By Tommy Rancel //
Names like Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum, and Felix Hernandez dominate the top tier of starting pitching in fantasy leagues. While getting a bonafide ace to anchor your rotation is important, filling the final few spots of your staff is also key, especially if you can find some gems in the later rounds. One way to find value late in the draft is targeting young, yet talented arms. Here are the top 5 projected youthful starters with an ADP of 150 or later.
Garcia is the latest disciple of St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan. As a rookie, he finished with a 13-8 record and a ridiculous 2.70 ERA in 163.1 innings. Even with a strikeout to walk ratio of over 2.0 and a phenomenal groundball rate, he is not likely to produce another sub-3.00 ERA in 2010. That said, Bloomberg Sports’ projects him with another double-digit win season and a more than respectable ERA of 3.73.
Despite being just 21-years-old, Bumgarner will enter 2011 as a key member of the defending World Series Champions’ rotation. The young lefty went 7-6 in his first big league season with a nice round 3.00 ERA. He won’t provide you with a ton of strikeouts, but should top 10 wins with an ERA under 4.00.
Staying in the National League West, Jhoulys Chacin was a much better pitcher than his 9-11 record showed. The Rockies’ right-hander compiled a 3.28 ERA in his first full season while striking out more batters (138) than innings pitched (137.1). Like many other Colorado starters, Chacin’s ERA at home (3.98) was much higher than his road mark (2.44). Even with regression, he should still be an above-average starter who gets drafted after round 20.
James McDonald was stolen by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Dodgers in exchange for a handful of innings from Octavio Dotel. In 11 starts for the Pirates, he earned an ERA of 3.52 with a strong strikeout rate of 8.58. The Pirates may finish with another 90 losses, however, McDonald should provide solid numbers at the top of their rotation and value at the back end of fantasy ones.
Our lone American League representative is the most inexperienced member of the list. Jeremy Hellickson made just four starts for the Tampa Bay Rays late last season. That said, arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball goes into 2011 entrenched as the Rays’ fifth starter. Although his time with the club was brief, Hellickson showed his trademark control should easily transition to the big leagues. He’ll probably be limited to 175-185 innings, but Bloomberg Sports says those innings will be quality ones as his ERA projects to be under 4.0 (3.89).
Filling the front end of your rotation with the Halladay’s of the world is essential. But remember the Bumgarner types as you look for value from the SP4 and SP5 spots. All five of our pitchers have ADP’s in the triple-digits with the potential to provide double-digits in the win column.