Fantasy baseball starting pitchers: the Frugal 15

      January 27, 2012 @ 13:34:47 PDT

Moore won't be cheap ...

The Freshman 15 often bloats college students. The Frugal 15, however, gives fantasy baseball players some tasty treats without expanding their budget's waistline.

Last year I shared some of my favorite bargain starting pitchers. Not a bad gathering; I'll humble-brag that I hit on five of the nine listed.

On this year's initial cost-effective docket, I'm excluding hyped arms like Matt Moore and Yu Darvish. Time to aim higher but also deeper, complete with tiers. This is only the beginning of your SP value hunting, but it's a noteworthy jumping-off point.

Fringe No. 1s and No. 2s

Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals - A name, of course, but still a hesitant selection in many circles. I'm taking the plunge. Keith Hernandez and Nicholas Minnix aren't ignoring him.

Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals - This carryover from last year will fan around 200 regardless of uniform.

Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers - An FIP buy: Many still overlooking his steady standout K/9, ever-improving BB/9 and second-half ground-ball boost.

Brandon Beachy, Atlanta Braves - Doubt equals opportunity for cheaply snagging this double-digit K/9.

Cory Luebke, San Diego Padres - Uni will scare win chasers away. Take advantage.

Ubaldo Jimenez, Cleveland Indians - You really think he's not even worth a SP4 pick? Think again.

Brandon Morrow, Toronto Blue Jays - Mock Draft Central's participants aren't high on him. The industry circle isn't fooled.

Undervalued or forgotten

Anibal Sanchez, Miami Marlins - With his health a fading issue, you can't afford to ignore him at his reasonable cost.

... but Luebke, and others, will.

Bud Norris, Houston Astros - Forgot him on my brief list last year. An egregious omission, but it's not like I ignored him.

John Danks, Chicago White Sox - Unsurprisingly, barely on the radar because of his 2011 surface stats. Check out his 2011 second-half peripherals and FIP before passing judgment.

Jonathon Niese, New York Mets - Sure, he's a Met, but GB-K/9 combo sniffing a perfect storm.

Luke Hochevar, Kansas City Royals - Another second-half growth case that'll come dirt cheap in most places

Tim Stauffer, San Diego Padres - Grounders plus PETCO equals a confident low-end buy.

The Oakland Athletics rotation, with Dallas Braden trailing. Brett Anderson is a long-term stash, but Brandon McCarthy, Jarrod Parker and (likely) Brad Peacock all have investment-worthy skills.

Juan Nicasio, Colorado Rockies - With proper rehab, we're talking SP2 upside.

Next week, I'll supplement this with a smattering of deserving options far off the radar. You think I missed anyone here or someone that should be on the megasleeper list? Maybe they'll make it to the next group.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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