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2011 Fantasy Projections No. 57: The Case for Chris Carpenter as a No. 1 Pitcher

ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 5: Starter Chris Carpenter #29 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on September 5, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Reds 4-2.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Nick KappelAnalyst IIIFebruary 27, 2011

Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one-by-one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.

Ready to be blown away?

Since 2005, only one major league pitcher (with at least 900 innings) has an ERA lower than that of Roy Halladay. It’s not Johan Santana. Or Roy Oswalt. Or CC Sabathia. Or Felix Hernandez.

Give up?

Over the last six seasons, no qualifying pitcher has an ERA lower than Chris Carpenter’s mark of 2.88. His dominance has come despite missing all but four starts between 2007 and 2008 due to Tommy John surgery, and he’s still posting ridiculous numbers.

But nobody seems to notice.

Carpenter’s current ADP on Mock Draft Central is 95, while Rotowire ranks him 120 overall. The Yahoo! composite rankings have him just outside of the top 100.

Both Matthew Berry and I, however, rank Carpenter inside the top 60.

Why such a high ranking for the 35-year-old starter (he’ll turn 36 in late April).

Despite falling victim to the sub-2.50 curse last season, Carpenter’s ERA (3.22) ranked 23rd among qualifying pitchers, just behind Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia and just ahead of Jon Lester and Tommy Hanson.

Carpenter’s strikeout totals are average, but his walk rate was above 1.90 last year for the first time since his first season as a Cardinal in 2004. This has allowed him to post stellar WHIP totals.

Carpenter’s go-to pitch – his hammer curve – was better than it’s ever been in 2010, clocking in at 12.8 runs above average (fourth best in the majors).

His contact, first strike and swinging strike rates are all right at the league average, but for Carpenter, that has never mattered.

Expect a sixth-consecutive sub-3.50 ERA (minus the two years he missed to injury, of course) from Carpenter in 2011. He’s no longer a sexy pick, but he’s well worth the price.

 IPWK/9BB/9ERAWHIP
2010 stats235166.862.413.221.18
3-year average148116.702.132.741.11
2011 FBI Forecast214157.002.203.201.19

 

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