Pitching wins championships. That sentiment is not only true in the MLB, but also in fantasy baseball circles around the globe. With the last week of regular season games upon us, owners will be looking to send the best staff to the mound that they can in the hopes of securing the crown. Here is the final weekly edition of the top ten fantasy starters.
1.Justin Verlander, Detroit: 18-8, 3.31 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 209 K
Not only has this fantasy baseball stud pitched back-back complete games, he also hasn’t lost since August 17th. Verlander has really enjoyed a great 2010, and while he probably won’t reach his ’09 strikeout numbers, owners have very little to complain about here. A top-flight starter after an anomaly of a season in 2008, JV could very well make it three straight CG’s against Cleveland this week.
2.Roy Oswalt, Philadelphia: 13-13, 2.80 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 189 K
After losing his first start with the Phillies, Oswalt has not been defeated since. Allowing just nine earned runs in 70.2 IP since that time, it’s clear that Oswalt feels just fine pitching outside the confines of his Southern roots. The trade to Philadelphia has not only benefited Oswalt’s career, but also his fantasy owners as his stock has risen tremendously since coming to the NL East. Re-establishing himself with great value in fantasy baseball circles, owners are anxiously awaiting to see what he’s capable of doing with a full year of run support in 2011.
3.Jon Lester, Boston: 19-8, 2.96 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 220 K
So why isn’t anyone mentioning Lester’s name when discussing the AL CY Young candidates? Pitching some of the best baseball of his young career, Lester has now won six straight starts, a streak that has included four straight double-digit strikeout performances. With his most recent masterpiece coming against a dangerous Yankees offense, it’s clear that Lester’s talents translate against any opposing lineup thrown his way. He’ll take on the ChiSox and fellow lefty John Danks in his next start.
4.Max Scherzer, Detroit: 12-10, 3.40 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 181 K
Scherzer’s resurgence since his demotion to Triple-A in May cannot be understated as it’s completely revitalized his game. Formerly a top prospect in the Arizona system, Scherzer has finally lived up to the potential that so many saw in him just a few years ago. With a strikeout-per-inning ratio of a fantasy baseball ace, Scherzer has a very tasty matchup with the Indians this week and his performance should have owners smiling wide.
5.Derek Lowe, Atlanta: 15-12, 4.07 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 127 K
Considered a symbol of mediocrity since signing with the Braves, Lowe has actually pitched very well of late despite the team’s late-season plunge. Over four September starts, the sinkerballer is 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA and looks to be as strong as ever. Looking to prove that his recent success is not a fluke, he’ll attempt to make a statement with a strong performance in his next scheduled start against the red-hot Phillies.
6.Daniel Hudson, Arizona: 8-2, 2.45 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 84 K
I don’t think that even anyone in the Arizona organization expected Hudson to be this good when he was acquired midseason from the White Sox. Now 7-1 with a 1.69 ERA in 11 starts since coming over, he’s been nothing short of phenomenal every time he’s stepped on the field. One of the most promising prospects heading into the 2011 fantasy baseball season, owners should make sure he’s active for his final start of the year against an out of contention Dodgers team.
7.Tim Lincecum, San Francisco: 15-10, 3.51 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 220 K
If it weren’t for an absolutely abysmal August, Lincecum may very well be in the conversation for his third consecutive NL CY Young Award. Undoubtedly a top selection heading into the year, Lincecum’s owners had to sweat it out through the humid summer months, but the herky jerky righty is a proven fantasy baseball ace. Taking on Arizona his next time out, Lincecum should be in line for another big afternoon as the last time he faced them he racked up 11 strikeouts.
8.Dan Haren, Los Angeles (A): 10-12, 3.96 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 208 K
Despite a rather disappointing season for one of the perennial top talents, Haren has been money of late for his owners. Over his last six outings, his ERA sits at an incredible 1.32, but unfortunately an underwhelming Anaheim offense has limited his fantasy success. He’s lined up to face his former club against Oakland next time out, so owners should know that he’ll have a little extra motivation.
9.Cole Hamels, Philadelphia: 12-10, 2.93 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 207 K
Hamels has won five straight starts and has allowed just two earned runs over that stretch of time (0.49 ERA). In addition, Hamels’ current ERA marks a career low and has turned around a very disappointing 2009 campaign. Those who gambled on his talent are most likely competing deep into the fantasy baseball playoffs and they should continue to ride him as he’ll look to finish strong heading into the postseason.
10.Ervin Santana, Los Angeles (A): 17-9, 3.77 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 162 K
Coming off the heels of his career-high 17th win, Santana has been pitching lights out of late. Pitching perhaps the best baseball of his entire career, Santana shut down a very hot Texas Rangers team for a complete game shutout. He hasn’t lost in a month’s time, and with two starts this week against Oakland & Texas, he should finish the season with great strength for his owners.