The fantasy baseball season is officially over and I want to congratulate those who found their way to the winner’s circle. The season is an absolute grind that begins in March with drafts and finishes at the end of September. We mix in summer vacations and the start of fantasy football and it’s a lot to handle. However, the reward of winning will always make it worth it.

Pitchers Who Surprised

Cleveland Indians Starting Pitcher Shane Bieber — The 24-year-old was being drafted as the 39th starting pitcher and 149th overall in March, but he ended up finishing third in baseball in strikeouts with 259. The right-hander also finished as the seventh-best pitcher in the ESPN Player Rater. Overall, Bieber finished with a 3.28 ERA and 15 wins and has easily catapulted into the top 12 of starting pitchers for 2020.

Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu — When you lead all of baseball in ERA and were being drafted outside the top 50 for starting pitchers in March, you deserve to crack this list. The 32-year-old has always had the skill, as evidenced by his 1.97 ERA in 2018. However, health is also a skill and that has escaped the left-hander. This was the first time since 2013 that Ryu made more than 26 starts. Ryu also pitched 182.2 innings, which is the second highest in his career. I will get on the bandwagon of buyer beware for 2020 when it comes to drafting the veteran.

Atlanta Braves Starting Pitcher Mike Soroka — From being drafted as the 121st pitcher overall in March to finishing as a top-20 option by September is quite a jump for the Braves’ starter. The 22-year-old finished with a 2.68 ERA, quite a feat in a division that features plenty of offense. The right-hander was extremely durable; he made 29 starts in his first full season in the big leagues. Like Bieber, I can only see him getting better and he should have cemented himself as one of the top starting pitchers in 2020.

Texas Rangers Starting Pitcher Lance Lynn — The veteran easily wins the award for outperforming his draft day value, as Lynn had an average draft position of 551 in March according to By the end of the season, Lynn finished as a top-20 option after striking out 246 hitters, which was good for seventh in all of baseball. Lynn also made 33 starts and had a 3.67 ERA. This was a huge surprise that will be difficult to duplicate in 2020, as Lynn had never finished with 200 strikeouts in any season in a career that began in 2011.

Phil Backert

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