2011 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Preview: Daniel Hudson and Arizona Diamondbacks
For a team with 70 or fewer wins in the last two seasons, the Arizona Diamondbacks actually have several useful fantasy players.
The first of those players to come to mind for most people would be position players. Guys like Justin Upton, Chris Young (still cannot believe he is useful again), Stephen Drew and Miguel Montero are all useful fantasy hitters.
Also, the addition of J.J. Putz means 2011 will not be a constant closer guessing game in Arizona as it was in 2010 (at least until Putz gets hurt).
However, Arizona’s rotation may be somewhat overlooked. While their staff may not be among the league’s elite, there are certainly fantasy relevant guys in the rotation.
No matter what the depth chart on the D’Backs home page says, Joe Saunders is not the No. 1 starter on this team.
Although Saunders won 17 games in 2008 and 16 games in 2009, he really was not that good and only accumulated four Wins Above Replacement (WAR) over those two seasons.
Not exactly sure what that means? Let me put it this way: Gavin Floyd had a 4.3 WAR last year with only 10 wins and a plus-4.00 ERA. Saunders clearly benefited from playing on two AL West-winning Angels teams.
Saunders’s ERA has been over 4.40 in all but one fluke season, and his career K/9 is 5.14. As you can see, Saunders is no staff ace, but more like a third or fourth starter on a team with a very thin rotation. He might be useful in deep NL-only leagues, but for where you will have to draft him to get him, you should probably avoid him altogether.
In my opinion, the true “ace” of the staff is Daniel Hudson.
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