Need strikeouts? Try out these pitchers 

June, 20, 2013
With strikeout rates across the big leagues rising to historic levels, it’s relatively easy to find pitchers who pile on this statistic. Then again, the bar for competing in this category has been raised as well. It’s tougher to get away with a low-strikeout option as a member of your fantasy rotation, even if they’re rocking the ERA and WHIP and winning games. Among 99 qualified starters for the ERA title, you’ll find little strikeout aid coming from Jeremy Guthrie, Bronson Arroyo, Bartolo Colon and even the 100-percent owned Jordan Zimmermann.

This is why fantasy owners flock to starting pitchers who accrue many whiffs and avoid giving up many runs, a trait the likes of Yu Darvish, Matt Harvey and Felix Hernandez are making look easy this season. But there remain quite a few decent yet flawed strikeout options still available in many ESPN standard leagues, led by the Boston Red Sox right-hander who lost Wednesday night, but remains on pace for roughly 200 strikeouts.
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Ryan Dempster
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer Since 2000, Ryan Dempster has struck out at least 153 each season he was a starting pitcher.

Yes, Ryan Dempster isn’t likely to win an ERA or WHIP title anytime soon, but it does seem odd that every other pitcher in the top 35 of strikeouts is owned in either all leagues or more than 80 percent in the case of injured A.J. Burnett and struggling Tim Lincecum, while Dempster is at 59 percent. Sure, Wednesday’s outing was not the cleanest one, as Dempster permitted eight hits and two walks, plus three runs in six innings, but again, if you need strikeouts, this guy is out there in many leagues and he struck out 208 hitters in 2010. He can do this again. Dempster has made more quality starts than CC Sabathia and his 4-8 record is more a reflection of run support; the Red Sox have scored big for him a few times, but they've scored only two runs in his past two outings.