Quality Starters are Still Available

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Despite his first bad outing of the season (6.0 IP, 3 ER), Jered Weaver remains at the top of the charts on the Sports Network's SSRD360 Starting Pitcher Rankings.*

The remainder of the top-five are all familiar names by now; Josh Johnson, Roy Halladay, Trevor Cahill and the up-and-coming Michael Pineda.

It's between No.10 and No.20 which should interest fantasy owners. There are more than a couple of opportunities just sitting there waiting to be had for nothing more than a waiver claim.

No.10 on the list is New York Yankees veteran Bartolo Colon. Colon is owned in just 30-percent of all leagues, but in his three starts he's been very good, going 2-0 with an ERA of 2.49 and a WHIP 1.015. Given the offense he should receive, Colon could easily be worth 15 wins by the end of the season.

Justin Masterson continues to be bypassed by a significant portion of fantasy owners which is a mystery based on his first month's production. He's 5-0 in six starts with an ERA of 2.25 and a 1.150 WHIP yet is owned in just 79- percent of all leagues.

Cleveland is for real, tied the Yankees for the American League lead in runs- per-game (5.21), and so is Masterson. If you are in the one-in-five leagues where he is still a free agent, pick him up immediately and either stick him in your rotation or trade him for a position of need.

No.15 on the SSRD360 list is Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens. Jurrjens got a late start because he was recovering from October knee surgery. Fantasy owners remember his struggles in 2010 (7-6, 4.64 ERA, 1.393 WHIP) but you should remember that when healthy in 2009 he went 14-10 with an ERA of 2.60 and a WHIP of 1.214 in 34 starts.

Jurrjens appears to be the "2009-version" again and is available in one out of every three leagues.

Another candidate for your attention should be Texas starter Alexi Ogando. The Rangers' righthander has only had one bad outing in six starts and posts solid numbers across the board. There is no good reason for his ownership level to be hovering at 67-percent, because he's produced despite the Texas offense struggling. When Nelson Cruz finds his swing and Josh Hamilton returns from his shoulder injury, Ogando's win total should climb.

Finally, at No.20 is Toronto's Josh Tomlin with an SSRD360 number of 3.137. Tomlin lost a tough one in Oakland last night, but he's pitched very well all season and that should continue. In six starts he's 4-1 with an ERA of 2.43 and a league-leading WHIP of 0.811.

The 26-year-old Tomlin is owned in just 48-percent of all leagues and should be on your radar if you need pitching help.

Selected 2011 Starting Pitcher Statistics
Bartolo Colon, NYY32021.2202.491.0152.914
Justin Masterson, CLE65040.0292.251.1502.943
Jair Jurrjens, ATL43029.2181.521.0112.958
Alexi Ogando, TEX63037.1272.170.8843.016
Josh Tomlin, CLE64140.2232.430.8113.137
* - The SSRD360 Starting Pitcher Evaluator measures a starter's performance based on four factors - wins, strikeouts, ERA and WHIP.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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