Wednesday, February 25, 2009
You've convinced yourself that you want to be the first guy in your league to draft a pitcher. Your options are Johan Santana or Tim Lincecum. Who do you go with?
The Fantasy Rankings
CBS has Santana at 17 and Lincecum at 18.
Yahoo Big Board has Johan at 18 and Tiny Tim at 19.
ESPN has Johan at 9 and Tim at 12.
There's little doubt that these are the best two available pitchers. Deciding on which one to go with is obviously a much more difficult choice.
Johan Santana: 3.01 ERA, 18-7, 230 IP, 234 Ks, 1.07 WHIP
Tim Lincecum: 3.02 ERA, 17-9, 240 IP, 272 Ks, 1.19 WHIP
The difference between the two is Johan's advantage in WHIP and Tim's advantage in Ks. Which one do you like better?
One thing you should never when drafting pitchers is make the decision solely on projected win totals. Johan pitched well enough to win 23 games last year, but he didn't. With that being said, you still have to take in consideration the surrounding lineups a little bit, and the advantage here clearly goes to Johan Santana.
The New York Mets clearyl have a more dynamic lineup with three superstars in Carlos Beltran, David Wright and Jose Reyes. After that there are questionmarks abound, from who will play the corner outfield to whether Carlos Delgado can replicate his 2008 campaign.
The Giants are lacking great players and will have to make due with aging Bengie Molina, Edgar Renteria, Randy Winn and Aaron Rowand supplying the punch to their lineup.
The questionmarks for both players is health and workload. Tiny Tim made a tremendous workload leap last season. Will his small frame hold up again this season? For Johan he seemingly has been healthy and started 33+ games in 6 straight seasons. Will the track record finally break this year?
For this year, I'd still go with Johan Santana and the main reason is safety. If you're drafting either of these players you're going to need to drop at minimum a 2nd round pick. You don't want your 2nd round pick underperforming and there is a legitimate chance that Lincecum can get the same run support that teammate Matt Cain received last year. I know I told you don't pick a player strictly for wins, but when these two are so close in every category something needs to tip the scale. Additionally, Johan also has proven he can start 33 games year after year, Lincecum has one year under his belt and you just don't know if he will be the durable ace quite yet.
You probably won't go wrong with either of these pitchers leading the way, but in my opinion the time to take risks is not the second round, so you have to go with Johan.