Keeper Conundrums: Starting Pitchers, Part One

All this week, I’ve been looking at potential keepers at each position that you may be on the fence about. Now, a look at some starting pitchers.

Colby Lewis
In his first year back in the bigs, Lewis performed very well. Lewis pitched more than 200 innings, striking out close to a batter an inning. Even though he doesn’t have overpowering stuff, he was able to make hitters miss on a consistent basis.
Crude 2011 Projection: 200 IP, 4.00 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 2.7 BB/9
Verdict: Keep. He’s not going to be a sleeper this year, so he’s going to be a fantastic value.

Brett Anderson
Anderson doesn’t make this list because anyone is questioning his abilities, but because of the injury risk involved. He had problems with his pitching elbow multiple times this year, and pitched fewer than 115 innings because of it. His K/BB and GB% were both higher this year, so Anderson’s still got game.
Crude 2011 Projection: 150 IP, 3.20 ERA, 6.5 K/9, 2.0 BB/9
Verdict: Cut. Not because he’s bad, but because he should slip a couple of rounds in drafts, and you can snag him there.

Zack Greinke
Greinke’s year wasn’t 2009esque, but it was remarkably similar to 2008. He topped 200 innings for the third straight year, but his SwStr% (and thus his K/9) decreased, leaving him with less than the 200 strikeouts many were hoping for. But, he did increase his GB%, so it wasn’t all bad news.
Crude 2011 Projection: 220 IP, 3.85 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 2.15 BB/9
Verdict: Cut. Like Anderson, you should be able to get him a couple of rounds later in drafts. Plus, he may not get more than 10 W’s, once again, in 2011.

Ricky Nolasco
Once again, Nolasco frustrated the crap out of his owners. For the second straight year, Nolasco’s xFIP was far better then his ERA, thanks to a K/BB of 4.45. He’s homer prone, and hitters somehow have the ability to hit him around a bit. But, he’s going to do a great job giving you some strikeouts without a very high WHIP.
Crude 2011 Projection: 175 IP, 4.30 ERA, 9.0 K/9, 2.0 BB/9
Verdict: Keep. I’d like to think he’d go a couple of rounds later, but someone will always be willing to take him a little early with the hope that he’ll finally deliver.

If you have a starting pitcher you’re on the fence about, leave it in the comments. If I see a player showing up in the comments multiple times, I may do a writeup on them for next week.

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Zach is the creator and co-author of RotoGraphs' Roto Riteup series, and RotoGraphs' second-longest tenured writer. You can follow him on twitter.

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What about Johnny Cueto and Yovanni Gallardo?


Initially I think yes, but could they be had for cheaper a couple rounds later than expected?