In this week’s edition of the Top 10 Fantasy SP, we take a look at some guys that everybody knows as well as some new faces in some new places. With just about seven weeks left in the fantasy baseball season, it’s crunch time in fantasy leagues around the globe. Let FBS’ rankings steer your team to the top.
1.Roy Halladay, SP PHI: 15-8, 2.22 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 175 K
Those inside fantasy baseball circles have just come to expect greatness from Doc, so we’re just not even talking about it anymore when he’s his usual dominant self. Having said that, his recent performance has been even better than his usual dominance. He’s now won five straight starts and has pitched into at least the seventh inning in each one. He’s pitched at least six innings in every start this season outside of just one, and his ridiculous 175:22 K:BB ratio is by far the best in the MLB other than Cliff Lee. As expected, he’s had no trouble whatsoever transitioning to life in the NL East and appears primed to push the 20-win plateau once again this season. He’ll take on the Nationals and the struggling Jason Marquis this week, so Halladay owners could be in line to reap some serious rewards.
2.Adam Wainwright, SP STL: 17-6, 1.99 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 158 K
This guy must be kidding, right? We all knew that Wainwright was good, but this is just ridiculous. The right-hander’s ERA has now dipped south of 2.00 and looks primed to fall even further the way he’s been dealing all season long. He’s allowed one ER or less in eight of his last ten starts and despite coming in at #2 this week, has established himself as fantasy’s number one starter for the season. He hardly walks anyone and seems poised to win over 20 games this season. No matter how you slice it, Wainwright is having an absolutely dominant season and his owners should be smiling from ear-ear.
3.Tim Hudson, SP ATL: 14-5, 2.13 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 89 K
Hudson won’t get much consideration for the NL CY Young even though he probably should. After coming back late last season from TJ surgery, Hudson has been even more dominant than he was prior to the surgery. He still doesn’t strike out a ton of people but has been as efficient as ever with his pitches and has re-established himself as a force on the mound. Currently tied for the NL lead in wins, he’s lost just one time since the ASB and is making it look easy. He looks like the pitcher that he was back in Oakland, and has a legitimate chance to win 17+ games this year. With his next start slated to be against the Nationals, he becomes an even more attractive option as he is a career 10-1 with a 1.49 ERA against them.
4.Trevor Cahill, SP OAK: 12-5, 2.50 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 81 K
Cahill matched a modern major-league record with his 20th straight start of at least five innings in his most recent outing against the Twins. He’s been absolutely stellar this season and proven that he’s a fantasy force to be reckoned with. After already surpassing his wins total from last season, Cahill will look to continue his incredible success during the final month and a half of the season. He isn’t much of a strikeout pitcher, but what makes him valuable is his low ERA and microscopic WHIP. Over his last 32 IP, he’s allowed just one ER, which is simply incredible. He’s allowed two runs or fewer in 15 of 21 starts this season and has cemented his status as a must-start guy. His next scheduled start is for Thursday against the Rays.
5.Jered Weaver, SP LAA: 11-7, 2.87 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 182 K
Weaver’s magical season continues as he’s been absolutely scorching of late. After going three straight starts of 7 IP and allowing just two ER, the young ace one-upped himself against the Royals in his most recent outing, pitching eight frames and chalking up 11 Ks. Weaver leads the MLB in strikeouts and is just toying with hitters when they come to the dish against him. The most impressive part of Weaver’s breakout year is that he’s on pace to strikeout around 250 on the season, well beyond his previous career mark of just 175. It seems that the youngster has really learned to pitch and stepped up as the team’s ace following the departure of John Lackey to Boston. He’ll take on a tough task pitching at Fenway against the Red Sox this week before heading to Minnesota for his second start of the week.
6.Ted Lilly, SP LAD: 6-8, 3.44 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 104 K
Since coming over from the Cubs in a deadline deal, Lilly is 3-0 as a member of the Dodgers and has been even better than advertised. He’s got a 1.89 ERA and 15 strikeouts since joining LA’s rotation and seems to be responding well to the change of scenery. A big part of pitching is the mental aspect of the game as well, and perhaps Lilly is more into it now that he’s escaped the awful Cubs team. He’ll take on the Rockies this week in what should be a favorable matchup for the lefty considering the way he’s currently pitching.
7.Cole Hamels, SP PHI: 7-9, 3.33 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 157 K
Hamels is the definition of what happens when a pitcher doesn’t get adequate run support. The lankly lefty is 9th in the league in strikeouts, so how does he have just seven wins? As his owners will tell you, the Phillies simply can’t seem to scratch a run across the board for him. Over his last seven outings, Hamels is 0-2 despite amassing 50 Ks during that span of time. With Chase Utley due back to the lineup as early as this week, perhaps the Phillies can start scoring some runs when Hamels takes the mound so he can finally chalk up a W. He’ll take on fellow lefty Jonathan Sanchez and the Giants this week.
8.Johan Santana, SP NYM: 10-6, 2.90 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 121 K
Santana has been dominant outside of just two back-to-back starts in late July since the second half began. Owners definitely shouldn’t be surprised at the lefty’s success as he is baseball’s best second-half pitcher in history. Despite a downtick in velocity, Santana has still been able to keep opposing hitters off balance with his excellent changeup. Owners were concerned about his drop off in strikeouts as well, but after striking out just 146 in ’09 (his lowest total 2002), Santana is on pace to eclipse that total and finish with somewhere close to his usual 200. With a start against the Astros and Nelson Figueroa upcoming this week, owners should be salivating at the thought of sending him out there.
9.Daniel Hudson, SP ARI: 4-1, 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 31 K
Arizona’s interim GM Jerry DiPoto looks like an awfully smart man right now. After sending Edwin Jackson to the White Sox in a deadline deal, Hudson has been pitching brilliantly since arriving in the desert. He hasn’t lost a game since joining the D-Backs and struck out a season-high nine batters in his most recent outing against Milwaukee. With the way he’s rolling right now, he deserves to be started in every format right now, especially as a two-start guy next week. He’ll take on the Reds & Rockies and is looking to prove to owners that his success is for real.
10.Jeremy Guthrie, SP BAL: 7-11, 3.88 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 81 K
It seems that every year, owners are duped into thinking that this is the year that Guthrie will break out and live up to the potential that has surrounded him for so long. Despite having just seven wins this year, Guthrie has actually pitched much more consistently this season than any in recent memory. The young right-hander’s problem has always been his control, as evidenced by his K:BB ratio of 81:41. For Guthrie to have success, he must limit the number of guys that he walks in each outing. Over his last three starts the Baltimore ace has been straight dealin’, going 3-0 and has given up just 4 ER in 21 IP. He deserves a better fate, but as long as he pitches for Baltimore he’s going to have a hard time compiling a winning season. Owners should take advantage while his teammates are producing for him and trot him out there this week against the Mariners.