Now that the 2011 NBA season and draft are done, and football is still months away (if at all), Major League Baseball is the main sports focus, for a while.
As the division races pick up steam, the players who mean the most to their teams are going to have step up.
Pitching is the focus of many teams now, and the unknown pitcher is looking to be known.
Not only is pitching critical in real baseball, it’s also one of the most important aspects of fantasy baseball.
Here is a list of the top five fantasy pitchers on the free-agent wire.
John Lannan might not get you the strikeouts you need, but he will get you innings pitched, ERA and wins. With the Washington Nationals on a surge, it translates to more wins for Lannan.
Right now, Lannan is 5-5, has 50 strikeouts, has pitched 92.2 innings and has a 3.40 ERA. Over his last 10 starts, the fewest innings Lannan has pitched in a start is 5.1, and has given up 3 earned runs once since May 21 (seven starts). In every other start since May 21 Lannan has given up two or less earned runs.
This crafty lefty can very helpful to your fantasy team in the weeks to come.
Harrison is kind of a streaky player, but you should ride him while he’s hot. He’s 6-6 this year, with a 3.00 ERA, which is not bad. Harrison’s only bad start over his last 10 outings was against the Baltimore Orioles on May 21, where he gave up six earned runs through five innings pitched. Since then, he’s 3-0 and pitched seven innings or more in three starts.
Vargas has been one of the best fantasy pitchers over the last two weeks. Over his last five starts, he has pitched at least six innings and twice he has thrown a complete-game shutout. Vargas is always going to be a pitcher who eats up innings, but he doesn’t get a lot of strikeouts; he plays to contact. Also, he plays for the Seatle Mariners, resulting in less wins.
Stauffer has been a beast in his last few starts. No one can seem to figure this guy out. He has seven or more innings pitched his last four starts and, in those starts he has at least five strikeouts (two times with eight or more). In addition, he has given up two earned runs or fewer in the last four starts. It also helps that Stauffer pitches at Petco Park, a pitchers' park. Stauffer will always get you strikeouts, but he can’t continue this pace of innings pitched.
Wolf is the kind of pitcher who always seems to fly under the radar, and this year is no different. Wolf is 6'4", has 73 strikeouts and has a 3.20 ERA. Those are pretty solid numbers.
Wolf will usually pitch you six to seven innings a game and rack up a lot of strikeouts. In fact, over his last four starts he has 6.2 innings or more and given up three earned runs or fewer in those starts. He is probably the safest bet among these pitchers because he is consistent.
If you want reliability, go with Wolf; if you want to take a chance, go with Stauffer.