2013 Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitcher Rankings: A Sampling of Profiles
We have been releasing teasers of our staff consensus rankings with the hopes that you will break the bank and purchase our 2013 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit to see the full versions, and more importantly, show us your support.
Thanks in advance.
Here is a sampling of the starting pitcher profiles you can find in the Kit. We’re giving you seven for free, but if you get the Kit, you’ll find 109 SP profiles. The guys chosen for the sample are guys I think I’m a bit higher on than most.
8. Zack Greinke | SP | LAD
In 2011, the gap between Greinke’s ERA (3.83) and his xFIP (2.66) was one of the bigger gaps in the league. Despite a league best K% (28.1%), Greinke was very susceptible to the long ball (13.6% HR/FB). Last year Greinke’s ERA was much more in line with his xFIP and his HR/FB rate dropped, but so did his K%. The reason may simply be the usage of his fastball. In 2011, Greinke used his fastball 39% of the time and gave up 13 homers on fastballs. In 2012, he used the fastball just 28% of the time and gave up only six homers on fastballs. That 11% difference largely went to more sinkers. More sinkers leading to fewer homers makes total sense. As long as Greinke will continue to trade strikeouts for more balls staying in the yard, he should be a top ten starter.
26. Doug Fister | SP | DET
The 2011 version of Fister was a very useable fantasy starter, but he was somewhat limited by a lack of strikeouts. However, Fister found some extra strikeouts last year and posted an above average K/9 (7.63). The question is whether that jump in strikeouts is sustainable. Fortunately, the increase in strikeouts was also accompanied by an increase in swinging strike rate. It looks like that was the result of Fister using his hard stuff up in the zone and his breaking stuff down and away to right-handed hitters more often to get whiffs. Because there was a noticeable shift in how Fister got his whiffs last year, the increased strikeout rate should remain above 7.00.
40. Jarrod Parker | SP | OAK
Parker had an extremely strong rookie season with his 3.47 ERA over 181.1 innings. The fact that his xFIP was quite a bit higher than his ERA might alarm you, but it shouldn’t. Parker had the 11th best ISO allowed last year and that ability to induce weak contact will keep that gap from closing. The most encouraging number from Parker’s Fangraphs page is his 9.9% swinging strike rate. That was 21st best in the league, and just about every one of the 20 guys ahead of him is a high strikeout guy. So Parker has a chance to greatly improve on his 6.95 K/9 from last year. Invest.
51. Dillon Gee | SP | NYM
Had Gee continued pitching like he had prior to injury and accumulated enough innings to qualify last year, he would have finished top 30 in K/BB (28th), swinging strike rate (14th), and groundball rate (21st). The swinging strike rate is the biggest thing Gee has going for him. It means the increased strikeout rate (21%) is probably here to stay. And the jump in strikeouts has to be a result of the increased usage and effectiveness of his slider. He threw it just 35 times in 2011 and got zero whiffs on that pitch. But last year he threw it 249 times and got 23 whiffs with it (9.2% SwStr%). If he keeps using that slider, Gee has top 30 upside.
55. Michael Fiers | SP | MIL
After finishing four years of college, Fiers didn’t start rookie ball until the age of 24, and he didn’t fully hit the majors until the age of 27 after spending some time at all levels of the minors. But when he reached the show, he was impressive. He had a 3.74 ERA while striking out well over a batter per inning with above average control (3.75 K/BB). And there’s potential for him to be even better as a sophomore. His BABIP in his rookie season was fairly high despite Fiers posting a better than average ISO allowed and inducing some weak contact. Invest in Fiers and legitimate upside.
57. Alex Cobb | SP | TB
There are several things to like about Cobb. First of all, his strikeout rate increased and his walk rate decreased from the numbers he posted in 9 starts in 2011, and those were big factors in his xFIP and SIERA being right around 3.50. Unfortunately, his ERA didn’t follow suit as some bad luck with men on base pushed his ERA just above 4.00. And the bad luck with strand rate is curious considering Cobb’s 21st best ISO allowed. Guys who give up a lot of extra base hits will have low strand rates, but Cobb doesn’t appear to be one of those guys. So expect that luck to self-correct and Cobb to be a nice value late in drafts.
61. Tom Milone | SP | OAK
There is some nice upside with the young control freak in Oakland. Seriously, his control is freakish. The dude just doesn’t issue walks. His control is so good that he has a 3.80 K/BB in his first 200+ innings despite a below average strikeout rate. But Milone’s upside is tied to that strikeout rate. His swinging strike rate is above average at 8.6%. If his strikeout rate came in line with his swinging strike rate, his K/BB could go through the roof. Milone should be a really nice late round value.
You can follow Brett on Twitter @TheRealTAL.
As always, thanks to Fangraphs.com.