2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide: Starting Pitcher (SP) Best Value Picks. Starting Pitcher (SP) Best Value Picks selections are based on a standard scoring system in mixed AL/NL fantasy baseball leagues for the 2011 season. Scoring system stats include: wins, losses, strikeouts, era, and whip – (W, L, K, ERA, WHIP). IP = innings pitched during the 2010 season.
Starting Pitcher (SP) Best Value Picks selections are based on players who offer the best value at their likely draft positions in 2011 fantasy baseball drafts. These best value players typically include players who have a history of successful seasons in the MLB, and because of their history are somewhat safer and more reliable draft picks for fantasy baseball teams entering the 2011 season.
Top 6 – Starting Pitcher (RP) Best Value Picks 2011
Yovani Gallardo – Mil
Offering a top 5 strikeout per 9 innings pitched ratio among all major league starting pitchers, Gallardo who is seldom thought of as a premiere strikeout pitcher in fantasy baseball leagues, has posted a 9.67 k/9 strikeout ratio over the 2008-2010 seasons. This 9.67 k/9 ratio places Gallardo at #4 overall among the highest strikeout per innings pitched, behind only the likes of Tim Lincecum, Rich Harden, and Brandon Morrow entering the 2011 season. With a potent run scoring Brewers offense backing him, Gallardo who is often ranked and drafted between the #15-20 spot among all fantasy baseball starting pitchers, clearly has the potential to be an easy top 10 (maybe even top 5) fantasy baseball SP when all is said and done after the 2011 season. 15-20 wins and 220 strikeouts is definitely within reach for Gallardo over the 2011 season.
2010 Stats: 185 IP, 14 W, 7 L, 200 K, 3.84 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
2011 Stat Projections: 210 IP, 18 W, 5 L, 225 K, 2.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
Francisco Liriano – Min
Entering his second full season removed from the Tommy John surgery he had back in 2007, Liriano made an excellent comeback in 2010 as he was able to rekindle his elite strikeout ability. After tallying 191 innings pitched while racking up 201 strikeouts to go along with a solid 3.65 ERA, Liriano could finally enter elite status as a fantasy baseball starting pitcher during the 2011 season. Often drafted after the #15 top starting pitchers taken in numerous fantasy baseball drafts to begin the 2011 season, Liriano is one SP who offers the complete package of strikeout, win, ERA and WHIP stat potential that can propel any fantasy baseball team to a championship.
2010 Stats: 191 IP, 14 W, 10 L, 201 K, 3.62 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
2011 Stat Projections: 195 IP, 17 W, 7 L, 210 K, 3.30 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
Edinson Volquez – Cin
After a breakout and career year in 2008, Volquez was considered one of the elite up and coming young starting pitchers in all of baseball. That was until Volquez suffered an elbow injury during the 2009 and had to undergo Tommy John surgery. With a successful return to the mound late last season, Volquez was able to tally 62 innings pitched while more importantly continuing his dominant strikeout ability. With health back on his side entering the 2011 season, Volquez who is typically ranked and drafted between the #40-60 spot among all fantasy baseball SPs in league drafts, offers a ridiculously high amount of potential to fantasy baseball teams who draft him midway through their leagues draft to begin the season. All in all, Volquez is destined to become one of the premiere steals in all fantasy baseball leagues by the end of the 2011 season.
2010 Stats: 62 IP, 4 W, 3 L, 67 K, 4.31 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
2011 Stat Projections: 190 IP, 16 W, 7 L, 210 K, 3.30 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Clay Buchholz – Bos
Think of it this way. I am not a Clay Buchholz fan or firm believer, but a typical ranking around and usually after the #40 spot among all fantasy baseball starting pitchers is a down steal for fantasy baseball teams entering the 2011 season. Even if Buchholz does regress a bit in 2011 as compared to his 2010 season, and his ERA rises to 3.30 rather than the 2.33 he posted in 2010, the improved run scoring offense of the Red Sox with the additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford could easily supply enough runs to have Buchholz in the chase for 20 wins. Good luck trying to find another potential 20 win SP after the #40 overall starting pitcher taken in your fantasy baseball draft to begin the 2011 season.
2010 Stats: 173 IP, 17 W, 7 L, 120 K, 2.33 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
2011 Stat Projections: 190 IP, 17 W, 8 L, 150 K, 3.25 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
Jonathan Sanchez – SF
Finally able to get most of his pitching control issues under wraps during the 2010 season, Sanchez had a solid but rather quiet breakout season last year. Like teammate Matt Cain, Sanchez simply does not get much love and respect from fantasy baseball mangers because he has not been able to reel in the wins. However armed with solid ERA potential and outstanding strikeout ability, it only seems like a matter of time before the wins start to pile up for Sanchez. With a pick after the top 40 starting pitchers taken in most fantasy baseball drafts, Sanchez’s strikeout ability at over 9 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched, makes him an outstanding commodity in any fantasy baseball league. All in all, it seems that the strikeouts for Sanchez are nearly a guaranteed occurrence, which in turn relates to a solid ERA, and in the end the win total should definitely rise over the 2011 season.
2010 Stats: 193 IP, 13 W, 9 L, 205 K, 3.07 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
2011 Stat Projections: 195 IP, 15 W, 7 L, 210 K, 3.25 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Shaun Marcum – Mil
Moving from the AL to the NL will likely be more important in Marcum’s case than most other starting pitchers, because Marcum clearly gains an advantage by moving out of the AL East and the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays. As the #3 starter in the Brewers rotation, Marcum no doubt will likely face much easier competition against other teams #3 SPs. Add in a potent run scoring Brewers offense backing him, and Marcum could easily rack up the wins during the 2011 season.
2010 Stats: 195 IP, 13 W, 8 L, 165 K, 3.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
2011 Stat Projections: 195 IP, 16 W, 8 L, 175 K, 3.25 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
For additional 2011 fantasy baseball rankings, articles, and draft tips, check out my blog at Hawk Fantasy Sports