Three starting pitcher busts candidates for 2010 fantasy baseball

There are plenty of reasons to be leary of starting pitchers such as Chris Carpenter, Carlos Zambrano and Roy Oswalt in 2010. All three have injury concerns and aging arms to contend with.

However, what about sexier picks that are going higher on draft day? Who will fail to live up to his currently lofty draft status? A few to consider:

C.C. Sabathia pitches for the best team in baseball and has a track record of compiling some wicked stats. Fittingly, he’s going in the first quarter of most drafts as prospective owners hope to anchor their starting pitchers with a true stud.

However, Sabathia has been a workhorse in innings pitched, logging 253 innings in 2008 between Cleveland and Milwaukee and 230 last season for the Yankees. Sabathia has also just turned 30, so while he should have some quality shelf-life yet, it wouldn’t be crazy to expect some decline in his stats when factoring in his heavy workload.

Lastly, in his first season with the vaunted Yankees in a World Series championship season, Sabathia saw 54 less strikeouts in 2009 and his ERA increased 67 points. Signs that he’s on the verge of decline? Hard to say, but you may want to tread carefully when considering Sabathia on draft day.

Another pitcher who’s going early in most drafts … perhaps too early … is Dan Haren of the Diamondbacks. Sure he posted a sweet 2.01 ERA in the first half last year, but did you see his 4.62 mark after the All-Star break?

That’s a huge uptick and should be cause for concern heading into 2010, even though Haren has historically been a better first-half player.

Johan Santana saw a significant drop in strikeouts in 2009, while posting a bloated ERA and registering less wins. Looking a little bit deeper, Santana also posted a career-worst 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings and saw his walks per nine innings increase for the fourth-consecutive season.

Sure, his balky elbow early last season was somewhat to blame, and the fact that he was shut down early in 2009 for surgery to remove bone fragments didn’t help much, either. However, I’m more concerned about the state of the Mets as an organization. Have they become the Oakland Raiders of Major League Baseball … where good players go to die?

All I know for sure is that Santana is not even in the same stratosphere as he was a couple years ago. Unfortunately, many still chose Santana too early based on name recognition alone. Don’t be one of them.

Be sure to check out our composite starting pitcher rankings.

Who are your bust candidates at starting pitcher in 2010? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

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