Starting pitchers are some of the most controversial picks in fantasy baseball drafts each season. Some people (like myself) feel that these players are important enough to draft in the first round, while others feel that offense is far too important to risk drafting a starter that soon. For me, picking up a Justin Verlander or Clayton Kershaw is more important than taking a chance on an injury-prone offensive player.
Through two months, is my draft strategy the right one, or are the top five current fantasy starters from outside the top of the draft this season?
Top Drafted - Average Pick
1. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers, 14.3
3. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies, 16.2
4. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies, 23.6
Of the first five drafted, just Verlander, Kershaw and Lincecum have gone without spending time on the disabled list, while the Philadelphia duo has each missed time. That doesn't mean Lincecum has pitched well, because his performance has been terrible. He is just 2-6 this season with a 5.82 ERA and while he is still recording high strikeout totals, he is on pace to give up the most walks of his professional career.
Top 2012 Performer
1. Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals
2. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
3. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies
4. Brandon Beachy, Atlanta Braves
5. Jake Peavy, Chicago White Sox
The only pitcher to be selected first in fantasy drafts that have lived up to the hype has been Verlander. The reigning American League Cy Young and MVP winner is having another great season, but even he has been overshadowed by the performances from Gonzalez, Beachy and Peavy.
Gonzalez is enjoying his first season in the National League, going 7-1 with a 2.04 ERA. He has been great for the first place Nationals, recording 79 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings and has held the opposition to a .156 BAA.
In the case of Peavy, he is finally back to pitching like he was in San Diego, going 6-1 with a 3.05 ERA in 76 2/3 innings. In his previous two seasons, he was just 14-13 in 35 starts, so his performance this season makes him one of the biggest surprises in fantasy.
For more fantasy baseball rankings through two months, go here.
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Hobson Lopes has been playing fantasy baseball for more than 10 years and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.