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Who Should I Draft? Cole Hamels or Brett Anderson

So far we’ve been taking a look at several pairs of hitters in our “Who Should I Draft?” series, but let’s delve back into the world of starting pitchers. Here we have two pitchers who had very different 2010 seasons. Cole Hamels put together another solid season, but for some reason the wins continue to avoid him. Brett Anderson on the other hand, battled blisters, back and knee problems the entire season. Both their skill sets can make for a very good No. 2 or 3 starter on fantasy squads, but who should you draft first?

Each player is assigned a grade for five standard pitching categories plus a few extra I felt were important to factor. Grades are based on my expectations for the season and take into account both the player’s expected performance relative to the entire player pool and relative to the position he plays at. Grades were averaged using the standard 4.0 GPA scale to provide a cumulative “Professor’s Grade.”

Category
Cole Hamels
Brett Anderson
Edge
Final GradeB+ (3.42)B (3.12)Hamels
Win PotentialB+BHamels
ERABB+Anderson
WHIPB+B+Draw
StrikeoutsB+C+Hamels
Endurance (IP)A-B+Hamels
HealthABHamels
Potential CeilingA-A-Draw
Pick SecurityBBDraw

The Case for Hamels

While Hamels walked more batters than normal, he upped his strikeouts to over nine strikeouts per nine innings, which adds to his value. I’ll take the increase in walks if it means more strikeouts because he creates enough swinging strikes (11.9%) and has increased his ground ball rate in each of the last three seasons.

He has only combined for 22 wins over the last two seasons, which isn’t his fault. He is backed by a good offense and pitches well enough to win 15 games. He will be the Phillies fourth starter this year, which speaks more about the depth of their rotation than his actual talent level.

The Case for Anderson

Anderson’s strikeouts took a dip from 7.7 K/9 to 6 K/9, but I wouldn’t put too much stock into because of the injuries he dealt with last year. Anderson should bring his rate back around 7.5 K/9 because he’s had an entire offseason to get healthy.

He posses ace-potential, but he’s only 23. He doesn’t pitch for a great team, so the wins will be hard to come by. However, Trevor Cahill (18) and Gio Gonzalez (15) each got their fair share of wins last year. If Anderson can regain that magic he had in his rookie season there is no doubt that he will return his value and then some on draft day.

Who Should I Draft?

If you take strikeouts out of the equation, Anderson’s grade jumps up to 3.23, which is a significant upgrade. Unfortunately, strikeouts are in the equation and if Hamels can keep up his rate from last year he brings something to the table that Anderson can’t. Of course, it’s no guarantee that Hamels will strikeout more than one batter per inning so both pitchers come with some risk.

Hamels did go 4-1-3 in the matchup so clearly he brings more to your team, but you will have to pay a little extra to get him. Anderson is probably the better value.

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About the author: George graduated with a degree in Journalism, but instead of walking at his graduation, he walked down the aisle at his wedding. He’s been playing fantasy baseball for over a decade and his interest and knowledge in the sport is as big and growing as his eyebrows are bushy…and growing. (@BaseballProf)

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