Must-have quality starters for your fantasy squad

Cleveland Indians starter Josh Tomlin has been a fantasy surprise this season. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

You would expect to find pitchers Justin Verlander and Roy Halladay performing well early season, but they aren’t they only ones. There are several guys that have stood out over the first month that few people pegged for success. Below are a handful of names that are exceeding expectations, all posting a handful of quality starts.

One surprise this season has come out of the AL Central. Right out of the gate, the Cleveland Indians have surpassed pre-season predictions and find themselves sitting at the top of the division. An unlikely contribution has come from right-hander Josh Tomlin. Thanks in part to a .188 BAA, Tomlin has started the season 4-0 with 5 QS. He hasn’t struck out more than four in any start, so there may some question whether he can maintain this production, but you can’t argue his April stats. Teammate Justin Masterson is off to a noticeable beginning, too. He allowed only one ER in each of his first three outings and hasn’t surrendered over three in any of his six starts thus far. It appears he may have found his comfort zone now that he has solidified a spot in the rotation.

Recommendations to add a member of the Washington Nationals are few and far between, but Jason Marquis should garner some interest. When healthy, the journeyman Marquis is typically good for close to 200 IP and between 10 and 15 wins. So far this year, he has yet to lose and has posted quality starts in all five trips to the mound, including a complete game in his last outing. Past seasons show he usually hovers at an ERA of 4.50 but thus far he has pitched at a clip of 2.62.

Another veteran showing signs of early life is Randy Wolf. Due to the absence of Zack Greinke, the Brew Crew is looking for help in the rotation and, so far, Wolf has contributed nicely. After a shaky season debut where he allowed six ERs, he only allowed four combined in his last five April starts. In one start, he even sent 10 guys to the bench via the K. Wolf should make a serviceable replacement if you’re searching for a starter, keep in mind he has topped 30 starts and 10 Ws the past three seasons.

A pair of rookies has burst onto the scene: Michael Pineda for Seattle and Zach Britton for Baltimore. Chances are both have already been plucked from the waiver wire or even drafted. You may want to consider Jeremy Hellickson, another rookie. An apparent slow start numbers-wise may have caused some owners to avoid him. Tampa was confident enough in his abilities to send Matt Garza packing this off-season, and let’s not forget Baseball America named him the 2010 Minor League Player of the Year. Chances are his win totals should improve as he adjusts to big league hitters. He has looked good in his past two starts and was robbed of a win against the Twins, where he had 7 IP 3 ER and 6 Ks. Only two QS so far, but fell just an out or two short of a couple more that would have put him up with the league leaders.

If you are looking for IP and QS, year in and year out Bronson Arroyo has shown he can keep his team in contention for Ws. He’s already thrown 4 QS this year. Since being traded to the Reds, he has never failed to reach 200 IP, averaging 14 Ws during that time frame. There may be starters out there with higher ceilings, but for production on a start-by-start basis, Arroyo would be a decent addition to any fantasy staff.

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