Two pitchers to target in keeper leagues

Keeping with the keeper league theme from yesterday, here are two more pitchers that fantasy GM’s should try to buy low if they are building for 2012 and beyond.

Madison Bumgarner, SP, SF – 3.74 ERA
Take away his 0.1 IP, 8 ER start on June 21st and his ERA goes from 3.74 to 3.10. All his peripherals are rock solid.

7.8 K/9
2.2 BB/9
0.3 HR/9

His .341 BABIP is one of the highest in the league. Based on his line-drive rate we can expect the BABIP to be somewhat inflated, but there is a very good chance that Bumgarner lowers that line-drive rate as the season goes on and certainly as his game continues to mature — remember, he’s still only 21.

Brandon Morrow, SP, TOR – 4.37 ERA
Part of Morrow’s struggles this season have stemmed from a line-drive rate of over 23 percent. From 2008 to 2010 (min 300 IP), only five pitchers averaged a line-drive rate against of 22 percent or higher. The names on that list (Ian Snell, Aaron Harang, Josh Beckett, Kevin Millwood and Kyle Kenrick) don’t exactly scream fantasy relevance — aside from Beckett, of course. In Beckett’s case, it was about getting healthy and learning to simply trust the nastiness of his stuff. You see where that road as taken him this season. Brandon Morrow is strolling down a similar road.

Pure stuff wise, there aren’t many pitchers who can touch Morrow. His 10.5 K/9 is the best in all of baseball (min 90 IP) and his walk rate has improved from a season ago. Morrow also does a good gob of keeping the ball in the ballpark, which is especially impressive since he pitches in the AL East.

Morrow is about to turn 27 and is coming up on about one full season since he changed his approach on the mound (see his second half numbers from last season). He’s on the cusp of becoming a fantasy ace. Buy low while you still can.