The young upside type starting pitchers are the toughest group to analyze in terms of what their production will be for the coming year. Sometimes young starters are coming off a disappointing year and we carelessly write them off and then they emerge with a big season. We will try to illustrate a key point or two and help determining what the young guns will do in the NL for 2011.
List is in alphabetical order....
Homer Bailey - CIN - Bailey is a former top 10 in all MLB prospect by Baseball America. Bailey quietly made some nice improvements last year in terms of cutting down his walks and getting his K's up. This could be the year Bailey takes even the next step. However, Bailey, along with Mike Leake and Travis Wood are in competition for the 4th and 5th rotation spots for the Reds so unless there is an injury someone is starting in AAA.
Madison Bumgarner - SF - Bumgarner showed why he was a top top prospect in all of MLB last year. This kid is going to be really good for the Giants. However, a red flag for 2011 is Bumgarner pitched more innings by far ever in his life in a single season last year with 204 1/3 innings including the post season. That's 97 1/3 innings more than what he did in 2009. Many times when this has happened in the past it has resulted in a tired arm the following season and therefore a disappointing year or an injury.
Johnny Cueto - CIN - Cueto was having a solid season in 2009 before a disastrous summer made his final 09 numbers not look as good as they should have. Quite simply Cueto was solid last year and each season has made a nice improvement over the previous season. Does play in park that is like a softball field and looks like will be a so - so guy when it comes to K's though.
Barry Enright - ARZ - Not a good K guy but was a nice waiver wire pickup last summer for owners looking for some depth to their starting pitching. However you know how I feel about the D-Backs home park and I believe the D-Backs will be a bad team in 2011 that is a not a good formula.
Jamie Garcia - STL - The kid was on a lot of sleeper lists to be a real good depth starter, instead he put up numbers like a number 2 starter. Future is bright for Garcia and having Dave Duncan around does not hurt. I would count on number 3 starter numbers for 2011 and hope he pitched like he did last year.
Daniel Hudson - ARZ - Came over in the Edwin Jackson trade and quite simply pitched like an ace for the D-Backs. The league will adjust to Hudson so what happens then, not to mention again the ballpark and the team.
Jair Jurjens - ATL - I had Jurjens his rookie year (got him in my draft that year for $2) and he was just solid for me back in 08. He did even better in 09 but last year had an injury plagued season and
only pitched 116 innings and his numbers suffered. Follow his spring he should be 100% health wise now and if Jurjens slips in your draft then POUNCE.
Ian Kennedy - ARZ - Despite only getting 9 wins because of the team had a real solid year including a great ratio. But again like I said about Hudson, the league will adjust to him, the ballpark and the fact the team will lose over 90 games.
Mike Leake - CIN - Started off great but then cooled off but all things considering, not a bad rookie year although for fantasy purposes his ratio was a killer ... and not in a good way. Probably got tired down the stretch for the amount of innings he threw. Again in a competition for one of the back end rotation spots.
James McDonald - PIT - I always read that McDonald had real good stuff but the Dodgers did not give him much of a chance to show what he can do. The good news is Pittsburgh will, the bad news is he is pitching for the Pirates.
Chris Narveson - MIL - Very quietly won 12 games last year but it seemed like Narveson was either hot or cold. If Narveson can become a bit more consistent could be a nice sleeper come draft day although in my experience guys who win 10 or more games go higher than they should.
Jonathan Niese - NYM - Have to love Citi Field but I don't like Niese's ratio or the fact he throws way to many pitches which means he is gone after 6 innings or the fact I think the Mets are in for a rough year on the field. Already having a horrible year off it on many fronts. If Niese can make some adjustments can be a really good depth starter for you.
Mike Pelfrey - NYM - Pelfrey bounced back from a horrible 09 but last years final numbers don't tell the whole story. Pelfrey at times pitched like an ace and other times pitched like he doesn't belong in the majors. In the end can be a solid depth starter for you but I don't see Pelfrey emerging as a great starter because never been a great ratio guy (had a 1.38 ratio last year even though had 3.66 ERA), is a poor strikeout guy and I believe he is going to be on a bad team.
Clayton Richard - SD - One of the principles who came over in the Jake Peavy trade had a solid season. But don't overpay this year because his ratio is still a bit too high and I don;t see the Padres having the same year in 2011 with A-Gone gone so his wins will be down as well.
Edison Volquez - CIN - Got him in the same draft with Jurjens back in 08 for $1 (Boy that was a great draft) has electric stuff and came back last summer after missing a year from major surgery. I expect improvement from last year but not ready to say he will duplicate 2008 in 2011. Volquez might be a year away from that.
Chris Volstad - FLA - Made improvements last year but especially since he is a low K guy that ratio has to get a lot better otherwise he is a negative player. He is only 24 though.
Travis Wood - CIN - The left hander was great in his 17 starts last season and that fact along with he is left handed in my opinion would have to have an awful spring not to be in the rotation. I believe Bailey and Leake are fighting for the last spot.
Jordan Zimmerman - WSH - Came back last August after missing a year from Tommy John surgery. Has talent but given the team and it takes time to come back from that injury I see 2011 being a transition year for Zimmerman. Pass on him this year.
NL King - C.Lizza