Jeremy Hellickson Is the 2011 MLB Breakout Candidate

Fantasy KnuckleheadsCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2011
This little Ray of sunshine is about to be a freak off the leash.

I’ve seen starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson show up on sleeper lists this year, but let’s face it, he’s already got fantasy GMs' attention like Lady Gaga at a red carpet event.

No one is likely to be sleeping on this kid. And if they are you can bet they’ll be your league cellar-dweller anyway.

In his two seasons at AAA, Hellickson’s stat line is beyond impressive.

He has a Win/Loss record of 18-4 in 30 starts with an ERA of 2.47. He struck out 193 batters in 175 innings, giving him a 9.9 K/9 ratio.

Of all rookie prospects heading to the show this season, Hellickson is perhaps the most major league ready. His stuff is tailored for success.

He’s got a sinking fastball that hits the mid-90′s, which he likes to mix up with a slick deuce that he’s happy to throw at any point in the count. Then he’s got a freakishly sick changeup that can make a seasoned vet cry.

Hellickson has the command and skill to be an ace for years to come, and he’s currently penciled in as the Tampa Bay Rays fifth starter.

The concern with Hellickson is not if he’ll be a  stud, but whether he can put it all together in his debut season.

This combined with the fact that everyone is so high on him and you may have to pay a steep price that may not pan out in single season leagues.

If you’re getting deep into the draft and you’re faced with veteran guys like Josh Beckett and Tim Hudson, that’s the point where you may want to take a leap of faith.

I’d feel comfortable taking him somewhere between the 35th and 45th pitcher off the board in single season leagues.

Any earlier than that and the pay off may not be worth the price.

Any later than that and the upside just gets bigger.

In keeper leagues you could take him 10 pitchers earlier knowing you’re investing in the future and hoping for the present.