Fantasy baseball is back and 2015 is shaping up to be a very interesting year, especially for pitchers who are being drafted earlier than ever – sometimes as early as second overall. With that said let’s take a look at this year’s top 10 pitchers to help you prepare for our fantasy drafts. I’ll be rolling out the top 10 at each position in the next few weeks and we’ll dig a little deeper in to each position after that. So without further ado, let’s get started with the pitchers.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers – How could you rank anyone else here? The guy missed a month to start last season and he still won 21 games and struck out 239 batters. That’s a ridiculous season for someone who played all year, so just imagine if he put in a full 240-250 innings. Well, he’s healthy so that’s what he could do this year. I’m not a draft pitching early guy but I couldn’t blame anyone for taking him in the top 3-4 overall.
Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals – Jumped from the Tigers to the Nationals in the off-season, but more important for fantasy owners, jumped from the AL to the NL so now he can face a pitcher 4 times a game… yes please! Mad Max’s stats were already sick last year, so add another 10% to his strikeout totals and possibly a few more wins pitching against the putrid Phillies and Braves lineups.
Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners – Easily my favorite pitcher to watch in real life, but I’d love him on my fantasy team too. Felix won Cy Young awards with a putrid Mariners offense, but last year he was even better despite a drop in velocity. The M’s put a little more oomph in their offense so a tick up in wins is likely. Invest with confidence, Felix is as reliable as they come.
David Price, Detroit Tigers – The Tigers should take a half step back without Scherzer but that won’t hurt Price’s fantasy numbers and their offense is still very potent with a healthy Miguel Cabrera and the addition of Yoenis Cespedes. Price is a lock for 200 strikeouts and is very reliable. I’d put him a tier after the first three, but he’s more than capable of being the ace of your fantasy team.
Steven Strasburg, Washington Nationals – I’m a little hesitant to rank Strasburg because he hasn’t lived up to the hype he had when he came out of San Diego State, but even though he hasn’t reached that level he’s still been a really darn good pitcher. A healthy Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman (for now) will help Stras in the run support and maybe we’ll see an uptick in wins. Like Max he gets to face some bad NL East lineups which will only help his numbers. If you wanted to take MadBum or Kluber ahead of him I wouldn’t blame you but feet to the fire this is where I would draft him.
Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians – Kluber came out of almost nowhere to win the AL Cy Young in dominating fashion. It seemed like he struck out 20 batters a game for almost the entire season and if you drafted him late then congratulations on winning your league. There are a few red flags on Kluber, in that he was never a prized prospect out of Stetson University and he is older than most think, but he should be studly once again in 2015, just don’t overpay.
Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants – In the playoffs MadBum took the league by storm and looked like the second coming of Clayton Kershaw, so many of your league mates may have him in the top two or three, but I’m concerned about the number of innings that post season put on his arm. Obviously by the ranking I’m not avoiding him and I’d happily take him at the right price but I’m concerned. Be cautious and don’t overbid on this guy.
Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers – Talk about being overshadowed, Greinke is one of the best pitchers in the game that nobody talks about because he’s the second fiddle to that Kershaw guy. Still, Greinke is as reliable a pitcher as there is and I would be more than happy to draft him as the ace of my fantasy team. If your league mates sleep on him be ready to pounce.
Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs – Lester had a career season in his contract year despite being traded from Boston to Oakland mid-season. He signed with the Cubs in the off-season and gets the nice bump from the move to the NL. The Cubs offense is very talented but also very young so I can see him losing some 2-1 games so he could be frustrating on a daily fantasy site, even if you used a DraftKings code, but in season long leagues he’s as solid as they come.
Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox – I would have had him fourth just behind Felix but be broke his foot and will miss at least the start of the year. When he’s healthy this guy could throw a no hitter at any time, but as we know that’s the rub… there’s always something with this guy. If he comes at a discount I’m all over drafting him but if my league wants to take him at his pre-injury draft price then I’ll pass.