The elite left-handed starters have a big advantage just for the simple fact that most players see a lot more right-handed pitching. Look for teams that have not faced a Quality Left-handed starter for some time (five games or more) and you will have a nice winning investment. Here are my Top 5 Left-handed starting pitchers age 27 or younger for the 2022 season. Baseball is back baby!
No. 1 Julio Urias (LA Dodgers) AGE: 25 (2021: 20-3, 2.96 ERA, 1.01 WHIP)
Was No. 3 on this list in 2020-21 and will occupy the top spot until he’s no longer eligible. Julio had a breakout year for the Blue Crew last season. For his career, Urias has 427 strikeouts in 424.2 innings with a 32-10 record and 3.09 ERA. The Dodgers have refused every trade when teams asked for Julio ever since his rookie year back in 2016. At age 25, he is no longer on a restricted pitch count, although the Dodgers are extremely analytical in their decision making. His “stuff” is dynamic featuring a mid to upper 90s fastball, cutter, slider, curve-ball and devastating change-up. I would expect another tremendous season. The Dodgers’ offense looks unstoppable (especially with DH), so reaching 20 wins seems obtainable. Dodger Stadium ranked the 12th toughest in runs scored last year according to ESPN Park Factors. Grab him as an Ace in the 2nd round. Love him!
No. 2 Trevor Rogers (Miami Marlins) AGE: 24 (2021: 7-8, 2.71 ERA, 1.16 WHIP)
Trevor is about to have his best season of his career. Thanks, Captain Obvious! Last season, Rogers recorded 157 strikeouts in just 133 IP. If he gets more run support this year, you’re looking at 15-20 wins. I would expect a slight regression in ERA and WHIP on the road. At home, Marlins Park ranked the toughest stadium in runs scored by ESPN Park Factors. The strikeouts will always be there with a sterling 28.8% K-rate. Huge in fantasy. Good for straight wagers too especially as underdogs. You can draft him in the 2nd to sixth round depending on your needs. Don’t miss out. These young stud lefties are hard to find. Should be an All-Star in 2022!
No. 3 Aaron Ashby (Milwaukee Brewers) AGE: 23 (2021: 3-2, 4.55 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)
Appeared in 13 games (4 starts) last season and recorded 39 strikeouts in 31.2 innings. Ashby averaged 96.5 MPH on his sinking fastball last season, while routinely touching 97-99. His slider is devastating (82-85 MPH), with sharp break leading to a 42% strikeout rate. His third best pitch is an above average upper 80s diving change-up that produces a lot of strikeouts. Ashby also has an upper 70s looping curve-ball which is just for show. The Brewers want less walks from Ashby which should come with more experience. The Brewers are high on him and you should be too. Ashby will be battling for the 5th spot this spring. He’s too talented not to crack the rotation at some point. Keep an eye on him. Don’t forget, at least 50% of all starters will land on the IL at some point. He’s unlikely to win 15-20 games, but 8-10 wins with 175 K’s in 150 IP will help your team. Mid to Late round steal!
No. 4 Tarik Skubal (Detroit Tigers) AGE: 25 (2021: 8-12, 4.34 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
Tarik Skubal will be the fourth starter to begin the season. His numbers have improved in each of his first two big-league seasons. Last year, Skubal continued his upward trend with 164 strikeouts in 149.1 IP. His 26.1% career K-rate is very impressive. Skubal allowed 35 Home Runs last season, but don’t let that scare you from backing or drafting him. Young pitchers only get better with more innings, and Detroit’s home stadium ranked as the 6th-toughest in runs scored last year. A lot of that had to with the Tigers’ offense. I get that. Detroit’s offense should be better with the addition Baez and Schoop. Look for a “breakout” season in terms of Innings, strikeouts, and hopefully 10+ wins. Another mid to late round steal!
No. 5 Jesus Luzardo (Miami Marlins) AGE: 24 (2021: 6-9, 6.61 ERA, 1.61 WHIP)
Another Marlin! The numbers don’t jump off the page, but even the best pitchers can struggle early in careers. The Marlins are very exited of what they will see from this highly touted prospect. Jesus throws in the upper 90s, with a tremendous slider, curve-ball, and change-up. Last year, he recorded 98 strikeouts in 95.1 innings shuffling between the bullpen and starter. The Marlins have Luzardo listed as their fifth starter, which should help his mental game. Marlins Park surrendered the fewest runs in all of baseball last season according to ESPN Park Factors. Look for 10-15 wins with more strikeouts than innings pitched in 2022. The Marlins should also be better on offense. PECOTA projects 707 runs scored, which is more than they scored last season (623). Late round sleeper with ginormous upside!
Jeff’s success in MLB is well-documented since 1998. Jeff was ranked No. 1 in MLB last season at The Sports Monitor of OK. Not a one time thing. Jeff was ranked No. 5 two seasons ago, and No. 3 three years ago. Numerous Top 10 rankings as well. Jeff’s Early Bird MLB package now available! It’s the biggest no-brainer in the history of mankind. Just $499 for the entire season thru World Series. Save $200!