The following are the stats from the rookie years of two starting pitchers:
Pitcher A: 19GS, 6-6, 116.2 IP, 147K, 3.32 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
Pitcher B: 24GS, 7-5, 146.1 IP, 150K, 4.00 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
Their records are essentially a wash. The rest of the stats lay in the favor of Pitcher A. Pitcher B had a K rate of 9.22/9IP, while Pitcher A had a K/9 rate of 11.34. Pitcher A had the lower ERA and WHIP, although a 4.00 and sub-1.30 WHIP for a rookie pitcher is certainly nothing to scoff at. But how did these two pitchers follow-up their rookie seasons?
Pitcher A: 30GS, 18-6, 211.1 IP, 245K, 2.43 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
Pitcher B: 33GS, 18-5, 227.0 IP, 265K, 2.62 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
Both pitchers clearly had no trouble. Both posted impressive numbers across the board. Their records are again a wash and so is the K/9 rate with Pitcher B posting a slightly better rate than Pitcher A in their sophomore efforts (10.51 vs. 10.44). Pitcher A again led in terms of ERA and WHIP. Clearly fantasy owners and MLB general managers would be willing to plug either of these two youngsters in at the top of their rotation.
Each pitcher saw their innings increase significantly. Pitcher A had threw an additional 95 innings and Pitcher B threw an extra 81 innings. How will these two guys do from here on out? We will have to wait and see how Pitcher B fares in his effort to defend his NL Cy Young Award. The Giants placed a pretty heavy work load on Tim Lincecum as they (successfully) attempted to push Lincey to the top of Cy Young ballots and bring San Francisco a bright spot to their otherwise dim season. There have always been questions of Lincecum's ability to hold up over the long haul as a starting pitcher due to his small frame and mechanics. That said he has no injury history and getting through the 2009 season would go a long way in putting these fears to rest. How he will do from here on out is anybody's guess. Luckily we have some prior evidence to suggest how Lincecum's trajectory may turn out.
What about Pitcher A? The one that seemed to match or slightly outperform Lincecum over the course his first two seasons? No pitcher's future seemed quite so bright after Mark Prior completed his 2003 season especially when you consider his post all-star figures from that year (10-1, 1.52 ERA). That drove many average Joes to grab him early in 2004 keeper leagues. Since 2003 Prior has won a total of just 18 games. Of course when he came up people spoke about how he was built to be a starting pitcher (he has 6 inches and 55 pounds on Lincecum). That didn't really work out... I'm not saying that Lincecum will definitely not hold up. People said the same things about Pedro and he's had an okay career. But in a fantasy keeper league selling high may not be the worst idea. The worst idea would be to take Greg Maddux with the first pick. That guy isn't even playing next year.
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