Friday, March 31, 2006

McStallen's 2006 Fantasy Baseball Preview - Part III- Starting Pitching

Starting pitching is where it's won or lost, I shit you not. A-Rod, Pujaholski, Vlad etc are outstanding players. But you cannot win without good reliable starting pitching.

Now I love talking about young arms, but today I would rather talk about young starting pitching. And here is my priceless theory on starting pitching:

The first time around the league, the young pitcher has the drop on everyone and puts up great numbers. The second time*around the league, the hitters adjust, and the pitchers gets rung up alot. The third time around the league (and thereafter) the pitcher readjusts and settles into his groove as a mature hurler.

And now I'll apply the theory:

A. First time around the league - these guys should be good
1) Brian Bannister- Pitching out of the friendly confines of Shea stadium, Bannister is one to watch.

2) Justin Verlander- should do pretty well for the Tigers. Not related to this guy, although their names sound similar.

3) Taylor Buchholz- Who? Well the former Phillies prospect will have a few nice starts for the Astros. And that will probably be the highpoint of his career.

4) Jonathan Papelbon- in the BoSox bullpen now, but he'll be starting at some point this year.

5) Sean Marshall- the Cubs plan to give this guy a few starts while some of their starters (Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, and/or Wade Miller) recover on the DL. If Marshall pitches well, Dusty Baker has already promised management that he will completely wear down Marshall's arm in 2 months or less.

B. Second time around the league- Avoid - will experience and growing pains and will not be worth it:
1) Zach Duke- I'm thinking 8-8 with a 4.00 ERA. it's not like he'll get run support anyway. For 2006, expect to be disappointed. Long-term, expect good things.

2) Matt Cain- this guy has always had control problems- he'll break out in 2007- if you're not in a keeper league, than kick this guy to the curb and drop a brick on him Reginald Denny style.

3) Gustavo Chacin- this crafty lefty will get lit up like a X-mas tree this year- err "Holiday tree"- he'll probably get alot of run support, but not enough...

4) Jason Vargas- the NL version of Chacin

5) Joe Blanton- 9.58 ERA this spring- may not take a step backward this year, but probably won't take a step forward

6) Scott Baker- Just gave up 11 earned runs and 10 hits in 1 2/3 innings during an exhibition game that supposed to be his final preseason tune-up- and OK, he edged out DUI-boy Francisco Liriano for a starting spot- but Liriano's the better pitcher. And Kirby Puckett's dead.

7) Chris Young- one word- "dead arm"

C. Third time around the league- ready to turn the corner
1) Erwin Santana- Young Erwin is developing as a pitcher, and will have a great offense him, which should really help -and the Angel pen is diesel, and can pitch him out of alot of jams.

2) Scott Kazmir- last year he had an ERA below 4.00, unheard of for a Devil Ray starter. This man will do great things- and the Mets gave him away for Victor Zambrano.

3) Gavin Floyd- just edged out Ryan Franklin for a spot in the Philadelphia rotation -as Matt Potalivo once sad, this guy has nasty nasty stuff.

4) Brandon Claussen- former Yanquis prospect may develop into a good pitcher this year- but it will be hard to tell since he pitches in Coors Jr

5) Dewon Brazleton- may have finally figured things out in San Diego- Tampa Bay gave up on him, but McStallen, and apparently San Diego, have not

6) Kyle Davies- only thing holding this guy back is the fact that the Braves only good coach (Leo Mazzone or Lee Mazzili- whoever the pitching coach was) left, and Davies' development is left to the mercy of functional alcoholic and admitted wife-beater Bobby Cox

7) Noah Lowry- hopefully he gets a little more control and lowers the WHIP - but he's a great strikeout pitcher who should be really comfortable this year, especially after signing a new 4-year contract.

8) Dave Bush- another Demon Deacon making good, and arguably the most boring player in professional baseball, the Bushman will likely enjoy the transition from junior circuit to senior circuit and put up nice numbers in dreary Milwaukee.

D) Exceptions to the rule
Felix Hernandez- this guy is going to be so fucking good that my theory is just inapplicable- the only thing holding him back is endurance - he had some preseason shin problems, but they are allegedly behind him (if you believe what you read)

Zack Grienke- the guy is nuts - all bets are off


Anonymous Bobby Cox said...

Pete - next time you're in Georgia bring your wife over to my place.

I'll get liquored up and smack my wife around a bit in front of her- maybe even do some grounding and pounding or execute a full-body suplex on my wife- and just seeing that ought to set your wife straight.

11:40 PM  
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