Coaches like to always say that offense wins games and defenses win championships. In fantasy baseball I'd have to say that kind of holds true; while your bats will win you games, your pitchers (or defense) will win you the championship.
Skeptics reading this are likely thinking: What? Dude, you are nuts! Bats are where it's at in fantasy baseball!
To those guys I will say that you are right, however, if you don't have decent, if not good, pitching you are sunk. To those of you that play in head to head leagues I ask:
Have you ever won a game because your starting pitchers all won, one pitched a complete game, another pitched a shutout, and between the three of them they struck out 26 batters?
Am I trying to tell you that you need Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia, and Justin Verlander to win your league? No! What I am telling you is that if you do a little homework (or read my article) you can nab a few guys late in your draft or off the waiver wire that will make your opponents cry!
These guys may not all be starters; they could start the season in minors. If they do, just remember their names so that you can grab them off the waiver wire once the team starts talking about calling him up to the Show!
Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays: After shutting out the Texas Rangers and holding them to only two hits during the post season last year he might not be a true dark horse, but chances are that a lot of guys will wait till the later rounds before biting on him since that was only his second start in the Big League. One good game does not a fantasy stud make. However, this guy showed over the last three years in the minors that he has some nasty stuff. Pick him up late and you might get the strikeout leader of the American League this season.
Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers: Yu has yet to face Major League batters. They could kill him. They could make the Rangers sorry that they spent over $50 million to talk to this guy. OR the same guy that struck out 276 batters in 28 games—10 of them complete and six of them shutouts—last season in Japan could show up. He might bring his career 1.99 ERA with him too (over 164 games). Did I mention that he only allowed five home runs the last two seasons?
Brad Peacock and Jarrod Parker, Oakland Athletics: These two you could probably wait till after you take your catcher and still get them. They haven't really made any kind of name for themselves yet; doing so might be hard in Oakland. However, when you hear about that no-name pitcher that threw a brilliant game against whomever there is a solid chance that it will be one of these guys. Parker probably has the better arsenal, but Peacock is very efficient with what he has.
Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals: If your league allows you to draft a minor league player take this guy. The 21-year old has the makings of a future ace! Once he developed some secondary pitches to compliment his killer fastball he crushed the competition in the minors last season, averaging 11 Ks per nine innings along the way. He will probably start the year in the minors again in order to get a little more seasoning, but he'll get called up to Show in time. When he does you'll look like a stud for holding on to him!
Julio Teheran, Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Randall Delgado, Kris Medlen, and Arodys Vizcaino, Atlanta Braves: Beachy has his spot in the rotation; Teheran will likely get one as well. The rest will be battling it out to see who fills in for Tim Hudson while he recovers from back surgery. All six guys are listed because they are all worth picking up should they be in the rotation.
Beachy had some bad luck last season; the coaches know that hence his spot in the rotation already locked up. Teheran is thought to be a better prospect than Moore, but needs a little more control to really excel in the Big League. As for the other guys, the Braves organization has a knack for finding pitching talent; this crop is a great sample of what they can do. Remember their names and your fantasy team will be the better for it because if they don't play now they will soon enough.
Article by Travis Pulver