With perennial favorites like Jake Peavy, Brandon Webb, and Johan Santana battling through injuries in 2009, finding good reliable starting pitchers to draft for your 2010 Fantasy Baseball team can become a daunting task. Add to that the fact that only 8 starters last year won more than 17 games, and you begin to see that elite pitchers will command a premium this coming season. To help make those draft day decision, here then are the top 10 pitchers to go after in your 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft.
Tim Lincecum (Giants)
As successful and consistent as any pitcher has been over the past two seasons, Lincecum can carry a fantasy baseball pitching staff. Never mind that this power pitcher stands all of 5-11 and weights only 170 lbs, Lincecum generates tremendous velocity on his pitches, which enables him to post terrific fantasy numbers. Tim followed his 2008 breakout season, with a 15-7, 261 strikeout, 2.48 ERA performance last season. What’s more, over his first 90 games as a major leaguer, hitters have hit only .217 against him. To add to his value, last year Lincecum was also good for 4 CG games and a 1.05 WHIP. Look for him to improve on his 15 wins next season, while posting over 250 K’s for the third straight season. If you are going to take a chance on pitching in the first round, you won’t go wrong with Lincecum.
Zack Greinke (Royals)
Never mind that he plays for the Royals, Grienke enjoyed a breakout season in 2009. The former 2002 first round draft pick finally lived up to his potential posting a 16-8 season with a 2.16 ERA and 242 strikeouts. Though his ERA will mostly likely climb half a point or so next season, there is no reason why Greinke can’t post 18 plus wins and be among the league leaders in strikeouts. Capable of a quality start any time he takes the mound, Greinke also manage to throw in 6 complete games and 3 shutouts in 2009. Grab Grienke while his star is still on the rise.
Justin Verlander (Tigers)
After back to back good years in 2006 and 2007, Verlander suffered through a disastrous 2008 season prompting most fantasy baseball owners to write him off for the 2009 season. Yet those fantasy owners that did gamble on the 6-5 right hander out of Old Dominion were richly rewarded with a 19-9, 265 strikeouts season. Justin, who was equally impressive both before and after the All-Star game, also manage to drop his WHIP to 1.18 and maintained a respectable 3.45 ERA. An elite a pitcher, Verlander is good enough to anchor any fantasy pitching staff.
CC Sabathia (Yankees)
As good a pitcher as there is in MLB, Sabathia is 55-25, with 657 strikeouts, and 16 complete games over the past 3 seasons. Last season, the 6-7 lefty richly rewarded the Yankees with a 19-8, 197 strikeout, 3.37 ERA season, and there is little reason to believe that Sabathia will not flirt with a 20 win, 200 strikeout season in 2010. While he probably will not be the first starter off the board in your draft, CC will surely be among the top five pitchers taken in any fantasy league.
Roy Halladay (Blue Jays)
Over the past three seasons, Halladay has pitched 26 complete games and 7 shutouts in route to a 53-28 record. An inning eater, Roy has averaged 232.5 innings pitched over the past three seasons. Add to that the fact that he has gone over the 200 strikeout mark over the past two seasons, and has kept his WHIP under 1.15 in three out of the past four seasons, and you have the makings of a staff ace. It is also worthwhile noting that his ERA has been under 2.80 for the past two years. So, while Halladay will not be the sexiest pick in the draft, you will be hard press to find a more reliable one.
Félix Hernández (Mariners)
Hernandez finally made good on the promise he has shown over the past few years with an incredible 2009 season. Last season Felix compiled a 19-5 season, and registered a sterling 2.49 ERA. As if that was not enough to get most fantasy’s owner’s attention, Hernandez also had 217 strikeouts and a 1.14 WHIP. One of the few MLB pitcher that has a very good shot of coming up with a 20 win season in 2010, Hernandez is worth a high pick gamble.
Dan Haren (Diamondbacks)
If you can get past the 14-10 record, you would see that few pitchers were as good as Dan Haren in 2009. Last year Haren finished the season with a 1.00 WHIP, as hitters hit only .224 against him, and he issued just 38 walks in 229 innings pitched. Add to that, the fact that he struck out 223 batters and you begin to see why Haren might just be the best pitcher flying under the radar in this year’s fantasy draft. If he slips through the earlier rounds of your draft take him.
Johan Santana (Mets)
Injuries curtailed Santana’s second season with the Mets, limiting the lefty to just 25 outings. Still, when he did pitch, Johan was among the best pitchers in the league, compiling a 13-9 record with 146 strikeouts and a 3.13 ERA in only 166 innings pitched. Though he underwent arthroscopic surgery in his left elbow, Santana should be back to form in 2010, and an 18 win, +200 strikeouts season should be within his grasp once again.
Jon Lester (Red Sox)
The fact that the Red Sox made Lester and not Beckett, the team’s first post season starter last season should speak volumes for this up and coming lefty. Last season Lester was 15-8 with 225 strikeouts and a 3.41 ERA, and those numbers should take a slight turn up in 2010. Look for Lester to come in around the 18-20 win, +240 K mark in 2010, and grab him as early as you can in your draft.
Adam Wainwright (Cardinals)
Wainwright, a former first round draft pick of the Braves, enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2009. Last season the 6-7 righty compiled a 19-8 record with a 2.63 ERA and 212 strikeouts. What’s more, he managed to improve in the second half of the season, fashioning a 9-3 record with a 2.10 ERA after the All-Star game. Look for Wainwright to break into the elite pitcher category in 2010, and grab him early in your draft.