2011 MLB Fantasy Pitching Preview: AL East, David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays

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2011 MLB Fantasy Pitching Preview: AL East, David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays
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In preparation of the 2011 MLB Fantasy Baseball season, The Fantasy Fix team will preview a team's pitching rotation each day. Jesse Mendelson's third preview of the AL East features David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Now this will be interesting. 

The Rays traded Matt Garza to the Cubs, opening a full-time rotation spot for Jeremy Hellickson, one of the best young prospects in baseball.  And he’s gonna be their fifth starter.  

David Price leads the way, and rightfully so.  A well-deserved second place in last year’s Cy Young voting, he was arguably the AL’s most consistent pitcher from April to September.

Pitching in a tight divisional race for most of the season, he finished 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .221 BAA and nearly a K per inning.  And as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 Draft and his dominant turn as a closer in the 2008 postseason, you know the guy’s got talent.  

Those of you who had Price on your team last year probably got him cheap—which unfortunately for you won’t happen this year.  I rank him just below the top tier of Halladay/Lee/Sabathia/Lester, et al.

Right up front, I will admit that I am NOT a James Shields fan.  I think he is consistently overvalued from a very good 2008 campaign, but since then, virtually every statistic has gone the wrong way for him.  Wins haven’t changed, he’s lost more games, given up more hits, more earned runs and more homers. 

His ERA has gone up every year, as has his WHIP and BAA.  Plus, he turns 30-years-old later this year.  

Shields does have fairly good strikeout numbers, but I can’t recommend him for ownership—there are spot-starters you can get that will be better than Shields.

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