Whether it’s to limit innings or due to injury, it seems that more and more fantasy baseball starting pitchers are shutting it down early in 2010. With a thinned out market and the season still shy of its conclusion, owners know that quality pitching is hard to come by. Let’s take a look at the top ten for this week.
1.Cole Hamels, SP PHI: 10-10, 3.06 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 188 K
Frankly, it’s a shame that Hamels has just ten wins to his credit this season. Perhaps pitching better baseball than he did in 2007 despite his low win output, Hamels has been getting support of late. Over his last three starts, the lefty is 3-0 with 18 Ks and a sub-one WHIP. Those types of numbers are sure to help out any fantasy baseball lineup as the quest for the championship ensues.
2.Carlos Zambrano, SP CHI: 8-6, 3.88 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 96 K
To say the very least, it’s been a rollercoaster season for Zambrano in 2010. After seeing enough of his antics, the team banished him away for a short stint while he sorted himself out off of the field. It’s proven to have been very effective as Zambrano has been straight dominant of late. He’s now won five straight starts and has a 32:10 K:BB ratio over that span. Coming off of a start where he twirled 8.2 dominant innings, he’s a recommended play in any and every format.
3.Hiroki Kuroda, SP LAD: 10-12, 3.32 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 142 K
In what may be his last year pitching state side, Kuroda has pleased many owners. Posting perhaps his best numbers (statistically) since joining the Dodgers, Kuroda could easily have more than 15 wins if the Dodgers could provide him any run support. The Japanese twirler has a 2.35 ERA over his last seven starts but has just a 2-2 record to show for that. He’ll look to get some added support this week against the Rockies.
4.Mat Latos, SP SD: 14-5, 2.21 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 170 K
Latos may very well be my pick for NL CY Young winner at the season’s conclusion. Undoubtedly the best young fantasy baseball ace in the game, Latos’ ability to overpower big league hitters is undeniable. He’s struck out 36 batters over his last four games and should continue to mow em’ down against St. Louis this week.
5.Jeremy Guthrie, SP BAL: 10-13, 3.74 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 103 K
Guthrie’s season numbers may not be very impressive, but much of that is a result of pitching for a very poor Orioles team. After showing signs of perhaps turning a corner in early August, Guthrie has really thrived ever since new manager Buck Showalter was placed at the helm. With a 3-0 record and a 0.81 ERA over his last three outings, the only reason he’s not higher on these fantasy baseball rankings is because he gets the Yankees next time out.
6.Gio Gonzalez, SP OAK: 14-8, 3.16 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 153 K
Gonzalez deserves much more attention than he’s currently receiving as he’s established himself as one of the American League’s most promising young starters. Despite struggling with his control early in his career, Gio has really seemed to mature this season and learned how to pitch quite effectively. Really living up to his potential as a former first round pick, Gonzo should be able to spin another gem against a weak KC offense this week.
7.Jorge De La Rosa, SP COL: 7-4, 4.10 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 96 K
Over his last ten starts, De La Rosa hasn’t allowed more than three ER in any start. After striking out ten in his most recent start, it seems that the lefty is finally finding his groove again after struggling with a finger injury earlier this season. Perhaps one of the best fantasy baseball sleepers heading into this year after a strong 2009, he’ll look to finish this season strongly and establish his health heading into 2011.
8.Felix Hernandez, SP SEA: 11-11, 2.39 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 214 K
Perhaps the best illustration as to why wins are overrated, Hernandez has been undoubtedly the American League’s most dominant pitcher this season. Hernandez ranks first in strikeouts and quality starts, second in IP, fourth in ERA, and ninth in WHIP. If those numbers don’t make it clear enough, allow me to clarify: Hernandez is a legit first round fantasy baseball pick who still has upside. A very special talent, he’ll take on a potent Texas team this week.
9.Tim Lincecum, SP SF: 13-9, 3.69 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 199 K
After a rather rough August that had many wondering what was happening with the two-time CY Young winner, Lincecum has re-established himself as a dominant force once again in September. With a 2-0 record and 20 Ks in his two September starts before heading into his third today, Timmy has quieted all the concerns that began to spring up last month. With his next start scheduled against an underperforming Brewers squad, he should be able to continue to produce for his owners.
10.Jonathan Sanchez, SP SF: 10-8, 3.29 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 176 K
After drawing comparisons to Mets pitcher Oliver Perez his entire career, Sanchez has (thankfully) gone the opposite direction with his career. Really blossoming into a consistent fantasy contributor this season, Sanchez has pitched quite well over his last three despite just one win to his credit. With a matchup against the light-hitting Dodgers next time out, Sanchez should be able to keep it going and add to his impressive strikeout total.