Fantasy owners are always searching for that unexpected success story for their rotation, the next breakout pitcher. It can be a highly touted youngster with a world of potential who finally puts it all together or a veteran who finds that magical pitch to suddenly give his career new life.
In 2018, Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell lived up to his hype, had a breakthrough campaign (21-5, 1.89 ERA, 221 strikeouts) and won the Cy Young award. Last year, St. Louis’ Jack Flaherty won a career-high 11 games, finished sixth in the NL in strikeouts (231) and was tied with Jacob deGrom for the lowest WHIP (0.97) during his breakout campaign. He also limited opponents to a .192 average, third-best in the majors behind Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.
So, who looks like a candidate to be this year’s breakout pitcher? How about San Diego’s Dinelson Lamet, who has pitched just 187 ¹/₃ innings (35 starts) in the majors while going 10-13 with a 4.37 ERA?
On the surface, Lamet’s numbers are nothing that will have fantasy owners screaming, “I need Dinelson Lamet!” But, the same could have been said about Snell after his first 43 starts (11-15, 3.83 ERA, 217 strikeouts) or…