Friday, March 7, 2008

Fantasy Plus: Erik Bedard

Next up in the Fantasy Plus series, is Erik Bedard. Bedard will open the season for the M's, as the rotation's new ace. Bedard established himself last season as a fantasy stud.

Bedard said he didn't change anything from his previous start. He had fewer words than pitches -- he threw 38, 26 for strikes. His ground rules for the session: "You've got four questions." Why four? "That's one," Bedard said. "I was throwing the same as last time," he said during the 78 seconds he made himself available. "They just weren't hitting them today." Continue to draft the strikeout artist among the top 10 pitchers in Fantasy despite his so-so start to the spring.

Though it cost them perhaps more in talent than it did the Mets to acquire Johan Santana, the Mariners nevertheless paid the steep bounty to get Bedard to install him as staff ace. Not that it was a poor move; he shifts to a ballpark and a pitching staff better suited to his talents. Bedard has ranked a fantasy ace -- a clear No. 1 type -- since June 2007, and on the road, he has a 1.07 WHIP and .205 BAA in his past 24 starts, awfully encouraging numbers. The case can be made he's the American League's top fantasy starter.

Going from Baltimore to Seattle is a huge step up for Bedard, who will now enjoy the benefits spacious Safeco Field and greater run support. Coming off a career year in which he registered 221 strikeouts despite missing all of September, Bedard is a good bet to build on his success in Seattle, with 20 wins in the realm of possibilities.

Bedard's quote basically sums up his season and his career. At times, he's had "it" and performed very well for fantasy owners – such as when he was 4-0 with a 2.77 ERA and 18 strikeouts through his first four starts of this year. At other times, the 27-year-old southpaw hasn't had "it" – like his last six starts, when he's gone 1-3 with a 7.04 ERA, 15 strikeouts, and 17 walks. Few things irk fantasy owners as much as inconsistency, and Bedard is definitely testing our patience.

My Analysis
Erik Bedard coming to Seattle strongly improves his fantasy value. Safeco Field will help bring down his home run rate, and a strong defence behind him also helps. Not to mention a solid bullpen that will save a few games for you. Bedard is almost an ace. To me, it takes atleast two seasons of domanince to be considered an "ace". A Cy Young award would help that. Don't be afraid to use a high pick on him, as he will most likely not dissapoint you. Did I mention that he's Canadian, eh?

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