Surprise SPs: Can Kyle Lohse keep it up? 

June, 30, 2011
Way back in January, when I was participating in mock drafts seemingly every week -- and loving it, incidentally -- I tried something a bit different in one of them. I used my first 13 selections on hitters, my next three on closers and then, and only then, I started choosing starting pitchers. Some of my choices have worked out (hooray for Jhoulys Chacin, Jaime Garcia and Ryan Dempster) and others have not (boo on you, Brian Matusz and Edinson Volquez), but this season more than any I can remember, cheap, successful pitching was bountiful in the late rounds.

Check out the following pitchers all chosen in ESPN average live drafts in Round 17 or later: Josh Beckett, Madison Bumgarner, Ricky Romero, James Shields, Jordan Zimmermann, Anibal Sanchez, Jair Jurrjens and Michael Pineda, plus the pitchers I mentioned in the first paragraph. If one had chosen wisely, they could have easily gone all offense until there was no more roster room, then assembled a heck of a pitching staff.

Now, if an owner had chosen a dud like Brett Myers, he or she could have looked to free agency and still found myriad saviors sitting there waiting to be picked up. I realize we're only about halfway through the baseball season, and one might not feel so fondly about some of the "saviors" below by September, but the following starting pitchers were not selected in standard drafts. You could have built a winning rotation with these players (in order of their current Player Rater rank):