Fausto Carmona leads the way, followed by Justin Masterson and Carlos Carrasco and after that, well, the bottom kind of falls out.
Fausto Carmona was a legit Cy Young candidate in 2007 but got injured and lost his way in 2008 and 2009.
In 2010, however, we saw a resurgent Fausto (and in AL-only leagues he became one of the great steals of the draft) throw 210 innings with 13 wins, a 3.77 ERA and pretty good peripheral numbers across the board. Nothing spectacular, but for an AL-only league, he is well worth the $10-15 he’ll cost, and in mixed leagues, worthy of a 15th-17th round pick.
The Indians’ second starter was the linchpin of the Victor Martinez deal in 2009—Justin Masterson.
Masterson is a big, young, hard-throwing, experienced starter, and I think he is poised for a breakout year in 2011. He has definitely shown flashes, as demonstrated by his 7.6 K/9 rate and his lower BB/9 numbers, and he improved down the stretch as he neared his innings limit.
Problem is, he throws way too many pitches, walks too many guys and gives up too many hits (ergo the 1.50 WHIP and 9.9 H/9).
Having said that, maybe this is the year that he turns the corner. I’d put him on your mixed-league watch-list and grab him in AL-only for less than $7.
Carlos Carrasco, another linchpin of a trade between the Indians and a contender (this time the Phillies and Cliff Lee), is also a high-upside guy.
Like Masterson, Carrasco is big, young and powerful and has the ability to be a very good starter.
After being called up in September, Carrasco acquitted himself quite well, winning two games to go with a 3.83 ERA, 7.7 K/9, a very healthy 2.71 K/BB, a WHIP of 1.36 and an excellent outing where he held the Twins scoreless into the eighth inning in mid-September.
I’d put Carrasco a notch below Masterson, but he’s a guy to grab in the late round of your AL-only draft.
The rest of the guys—Aaron Laffey, Josh Tomlin, Mitch Talbot, Jeanmar Gomez—are not viable fantasy options unless you are in wholly dire straits.
Briefly, Laffey has one of the most drastic home/road splits in baseball history (in his career, he is 10-8 with a 2.91 ERA at home and 8-13 with a 5.71 ERA on the road).
Tomlin made a few starts last year but also defines the word inconsequential.
As for Talbot, in what was essentially his rookie year, he acquitted himself well, throwing 151 innings and winning 10 games with a sub-4.50 ERA. His stats don’t warrant much fantasy baseball attention, but he could be a decent $1 rotation filler for the right kind of team.
Finally, Gomez was the toast of baseball when he started his career by allowing six earned runs through his first five starts, all but one a win. The writing was on the wall, however, as Gomez’ peripherals were not very good: low strikeouts, too many hits and not enough missed bats. He finished the season 4-5 with a 4.99 ERA. I think a lot of people are going to draft and hope for a miracle again—don’t be that person.
Finally, the Indians’ first-rounder from 2010, Drew Pomeranz, came out of school with great fanfare and really has a perfect starter’s build (6’5”, 230), but unless you have a Dynasty roster, he isn’t worth much consideration right now.
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Written by Jesse Mendelson exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com.