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Fantasy Baseball Draft 2014: Top 10 Contract Year Players - Pitchers

Jason's Fantasy Baseball Analysis: Top 10 Contract Year Players - Pitchers

February 23, 2014

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Top 10 Contract Year Players: Pitchers

1. Max Scherzer - Scherzer has been unable to capitalize on his Cy Young year and acquire a new contract. Scherzer looks to be heading toward the world of free agency where he will be the biggest fish in the pitchers' pond. That is good news for fantasy owners as it means Scherzer will be very motivated during 2014 season.

2. James Shields - Shields is in the final year of his contract, and at 32 years of age, he will be looking to get another valuable contract. Shields quieted his doubters last year as he pitched very well in the Royals outdoor ballpark. Shields will be aiming to improve of off last year's momentum where he went 13-9 with a 3.15 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.

Fantasy Baseball Draft 2014: Top 10 Contract Year Players - Pitchers

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

3. Justin Masterson - Masterson has produced a very inconsistent track record, but he could make people forget about that with a strong season in 2014. At 28 years old, Masterson will be hoping to earn a massive contract since he is just now hitting the prime of his career. Last year Masterson produced his best record of 14-10 and he drastically improved his strikeouts as he was able to strike out more batters (195) then innings pitched (193). Masterson could be the most motivated player on this list and that means he will be aiming to produce his best year yet.

4. Jon Lester - The Red Sox long standing ace will be hitting the free agent market after this season. Lester's numbers have started to gradually drop over the past few seasons and he will need to have a strong season in order to get another big contract since he will be 31 entering next season. Lester basically hit right on his career marks in 2013 with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP, but he will want to improve on those number before testing the free agent market.

5. Jim Johnson - Johnson has to be the most underappreciated pitcher in all the MLB. After two seasons of earning over 50 saves and producing an ERA below 3.00, Johnson was only offered a 1 year deal by the Athletics. So once again, Johnson will have to prove himself worthy of earning another closers contract for next season. Johnson will now be pitching in a pitcher friendly ballpark and he will be motivated to prove he is one of the best closers in the game.

6. David Robertson - Robertson is going to be given the task of replacing one of the greatest baseball legends of all time, and at the same time, he will also be pitching to prove he is worth a big time contract. Robertson has posted very solid career marks with a 2.76 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP, and an excellent 11.7 K/9 ratio. Robertson will be motivated for numerous reasons in 2014, and he will be looking to prove he is a lock down closer.

7. Sergio Romo - Romo has emerged as the anchor in the Giants bullpen, and he will be pitching for a top closers contract this season. Romo has produced very good numbers in his career, but his strikeout rate dipped a little last season. Romo is a reliable closer and he will out to prove he is one of the best in the game before he hits the free agent market.

8. Josh Johnson - Josh Johnson is the poor forgotten ace that just can't seem to find his way. Johnson should be able to find a some peace in sunny California and that should help reduce any pressure this once formidable ace could be feeling. Johnson is now pitching in a super pitcher friendly ballpark in San Diego on a one year deal, and he will be motivated to prove he still belongs in the big leagues.

9. Casey Janssen - Janssen has quietly emerged as one of the top closers in the game, and now he will be looking to set himself up nicely before hitting free agency. Janssen is 32 years old and will be 33 by the end of the season, but if he has another strong season, he should be able to earn a very good closers contract. Janssen has produced a stellar 2.46 ERA over the last three seasons with 170 Ks in 172 innings and converting 89% of his save opportunities. Janssen is a guy that continues to fly under the radar and he will be looking to make a bigger name for himself this year before he hits the free agent market. .

10. Francisco Liriano - Liriano is a pitcher with an apparent split personality as he can't decide if he is a staff ace or a staff goat. Liriano had a very strong season last year for the Pirates with his 16-8 record and 3.02 ERA. The problem with those numbers is the fact he produced an ERA over 5.00 in 2012 and 2011. Inconsistencies like that will not earn him a big contract once this season is over. Perhaps Liriano is more comfortable pitching in the National League, and he will have to prove to the baseball world that he can string together consecutive solid seasons before any team will offer him a long term contract.

Other Contract Year Pitchers to Note:
Jorge De la Rosa, Koji Uehara, Josh Beckett, and Jake Peavy


For Fantasy Baseball Updates and Insights follow Jason on Twitter @TheSuperCommish


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