseason.
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The most highly-touted free agent this offseason, Cliff Lee surprised everyone by signing with the Philadelphia Phillies. His $120 million over five years might seem overpriced for a 32-year-old southpaw, but Lee deserves his contract.
Known as one of the best strike-throwers in the game now, Cliff only walked 18 in 210 innings. His 10.28 K/BB ratio is the best in baseball history. Ever.
Let me rephrase that: Cliff Lee strikes out more than 10 batters per walk. If that doesn't deserve one of the richest contracts in baseball history, I don't know what does.
4. Adam Wainwright
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So who knows about Adam Wainwright? After two straight seasons with a sub-2.50 ERA, it's amazing that so many people don't know about Mr. Wainwright.
Waino might have the best 12-6 curveball in the entire league, and he has posted 210-plus strikeouts in two straight seasons. At age 29, he might still have his best stuff coming.
3. Tim Lincecum
Tim Lincecum, folks.
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Oh Big Time Timmy Jim, what have you done? After seeing incredible success in 2009 (2.48 ERA and 261 K's), Timmy saw his ERA rise almost a full run to 3.43.
Anyone who has followed the Giants would realize that his success is intertwined with his average fastball velocity, and Timmy's dropped significantly this season. He saw his change-up not have the same swing-and-miss capabilities that it once did.
Although 'Scum led the NL in K's in 2010 with 231, he was unable to get through the month of August unscathed, posting a 7.45 ERA and allowing a .373 BABIP.
Lincecum displayed his dominance in the postseason, striking out 43 while only walking nine. In 2011, 'Scum should return to his dominant self.
2. Felix Hernandez
Celebritorial Felix. Typical.
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King Felix has shown a consistent downward trend with his ERA in the past three years. From 3.45 in 2008 to 2.27 last season, Felix has shown maturity beyond his years.
Although he is only 24, Felix has shown poise that is more commonly found in veteran players. Not to mention he is the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner!
Felix is as safe as they come and should be taken in your drafts as such.
1. Roy Halladay
Roy Halladay, cutting to the point.
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Roy Halladay reigns supreme. After leading the National League in wins with 21, Roy Halladay will continue to dominate this year.
For all those who don't believe in his ability (tell me if you ever meet anyone), just contemplate the fact that he hasn't had an ERA north of 2.80 in the last three YEARS. He also has nine complete games in each of the last three seasons.
If anyone is proof of consistency, Roy Halladay is your man.