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Mound Musings: 2011 SP Draft Board

David Regan

David Regan

David Regan is a five-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner, and was named the 2010 Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year.

By now, fantasy owners have had nearly half a season to evaluate their rosters. Hopefully you are competitive in most, if not all of your leagues, but if you're like me, there are some instances in which your team looked a lot better in April than it does now. If you want to look forward to see my 2011 spring SP draft board would look as of today, here you go:

2011 TOP 50

1. Stephen Strasburg, WAS –
I know, it's only four starts and other guys are "safer" picks, but I haven't seen stuff like this since Kerry Wood's rookie year.

2. Ubaldo Jimenez, COL –
Probably should be No. 1, but hey, it's my list. Jimenez looks to be a lock for the NL Cy Young, and it could be unanimous.

3. Tim Lincecum, SF –
Had a wild stretch there, but he's back putting up zeros. I wonder what his next contract looks like?

4. Adam Wainwright, STL –
Workhorse on pace for back-to-back 230-plus IP and top-3 Cy Young finishes. Seems like that J.D. Drew deal working out well for STL.

5. Roy Halladay, PHI –
Predictably thriving in the NL. Helps to not have to face the Phillies. No drop-off on the horizon.

6. Josh Johnson, FLA –
Raise your hand if you knew he had a 1. 80 ERA and was on pace for 220-plus strikeouts.

7. Cliff Lee, SEA –
A 76:4 K:BB is pretty good, as is his chance at winding up in pinstripes next year.

8. Jon Lester, BOS –
1.98 ERA in 12 starts after an ugly first three outings in 2010. Close to a lock for 15-17 wins and 200-plus K's each year.

9. Felix Hernandez, SEA –
K/9 up for the third consecutive year, so while he's yet to take that giant leap forward, he's still 24.

10. Zack Greinke, KC –
K/9 down from 9.5 to 7.8 over last year, but BBs also down. Wonder if he's traded this offseason ...

11. Justin Verlander, DET –
Peripherals have taken a step back this year, but he's just now coming into his prime.

12. Clayton Kershaw, LA –
Few pitchers on this list have his upside and now his command is coming around - 3.5 BB/9 since May 4.

13. CC Sabathia, NYY –
Not quite as good this year as last, but he should be good for another 3-to-5 years of elite fantasy performance.

14. Matt Cain, SF –
K-rate has taken a hit, but 2.16 ERA, age, and pitching in the NL = borderline top-10 fantasy pitcher.

15. Chris Carpenter, STL –
K/9 up from 6.7 to 7.8 this year. Age (36 by April 2011) and injury history drop him down a few notches.

16. Jered Weaver, ANA –
Huge step forward this year and now leads the AL in strikeouts. I'm not sure that's sustainable given an 89.8 mph avg FB.

17. Yovani Gallardo, MIL –
4.2 BB/9 is still high, but at least it's moving in the right direction. Cutting down on the HRs this year as well.

18. Tommy Hanson, ATL –
That start on Tuesday was hideous, but few young pitchers have his upside. 9.0 K/9, 3. 0 BB/9.

19. Phil Hughes, NYY –
Could be a top-10 fantasy starter next year if the Yankees take the kid gloves off and don't limit his innings.

20. Dan Haren, ARI –
Haren has been hurt by the long ball and a .342 BABIP. Strikeouts are up, walks about the same. He'll be fine.

21. Cole Hamels, PHI –
More BBs and HRs this year but also more K's. Should be a solid No. 2 to Halladay's No. 1 for the next few years.

22. Mat Latos, SD –
Hard to argue with a 0.95 WHIP, though Latos' .238 BABIP is likely unsustainable. Hard to believe he's just 22.

23. Shaun Marcum, TOR –
He's made recovery from Tommy John surgery look easy. Pitching in the AL East doesn't help fantasy value, however.

24. Roy Oswalt, HOU –
Oswalt's strikeout rate is way up this year, so his performance isn't being affected by the trade rumors.

25. Javier Vazquez, NYY –
3-1, 2.25 in June after a poor April/May. I expect a move back to the NL in 2011 as his contract is up after this year.

26. Francisco Liriano, MIN –
9.6 K/9, 2.5 BB/9. Took him longer than average, but he's recovered from Tommy John surgery to be about 85-90 percent of the '06 Liriano.

27. Johan Santana, NYM –
A shell of his Cy Young self, he's still a solid starter, though 5.7 K/9 this year is concerning.

28. Josh Beckett, BOS –
Apparently he prefers odd-numbered years. Injuries are troubling, but he's still just 30, so a great 2011 wouldn't be a surprise.

29. David Price, TB –
10-3 with 2.45 ERA, but K:BB just a hair under 2:1. Probably not quite this good, but he'll be high on my '10 board.

30. Clay Buchholz, BOS –
At 10-4 with a 2.47 ERA, Buchholz no longer has to look over his shoulder for Wakefield. Probably already team's No. 2 starter.

31. Ryan Dempster, CHC –
In his third year of a huge four-year deal, he's been the Cubs' most reliable starter in that time.

32. Brett Anderson, OAK –
Injuries are troubling, but lefties with his stuff and youth deserve the benefit of the doubt.

33. Jake Peavy, CHW –
Shoulder issues are troubling, but it appears he's starting to adapt to the AL. Remember, he's still just 29.

34. Matt Garza, TB –
Started scuffling right when I brought up his name as a potential Cy Young candidate. I still believe.

35. John Danks, CHW –
Continues to be a reliable if unspectacular fantasy option. I don't see a big step forward next year, but he'll be solid again.

36. Chad Billingsley, LA –
Command had been better this year prior to minor injury. A 3.50 ERA, 170 Ks, 15-20 wins for the next several years seems doable.

37. Colby Lewis, TEX –
So the new model is: stink in the U.S., go to Japan, come back and be a top-50 fantasy starter. Charlie Morton - you listening?

38. Jair Jurrjens, ATL –
Injury disappointment this year obviously, but what we saw last year can be duplicated in 2011.

39. Mike Pelfrey, NYM –
Introducing a splitter and channeling his emotions = a breakout 2010. He wasn't a top-10 overall draft pick for nothing.

40. Tim Hudson, ATL –
I like the 2.34 ERA, but a 4.0 K/9? Not so much. It's not all smoke and mirrors, but I'd rather gamble on someone else's upside.

41. Kris Medlen, ATL –
Strikeouts should creep up as he settles in more as a SP. I like this kid a lot, perhaps more than most.

42. Ricky Nolasco, FLA –
Great command again, but HRs still an issue (more so) and his K-rate has plummeted. Still just 27, but this is a step back.

43. Scott Baker, MIN –
Inconsistent 2010, but overall, walks are down and K's are up. He's smart and just needs to keep HR rate down.

44. Jaime Garcia, STL –
Probably a bit lucky that just 5.2 percent of his flyballs have gone for HRs, but he's had just a great rookie season.

45. Ted Lilly, CHC –
K/9 has taken a hit, and he'll be 35 at the start of next year. May not be a 200-inning workhorse anymore.

46. Jeff Niemann, TB –
Amazing to think he barely made the '09 team; 19-7 since and a strong No. 3 level starter.

47. Mike Leake, CIN –
1.6 K/BB indicates his less than elite starter upside, but he should be a reliable option for several years.

48. Ian Kennedy, ARI –
Allows too many flyballs, but also doesn't put too many runners on ahead of the HRs. Nice "throw-in" in the Scherzer deal.

49. Barry Zito, SF –
.255 BABIP helps, but he's still really turned things around after a poor start to that $126 million contract.

50. Anibal Sanchez, FLA –
Poster child for labrum victims not being toast. Command much improved and strikeouts up the last two years.

UNDER CONSIDERATION

Edinson Volquez, CIN –
Looking impressive in rehab.

Ricky Romero, TOR –
Borderline top-50. I could see the argument.

Jonathan O. Sanchez, SF –
The inconsistency gets to me.

Johnny Cueto, CIN –
See Sanchez.

James Shields, TB –
See Romero.

Brett Cecil, TOR –
I like him, but I want to see how he does over 180 innings in a full season.

A.J. Burnett, NYY –
Struggling right now + injury history = too much risk for top 50.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, BOS –
W/L record is the best measure of future performance, right?

John Lackey, BOS –
Not worth the money, but should be better next year with a year under his belt.

Ervin Santana, ANA –
Could be a top-30 guy, but just not the consistency you want to see.

Edwin Jackson, ARI –
At least they got Ian Kennedy

C.J. Wilson, TEX –
Very solid transition from the pen to rotation. Better than I expected.

Gavin Floyd, CHW –
Former No. 4 overall pick just hasn't put it all together…yet.

Jonathon Niese, NYM –
Mets won't include him in Cliff Lee trade ... for good reason.

Carlos Zambrano, CHC –
Weight and walks ... not a good combo.

Gio Gonzalez, OAK –
Command could come around ... or not.

Max Scherzer, DET –
I'm probably underrating his potential.

Brian Matusz, BAL –
Not quite ready. Maybe 2012.

Kevin Slowey, MIN –
Great command only gets you so far, such as a No. 3 starter role.

TOP 10 PITCHING PROSPECTS IN THE MINORS

1. Jeremy Hellickson, TB –
Just biding his time until the Rays are ready to give Wade Davis a stint in Triple-A. ETA: Soon, very soon.

2. Aroldis Chapman, CIN –
Latest has the Reds considering using him as a reliever in the near term. Long term he's a starter given the $30 million contract, but in 2010 is he Mitch Williams given his 5.5 BB/9. ETA: See Hellickson.

3. Julio Teheran, ATL –
Strasburg-like numbers for the 19 year-old: 1.26 ERA, 94:17 K:BB in 78.1 innings. ETA: late-2011.

4. Madison Bumgarner, SF –
11 K's in last start has him on the edge of a promotion. ETA: Should be now, will be soon.

5. Mike Montgomery, KC –
2.01 ERA in 10 starts, but minor elbow injury worth noting. ETA: July 2011.

6. Arodys Vizcaino, ATL –
66:9 K:BB prior to promotion to High-A. Best part of Javier Vazquez deal. ETA: mid-2012.

7. Jordan Lyles, HOU –
19-year-old supplemental first round pick (2008) is making a mockery of Double-A (2.37 ERA, K:BB nearly 4:1). ETA: mid-2011.

8. Jacob Turner, DET –
Just 19, Turner has a 51:9 K:BB in 54 innings at Low-A. ETA: late-2012, but Tigers have tended to rush top prospects (i.e. Rick Porcello, Jeremy Bonderman), so maybe sooner.

9. Kyle Drabek, TOR –
Command has been an issue, but love the bloodlines and polish. ETA: August 2011.

10. Kyle Gibson, MIN –
Scuffling a bit lately, but 73:23 K:BB in 78.1 innings for former first-round pick. ETA: late-2011.