2010 Fantasy Baseball Outlook: Starting Pitchers

By: Raymond Ayala

The 2009 MLB season introduced us to a new crop of young, up and coming pitchers. No young pitcher surprised more this year then Kansas City Royals pitcher Zach Greinke. Grienke should be the runaway candidate for the AL Cy Young Award this year, and will continue to dominate like he did in 2009. While Grienke gets my number two spot, I am putting a very familiar name at my number one spot. Tim Lincecum was the 2008 NL Cy Young Award Winner, and has a shot to win the 2009 award as well. Even though he only had 15 wins this season, he still led the league with over 250+ Strikeouts. Lincecum has also decided for the time being to go year-to-year with an arbitrator, which equals big bucks for big performances. Lincecum goes into the 2010 season as the best pitcher in baseball, and he is only 26.

My Top 20 Fantasy Pitchers for 2010:

1) Tim Lincecum (SF) – The freak is the real deal.
2) Zach Greinke (KC) – A breakout season exposed him for the pitcher he truly is.
3) Felix Hernandez (SEA) – Only 23 years old, will win a Cy before his 25th birthday.
4) Roy Halladay (TOR) – May not be playing for Toronto, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has the some of the nastiest stuff in the game.
5) Justin Verlander (DET) – Probably will be the best strikeout pitcher in the American League for the next 5 seasons.
6) Cliff Lee (PHI) – His time with Philadelphia has shown what happens when you put an AL pitcher in the NL.
7) Dan Haren (AZ) – Arizona will improve next year, which means Haren’s ridiculous WHIP numbers won’t go to waste in 2010.
8) Clayton Kershaw (LAD) – Kershaw was only 21, and maintained an ERA under 3, get him now before it is too late.
9) Chris Carpenter (STL) – 09 Comeback player of the year will vie once again for the 2010 Cy Young Award.
10) Adam Wainwright (STL) – Repeating 19 wins shouldn’t be a problem for him next season.
11) Matt Cain (SF) – Cain had a 2nd half slump, but still carries a high K/9 rate, as well as a low ERA.
12) Tommy Hanson (ATL) – He was called up late, but his stuff was fantastic.
13) C.C Sabathia (NYY) – Had an amazing 2nd half for the Yankees and a full season of this will guarantee him a Cy Young during his tenure in New York.
14) Javier Vazquez (ATL) – He has been a great asset in fantasy for K’s, now he adds a low ERA to the mix in 2010.
15) Josh Johnson (FLA) – This season was just the start. Next season he is in a contract year and will be fighting with Cain for best contract of 2011.
16) Jair Jurrgens (ATL) – Will be number 3 in a very powerful Braves rotation in 2010; a great gift for Bobby Cox in his final season.
17) Jon Lester (BOS) – Really has started to show signs of being a superstar pitcher, but may always be that really good sidekick.
18) John Lackey (Free Agent) – Pitchers in 1st years of their contracts usually struggle at 1st, but I think Lackey becomes a star wherever he lands.
19) Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) – Was key to the Rockies run down the stretch, and is still very young.
20) Yovani Gallardo (MIL) – The Brewers are expecting this kid to be an all-star next year, as should everyone in baseball.

Five Starting Pitcher Sleepers

1) Brian Matusz (BAL) – This kid is young, but in his short stint with Baltimore put up a win against the Yankees and had plus strikeout ability.
2) Jonathan Sanchez (SF) – The no-hitter last season was no joke. His numbers continued to improve after the All-Star break.
3) Neftali Feliz (TEX) – If you were smart you picked him up as a relief pitcher in 09. In 2010 he should become a K-machine similar to Seattle’s King Felix.
4) Aroldis Chapman (Free Agent) – Chapman defected from Cuba and will get the Dice K treatment, which means no minor leagues.
5) Stephen Strasburg (WAS) – The Nationals will peg him as their opening day starter and he will have 10 K’s in that game. Take it to the bank.