One key to winning a fantasy baseball league is finding value in the latter stages of the draft, especially starting pitchers who can provide help with wins and strikeouts without hurting a team’s overall ERA. Late-round value picks who pan out can also be excellent trade bait to help bolster other weak areas of a fantasy roster.  

After spending all of 2010 on the disabled list, Erik Bedard returns to the Mariners rotation this spring after making only 30 starts for the club since being acquired in 2007. Bedard joins a rotation of young arms led by defending AL Cy Young winner Felix Hernadez, who will again be the team’s ace and opening day starter. 

A Franco-Ontarian, Bedard’s journey to the major leagues can be described as anything but typical. He began his college baseball career by haphazardly accompanying a friend to tryout for the Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, Connecticut. After making the team as a walk-on, he quickly made a name for himself and became a junior college All-American. 

One of the things that makes Bedard so valuable from a fantasy perspective is his ability to strike batters out. In his seven-year major league career, he amassed an excellent strikeout-per-nine ratio of 9.0, including an impressive 10.9 k/9 average in his best season in the big leagues.  

It goes without saying that Bedard is a huge risk and should not be counted on when building a fantasy roster. However if he can somehow stay healthy this season, he could be a viable low-end starter.  His 3.72 career ERA will not hurt an owner too much and he will help out with strikeouts and wins.  

In two starts this spring, Bedard has pitched three scoreless innings while striking out six batters. His once-famous curveball appears to have regained some of its bite and for the first time in a while he appears to be pain-free. The question is: will he be able to deliver his first full season in a Mariner uniform?

Check out our other sleepers for 2011:

Craig Kimbrel

Jeremy Hellickson

Rick Porcello


This article was originally published on The home of free fantasy baseball news, rankings and advice.

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