Pitchers to pick up, or keep an eye on

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Here's three starting pitchers that could serve as a replacement for an injured starter or existing pitcher that is performing below your fantasy standards.

1. Ricky Nolasco - Florida Marlins

Talk about flying under the radar.

Most of the time when you hear anything about this young Marlins team, it centers around stud shortstop Hanley Ramirez or second baseman Dan Uggla.

But the guy you need to start paying attention to is Ricky Nolasco, the Marlins best pitcher you don't know about.

He leads the team in wins (8) and strikeouts (67) with a 1.31 WHIP in 17 starts this season.

Nolasco has especially started to heat up in his last four starts, all wins for the Marlins. Against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 15, he went 8.2 innings and struck out 12 while allowing only two earned runs against the team with the best record in baseball.

And in his start last Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Nolasco lasted eight innings, struck out nine and gave up one earned run.

With a talented young offense behind him, Nolasco could prove to be an absolute steal for any fantasy squad.

2. Andy Sonnanstine - Tampa Bay Rays

If you're in need of a dependable starter that will give you about five strikeouts, six innings and the win, Andy Sonnanstine is your guy.

The beauty of having a guy like Sonnanstine on your team is that he pitches for the best team in baseball and you'll walk away with more wins than you probably should. He takes the ball every fifth day and keeps his team in the ball game and has had some very nice performances along the way.

Back in April he threw and complete game shutout against the White Sox. In May he went eight innings against the St. Louis Cardinals, giving up a single earned run.

And last Sunday, Sonnanstine went seven innings against the Pirates, gave up one earned run and struck out four.

Personally, I'd be inclined to pick up the Rays' janitor based upon how good they're playing right now.

Kyle Lohse - St. Louis Cardinals

I hesitated to put Lohse on this list because he's been outstanding for the Cardinals all season.

But anyone without the last name Pujols on the Cardinals seems to go without mention. Add in the fact that most expect this team to fall apart any day now and it becomes a little easier to understand the apprehension that comes along with picking up a Cardinals player.

With Lohse, you can leave those worries behind.

After dominating the New York Mets last night (7 IP, 0 ER, 4K), Lohse improved to 10-2 on the season and has been nothing but solid for the Cardinals.

However, Lohse doesn't do anything in one area that stands out. Sure, his win total is quite impressive. But he's not a high strikeout guy (4.28 K per 9 IP) and his ERA (3.67) and WHIP (1.27) don't jump out at you either.

That doesn't mean I wouldn't pick him up, it simply means that you shouldn't expect crazy numbers from him.

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Side note: Be careful with any of the Rays starters not named Shields or Kazmir...Price looks to be on the fast track to join the starting rotation by the end of July...Keep an eye out for last years number one overall pick.

Olsen responds: You're right about that, however, this particular player leads the Rays in wins and is second in innings pitched. Unless he gets hurt, Sonnanstine isn't going anywhere. Thanks for checking in!

Good point Mr. Olsen, you are well informed and seem to be a standout guy!

Good call on Nolasco! I picked him up for yesterday's game and he delivered a win, seven innings, 8 k's and no walks. Keep up the good work!

Looks like your prediction of Sonnanstine was wrong, he recently got demoted to Triple A.

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Matt Wood is a web editor for suntimes.com and editor of CenterstageChicago.com. He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on July 1, 2008 1:00 PM.

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