Most pitching coaches and baseball aficionados would agree that it takes a few years for a starting pitcher to learn what it takes to be a successful big league pitcher. As Tom Glavine explained to John Feinstein in Living on the Black, “Young pitchers know how to throw hard, but very few know how to pitch”.
When looking for a young pitcher to target late in fantasy drafts, owners should identify players who have yet to produce top level fantasy stats despite having gifted arms and a collection of filthy pitches.
Take for example Clayton Kershaw, a 23-year-old southpaw for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his first year in the majors, Kershaw was 5-5 with a 4.26 ERA and a WHIP of 1.49. Although he had excellent stuff, including a mid 90’s fastball and a knee-buckling curve, Kershaw was young and needed to learn how to pitch, and not just throw hard.
In his third year with the Dodgers, Kershaw struck out 212 batters while posting a sub-three ERA. After taking the typical few years to learn how to be a pitcher, Kershaw is now the team’s top pitcher and is poised for a CY Young caliber season.
Here is a list of 10 young pitchers who are poised to have a breakout season. Some of these pitchers may still be a year or two away from learning their craft; however, all of them have excellent skills and could become stars in 2011.