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As we climb into Week 9 of Fantasy Baseball, it’s getting easier to notice the breakout starting pitchers in 2016.

Now, I’m not sure if it’s because these five pitchers are doing so good, or the fact that starting pitching as a whole has been overall pretty bad this year, either way, they’re starting to make themselves household names.

Taking a closer look at studs that have been huge duds – King Felix, Chris Archer and Sonny Gray to name a few – it has been interesting to see that these five no-names really made the leap this year.

For the most part, these five pitchers we’re more than likely not even drafted, but nine weeks into the season, they’ve been must-start hurlers.

So let’s get over the frustration of the struggling aces, and let’s get some enjoyment out of the five pitchers and their surprisingly great starts.

Five Pitchers Surprisingly Great Starts

Rich Hill, SP, Oakland Athletics

Rich Hill is 36 years young and he has defied all odds this season in an A’s uniform.

Yet, another Billy Beane acquisition ridiculed during the offseason, the once prominent starting pitcher has truly made a name for himself in 2016.

Coming into Week 9, Hill has carved through MLB lineups with his nasty curveball all season long. His record stands at a firm 8-3, with a sharp 2.25 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 74 Ks in 64 IP. If you jumped on him early enough, good for you, because he really has taken off this year and will continue doing so as long as he can control his curve.

Chris Tillman, SP, Baltimore Orioles

Chris “waiver wire fodder” Tillman is finding himself as more of a mainstay on Fantasy team’s pitching staffs in 2016.

It seems as if Tillman has really put it all together this year and has become the true ace of the Baltimore Orioles. Through Week 9, Tillman has pitched 64.2 innings and has struck out 61 batters (almost a batter per inning). He has put together a solid 7-1 record with a 2.92 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.

What’s very refreshing to see is that he’s dominating the AL East, which has proven to be one of the, if not the toughest division in baseball this season.

Nathan Eovaldi, SP, New York Yankees

 

If you’ve been sleeping under a rock while trying to manage your Fantasy team this year, you’ve missed out on one of the biggest breakout pitchers in 2016. His name: Nathan Eovaldi.

Eovaldi has that classic out-of-nowhere breakout MO: Good speed on his fastball, can go deep into games, but lacks CONTROL. Well, in 2016, especially in the last month, it seems as if he’s about to break lose.

Over the last 30 days,the Yanks hurler has pitched 31 innings and is sporting a 5-0 record with 26 Ks, a 2.03 ERA and a miniscule 0.97 WHIP … remember that control we were talking about. If he hasn’t been scooped up in your league, do yourself a favor and do so before this guy throws a no-hitter and gets noticed.

Steven Wright, SP, Boston Red Sox

 

In the same player profile as Rich Hill reads the name Steven Wright.

At age 31, Wright is breaking out in a big way. Just two years ago the knuckleballer was thinking about calling it quits, but like so many knuckleball pitchers before him, he stuck with it, perfected his craft (aka the craziest pitch in baseball) and he’s dominating major league hitters left and Wright … couldn’t resist.

He’s logged 69.2 innings pitched so far in 2016 and has rung up 61 batters. In those 69,2 IP, he has managed a decent 5-4 record with a very nice 2.45 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. As long as he can continue throwing that nasty knuckleball all season long, Wright will be all right … final one, I promise.

Alex Colome, RP, Tampa Bay Rays

Lights out closers don’t just fall out of the sky, but in Tampa Bay this year, it sure happened.

The Rays closer last year, Brad Boxberger, had muscle core surgery to start the 2016 season, opening the door for the one-time starting pitcher to step in. In 2015, Colome had a season made up of two drastically different sides: On one hand, the first part of the season when he was a horrible starter, and then the second hand, where he was a lockdown bullpen arm in the second half.

Well, fortunately enough for Tampa Bay, Colome has continued his success in the bullpen and looks to continue his dominant ways being their closer. Unfortunately for Boxberger, he just found himself back on the DL after coming back off of it for a day.

This season, Colome has 12 saves with 29 Ks, a 1.23 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP over 22 IP. You better believe Colome has pitched his way into the discussion as one of the best closers in baseball.

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