Fantasy Focus: Miss on the top-tier starters? Here are 10 alternatives

Selecting a starting pitching staff on draft day is one of the bigger challenges of completing a competitive squad. High profile names such as “King” Felix and “Doc” Halladay are sure to be gone early. Stashing away 2nd and 3rd starters can provide the boost needed to keep your team in first all season long.

Roy Oswalt, Philadelphia Phillies

With Halladay and the arrival of Cliff Lee, Oswalt seems to have gone unheralded. After being traded to Philly all he did was go 7-1 with an ERA under 2.00. A full year of support from the Phillies line-up should help (Phils put up more than 100 more runs than Houston in 2010).

Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants

Cain has gone largely unnoticed playing 2nd fiddle to young phenom Tim Lincecum. All he did last year was tally 13 wins. Keep in mind that he held opponents to a lower batting average than Lincecum as well as besting him in Quality Starts, WHIP, and ERA totals.

Tommy Hanson, Atlanta Braves

Arguably on his way to the #1 position but the depth charts seem to have him behind veterans Tim Hudson and sometimes even Derek Lowe. The youngster had some rough patches last year but a solid September indicates he should improve in his 2nd full season.

Ricky Nolasco, Florida Marlins

Name the Marlin who averaged 14 W’s and 176 strike outs over the last 3 years. How many guessed Josh Johnson? The right answer is Ricky Nolasco. That’s more victories than Felix, Halladay, and CC Sabathia during that time frame.

Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati Reds

Since 2007 no pitcher taking the hill in the NL this year has more W’s (Wainwright leads but won’t pitch this year). The last time he failed to reach 200 IP he was still with Boston. He’ll find himself as the veteran presence on a Reds team with a lot of upside and youth.

Brett Anderson, Oakland Athletics

Oakland’s handful of young arms rival any in the American League. Trevor Cahill set the bar high last year, but Anderson has the talent to surpass those numbers. Despite a 5-4 record from August onward opponents scored 2 or fewer runs in 5 starts where he received a no decision or a loss.

Jhoulys Chacin, Colorado Rockies

With emergence of Ubaldo Jimenez the Rockies are quietly establishing a solid staff. Chacin is relatively untested but he compiled loads of K’s. After some time in the pen he returned to the rotation, never giving up more than 2 runs in 6 September starts.

Shaun Marcum, Milwaukee Brewers

Due to Greinke’s recent injury the Brew Crew could look to lean heavily on their other off-season acquisition. Walks aren’t an issue he cracked the top 10 last year in K/BB ratio. Marcum won’t miss the AL East; last year he had an ERA of over 5.00 against BOS, NY, and Tampa.

Jake Peavy, Chicago White Sox

Coming off a career threatening injury. Peavy is a past CY Young award winner who once led the majors in K’s. Those may be lofty aspirations even with a complete comeback but if healthy he should help Chicago contend in what appears to be a wide-open division.

Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers

The former 1st round pick turned in one of the best second half performances in the game, shaving a full 2 runs off his ERA. After the All-Star Break teammate Justin Verlander was the only one inducing whiffs at a greater clip per 9.

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