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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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11 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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Chiefsnark

I can assure you that Fister was not underappreciated here in Detroit. The trade provoked a great deal of controversy and none of it favorable.

Mar 24, 2014 03:50 AM
rating: 0
 
jlowery

I'll take the under on 200+ innings for Latos. starting the season on the DL?

Mar 24, 2014 06:28 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

As far as I know he's scheduled to miss one start. 200 IP should still be attainable, especially if they reshuffle him around the all-star break. He's gone 209 and 210 the last two seasons, so there's still 200 IP potential.

Mar 24, 2014 06:43 AM
 
CalledStrike3

Good article ...not sure if he qualifies:
Big Game James Shields ...KC can pick it, has a deep pen and Detroits sudden demise gives KC shot at 85-90 wins.

Mar 24, 2014 11:16 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Shields was #11 for PECOTA, .01 behind #10. I considered him but thought taking a guy that close was a little too easy - plus I picked Shields for one of the other categories. Either way - PECOTA is very high on Shields for wins.

Mar 24, 2014 11:25 AM
 
dcapofari

I'm I crazy to think Alex Wood has a legit shot at 15+ wins? Great defense minus uggla, great deception, a funny sounding last name to any 10yr old, braves play the Mets, Fins, and phils 17 gm each, great bullpen, and one the best lineups in the NL. Lets get the hype train going

Mar 24, 2014 17:40 PM
rating: 0
 
oldbopper

What could be closer to heaven for a pitcher than to be able to face the Phils, Mets and Marlins 9 or 10 times in a season?

Mar 24, 2014 20:10 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

It's not out of the question that he could win fifteen but I wouldn't think that's a median projection. I think you're undervaluing how crappy Chris Johnson is on defense, and just how random variation can be. The Braves have a strong lineup either way, but seeing Gattis over a full season will be interesting. I also think you might be undervaluing the three lineups that you mentioned, especially the Phillies when they're healthy which will be infrequent but still.

Mar 24, 2014 20:16 PM
 
dcapofari

Your right about the lineups, but each team does offer huge K potential. I've been trying to find the next "Matt Harvey" type SP. I think Wood could fit that profile. No one was huge on Harvey last year like they are now on Cole and Ventura. Maybe Wood's deception could be his "it" factor. Or maybe I could be headed to another 9th place finish. Or maybe I shouldn't drink while doing player projections.

Mar 24, 2014 20:45 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Harvey experienced an uptick in velocity that no one really saw coming. He went from touching 96 in the minors to sitting 96 in the majors and touching 100. He went from 81-84 on his slider to averaging 90.5. The simple fact of the matter is that there isn't another Harvey every year. I would agree Wood is getting underrated by some due to fear of injury - which is a long term concern more than a this year concern. That said, I just don't see *that* type of season in the cards for Wood. But it's fun to dream!

Mar 24, 2014 20:51 PM
 
BP staff member Paul Sporer
BP staff

I don't think Wood fits that profile. A lot of people were high on Harvey for sure last year as he came with tons of pedigree. Some had him over Wheeler, but others (myself included) still saw a future #1. Now I didn't think it'd come that quickly so I'll ease up on the backpatting, but I see virtually zero similarities between Harvey and Wood to be honest.

Harvey had a #132 ADP in NFBC last year so he was definitely well-thought of. Salazar is at #136 this year and also had a similar first run around the league with 50-something innings of great work. Salazar's pedigree isn't quite as high, but I think that's a better comp. There's a large group of youngsters getting plenty of love who could make the Harvey leap this year: Gray, Archer, Wacha, Cole, Ventura. All with varying costs.

Mar 25, 2014 10:55 AM
 
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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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