Now that the 2011 Major League Baseball Betting season has arrived, it seems like the perfect time to zone in on some underrated pitchers that we feel will pitch much better than the odds offered on them this season.
As usual, this list will NOT include proven studs such as Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee or Chris Carpenter, as those great hurlers are generally overvalued. That is contrary to what we are looking for with these pitchers, which is value.
Chris Narveson (Brewers): Narveson was awful in the first half last season, but he showed after the All-Star break why the Brewers are so high on him. He posted a 3.89 ERA and a terrific 1.17 WHIP through 14 starts over the second half while limiting opponents to a .231 batting average, and he had 66 strikeouts as opposed to just 24 walks in 81 innings after the break as well. That is the Narveson we expect from start to finish this season, and he could be a major surprise with the Milwaukee offense helping him snag a number of wins.
John Danks (White Sox): It is surprising that Danks is not better known than he is, as he pitches in a major market. In the last three seasons, he has posted ERAs of 3.72, 3.77 and 3.32 respectively and WHIPs of 1.22 1.28 and 1.23 respectively. He also had a career high in strikeouts last season with 162, and he had a better than 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio with 70 walks. Perhaps people are turned off by his 40-31 record in those three years, but Danks should get more run support this year with the addition of Adam Dunn.
R.A. Dickey (Mets): Dickey seemingly came out of nowhere last season to go 11-9 with a fantastic 2.84 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 174.1 innings. Some may consider Dickey a flash in the pan, but we disagree because the keys to his success were that his knuckleball makes him unique nowadays. He had an exceptional ground ball/fly ball ratio and he had great control for a knuckleballer. He allowed only 13 home runs due to his heavy ball and he issued just 42 walks. Those traits do not disappear overnight, so we are looking for more good things from Dickey in 2011.
Jaime Garcia (Cardinals): Garcia was a godsend in the Cardinals rotation last season, and the key thing is that he is just 24 years old, so he has enormous potential. Garcia was shut down in mid-September after tossing 163.1 innings, and we think that was a wise move as we are looking for more big things this year. Garcia finished 13-8 in 2010 with a 2.70 ERA, and he had 132 strikeouts vs. 64 walks for a better than 2:1 ratio while surrendering a lowly nine home runs.
Ricky Nolasco (Marlins): The Marlins seem to always have good young pitching, and Nolasco fits that description quite well. You may not have noticed, but Nolasco has amassed 27 wins in the last two years. His strength has been his control, as the righty issued just 33 walks through 157.2 total innings of work last season with 147 strikeouts. Nolasco has a very good career WHIP of 1.26 in 723.1 innings mainly due to that control, and he is now the Marlins’ second starter after stud ace Josh Johnson.