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March 24, 2014

The Darkhorses

Wins

by BP Fantasy Staff


One of the fun ways we all try to outsmart our opponents in fantasy is by searching for hidden value in players who, for one reason or another, we suspect have the ability to outpace their projections (and, relatedly, their draft cost). Our Darkhorses series features staff picks for players who could very well outpace their PECOTA projections for the year and provide the top overall production in one of the standard 5x5 categories. We’ve all picked one player currently projected by PECOTA to fall outside of the top 10 and one longer-shot player currently projected outside of the top 25. We’re taking a look at pitching this week, following our run on offense a week ago. To read the earlier editions in this series, click below:

Now, we're going to kick off pitching categories with a look at wins.

OUTSIDE THE TOP 10

Madison Bumgarner, Giants
PECOTA tabs Bumgarner as a 13-game winner in 2013, which is certainly fair given his average of 14 wins per year over the past three seasons. That being said, Bumgarner is entering his age-24 season and saw a significant spike in strikeouts and drop in ERA last season and he could be headed for a breakout campaign. It's always tough to know just how much to weight contextual factors when trying to project wins, but the Giants are a good team who should allow Bumgarner to reach 12-14 wins with ease, and if everything breaks right he could be in line to win 16-plus. With a favorable home ballpark, decent support cast, reliable ERA and increasing strikeout rate, now's the time for Bumgarner to enter the NL Cy Young conversation. —Ben Carsley

Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies
In his age-34 season, Lee exceeded 200 innings for the sixth straight year, finishing with a team-high 14 wins. Only Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright and Cole Hamels finished with more quality starts than Lee, but his run support was among the worst in baseball (3.29 runs per start). The veteran left-hander has only won 20 games since the start of 2012, including a mind-boggling six victories two seasons ago. Last year, Lee pitched into the eighth inning in 24 of 31 starts. He’s long overdue for a 20-win season. —Alex Kantecki

Jon Lester, Red Sox
I am buying the strong second half and the stronger end-of-season and playoff performances. By commanding his pitches better to both sides of the plate to both lefties and righties and by seeing his velocity tick back up in 2013 from 2012 lows, Lester looks to be back in decent swing and miss, weak contact inducing form. If that is the pitcher we see in 2014, then I could see Lester racking up wins with the good lineup and tremendous bullpen behind him. —Jeffrey Quinton

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Two... (03/24)
<< Previous Column
The Darkhorses: Stolen... (03/21)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article The Darkhorses: ERA (03/25)
Next Article >>
The Week in Quotes: Ma... (03/24)

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