The Top 225 Dynasty League Starting Pitchers, Part 2 (#51-125)
We both you know that you don’t want some sort of long-winded introduction here. You just want to see the list.
Your wish is my command.
And now your next 75 dynasty league starters, with commentary:
#51 – Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians
#52 – Jaime Garcia, St Louis Cardinals
Garcia is a guy I pumped hard last off-season and was burned by his injuries. I’m at it again this off-season, however, I freely admit that if he did not have the shoulder concerns, he’d be well inside the top-50. 2012, although shortened, was the second year in a row that Garcia achieved holy trinity status, and I don’t think it will be the last.
#53 – Tyler Skaggs, Arizona Diamondbacks
#54 – Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks
#55 – Matt Harrison, Texas Rangers
One of the best calls I made last pre-season was that I’d take Matt Harrison flat out over his more hyped rotation-mate Derek Holland (who has yet to make an appearance on this list). Harrison will never be a big strikeout guy, but his stuff is better than you would expect, and he has the skill to sustain his performance as a strong three-category performer.
#56 – Mike Minor, Atlanta Braves
I like Minor, just not as much as people out there who love to quote his second half numbers. He’s a fly ball pitcher, whose performance will fluctuate as his HR rate does – and it won’t all be rosy.
#57 – Edwin Jackson, Chicago Cubs
Of the 33 pitchers who threw 500 or more sliders in 2012, Edwin Jackson had the best whiff rate. This list includes Max Scherzer, C.C. Sabathia, Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw and many other high-end names. It was a big reason he set a career high in K% and K/9. He’ll bring his consistent ways with him to the Windy City, where he should once again put up very Edwin Jackson seasons.
#58 – A.J. Burnett, Pittsburgh Pirates
#59 – Hiroki Kuroda, New York Yankees
These two older guys are still very good, but unfortunately, they’re also old. Burnett posted his lowest ERA since 2005, which not surprisingly, was his last year pitching in the National League before 2012. His 56.7% ground ball rate was a great sign for a continuation of success. Kuroda is a year older and pitches in a far worse home park, but he was also great last year – and in fact, very nearly picked up holy trinity classification.
#60 – Danny Hultzen, Seattle Mariners
#61 – Casey Kelly, San Diego Padres
#62 – Carlos Martinez, St Louis Cardinals
#63 – Trevor Cahill, Arizona Diamondbacks
Despite teammate Wade Miley being rookie-eligible in 2012 and Cahill having thrown 783 career innings, Cahill is still the younger of the two by nearly a year and a half. Cahill has been increasing his strikeout rate rapidly since his rookie year, as it’s increased from 4.5 to 5.4 to 6.4 to 7.0 in that time frame. And that 61.2% ground ball rate really, really comes in handy at Chase Field.
#64 – Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays
There is a good chance that Hellickson is just one of those guys who constantly outperforms his expected ERA. But unfortunately for fantasy owners, ERA is only one category. A pitcher with a 1.25 WHIP, 10 wins and 124 K is just not that exciting – even if he does come with a 3.10 ERA. There is room for improvement in the secondary skills, but how much is up for debate.
#65 – Phil Hughes, New York Yankees
#66 – Derek Holland, Texas Rangers
Both Hughes and Holland should be higher on this list, but they have not quite figured out how to harness the stuff that made them top prospects in the first place. Both of these 26-year olds still have time left to get closer to their original potential, but they are slowly running out of time.
#67 – Brandon Beachy, Atlanta Braves
#68 – Cory Luebke, San Diego Padres
I’m always a little skeptical of guys who have extremely good performance right before they snap a ligament in their elbow and require Tommy John. For some pitchers, there’s only a certain amount of stress you can throw around before an arm just gives, and if Beachy and Luebke return to a slightly lesser level of stress, they’ll be slightly lesser pitchers. Of course, even slightly lesser versions of these guys are still very solid.
#69 – Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox
#70 – Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays
#71 – Max Fried, San Diego Padres
#72 – Ian Kennedy, Arizona Diamondbacks
I’ve never been a big Ian Kennedy believer, but even he underperformed my expectations of him in 2012. The funny thing is that his underlying rates remained nearly the same as 2011, but his luck seemed to run out. A 4.00 ERA and 8.0 K/9 are realistic going forward, but that park will continue to hurt him if he’s allowing fly balls at a 42% clip.
#73 – Jon Niese, New York Mets
Always solid, always boring, always underrated.
#74 – Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays
#75 – Kyle Zimmer, Kansas City Royals
#76 – Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles
#77 – Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay Rays
The 25-year old, who’s a personal favorite of mine, improved across the board from his 65 inning sample in 2011. He had a higher K-rate, lower BB-rate and higher GB%, but due to some elevated luck-based rates (LOB% and HR/FB), Cobb finished with an ERA more than a half of a run higher. Don’t expect that to happen again this year, as it’s uncommon for Tampa to have pitcher that underperform their expected ERA.
#78 – Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox
Clay Buchholz was abysmal for his first nine starts of the year, but once he rediscovered his changeup, things got much better. From May 27th on, he went 7-6 with a 3.40 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 102 K in 140 IP.
#79 – Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets
#80 – Taylor Guerrieri, Tampa Bay Rays
#81 – Lucas Giolito, Washington Nationals
#82 – Josh Beckett, Los Angeles Dodgers
While it’s certainly true that this is not the Josh Beckett of old physically, he certainly much more like the Josh Beckett of old after coming over to Los Angeles. It was only a 43 IP sample (SSS alert), but his 8.0 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and 3.74 xFIP look awfully similar to his career numbers (8.3 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 3.66 xFIP).
#83 – Wade Miley, Arizona Diamondbacks
#84 – Marco Estrada, Milwaukee Brewers
Miley and Estrada were two of the biggest out of nowhere breakout pitchers in the NL last season. Miley’s biggest issue going forward is maintaining that very low walk rate (1.7 BB/9), which is significantly lower than any number he’d put up previously (majors or minors). Estrada’s biggest issue going forward is health. You can talk about his skills until your blue in the face, but the guy will turn 30 before the All-Star Break this year and he’s only thrown 260 career major league innings (and never more than 145 in any professional season.
#85 – Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
#86 – Daniel Hudson, Arizona Diamondbacks
#87 – Brandon McCarthy, Arizona Diamondbacks
If you’re wondering why Kevin Towers felt it was OK to trade away Trevor Bauer for a no-hit SS prospect, it’s because of the organizational depth. Hudson and McCarthy are the sixth and seventh Diamonbacks, respectively, on this list.
#88 – Ricky Romero, Toronto Blue Jays
#89 – Chris Tillman, Baltimore Orioles
#90 – Michael Pineda, New York Yankees
#90 1/2 – Rubby De La Rosa, Boston Red Sox
#91 – Jason Hammel, Baltimore Orioles
Lots of AL East arms here with potential and a ton of risk. Romero, Tillman and Hammel all have performance risk – though Hammel can’t match the upside of any of these guys (or the risk). Pineda is just about how much injury risk you can suffer through. He could come back as the Pineda of 2011, or he could come back with 2-3 MPH less on his fastball. No one knows at this point.
#92 – James Paxton, Seattle Mariners
#93 – Wily Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers
#94 – Jacob Turner, Miami Marlins
I may never have bought into Turner being a top-25 prospect in baseball, but I certainly am buying into him being a post-hype sleeper now. In 7 starts down the stretch with the Marlins, Turner had a 3.38 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and 0.98 WHIP. Now he’s not going to maintain the .220 BABIP to keep those ratios so clean, but his 9.6% swinging strike rate indicates that there’s upward mobility for him in K’s.
#95 – Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves
#96 – Ryan Dempster, Boston Red Sox
Wily veterans who should not be forgotten, Hudson and Dempster probably will not be fantasy relevant for that much longer, but still have another year or two as contributors in nearly all leagues.
#97 – Edinson Volquez, San Diego Padres
PETCO Park can cure a lot of ills for pitchers, but unfortunately even it couldn’t make Edinson Volquez throw strikes. He had essentially the exact same season in 2012 as he did in 2011, just with a little more luck.
#98 – Zach Britton, Baltimore Orioles
I’m still a believer in Britton’s talent, but he hasn’t shown much in the way of control or health in his first two seasons. It’s never a good sign when a player going on the DL in consecutive seasons with shoulder injuries, or has a career K/BB rate of 1.6, but that 61% ground ball rate can cover a lot of sins.
#99 – Andrew Cashner, San Diego Padres
The burning question: Will Andrew Cashner’s arm remain attached to his body long enough for people to realize how good he can be? Realistically, he’s probably going to be moved back to the bullpen by 2014.
#100 – Jason Vargas, Los Angeles Angels
#101 – Kyle Lohse, Free Agent
In deeper leagues, these guys can be pretty helpful, especially if you can avoid unfavorable matchups. Unfortunately, we still don’t know where half of Kyle’s matchups are going to come. But Vargas, on the other hand, moves to an equally favorable home park with one of the best OF defenses in the league.
#102 – Colby Lewis, Texas Rangers
#103 – Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles Dodgers
Both Lewis and Billingsley have elbow problems, but at least Lewis is already a good chunk of the way through his recovery. The Buzzsaw is one wrong pitch away from being on the shelf for a year.
#104 – Allen Webster, Boston Red Sox
#105 – Alex Meyer, Minnesota Twins
#106 – Robert Stephenson, Cincinnati Reds
#107 – A.J. Griffin, Oakland Athletics
One of the million and a half rookie starters the A’s used in 2012, Griffin’s performance was unexpected, but not out of the realm of possibility based on his minor league numbers. His stuff isn’t great, but if he can keep up a 3.5 K/BB rate, he should hold value in that ballpark.
#108 – Shaun Marcum, New York Mets
Say what you want about Marcum’s ability to stay healthy, but the guy hasn’t put up an ERA above 3.70 since 2008 or a K/9 below 7.0 since 2007. He may only be good for about 120-150 innings, but at least there’s good reason to think they’ll be quality innings.
#109 – Scott Baker, Chicago Cubs
Baker should return from Tommy John surgery around May, though I wouldn’t expect him to come out like gangbusters right away. He’s reliant on his control, and that is usually the last thing to come back post-surgery.
#110 – Jake Odorizzi, Tampa Bay Rays
#111 – Manny Banuelos, New York Yankees
#112 – Kyle Gibson, Minnesota Twins
#113 – Wade Davis, Kansas City Royals
The question is how much of the success Davis found in the bullpen during the 2012 season he can bring back with him to the rotation in 2013. I’m not overly optimistic that he’ll live up to his prospect promise, but I do like his chances to be a better fantasy starter this time around.
#114 – Chris Capuano, Los Angeles Dodgers
#115 – Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants
Are these guys going to keep it up for another year as they hit their mid-30’s? Regardless of what your answer to that question is, it’s not going to be pretty when their time runs out.
#116 – Robbie Erlin, San Diego Padres
#117 – Luis Heredia, Pittsburgh Pirates
#118 – John Lamb, Kansas City Royals
#119 – Yordano Ventura, Kansas City Royals
#120 – Kyle Crick, San Francisco Giants
#121 – Jeff Niemann, Tampa Bay Rays
If only this guy could stay healthy. Last year’s numbers were fantastic: 8.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 51.4% GB, 3.08 ERA, 1.11 WHIP – but none of it mattered all that much because of one additional number: 38 IP.
#122 – Drew Smyly, Detroit Tigers
Smyly was impressive when called upon in 2012, but unless there’s a Rick Porcello trade in the next couple of weeks, it looks like he’ll be starting the year in Triple-A. Long-term, he gets enough strikeouts to have #3 fantasy starter potential.
#123 – Justin Nicolino, Miami Marlins
#124 – John Danks, Chicago White Sox
Danks was one of the more consistent AL starting pitchers from 2008-2011, but injury issues derailed him in 2012. There’s definitely a chance he gets back to the pitcher for the better part of that four year run, but there are nary a combination of words scarier for a pitcher than “shoulder surgery”.
#125 – Jorge De La Rosa, Colorado Rockies
Another guy I’m trying to buy low on coming off Tommy John surgery. JDLR was a trendy pick as a DL stash last year, but he only ended up pitching 10 2/3 innings this past season. He won’t get a full complement of starts/innings next year, but he doesn’t have to in order to hold value.
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