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Fantasy baseball player profiles: AL - Starting pitchers

Fantasy baseball player profiles: AL - Starting pitchers

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Quick Jump: Fantasy Baseball Player Profiles

1 CC Sabathia, SP, New York Yankees
2 Zack Greinke, SP, Kansas City Royals
3 Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit Tigers
4 Josh Beckett, SP, Boston Red Sox
5 Javier Vazquez, SP, New York Yankees
6 Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle Mariners
7 Jon Lester, SP, Boston Red Sox
8 Jake Peavy, SP, Chicago White Sox
9 Scott Baker, SP, Minnesota Twins
10 Jered Weaver, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
11 Matt Garza, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
12 Brett Anderson, SP, Oakland Athletics
13 Cliff Lee, SP, Seattle Mariners
14 James Shields, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
15 A.J. Burnett, SP, New York Yankees
16 Max Scherzer, SP, Detroit Tigers
17 John Lackey, SP, Boston Red Sox
18 Kevin Slowey, SP, Minnesota Twins
19 Gavin Floyd, SP, Chicago White Sox
20 Scott Kazmir, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
21 Brian Matusz, SP, Baltimore Orioles
22 Rich Harden, SP, Texas Rangers
23 John Danks, SP, Chicago White Sox
24 Ben Sheets, SP, Oakland Athletics
25 Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP, Boston Red Sox
26 Ervin Santana, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
27 Mark Buehrle, SP, Chicago White Sox
28 Jeff Niemann, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
29 Clay Buchholz, SP, Boston Red Sox
30 David Price, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
31 Andy Pettitte, SP, New York Yankees
32 Scott Feldman, SP, Texas Rangers
33 Francisco Liriano, SP, Minnesota Twins
34 Shaun Marcum, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
35 Joel Pineiro, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
36 Phil Hughes, SP, New York Yankees
37 Joe Saunders, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
38 Gil Meche, SP, Kansas City Royals
39 Jeremy Guthrie, SP, Baltimore Orioles
40 Wade Davis, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
41 Fausto Carmona, SP, Cleveland Indians
42 Kevin Millwood, SP, Baltimore Orioles
43 Erik Bedard, SP, Seattle Mariners
44 Marc Rzepczynski, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
45 Brandon Morrow, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
46 Ricky Romero, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
47 Trevor Cahill, SP, Oakland Athletics
48 Joba Chamberlain, RP, New York Yankees

CC Sabathia, SP, New York Yankees
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
13021020688631803.771.28

Talk about a grand New York entrance. The big man pounded out his third straight year of at least 230 innings. Last season is probably his new baseline, and CC Sabathia recovered his K/9 in the second half. Those climbing flyballs shouldn't leave your head, but his increased efficiency should ease your concerns over his workload.


Zack Greinke, SP, Kansas City Royals
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
14019116467521743.161.13

Improved changeup, polished command helped things click. HR/FB will probably return to normal and wins should drop, but that doesn't make Zack Greinke a fluke. Two-year groundball success points to him remaining among the top 10 mixed starters. Even with regression taken into account, you'll probably still have to overpay for his roto aceness.


Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit Tigers
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
16022019275652143.071.17

Justin Verlander's K rate spiked partially due to a readjustment of his arm angle. He saves his juice for late in games and showed pleasant consistency. This and his rebound in control can temper his increasing flyball allowance and his opponents' hard contact; consider him a mid-level roto ace.


Josh Beckett, SP, Boston Red Sox
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
601011034629834.101.31

Josh Beckett topped 200 frames for the third time in four years, making his disastrous '08 look ancient. His groundball rate soared back up last year as he quelled aerial attacks. Continuing this trend will be further aided by new hot corner man Adrian Beltre and shorty Marco Scutaro. Dominance of 8.00-plus keeps him at elite levels and makes him a bargain fantasy ace.


Javier Vazquez, SP, New York Yankees
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Coming off a career year in '09, Javier Vazquez heads into his year-34 season. His strand rate was well above his career numbers, which makes him due for some correction. He'll have to temper his flyball rates playing in the House that Homers Built. Innings and strikeouts are his best assets, and he'll face softer pitching matchups more often than not.


Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle Mariners
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
16022520680572183.201.17

It was a true breakout year for Felix Hernandez as his walks rebounded and his dominance increased - all while sustaining his groundball brilliance. Heavy workload at young age biggest warning sign. His command and HR/FB - the latter part of a positive trend - might have been over his head, but his skills cement him as a top-10, perhaps top-five, mixed starter.


Jon Lester, SP, Boston Red Sox
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
14020520085651713.731.29

The dominance blossoming last year isn't unjustified; already a top-flight groundball artist, Jon Lester ditched his ineffective slider for more of his curveball and changeup. He's a bargain fantasy ace.


Jake Peavy, SP, Chicago White Sox
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
11017516678451424.011.21

Injuries in consecutive years (elbow in '08, ankle last year) add to the switch from PETCO Park to U.S. Cellular Field. The full-time league switch should roll over negatively on his ever-so-slightly rising flyball percentage. Jake Peavy's dominance rebounded last year, which tempers the drop-off enough so that he could fly as a low-end No. 1.


Scott Baker, SP, Minnesota Twins
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3060603118434.651.30

Scott Baker's control slipped down the stretch, and his flyball and homer peripherals warrant caution. Command specialist hovers around the plate, making him more homer-vulnerable, even if outdoor park helps a little. Velocity increase and below-average strand rate offer some hope; there's plenty to gain if you make him your No. 3, but he'll probably be overpriced.


Jered Weaver, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
12018517175461383.651.17

Polar home-road splits and second-half normalization aside, Jered Weaver blossomed in '09. Caution: Weaver is walking more batters, his flyballs jumped back up, and he stranded an abnormally high amount of runners. He'll need to keep mixing up his sub-ace stuff if he'll be serving as the Halos'.


Matt Garza, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
11017617173531573.731.27

Matt Garza continues to embrace his heat and ease off his breaking stuff a bit more. Too bad his teammates didn't offer enough support for his second-half growth and exploding dominance to shine brighter. A slight flyball uptick after the break throws a wrench into the love fest, but there's even more breakout potential in the weeds if he can slice his walks.


Brett Anderson, SP, Oakland Athletics
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
5092884135784.011.34

Second-half improvements often bolster breakout potential for youngsters the following season. A control freak, Brett Anderson's groundballs aided his summer dominance growth. He pounds the strike zone, which may lead to some correction. The A's will probably continue to monitor his innings, too. He's best suited as a shaky No. 3 mixed arm but might be overvalued; he's keeper gold, though. 


Cliff Lee, SP, Seattle Mariners
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
14021619677352083.211.07

Sustained groundball improvement and climbing dominance nurtured his '08 breakout. His already low HR/FB welcomes his move to Safeco Field in front of a top-notch defense. Cliff Lee logged ample frames - burnout warning. Control would be the first impact point. The risk diminishes, though, if you wait to make him a low-end ace.


James Shields, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
15022020682611913.351.21

James Shields' armor fails on the road, and K's are a luxury to him. The walks are starting to climb. His main asset is innings; he's crafty, and even his rising walks still leave him with a solid command ratio. He's a safe mixed No. 2 roto starter.


A.J. Burnett, SP, New York Yankees
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
10017516172621603.701.27

You know what you're getting: a lot of brilliance, a ton of what-the-heck. A.J. Burnett crossed the 200-inning line for the second straight year. Maybe that tired him out, evidenced by his climbing BB/9. Oddly enough, he was worse on the road, but you should be wary of his flyball percentage catching up to him at home.


Max Scherzer, SP, Detroit Tigers
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
14020517881582243.561.15

Start with a strikeout per inning: Build up your expectations from there for this mid-round boom candidate. Max Scherzer will need to harness a third offering to survive in the AL; stamina and efficiency have eluded him. Chase Field hurt, and Comerica Park isn't as forgiving to hurlers as many perceive. His second-half control growth leaves him on the upswing, though. 


John Lackey, SP, Boston Red Sox
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
11017518176431423.911.28

As long as John Lackey isn't your No. 1, don't be afraid to draft him. However, his K rate is dropping. Two elbow injuries since 2007 have aided this. Optimism rests in his improved heat last year, but his strike-zone work is becoming more hittable.


Kevin Slowey, SP, Minnesota Twins
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Kevin Slowey had successful wrist surgery in offseason. Frequent flyballs will probably haunt him long-term. BABIP was high, too, but his approach probably limits improvement. Control dictates his game, and he can eat innings; dominance growth might make him less reliant on strike zone infatuation. Renewed health points to a rebound, making him a midrange mixed starter with some growth potential.


Gavin Floyd, SP, Chicago White Sox
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
4084834032724.291.37

Good start for a Cell arm: increase groundballs and K's. Gavin Floyd is offering his four-seamer less while utilizing his slider more. His fluky '08 normalized, but with opponents increasingly finding air on his strikes, there's room for more growth here.


Scott Kazmir, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
11017516971551743.651.28

Scott Kazmir's typical walks and injuries were made worse by his dropping dominance and climbing flyball tendency. Why you should buy: His strand rate was below expectations, his opponents' batted balls were fortunate. The lefty embraced his halo (1.73 ERA) while reuniting with his former pitching coach with the Tampa Bay Rays, Mike Butcher. Tweaked mechanics and a reinvigorated slider make him a potential steal.


Brian Matusz, SP, Baltimore Orioles
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3445411716463.401.27

This polished southpaw with a drool-inducing arsenal wasted no time displaying potential in '09. Brian Matusz gives up ample flyballs, which will be a problem at Camden Yards, but he makes adjustments easily and has the command to make a roto impact early; save him from the late-round wasteland in deep mixed.


Rich Harden, SP, Texas Rangers
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Lasted through significant portion of season for second straight year. Disturbing increases in flyball percentage and HR/FB, but BABIP was much higher than career numbers. Rich Harden has true strikeout talent when healthy. Arlington stigma might drive his price down often; discounted price will make injury risk and homer vulnerability more tolerable.


John Danks, SP, Chicago White Sox
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
9017519085481154.371.36

John Danks' cutter has helped him since its arrival in '08, but his flyball rate and gopher-to-flyball ratio normalized. Behold his home-road splits. Danks' dominance took a hit, too. Either way, he isn't as hittable overall and can work around trouble. Further groundball growth will amplify his game.


Ben Sheets, SP, Oakland Athletics
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Ben Sheets hit 92 mph on the gun after missing the entire '09 season. He comes to a favorable pitchers' arena. Sheets typically posts high-level command, but talent is not the issue. His shaky health makes him a low-end No. 3 mixed option, if you're desperate, as long as you factor his medical chart into your bid.


Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP, Boston Red Sox
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
2045442520385.001.42

Coming clean about his injury and Daisuke Matsuzaka's renewed work ethic should help. Dice-K's talent is being ignored. He has been fortunate because he puts runners on base, but their in-progress work on easing his throwing-arm stress means he'll be more mechanically sound. A bargain-basement flier that must be taken.


Ervin Santana, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
12019218374521463.471.22

Elbow and triceps injuries prevented us from seeing if Ervin Santana would regress naturally. As he grew close to full health in August and September, he regained his control and trust in his slider while his stuff became less hittable. You could do worse to round out your deep rotation, as long as you acknowledge his established risk.


Mark Buehrle, SP, Chicago White Sox
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
12020021794481244.231.33

Strikeouts merely get in the way for this soft-tossing innings-eater. Mark Buehrle also doesn't walk many, leaving him with steady command ratios; he's uninspiring, though. His homer rate jumped - not promising for a veteran 30-year-old that leans on contact. Buehrle will have a bunch of defensive changes behind him, too.


Jeff Niemann, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

The innings-eating Jeff Niemann was efficient for most of his rookie season. The whiff isn't his best friend yet, but his September growth shows what he can do; employing his newfound splitter more often may help their relationship. He'll need to quell line drives to give us more confidence, but Niemann can still round out a deep mixed staff with more upside than most of his late-round competition. He's a No. 3 AL-only arm, too.


Clay Buchholz, SP, Boston Red Sox
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
11016014662581243.491.28

Clay Buchholz rebounded from a disastrous '08 stint with tweaks in his mechanics and approach, some aided by Josh Beckett, which helped produce a sparkling September. His dominance dropped, but in the process he let his grounders do more talking; Adrian Beltre's arrival at the 5 will help even more. The 25-year-old can easily regain the strikeouts.


David Price, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
15020518568441792.991.12

In '09, the lefty had some rough patches and ignored his slider a bunch. The Ray of hope came in his improved fastball command as the year went on. Tampa Bay coaches feel David Price is still growing into his frame; his post-July performance might have jump-started that. Seeing what Price can carry over into his first full MLB season offers one of the biggest profit opportunities among midrange roto pitchers. 


Andy Pettitte, SP, New York Yankees
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3045381724613.401.38

Here, Andy Pettitte, try some of these innings. He gobbles them. He still posts OK dominance, but he registered his worst walk rate since 2000. He's better for real life than fantasy – that .301 BABIP should come up - but is serviceable on a deep pitching staff.


Scott Feldman, SP, Texas Rangers
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
9017517981531234.171.33

Embracing his cutter helped Scott Feldman increase his shaky dominance to, well, slightly less questionable levels. Win total inflated his value. Rangers' philosophy has helped their arms overall, but lack of K's points to a comedown. Mixed owners should pass until after the draft, but AL drafters could take a low-end stab to fill out their rotation. 


Francisco Liriano, SP, Minnesota Twins
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
10017015770681683.711.32

Reports say Francisco Liriano regained nasty '06 heat and slider during winter ball this year. Likely No. 5 starter because he has best raw stuff of any Twins pitcher. Fixing strand rate and flyballs will make the comeback easier. Home run pick that won't come at a discount: everything equal, a mid-level mixed starter or better.


Shaun Marcum, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Nearing completion of his recovery from Tommy John surgery, Shaun Marcum is expected to land a rotation spot. Before going down in late '08, the righty made a successful transition into starting by pushing his GB/FB up and started using a cutter. He'll be a good dice roll in AL-only setups and is an inseason pickup candidate in mixed leagues.


Joel Pineiro, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Dave Duncan resurrected (created?) Joel Pineiro's career with downward pitching and groundball philosophy. Pineiro and strikeouts don't mix, but Angels preach groundballs, as well, and have a respectable defense. These factors will help Pineiro eat innings again, but you should expect the walks to come up, even though he's around the strike zone a bunch. He can round out a mixed-league staff, but you're all but certainly paying for a drop-off from last year; no upside.
Phil Hughes, SP, New York Yankees
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
10017518178471444.011.30

Mariano Rivera, the master of the cutter, passed the pitch on to Phil Hughes. It helped: Hughes thrived in the eighth inning. It looks like he'll shift to the rotation. A la Joba Chamberlain, his velocity was more prominent in relief duty. His K's might take a slight hit, but his upside makes him worth reaching for in the late rounds of deep mixed leagues and the middle portion of AL-only drafts.


Joe Saunders, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
4075874023444.801.47

Joe Saunders and strikeouts aren't friends, but he embraces big inning counts. Most of his roto value comes from the "W" column, which is an unwise asset to rely on, despite his 33 victories in the last two years. The 30-year-old lefty plays best as an in-season borrowed commodity in mixed setups.


Gil Meche, SP, Kansas City Royals
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Gil Meche hit the groundballs running, but back and shoulder injuries, along with arm fatigue, stalled him. Strand rate was short of career norms, so that should improve and supplement his OK dominance. He's fighting shoulder issues and might miss time to start the season, but he's an arm with relatively stable skills that could fill out a deep bench, mixed or AL.


Jeremy Guthrie, SP, Baltimore Orioles
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
100200228101561094.551.42

What you will get from Jeremy Guthrie: around 200 innings, little dominance and too many homers allowed. His BABIP and strand rate outliers caught up with him in '09. It's hard to count on an arm whose K/9 hovers around 5.00. His innings consistency is more valuable in ALs.


Wade Davis, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
4270532529753.211.17

The next in a line of polished, nurtured Rays prospects, Wade Davis shined in his six-start stint last year, showing mature command. His innings won't be limited even with the No. 5 rotation job. Davis is a high-level deep-league arm that's worth grabbing a round early in the final stanzas.


Fausto Carmona, SP, Cleveland Indians
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
601231266135934.461.31

Groundball-reliant, dominance-light righty performed well in winter ball, making some adjustments that reportedly improved his sinking fastball and slider. Fausto Carmona's slight uptick in strikeouts and hugely lucky BABIP spiked his value in '07. It would take similar circumstances now. However, his strand rate has been an issue in the last two seasons - a mature approach with runners on base would help make him valuable in-season. Put him on your mixed watch list and take a late stab on him in AL-only end-games. In mono, he could be cheap gold.


Kevin Millwood, SP, Baltimore Orioles
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

This move should help groom the O's young arms, but it doesn't do anything for Kevin Millwood's already questionable value. For someone who doesn't record many K's, he doesn't induce all that many grounders. He attacks the strike zone. That .277 BABIP should come back to normal, meaning he should be left out of most mixed drafts.


Erik Bedard, SP, Seattle Mariners
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3060593029554.501.47

Erik Bedard might not see a major league mound until midseason, but he insists he'll start a game in May. History would side with the former. You know the K ability is there. If you can stash him and draft him at a fair late-round price, try it, but work around it. Don't pay for more than 100 innings.


Marc Rzepczynski, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
3045401717403.401.27

Marc Rzepczynski achieves dominance through deception, not power. Groundballs dictate his game. If he keeps putting himself in trouble with his walk rate, though, he'll be in line for a serious correction. Warning signs are there, and he doesn't have a rotation spot locked in yet. He's deep-league intriguing, but don't chase him.


Brandon Morrow, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
10014513659511263.661.29

The Jays reportedly want him to start; defining his role will help. Brandon Morrow's Joba-like handling has stunted his growth, but his strikeout ability has weathered the storm. Getting control in line and re-incorporating his changeup will give him leg up in rotation competition. Potential high reward in deep leagues for much less risk than '09 price.


Ricky Romero, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
00000000.000.00

Post-hyper a front-runner for rotation spot. Ricky Romero's changeup-fueled breakout was halted by injury and a hard strand rate correction from which he never recovered. Command remains an issue, but dominance potential remains. Al-only drafters should know his name first; you can get away with leaving him for the post-mixed-draft pool.


Trevor Cahill, SP, Oakland Athletics
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
10017616874661293.781.33

He's a less dominant version of Brett Anderson. Trevor Cahill has excellent groundball inducement but also suffered from homer issues. He was fast-tracked to the bigs and is probably a year away from being a legit contributor. AL-only pickers should probably pay an extra buck to see what he can do this year.


Joba Chamberlain, RP, New York Yankees
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2010 Fantasy Baseball Projections

WSVIPHERBBKERAWHIP
2045452219454.401.42

Joba Chamberlain's velocity dropped as a full-time starter, and his opponents' line-drive percentage soared. It looks like he'll start the season in the bullpen, though, making him Mo's understudy for saves and a better roto asset. He provides promise for a deep mixed staff and is a valuable middle-round AL-only commodity for 'pen K's and ratios; Chamberlain's relief numbers can be more stable than an iffy starter or closer.