This article may seem a bit harsh but as we go through the National League starting pitchers I think you will see there are some red flags. You should be very concerned about 80% of the starting pitchers in the National League for your NL Only team! This post could even help you with your mixed team leagues as well!.
I am not going to go into great detail but it's obvious you can bank on the following starting pitchers: Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, Dan Haren, Adam Wainwright, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, Ryan Dempster, Tommy Hanson, Ricky Nolasco, Johan Santana, Clayton Kershaw, Yovanni Gallardo, Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, and Wandy Rodriguez.
Let's look at the rest in alphabetical order with a quick hit why you should be concerned...
Jair Jurrjens - ATL - Recent injury news now makes him a risk, but maybe a great value late in the draft!
Bronson Arroyo - Cinn - Pitched great in the 2nd half last year to finish with good numbers but overall light on K's and his ERA & Ratio numbers for 07 & 08 are not good.
Chad Billingsley - LA - Looked like this guy was at bare minimun a # 2 starter. Pitched like an ace until early June and then had a 5 ERA the rest of the way and Joe Torre couldn't trust him in the playoffs.
Joe Blanton - Phil - After an awful start, pitched great to have a nice year but remember, he had a 4.69 ERA with a 1.40 Ratio in 2008 and pitches in a bam box.
Dave Bush - Mil - Has never been good.
Chris Carpentar - Stl - Look, if he pitches 175 innings for you he will be a great buy but he is such an injury risk.
Kevin Correia - SD - Bad team and need to see more.
Johnny Cueto - Cinn - Was great in the 1st half and then wore down terribly in the 2nd. Has potential but .500 team at best and pitches in a bam box.
Jorge De La Rosa - Col - Last year was the first season he wasn't a negative player. I have to see it again.
Zach Duke - Pitt - Stay away from Pirates and look at his numbers year by year.
Jon Garland - SD - Ratio Killer.
J.A. Happ - Phil - Have to see another full season as a starter.
Aaron Harang - Cinn - He is 12-31 the last 2 years.
Tim Hudson Atl - He is coming off major surgery and is entering his mid 30's.
Edwin Jackson - Arz - I know he has improved the last two seasons but I need to see one more year to say he can be one of your top starters.
Kenshin Kawakami - Atl - Could be a nice back end guy with limited K's.
Ian Kennedy - Arz - Did you watch him pitch for the Yankees?
Huroki Kuroda - LA - Again entering mid 30's and seems to be wearing down.
John Lannan - Wsh - Could be a back end guy like Kawakami.
Mat Latos - SD - Rookie and a bad team.
Ted Lilly - Chi - Love Ted Lilly, always have, feel he is under-rated and since becoming a Cub has been a great fantasy player. However, off season shoulder has Lilly missing at least April and then how long does the transition take coming off the injury?
Kyle Lohse - Stl - Everything has to come together for him to be decent.
Derek Lowe - Atl - Professional pitcher capable of bouncing back off his awful 2009 but he is in his late 30's and his ERA & Ratio numbers were scary last year.
Paul Maholm - Pitt - Do not draft Pirate starters. 2 of his last 3 years his ERA & Ratio were killers to your fantasy team.
Roy Oswalt - Hou - Deserved a better fate last year but the fact that his back gave him problems last year and that he has thrown over 1,800 innings the last 9 years are major warning signs.
Vicente Padilla - LA - He will hurt your ERA & Ratio with limited K's.
Manny Parra - Mil - When will he turn the corner?
Mike Pelfrey - NY - Low K's and had 5 ERA last year.
Brad Penny - Stl - Last couple of years he's been hit hard and been hurt.
Clayton Richard - SD - A rookie on a bad team.
Jonathan Sanchez - SF - Love the K's and the stuff but the walks must go down more. Last year was his best ERA & Ratio year with a 4.24 ERA & 1.37 Ratio. He can make the next step but you can't count on it?
Stephen Strasburg - Wsh - One day soon you will be able to bank on him but not sure when he will be in Washington this year and he is a rookie.
Chris Volstad - Has potential and pitched great the first two months, then couldn't get anyone out the rest of the season.
Brandon Webb - Arz - Like Carpentar, if healthy, he'll be great. Pitched 4 innings last year.
Randy Wells - Chi - After 3 mediocre seasons in AAA I need to see more than his 27 starts last year.
Randy Wolf - Mil - Love last year but he's had many injury problems in the past, will be 34 during the season and before last year went 6 straight seasons with an ERA above 4 (his lowest ERA in that time was 4.23).
Chris R. Young - SD - Has had injuries and bad team.... but has ace stuff!
Carlos Zambrano - Chi - Last 3 years his ERA has been around 4, his ratio in the 1.3's, his K's down and has had injury issues.
I'm not saying that all of these guys on this list won't be good in 2010 but there are so many big question marks on 80% of the starters in the NL. Considering this, under no circumstances should you be spending big money on these starting pitchers. In the NFL draft they call that a reach. Don't put yourself in that position come draft day. In my opinion, if you are going to reach or over-spend do it on the top 16 starters. Also, do everything you can do get two guys off the top 16 in an NL only league and build the rest of your pitching staff around them. Try to find guys who can give you good W's & K's while not hurting your ERA & Ratio at reasonable dollars. Just because a guy has a name like Oswalt or Zambrano does not mean you should be spending big money on them.
NL King - C.Lizza