Here is the tenth article in the series of our 2012 fantasy baseball rankings looking at the next 20 starting pitchers. In this group you will find several starting pitchers coming off of injury from last season. While they have performed well in past season, many of them will be on an innings restriction in 2012 which will keep them from reaching their full value like they would in a normal season.
Here is a look at the fantasy baseball starting pitchers I have ranked for 2012 with my comments. A longer list with 2012 fantasy baseball projections is available in the 2012 FBT Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide which is on sale now.
21. Stephen Strasburg – there is a limit to his upside as he will likely face an innings limit in his comeback from Tommy John surgery like Jordan Zimmermann did last season.
22. Mat Latos - struggled the first half of the season before turning it around after the All-Star break with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. The move from PETCO Park to Cincinnati should elevate his ERA a little bit.
23. Michael Pineda – should get a couple more wins in New York while ERA and WHIP will be slightly impacted from the move away from SAFECO Field where he had a 2.92 ERA and 1.01 WHIP compared to 4.40 and 1.17 on the road.
24. Ricky Romero – continues to dominate right-handed hitters which led to a .216 overall batting average against. Lower than normal hit rate and great bullpen support pushed his ERA under 3.00 so expect that to rise in 2012. Numbers slid in the second half of the season for the second year in a row. In his career, ERA is 3.29 and WHIP is 1.27 the first half and 3.95 and 1.33 the second half of the season.
25. Josh Beckett – while 2010 was to one extreme for his hit rate and lack of bullpen support, 2011 was all the way to the other extreme as both of those numbers over corrected. Expect something closer to his 2009 season in 2012.
26. Matt Moore – should be among the league leaders in strikeouts despite being on an innings limit. Struck out 12.7 batter per nine innings over his minor league career. Only concern is his walk rate which was 3.1 in nine starts at AAA.
27. Gio Gonzalez – boosted his strikeout rate and it should go even higher this season with the move to the National League. Walk rate of 4.1 per nine innings is still an issue that needs to be ironed out to take the next step.
28. Brandon Beachy – will carry a higher than usual ERA from time-to-time based on his skills because he is a fly ball pitcher and is prone to variances from season-to-season. Strikeout rate of 10.7 per nine innings is going to be hard to repeat in his second season.
29. Matt Garza – big jump in strikeout rate with the move to the National League. Also saw a nice increase in his ground ball rate which gained 10 percentage points from 2010 which helped to keep his ERA low.
30. Tommy Hanson – last pitched on August 6th and was then shut down for the season with shoulder issues. Not a good sign when the team is expecting him to be healthy for the start of 2012 but they are still not 100% certain.
31. Josh Johnson – still has only one season of 200 or more innings pitched after making through only 60 1/3 innings in 2011 before shoulder issues forced him to the sidelines. Not worth the risk given his injury history regardless of how good his stuff is.
32. Adam Wainwright – coming back from Tommy John surgery, it may take him half of a season to find the groove so keep expectations realistic.
33. Yu Darvish – the best Japanese starting pitcher comes to Texas at the age of 25. In 2010, he had a 1.78 ERA with 2.1 walks and 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings. Pitched 200+ innings in four of the last five seasons so durability should not be a concern.
34. Jordan Zimmermann – first season back from Tommy John surgery and he came back with improved control and he picked up his strikeout rate the second half of the season. Only downside is if the team limits his innings any in his second season after surgery.
35. Chris Carpenter – turns 37 in April and is coming off a second straight season of a falling ground ball rate and a rising batting average against. Too many good young pitchers out there to take the risk on drafting him.
36. Jeremy Hellickson – it looked like a solid rookie season, but his strikeout rate of 5.6 was far off from his 9.8 per nine innings in the minor leagues. His ratios were also helped out by a 23% hit rate this is going to correct as well as great support from his bullpen. Expect higher ratios, but a few more strikeouts in 2012.
37. Shaun Marcum – one of the few pitchers who has not seen an increase in his strikeout rate with the move to the National League. Seemed to fade down the stretch after striking out 8.1 hitters per nine innings the first half of the season, it fell to 5.8 after the All-Star break. Ended the season at a low point with a 5.17 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP in September.
38. Cory Luebke – so far in 157 major league innings, he has been outpitching his minor league numbers in every category and without the benefit of PETCO Park as his numbers have been better on the road. Posted a 3.76 ERA with a 1.18 WHIP after the All-Star break in 14 starts.
39. Colby Lewis – fly ball pitchers are always at risk for balls flying over the fence at a higher rate from season-to-season which is what happened to Lewis in 2011.On a positive note, he did cut his walk rate and for the second straight season, he gave right-handed hitters fits.
40. Anibal Sanchez – took a big step forward in 2011 with a second year in a row of good health, a slight decrease in his walk rate and his strikeout rate went from 7.2 per nine innings to 9.3. Just needs to get a little more run support now to boost his win total.
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