Jeremy Hellickson seems to have a rotation spot locked up and Michael Pineda is making some noise early on and could be on the opening day roster. Both rookie pitchers could prove useful in fantasy leagues this year. Which of these star youngsters will be the better pick for 2011?
Jeremy Hellickson has been one of the most if not THE most dominating pitchers in the minor leagues the past couple years putting up a 49-16 record in his minor league career. He then went 4-0 in a brief call-up at the end of last season. He doesn't have overpowering stuff but he commands all of his pitches and does a good job of mixing speeds. It's not often a pitcher enters the bigs this polished. The knock on Hellickson is that his arsenal is not electric and he may be near his peak already. It's a damn fine peak but one that may be more solid rotation arm than superstar award winner.
Michael Pineda has the stuff with a fastball that approaches triple digits but he's not as locked into a spot as Hellickson. There is talk about delaying his service time but the Mariners thought about bringing him up at the end of last season so they clearly think he's ready. If he continues to impress in Arizona they might not be able to hold him back. With the punchout power that comes with a high 90s fastball he is a good bet for fantasy production. It's when you look at the command and home ballpark that you begin to think he may one day be elite. He still has things to work on and the injury risk that comes with such velocity and past arm troubles make him less of a sure thing than Hellickson but damn does he have upside.
With Hellickson seeming destined for a great career he is a good choice as a strong SP in fantasy in 2011. Pineda likely won't pitch more than 160 innings in the majors this year but could be a force when on the mound. Which would you rather have on your staff in 2011?