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2012 Fantasy Baseball Preview: 5 Pitchers Worth Drafting

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Starting Pitching isn’t too difficult to find in fantasy sports. All thirty teams in Major League Baseball comprise their rotations of at least five players. Even though there are so many starting pitchers available you have to choose carefully when selecting the guys you’ll have on your fantasy roster.

This next group of players isn’t just ones I would draft but a group of guys who can easily be had on the cheap in most drafts.

Five Pitchers I would be willing to draft in 2012

As a bonus this first pitcher will be grouped in with another. Injuries are always a part of the game and a lot of pitchers go through them. The violent movements and the heavy rotations they place on their elbow, and shoulders are tolling and sometimes cause break downs. Adam Wainwright (STL) and Stephen Strasburg (WSH) know this all too well. 

Wainwright has been the talk of the town in St. Louis for many years, Wainwright burst onto the scene in 2006 and is known for putting away the Tigers in the World Series as a closer. Wainwright was named a starter the following season and had an 8+ win/loss margin in every year besides his first as a starter. Prior to the injury Wainwright was getting into his comfort zone striking out batters at will with 212 Ks in 2009 and 213 in 2010 before missing all of last year because of the surgery. 

Strasburg has been talked about ever since he was drafted first overall by the Nationals a few short seasons ago. He made a quick appearance in the Majors and was blowing people away, striking out 12.2 batters per 9 innings. He was never truly able to turn his massive strike out numbers into victories with only 6 total wins in 17 starts but that was more of a product of the players around him. In 2012, the team seems like they are getting better acquiring the right players to fit the right roles and that will easily help his draft stock. Wainwright is falling under the radar a bit while Strasburg is garnering a 4th round draft pick or higher. But both players will get you the wins, the strikeouts and keep their ERA’s low.

A lot of people hate on the Michael Pineda (NYY) experience that is going on in NY. Pineda is only 23, was striking out 9 batters per 9 innings while keeping his ERA under 4 in 2011. Granted his ERA prior to the all-star break was much better than after it, but his strikeout numbers remained and that is a promising feature to hold onto. 

Pineda is coming to a much smaller ball park in terms of the corners however, except for right-center field which has the same 385ft dimensions; Yankee Stadium is actually bigger than Safeco Field and that will actually help his numbers. Although his ERA numbers won’t be astonishing to say the least, his win total will increase and if he can continue to stay on the path of striking out a batter per inning he will be great for the Yankees and even better for your fantasy team.

I have sat for years watching Anibal Sanchez (MIA), waiting for him to break out, but to no avail. And due to the sluggish beginning of his career, Sanchez went undrafted by most fantasy players in 2011. I can promise you, he won’t be a sleeper in 2012. 

Sanchez didn’t produce the wins (that’s more of a telling story for the offense behind him), but his ERA was under 4 for the third straight year and he increased his strikeout numbers nearly 60 higher than he did the year prior. 

This season the Marlins are a much better looking team with the acquisitions of Jose Reyes to help with run support, and Heath Bell to help with closing of games, his win totals should spike. With a new stadium in Miami that sees fences pushed up to 420 feet away, his home run totals should drop and with that so will his earned run average. If he can continue to put up the strikeout numbers he did a year ago, he will be a great player to have this season.

The Atlanta Braves seem to never be short an amazing pitching staff and recently they have been building it again to match those of the 90s. And while they may never get to be that good, the quality of young arms coming up is worth noting. 

Another strike out monster, Brandon Beachy (ATL) saw nearly 30 more strikeouts than innings pitched in 2011 and should continue to produce those numbers again. A bit troubling is his 5.2 IP per star mark which isn’t very good as it tends to show that the violent nature in which he throws will either cut his games short, or cut his season short if injuries begin to be an issue. Beachy did go 7 – 3 which is good as he is producing more wins than losses, and did have an ERA under 3.70 and a WHIP under 1.21 is great. 

The Braves will be in contention up until the end of the year and it will be because of guys like Beachy. Brandon’s ADP is around the 115 mark in or around the 10th round of a 12 team league which is great value for a player striking out as many batters as he is.

Another member of the Nationals rotation is fire baller Gio Gonzalez (WSH). Gonzalez was acquired from the Athletics in the off season in a trade and was the best move of the off season for the Nationals. Gonzalez comes into an already young rotation with Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman (WSH) and others and is a little different than the aforementioned pitchers with only an 8.8 strike out per 9 ratio but who’s counting? Not only did Gonzalez throw 197 strike outs in 202 innings pitched but he had an ERA of 3.12 and recorded 16 wins. Now he is playing for a much better offense, one that will actually put up runs, and with that we could see a 22 game winner in the mix shortly.

Written by Justin Mandaro exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com
Follow me on twitter @PeckinTheFix

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