Fantasy Baseball 2011: Starting Pitchers To Buy Now

I was taking a look at Fangraphs on Friday night to see which pitchers have had the worst luck so far this year. That is, which pitcher had the largest differences between their current ERA and their xFIP.

Here is the list of the pitchers with the highest ERAs so far this season, and I will highlight a few of them here:

Chad Billingsley, LAD-he is currently 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP. Not a good start to the season for Billz, but taking a deeper look, he has a .356 vs a career BABIP of .302, and a strand rate (LOB%) of just 57% vs a career LOB% of around 75%. So a little more luck and Billingsley can easily improve upon his slow start. His 8.36 K rate and 54% GB rate tells me Billz will improve from here.

Wandy Rodriguez, HOU-Wandy-Rod has started the season with a 0-2 record, a 7.31 ERA and 1.81 WHIP. What tells me he will improve from here are the facts that his current BABIP of .417 and LOB% of 61% are not sustainable and will regress to his career averages of .305 and 70% respectively. His xFIP says there are better days to come for Wandy owners, but his low K rate of 6.19 is a little concerning.

Now I know why I am in 8th place in one of my NL-only leagues as I own both Billingsley and Wandy in that league.

Here are a few more after the jump:

Jonathan Niese, NYM-Niese has started the season going 0-2 with a 6.88 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. But, his 56% strand rate indicates he can improve going forward, especially when you consider he has increased his K rate near 8.00 and has a solid 51% GB rate. His xFIP of 3.50 is more than 3 runs lower than his ERA as it stands now, so look for Niese to turn things around pitching at Citifield for approximately half of his starts.

Bud Norris, HOU-another Astros pitcher on the list. Norris is 1-1 on the season with an ERA of 5.06 and a WHIP of 1.19. His BABIP of .263 is lower than his career average of .311, but Norris has been hurt by the long ball. He has given up 3 HRs in his 16 innings. But on the positive side, Norris has upped his K rate to 11.25 and lowered his BB rate to 3.38 per nine. Norris appears to be on the cusp of stardom.

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