Written by Jonathan Leshanski
Published: 01 May 2008
This week we’ll take a look at rookie and near rookies pitchers who are worth owning despite the fact that you’re bound to see some inconsistency at times this year. These are impact pitchers that can help your fantasy team but they will need to be closely monitored and used wisely. That means checking splits, playing them in pitcher friendly parks and expecting the occasional ugly game. Some of these guys could help you win a fantasy title so ignore them at your peril.
Max Scherzer (RHP, D’Backs):
If you haven’t heard about Scherzer then you have missed the buzz on a pitcher that is as close to a sure thing as you’ve ever seen. After dominating at the college level, he dominated at every level of the minors and just made his major league debut Tuesday. He faced 13 batters and mowed down them all with 7 Ks and just 45 pitches. He’s in the bullpen for now, but he’ll be starting very soon. His K/9 ratio at AAA was more than 14.
Johnny Cueto (RHP, Reds):
You’ve heard the buzz on Cueto and seen him start six times to a record of 1-3, 5.40, 33 Ks and WHIP of 1.09 in 35 innings. That’s a fairly mixed bag but this guy is something special and will pay dividends this season. Take away his last outing which was just 1.2 innings with 6 runs scored and his ERA is just a 4.05. That’s not bad for a rookie and his almost a k per inning makes him well worth having despite the inconsistencies of youth.
Dana Eveland (LHP, A’s):
You don’t have to be a good lefty to make it in the majors but Eveland looks to be a good lefty. The 24 years old Eveland has shown steady improvement across the board and it seems he’s ready to be the big league pitcher everyone hoped. His 3-1, 2.48 with 21 Ks and a WHIP of 1.21 in 29 innings seem to be very much in line with his AAA numbers.
Armando Galarraga (RHP, Tigers):
If he can keep his spot in the rotation Galarraga looks like the real deal. However his 2-0, 1.50, with 13 Ks and 0.72 WHIP in just 18 innings are probably somewhat overstated. Still judging him by his minor league numbers are hard as he played in the hitter friendly leagues which the Rangers minor leagues teams play in, meaning he could be solid, or possible ace material and only time will tell.
Edinson Volquez (RHP, Reds):
Want to know who the best Reds pitcher is right now? Look no further Volquez 4-0, 1.23, 33 Ks, and 1.23 WHIP in just 29 innings are less illusory than you might think. He’s not technically a rookie but he’s gotten so little exposure playing in Texas and their farm systems that he was worth mentioning here. I’d be a little cautious with him as the weather warms up until I see how he handles Great American Ballpark and heat combined.
Jonathan Sanchez (LHP, Giants):
Another guy who’s not technically a rookie but is sailing under the radar is Sanchez, a true strikeout machine who averages more than a strikeout per inning. The Giants offense won’t spot him many runs but this guy could post an ERA just above 4 with close to 200 Ks and a solid WHIP.
Jair Jurrijens (RHP, Braves):
No young pitcher is taking better advantage of his home park than Jurrijens who owns a 3-2 record to go with a 3.45 ERA and 25 Ks and 1.21 WHIP in just 31.1 innings. However 9 of his 12 earned runs surrendered (including 4 at Coors Field), as well as both of his losses came on the road. At home his numbers - 2-0, 1.29, 0.86 WHIP and BAA of .120. With the Braves offense behind him he could be a really good one this year.
Greg Smith (LHP,A’s):
Included in the Dan Haren trade between Oakland Smith has looked like fantasy gold so far this season. His 2-1, 2.73 with 21 Ks and a 1.06 ERA in just 33 innings might be a bit of an overachievement if you compare them to his AAA numbers but look fine compared to his second season numbers at AA showing how well he adapts. He’ll his some rough stretches, but betting he’ll turn into a quality starter should be a no brainer, betting he’ll become an ace is a bit more of a stretch.
John Lannan (LHP, Nationals):
Lannan has developed steadily but pretty much has been under the radar when it came to young pitchers. His major league numbers (2-2, 2.64, 24 Ks and 1.37 WHIP in 30.2 inning) should improve - especially his WHIP if his history is any indication. Playing for the Nationals won’t do his win totals any favors but he should prove a surprisingly reliable starter.