Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers 2012
Building a great rotation is a major part of fantasy baseball. I began these rankings with hitters because so many positions need to be filled but in most standard leagues pitching is equally important. Since the season is rapidly approaching I’m going to jump right into the important part of this article.
15. CJ Wilson – Los Angeles Angels
Wilson is moving from the two-time defending AL World Series participant Texas Rangers to the division rival Angels and I think fantasy owners should be really excited about it.
Wilson had a good 2011 as the Rangers’ top pitcher but I think he’s primed for a great 2012 as a #3 starter. Wilson will likely be the team’s third starter behind Jered Weaver and Dan Haren.
With less pressure, I anticipate increased wins and similar strikeout numbers but pitching against his former team’s potent offense may have a negative effect on his ERA and WHIP.
14. Jon Lester – Boston Red Sox
I imagine that Lester is thrilled to be named Boston’s opening day starter but I’m not as excited about him.
Lester is an incredible pitcher and has the ability to be a top 10 (maybe top 5) pitcher in the majors. I’m concerned about the stress around him though.
Being named the opening day starter right after his, and the team’s, epic collapse in 2011 and the new atmosphere created by Bobby Valentine puts a lot of question marks around Beantown.
I think he’s too good to have a “bad” season but I consider him moderate-risk, high reward.
13. Matt Cain – San Francisco Giants
Matt Cain is one of the most under-appreciated pitchers in the majors. He’s an innings-eating righty with above-average control and a big home outfield behind him.
Cain’s value is his ability to rack up innings (for high minimum innings leagues) and keep balls inside the park. His control keeps his WHIP down and he has good strikeout ability.
The reason Cain is so far down on the list is because of his team’s offense leading to his low win total. The Giants’ are a notoriously free-swinging team that won the 2010 series on the backs of Cain and Tim Lincecum. Too many of his starts are decided by a relief pitcher in late innings.
12. Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals
The young fireballer only made 5 MLB starts in 2011 after recovering from Tommy John surgery and was limited to 24 innings but he impressed with 24 Ks.
I’m very high on the Nationals this season and Strasburg is a major reason why. His innings might be limited but I have a good feeling that he’ll maximize his minutes on the mound.
I expect a moderate win total, low ERA and very high strikeouts from him this year. My concern is still his innings limit. If Strasburg is your #1 pitcher you’ll need to draft another soon.
11. CC Sabathia – New York Yankees
Sabathia has the tools to be a fantasy monster but I have some concerns about his 2012 campaign.
CC is a dominant lefty with great strikeout ability but I’m worried that his years of eating innings will catch up to him. He also plays in the hitter-dominant AL in a division full of small ballparks.
He’s clearly the top pitcher on a great offensive team so I don’t have too many concerns with his win total or Ks but his ERA, WHIP & total innings might hurt his fantasy value.