Fantasy Baseball Sportal will give you the Top 10 Starting Pitchers of the Week before the first game each Monday. FBS takes W/L record, ERA and WHIP into effect along with the opponent each pitcher is facing. This weekly article gives you the knowledge you need to win your league.
1) Ubaldo Jimenez, COL: 7-1, 1.12 ERA 0.99 WHIP
Probable Starts: 5/26 vs. ARI
Jimenez has been absolutely ridiculous this season. As if tossing the first no-hitter in Rockies history wasn’t enough, Jimenez has dominated in every start—not allowing more than 2 ER in any of them. He leads the NL in wins and ERA, is third in innings pitched, fourth in WHIP, and fifth in strikeouts. Simply put: he’s dominating the competition right now. By week’s end, Jimenez could well be 8-1 and leading the NL in strikeouts. He’s showing no signs of slowing down and is appearing to legitimize himself as one of the game’s most promising young hurlers. Although he is listed as probable on Wednesday, all signs point to him being on the mound.
2) Tim Lincecum, SF: 5-0, 1.76 ERA 0.94 WHIP
Probably Start: 5/26 vs. WAS, 5/30 vs. COL
The back-to-back CY Young winner is doing his best to garner a third award. Although Lincecum went through a four-start spell without a win, he finally got back in the win column in his last start against Houston. Fantasy owners should all know the deal by now, the kid is the real deal. As long as he’s healthy, he remains an elite SP in every fantasy format that exists. With a favorable matchup against Washington, Linceum will look to keep it rolling. He leads all major league pitchers in strikeouts and will continue to be a fantasy asset.
3) John Danks, CHW: 3-3, 2.26 ERA 1.06 WHIP
Probable Starts: 5/24 vs CLE, 5/30 vs. TB
You wouldn’t know it by looking at his numbers, but Danks is enjoying a breakout season for the underperforming ChiSox. He’s been a victim of poor run support, as the team has scored just four runs in his last three outings. With his next start scheduled for Monday against the struggling Indians, Danks will look to keep it rolling and get back into the win column.
4) Justin Verlander, DET: 5-2, 3.34 ERA 1.11 WHIP
Probable Starts: 5/25 vs. SEA
Verlander had a tough start to the season, going just 1-2 with a 5.53 ERA. While some were ready to give up on him like they did in the ’08 season, Verlander has successfully silenced his critics with his performance in May. Over his last four starts (all in May), he has a 4-0 record with 25 K’s in 30 innings. That’s the type of production we like to see and the hard-throwing righty should be able to keep it going against Seattle on Tuesday. He actually lost his last start to the Mariners on April 17th, but Seattle has really struggled recently and has scored two runs or fewer in 17 out of 40 games played this season.
5) Mike Leake, CIN: 4-0, 3.09 ERA 1.20 WHIP
Probable Starts: 5/25 vs PIT, 5/30 vs. HOU
Much less-hyped than Cuban fireballer Aroldis Chapman, the rookie righty won the fifth starter’s job in camp when many believed it would be Chapman’s to claim. Leake has done everything possible to re-affirm his right as a member of the starting rotation; He’s been on fire all season and continues to pitch well. Never spending a day in the minor leagues, Leake’s immediate success at the big league level is all that more impressive. He was nearly just as good as Strasburg in college, and while he doesn’t have as much upside, he is the real deal. With command of all five pitches, he has done a great job all season of keeping hitters off balance and fantasy owners smiling. He has gone at least six innings in every outing, allowing more than three earned runs only one time. As a two-start pitcher this week against Pittsburgh (vs. Paul Maholm) and again against Houston (Felipe Paulino), Leake could very well find himself with six wins by week’s end.
6) Jaime Garcia, STL: 4-2, 1.28 ERA 1.13 WHIP
Probable Starts: 5/26 vs. SD
If you don’t know about Garcia’s emergence this season, odds are you’re not atop the standings in your league. The young lefty has been absolutely ridiculous all year long, exceeding anyone’s expectations—probably even Tony La Russa’s. Even when Garcia doesn’t have his best stuff he still provides results, as evidenced by his last start against Florida on May 19th. With a microscopic ERA and an admirable WHIP, Garcia will look to get back into the win column when he takes on San Diego on the 25th. Garcia hasn’t gone less than five innings in any start this season, averages 5-7 K’s per start, and hasn’t allowed more than two ER in any start this season–he may very well be the best waiver-wire gem in quite some time.
7) Roy Oswalt, HOU: 2-5, 2.62 ERA 1.07 WHIP
Probable Starts: 5/26 vs MIL
Oswalt has pitched remarkably this year, not allowing more than three earned runs in any start. He has been a victim of terrible run support all season long, taking several hard-luck losses. He hasn’t struck out less than seven since April 29th and has gone at least seven innings in his last six starts. He’s lined up to face Milwaukee on May 26th, a team that has been reeling significantly all season long. Hopefully the lowly Astros can scratch a few runs across the board for him, because the way he’s pitching he deserves more than just two wins. Look for Oswalt to get win number three against the Brew Crew this week and continue to pitch in dominating fashion. His low ERA, WHIP, and high strikeout rates make him especially attractive to those who are in search of improvements in those areas.
8) Matt Garza, TB: 5-1, 2.38 ERA 1.08 WHIP
Garza may be this year’s best kept fantasy secret. It’s time for the fantasy world to wake up to Tampa Bay’s young hurler. Many pegged Garza as a breakout candidate last year, but he struggled and failed to pitch up to expectations. This year, he’s totally turned it around, amassing 48 K’s in 56 2/3 IP and an absolutely sparkling ERA. He’s allowed just one ER in half of his starts this season and has only pitched less than 6 innings in one start. With his next scheduled start coming against the Red Sox (who Garza has struggled with in previous years), he will look to prove that this season is no fluke.
9) Anibal Sanchez, FLA: 3-2, 3.28 ERA 1.34 WHIP
Probable Start: 5/25 vs. ATL, 5/30 vs. PHI
Remember him? The once-hyped Red Sox prospect has had a tough career in South Florida. Sanchez had major shoulder surgery and was forced to miss a significant chunk of playing time for the Fish, but is beginning to remind people why he was once so hyped-up. He seems to be finding himself in the rotation, however, as over the last two starts he’s 2-0 with 15 K’s in 14 innings. If Sanchez can keep it rolling, he’ll quickly re-establish himself as a formidable fantasy option. He’s scheduled to take the bump on the 25th against the Atlanta Braves and the winless Kenshin Kawakami and then the 30th against AARP card-holder Jaime Moyer, so I think Sanchez keeps it rolling and continues to put up the impressive numbers.
10) Ian Kennedy, ARI: 3-2, 3.24 ERA 1.10 WHIP
Probable Starts: 5/25 vs. COL, 5/30 vs. SF
Kennedy never seemed to find his groove with the Yankees and was ultimately sent to Arizona as part of the three-team deal that landed Curtis Granderson in the Bronx. GM Josh Byrnes and fantasy owners alike have to be happy with Kennedy’s performance this season, as he’s exceeded expectations of most. After struggling through his first two starts of the season, the young righty has been absolutely stellar. He’s got 49 K’s in 58 1/3 IP and looks to be establishing himself as a prominent member of the Diamondbacks rotation. He’s a two-start pitcher this week with outings against the struggling rookie Jhoulys Chacin in Colorado and then a very favorable matchup against the non-intimidating Todd Wellemeyer. Kennedy looks like a prime breakout candidate.
Stats as of 5/20/10