Fantasy Baseball Pitching Targets

To me, there is nothing more exciting that a 1-0 Clayton Kershaw vs. Madison Bumgarner pitching duel. Watching two aces go pitch for pitch, batter for batter. I have spent six years coaching high school baseball and focusing on pitching. Pitching is definitely my favorite part of baseball.

The Starters

The Studs

  1. Clayton Kershaw- Obviously
  2. Chris Sale-I loved the trade for both teams this offseason, I have been a big Chris Sale fan from his time in Chicago. I am going to be excited to see him in Boston. Chris Sale is an elite level pitcher, who I believe is second best in baseball. Last year he was able to win 17 games for a bad team. As long as he stays healthy, I think you can pencil him in for 17+ wins and 200+ strikeouts easy. He has an excellent K/BB rate at 5.18 and a significant K/9 rate at 9.25. Don’t be afraid to draft this guy!
  3. Madison Bumgarner-Another stud, really probably is the 2nd best pitcher in baseball, but my man crush on Sale gets in the way. Bumgarner is always good for 15-18 wins per season with 200+ strikeouts…including 251 last season! He is a low WHIP guy right around 1.00 and a below 3.00 ERA. Draft him and don’t feel bad about it!

The Rebounds

  1. Gerrit Cole-Named the opening day starter for the Pirates, Cole struggled mightily with injuries last season. After three separate DL stints last season I am looking for a major bounce back from him. Cole is a career 8.5 K/9in guy saw his numbers plummet last year down to 7.60 K/9in. He is going to be a risky guy, but his ranking resembles his risk at #119. I am willing to take a flyer on him.
  2. Chris Archer-Chris Archer had himself a very interesting season last year, with a 4.02 ERA, 30 HR given up and 19 loses, all career highs for him. But, he hit the magical 200 innings for the 3rd season in a row and struck out 230 batters with a 10.49 K/9in. He is a superb pitcher that happens to pitch for a pretty bad team. His second half of last season was the Chris Archer we are used to. I have been predicting that Archer is definitely a trade candidate this season…look for the Dodgers, Astros, or Rangers to get involved in the Archer sweepstakes, and if that happens. He will have plenty of chances for wins.

The Young Guns

  1. Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon- I really like both of these guys, I think Glasnow has the brighter future of the two. But, if Pittsburgh keeps both of these guys for their careers they are going to have two stud #1 pitchers for many years. Taillon will start his year in the majors, while Glasnow will probably start the season in the minors. Taillon was 5-4 with 3.38 ERA 1.12 WHIP and 85 strikeouts in 104 innings. Taillon stays healthy he will be a co-ace by the end of the season. Glasnow
  2. Kevin Gausman- Gausman is one of my favorite young pitchers who flys under the radar. I think he is a career #2 pitcher but can be an excellent #2 guy. Gausman had a high WHIP with the team last year at 1.28. But, his K/9 was at 8.72 and 3.70 K/BB. His biggest problem was the home run ball giving up 1.4 HR/9.
  3. Julio Urias-Julio Urias is only 20 years old, and I am not sure there is a better situation he can be in to learn how to pitch in the MLB. Just think, he has the best lefty in league with Clayton Kershaw, but, he also has one of the most experienced lefties in league with Rich Hill. I am not sure if there could be two better guys to learn from. Julio pitched 120 innings between AAA and the majors. I hope to see that innings pitched go up to 150+, but I wouldn’t anticipate much more innings than that. Urias went 5-3 last season with 3.39 ERA and 1.45 WHIP his WHIP is too high, but I anticipate that coming down. The biggest question is whether he will start or finish the season in the bullpen.
  4. Zach Davies- Really Davies is on here for two reasons. One because of how big of a Brewers fan I am. But, I legitimately think he can be a great pitcher in this league. Davies struggled early on last year, but he was able to rebound significantly finishing the year 3.97 ERA 7.44 K/9 and 3.55 K/BB. He is going to light up the radar gun he when he hits his spots he is tough to beat up. He may end up with 10-12 wins and a 3.50 ERA. Someone worth taking late in drafts.

The Ones Who Make Me Nervous

  1. Corey Kluber-Kluber’s skill set doesn’t make me nervous, but the fact that he has pitched 700 innings over the last three years including the playoffs. Kluber is an ace no doubt. But, I think the Indians will try to limit his innings this season to keep him healthy for the playoffs. But, if the price is right I would not be afraid to roster him.
  2. Max Scherzer- If didn’t have this pesky stress fracture in his finger, Scherzer would be up in the studs section. He went 20-7 last season with 2.96 ERA and an incredible 284 strikeouts. If Scherzer sees no setbacks and is able to start the season on the active roster. Go for him, but if this stress fracture lingers I push him behind Sale and Bumgarner.

The Ones I am Avoiding

  1. Strasburg-When healthy, he can be one of the best in the game. But, he is unable to stay healthy, and I don’t believe he is worth the ADP of 54. If you can get him later on, go for it, but 54 is too early for me.
  2. Verlander-Plain and simple, I don’t trust Verlander anymore, five years ago he was the best pitcher in baseball. But, injuries have slowed him down. Now he had a bounce back year last year, but I am worried that bounce back year was more of a fluke rather than Verlander being officially back.

Potential Dynasty League Stash

  1. Jose De Leon
  2. Alex Reyes
  3. Lucas Giolito
  4. Blake Snell
  5. Michael Kopech
  6. Josh Hader

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