Fantasy Baseball – BREAKOUT Pitchers
Clay Buchholz/Jon Lester
With Schilling out for an extended period Buchholz and Lester round out the back end of the rotation. Buccholz was lights out in his brief stint, even throwing a no hitter. He had a 1.59 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and a 1.84 BAA. Lester wasn’t nearly as dominating, but he still sports an 11-2 career record. He’ll need to get his WHIP (1.57) and BAA (2.78) down.
Last year was supposed to be Cain’s breakout year after his 13-12, 4.15 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, .222 BAA season he produced in 2006. He was snakebitten last year though. His 3.65 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and .235 BAA don’t translate into the 7-16 record he produced. Baseball is a game of inches, and I’m guessing this year some of the bad breaks go Cain’s way. I see him rebounding nicely in a 16+ winner with a low 3.00 ERA.
Joba Chamberlain/Phil Hughes/Ian Kennedy
The Yankees were desperate last year and turned to the trio of rookies to breathe life into an aging pitching staff. This year, they will be asked to take on even bigger roles. Odds are all three won’t have breakout seasons, but I’d guess that you can cue up the Meatloaf because “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad”. If I had to choose, I’d say Ian would be the odd man out.
I believe this is the year that King Felix joins the ranks as one of the game’s best pitchers. He was unbelievable in his first taste in the bigs at the tender age of 19. He was sloppy and struggled in his rookie year. He took the game more seriously last year, and the results (14-7, 3.92 ERA) were evident. This is the year I think he’ll win 17+ games and have an ERA around 3.50.
In 271 games with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp Hiroki posted a 103-89 record with a 3.69 ERA. He’ll likely earn a spot in the Dodgers’ starting rotation, and could be a nice surprise for Dodger fans and fantasy owners alike.
He could stand to get his ERA down a little (4.28), but his WHIP (1.30) and BAA (.228) were very solid. He struck out 68 in 82 innings. He was solid in the playoffs (2.25 ERA, .183 BAA). Surprisingly, he was better at home (3.81 ERA vs. 5.01 on the road).
Lincecum had a decent rookie season going 7-5 with 150 Ks and a 4.00 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP, and a .226 BAA. I think he’s poised to become one of the best pitchers in the National League this year. I love the fact that he improved after the All-Star break (3.39 ERA as compared to 4.63)
Dustin was decent last year going 12-10 for Toronto with 144 Ks with a 4.08 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP, and a 2.30 BAA. He also showed steady improvement after the All-Star break with a 3.67 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and a .217 BAA.
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