These starting picthers could take the next step in their development and become front line starters in 2010. The list is in alphabetical order.
Homer Bailey - Cinn - Age 24 1st week of May
2009 Stats: 8-5 Record, 4.53 ERA, 1.47 Ratio, 86K in 113 1/3 IP
Bailey pitched well in August & September (although 4 starts against Pittsburgh in that time) and keep in mind a couple of years ago Baseball America had Bailey ranked as one of the top 10 prospects in all of baseball. Again Bailey turns 24 1st week of May so he is still young and most talented young pitchers take time. Having said that, be careful of young players having big September's, a lot of times does not translate into the next season. Also has to work on his walks, Bailey walked 52 batters in 113 1/3 innings last year. That must come down. If you can get Bailey at the end of the draft in an NL only league for a cheap price could be a good gamble.
Chad Billingsley - LA - Age 25
2009 Stats: 12-11 Record, 4.03 ERA, 1.32 Ratio, 179K in 196 1/3 IP
Billingsley pitched like an ace until early June and then for whatever reason it all feel apart. From early June on Billingsley had a little bit over a 5 ERA. He was so bad during that time that Joe Torre could not trust him with a post season start. Billingsley has the talent to be a front end starter and pitching in Dodger stadium does not hurt either. Flip a coin if he emerges as a front end guy for years to come.
Johnny Cueto - Cinn - Age 24
2009 Stats: 11-11 Record, 4.41 ERA, 1.36 Ratio, 132K in 171 1/3 IP
Cueto made some nice improvements from 2008 and if it wasn't for the fact that Cueto hit some sort of wall in July & August (ERA was over 8) Cueto could have had an excellent year. Has great stuff and is still young although the Reds do play in a bam box. I can see Cueto taking the next step in his development.Probably not ready for ace status yet but can be a nice middle of th rotation guy.
Tommy Hanson - Atl - Age 23
2009 Stats: 11-4 Record, 2.89 ERA, 1.18 Ratio, 116K in 127 2/3 IP
Hanson had a great rookie year and by all accounts it's only a matter of time before he becomes an ace. Having said that, in most NL only leagues, he will go near ace prices on draft day... which is a problem. If you are going to pay near ace prices you have to figure barring injury you are defintely getting an ace for 2010. Remember what I said in the past about young players dealing with big expectations for the 1st time. I think this kid will be great but expect very good numbers for 2010 but don't pay ace prices on draft day.
JA Happ - Phil - Age 27
2009 Stats: 12-4 Record, 2.93 ERA, 1.23 Ratio, 119K in 166 IP
Happ had 23 starts in 2009 (10-4 with a 2.99 ERA as a starter) and also made 12 relief appearances. I think Happ can be a real good back of the rotation starter but we need to see more to figure out how good he really is. Big plus being on the Phillies although keep in mind the small ballpark. I expect good things in 2010 but his ERA probably be in the high 3's and the ratio probably around 1.3. Budget for those kind of numbers and then set a draft day price based on that.
Jonathan Sanchez - Age 27
2009 Stats: 8-12 Record, 4.24 ERA, 1.36 Ratio, 177K in 163 1/3 IP
Considering how bad his May & June were (went 1-7 in that time with an ERA of 6 in May & 7 in June) Sanchez numbers finished pretty good. Sanchez still has to get his walks down if he wants to make the next step (88 walks in 163 plus innings is not going to cut it). But we all seen the kind of things Sanchez is capable with his no hitter last summer. Going to be hard for him to get a lot of wins pitching for the Giants (hey Lincecum has only been able to get 15 wins a year the last 2 years). Having said that you can definitely see Sanchez take the next step and being a mid level guy for your rotation. Seems to be on a lot of sleeper lists which always jacks up the price on draft day.
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