Everyone wants good pitching on their fantasy roster, but it scares people to pay high prices for it. That's why people love to find pitchers at a cheap price that will produce at a high level.
My last article seen here, (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/588947-fantasy-baseball-2011-5-young-arms-i-am-reaching-for-on-draft-day) listed five pitchers who I believe will have a great 2011, and even better their draft day cost is rather low.
I knew when I finished writing the article that I knew I had left a good number of breakout candidates and/or sleeper possibilities off the list. So here I am again to give you five more pitchers who I would grab earlier than their mock draft position is telling us based on their possible output for 2011.
Enjoy, and be sure to leave your comments!
A lot of people that know a lot about baseball are really excited about Bumgarner, and it is pretty easy to see why. He has great control and poise on the mound and he is only 21.
Right now Bumgarner is showing as the 36th pitcher selected in early mock drafts. He is landing in the middle of the 14th round. I would be comfortable with taking him even as early as round nine.
Bumgarner had a great 18 starts in 2011. He finished with a superb 3.00 ERA. His WHIP wasn't great at 1.31 but he was very unlucky with a BABIP at .314. If that gets back to around the league average expect the WHIP to drop as he showed excellent command in the majors.
Over the course of 111 IP he only walked 26. Equate that out to 200 innings and he's top 10 on the right side of walks allowed.
Bumgarner also finished the regular season by allowing 5 ER in his last 38 innings pitched, and don't forget that World Series appearance (8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, W). This guy is the real deal. Next year you won't get him cheap so pay the extra up front this year, the rewards will be there.
I am kind of leery of suggesting a guy that doesn't have much of a past in the majors as a candidate to reach for, but with Hellickson all signs point to lift off.
Hellickson was passed around the Tampa Bay system more than a hot potato last year, but with the trade of Matt Garza to the Cubs it seems evident that this prized arm is heading for the starting rotation once Tampa breaks from Spring Training.
His AAA numbers from last year look good, 2.45 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 9.4 K/9. They looked even better in 2009 where he spent all year there. He has actually been in the Rays system since 2005, but 2011 is the time to shine.
He grabbed four spot starts with the big club last year, all four of them were quality starts. His ERA in those four starts was 2.05 and his K/9 was near 10. His numbers ballooned a little when he spent time in the bullpen, something he rarely did in the minors.
In 2011 he should see all of his time in the rotation. The only concern would be an innings cap, he only reached 165 in 2010. Nonetheless, he is currently going as the 53rd pitcher in the 17th round. I'd grab him around 11 or 12 with no worries. Maybe earlier.
When you make this pick in your draft room, you probably won't get any ooohs or aaahs but the goal is to win, and Lilly can help you do that at a very low price.
Hate on the old unsexy type all you want but all Lilly has done over the last two years is post top ten WHIP ratios within all of baseball. In 2009 he was fifth, in 2010 he was seventh. In 2009 his ERA was 14th, in 2010 it was 37th.
In 2010, his quality start percentage was 12th in all of baseball. His K/9 rate was top 30. His pitches per inning was 10th.
I show you all this for one reason, Lilly is the 60th pitcher being taken in mock drafts. But his performance clearly shows that has been a consistent top 25-30 pitcher over the last two years. He doesn't do anything over the top, he isn't great at anything. But he is good at everything.
Yeah he's older, but he can still produce. Right now he is going around pick 204, I would spend a 15th round pick on him and get him about 50 spots ahead of that position. It is a safe bet, make the reach.
Few get to the majors as quickly as Sale did in 2010. After being drafted 13th overall by the White Sox Sale only pitched 10.1 innings in the farm system.
He was very impressive in 2010. In AAA he faced 19 batters, striking out 15 of them. With the Southsiders this South Paw posted a 1.93 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, with a 12.3 K/9 over 23.1 innings.
The question with Sale in 2011 is not when he will join the White Sox it is where. He could be a great candidate to close, but he also looks like the number one guy to take the fifth starter job with Jake Peavy injured.
The White Sox have been kinda quiet on Peavy, so it is hard to predict. But with Freddy Garcia going elsewhere this week it is one less hurdle for Sale to clear. My guess is he starts the season in the rotation as I don't see any way Peavy is ready to go. If that goes well the White Sox do have tradeable arms in Jackson and Floyd.
Or they could stick him in the closer role, with the departure of Bobby Jenks that looks to be a wide open race as well.
Where ever they put him he has the pedigree to be a guy that excels. Right now his current draft position is 302. But this is a guy I'd really like to own no matter where he starts the season. He could be a great number five starter, closer, or even a Daniel Bard type middle reliever. Round 20 would be a reach, but a gamble that would pay dividends, trust me.
With the departure of Billy Wagner, the closer door in Atlanta is open for Kimbrel.
I once sat in the bleachers at Wrigley and watched Carlos Marmol pitch to six batters. None of them made fair contact with the ball, the first three of them reached base on a walk and the last three went down swinging to his nastiness. Kimbrel is a Marmol clone.
When he is on, he's on. Kimbrel has little major league experience and I will touch on it later, but I want to explore his minor league stats. In 57 AAA innings Kimbrel posted these numbers 4.4 H/9, 6.1 BB/9 and 13.4 K/9.
In other words, you are more likely to get on base by a walk than a hit with Kimbrel, but you are also more than twice as likely to have him strike you out than walk. Just the type of closer I like.
In limited major experience Kimbrel threw 20.2 innings, allowed one earned run, nine hits, 16 walks and 40 strikeouts. Again same situation, if you face him there is a good chance your bat is not touching the ball.
Right now Kimbrel is being taken around pick 220. I'd reach into the 150s to grab him. He will pile up Ks at a rate that few others could at his position.