Today we look at the starting pitchers who we would classify as middle of the rotation guys or veterans in an NL Only fantasy baseball league. They are not aces but these starting pitchers will help us in a big way in terms of our teams having great success in 2011.
Roy Oswalt - PHI - Despite going 13-13 with both Houston and Philly Oswalt had a border line ace year. Rebounded with a 2.76 ERA (was 4.12 in 09), 1.025 Ratio (was 1.24 in 09) and had 193K's (had 138 in 09). Let's keep in mind though that even though Oswalt is pitching on a top team he is 33 years old has had some injury issues here and there (although for the most part has not stopped him pitching) and over the last ten years Oswalt has thrown 2,015 innings. He would be a great addition to your team for 2011 just don't pay ace money for Oswalt.
Ted Lilly - LAD - This guy is in my opinion the secret weapon of the starting pitchers in the NL. Since coming to the NL in 07 Lilly has won 54 games in those 4 seasons (has had double digit wins every year). His highest ERA was a 4.09 with the other 3 years in the 3's. Has been a great ratio guy with ratio's the last 4 seasons of 1.14, 1.23, 1.06 and 1.08 last year. Has been a solid to strong K guy the last 4 seasons with 174, 184, 151 and 166K's last year. And was traded from the Cubs to the Dodgers last summer and resigned with LA this offseason so now in one of the best pitchers parks in baseball. Lilly did turn 35 this winter and missed the beginning of last season coming back from a shoulder issue. As long as Lilly stays healthy and there is no reason not to think he won't (pitched 193 2/3 innings last year despite missing most of April) Lilly will be an excellent additional to your team.
Tim Hudson - ATL - If we knew Tim Hudson was going to be healthy just like 2010 where he through 228 2/3 innings I would probably put him in the ace category, although Hudson is not a high K guy (only 139 K's last year). But remember Hudson had Tommy John surgery in late summer of 2008 and he will be 36 this summer. I still like Tim Hudson but my problem with him is I believe in most leagues his price come draft day will be solely based on his 2010 production. If that is the case spend your dollars else where.
Matt Garza - CHC - Going from the AL East to the NL is going to seem like heaven for Matt Garza. While I don't expect Garza to turn into an ace he will be his usual work horse self with better ERA and Ratio numbers. I think 15 Wins with an ERA around 3.60, a Ratio in the low 1.20's and K's in the 160's sound about a right. A real solid pitcher.
Wandy Rodriguez - HOU - After a slow start last year Wandy finished with another solid season. He does everything well in the four categories the starting pitchers touches. The only thing is being on Houston do not expect more than 12 or 13 wins.
Shaun Marcum - MIL - Another guy going from the AL East to the NL. The red flag with Marcum is he did miss 09 because of elbow surgery however I don't think the Brewers would have traded one of their top prospects in Brett Lawrie unless they checked Marcum's medical reports up and down, left and right and every other which way before making the trade. Again like Garza not an ace but just solid across the board.
Ryan Dempster - CHC - Since becoming a starter again in 2008 Dempster has been a solid guy across the board. Great # 3 SP to have in an NL only league.
Ricky Nolasco - FLA - Nolasco has the stuff to become an ace. His problems in the past have really been the bad inning syndrome. Basically his ERA is not what it should be because he gives everything up in one bad inning over and over again. In 2009 Nolasco almost did the impossible when he posted a 1.25 Ratio with a 5.06 ERA. This illustrates my point. If Nolasco slips in your league come draft day POUNCE.
Hiroki Kuroda - LAD - Kuroda despite only 11 Wins last year gave his owners a big year. The key with Kuroda is health, as long as Kuroda stays healthy he will be a solid # 3 starting pitcher for you. But Kuroda turns 36 right before Spring Training and keep in mind Kuroda was only able to pitch 117 innings in 2009. Need to get a bit of discount on Kuroda due to his age and the miles on his body to add him to your team.
Chad Billingsley - LAD - After a horrific second half in 2009 Billingsley bounced back last year to have a solid year. Billingsley is more than capable of being a # 2 starter, it's all between the ears for this guy and his belief in himself. Remember he is only 26 years old.
Jon Garland - LAD - Had one of the best years of his career, pitching in Petco certainly didn't hurt. Leaves Petco but Dodger stadium not a bad pitchers park. Should be a solid pitcher this year but remember Garland before last year was a guy who had a ratio in the low 1.4's and last year was at 1.315.
Javier Vazquez - FLA - After finishing 4th in the Cy Young race in the NL in 2009, Vazquez had a rough season in the Bronx last year. As a Yankee fan (Yes the NL King favorite team is in the American League) and someone who saw almost all of Vazquez's starts it seemed to me a combination of trying to hard and lack of confidence. Going back to the NL and pitching in a big ballpark in Florida could be the perfect tonic for a rebound. If Vazquez goes between $10 to $12 in your league then POUNCE!
Derek Lowe - ATL - After a poor start to the season last year especially considering Lowe was coming off a poor 2009 season it looked like Derek Lowe might be on a downward spiral towards the end of his career. But Lowe pitched strong really from June on and finished with solid numbers. I think Lowe can repeat his 2010 production this year.
Brett Myers - HOU - Was one of the comeback stories in 2010 as Myers in his 33 starts last year went at least 6 innings in every start except one which was his last start when he went 5 2/3 innings. One of my few bright spots last year as I drafted Brett Myers in my auction draft last year for $4. Remember Myers is only 30 and last season was his return as a starting pitcher. Houston on paper appears to be a below 500 team but Myers should be a solid pitcher this season although I would expect an ERA in the high 3's instead of last years 3.14.
Bronson Arroyo - CIN - The last two years Arroyo has given his owners two really good years. I am still skeptically of him because I still worry Arroyo will hurt your ratio and has always been a very low strikeout guy and pitches at a softball field. But the last 2 years are hard to argue.
Anibal Sanchez - FLA - Finally stayed healthy for a full season and guess what he had a solid season, go figure. Still would like to see his walks come down, if he can do that Sanchez can get much better. Keep in mind he turns 27 during Spring Training so entering his prime years, so good things could be ahead for Annibal if he can stay healthy.
Jake Westbrook - STL - Anyone who has some talent and then goes to Dave Duncan the pitching coach of the Cardinals it seems only good things happen. For a $10 to $12 investment can give you a solid year.
Randy Wolf - MIL - After a career year for the Dodgers in 2009 things came back to earth for Wolf as he had his usually year with the Brewers. Wolf won 13 games with a 4.17 ERA, 1.39 Ratio and 142K's in 215 2/3 IP. The problem with Wolf is he is going to hurt your ratio somewhat while giving you a push ERA with solid wins and a decent amount of K's. I would look else where.
Jorge De La Rosa - COL - Can be a solid winner and strong K guy for you while giving you league averages in ERA and Ratio.
Joe Blanton - PHI - Blanton had solid seasons in 05, 07 and 09 but not good seasons in 06, 08 and 10. So he is up and down and seems to like the odd years so maybe 2011 will be a solid season. Due to the Phillies top 4 starters and the fact that Blanton is making 8 million dollars as a 5th starter, Philly would love to move his salary.
Randy Wells - CHC - Came back to earth last year but still not bad numbers. Would be a great # 4 starter in an NL only rotation.
Barry Zito - SF - Would be a great # 4 starter in an NL only rotation.
Livan Hernandez - WSH - Old man river had a great season last year. I am skeptical he can do it again especially on a sub .500 team.
Next Up Part 3 of the Starting Pitchers - The Young Guns.
NL King - C.Lizza