A look at seven starters who should provide good value on your draft-day investment this year.
You know how everyone waits on pitching in drafts every year? Don't feel the need to wait on these pitchers.
Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates
Seasoned fantasy players often avoid taking young arms early in drafts, and for good reason. Prospect hype can lead to inflated ADP and auction prices, and owners can get caught paying for perceived performance rather than likely results. I'm advocating for throwing caution to the wind with Cole, though, and I think his current aggregate ADP (courtesy fantasypros.com) of 103 is quite reasonable. Some people got bored with Cole in the minors as he ever put up huge stats, but he's an absolute horse who's fully capable of notching 200 strikeouts, 15-plus wins, and a sub-3.50 ERA as soon as this year. He may not be a bargain where he's being drafted right now, but you won't have to reach for him either and he's an excellent no. 2 fantasy starter with top-10 SP upside. The term "ace" gets overused a lot, but Cole could become one in short order. —Ben Carsley
A look at the mid-tier pitchers who could work their way into the elite ranks this season.
Last week I looked at a handful of guys in the 100-250 range of starting pitchers in 2013 who could jump into the top 90 for 2014. Once again using the ESPN Player Rater, today I’m looking at guys in the 30-90 range who can take that star leap into the top 20. There are some caveats with the selections, mostly just the fact that I refuse to pick a previous star who fell off a bit in 2013 so I’m not littering the list with David Price (32), Cole Hamels (35), and Justin Verlander (41), but rather guys who are on the rise and could make their first appearance in that upper crust.
I also eliminated the 21-29 guys from consideration because that just wouldn’t be much of a jump to make into the top 20. Even the early 30s isn’t a huge surge, but there is only one guy from that section of the pool. Speaking of the early 30s, I almost selected Alex Cobb (35), but he only missed the top 20 because of his time missed due to the comebacker he took to the head. The fact that he still finished 35th with 143 1/3 innings is quite impressive. He took his star turn, now he just has to do it for a full season.
Paul helps you decide which two-start pitchers are worth using this week and which ones you should avoid.
Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner. Each week I will cover the pitchers are who slated to make two starts and help you decide who you should start and who you should sit. Sometimes guys will be in the “consider” where they might have one good start, but a second tough one and then your league settings might determine whether or not you should go forward with him. The pitchers will be split by league then by categories:
Auto-Starts – These are your surefire fantasy aces. You paid a handsome sum for them either with an early draft pick or high dollar auction bid so you’re starting them anywhere, anytime. Guys can emerge onto or fall off of this list as the season evolves. There won’t be many – if any – notes associated with these groupings each week. We are starting them automatically so why do I need to expound on how awesome they are and will be in the coming week?
This week's mailbag includes a question about trading for Stephen Strasburg, among many other topics.
Writing to you all the way from Ghana, and although I have to watch games on tape delay and have ABSOLUTELY no one to talk ball, with there are some perks. For instance, I just picked up Jose Valverde on waivers right after Leyland said that he would be the closer as the rest of my fantasy league mates drifted of to a West Coast sleep. Always give me half a day where I know the rest of my league will be sound asleep, and I can pick apart the waiver wire in peace.
A few young starters have dazzled us early, but some similar starts last season proved to be false ones.
A pitcher's first start of the year often seems like a momentous event. It's not the first time most fans will have seen him in the past month, but it is the first time his performance will count for anything more than tea leaves. For young pitchers, especially, the first start sets the bar for the expectations game fans and media types like to play with young and unproven players.
With the plodding morass of spring training behind us, our interest in Real Baseball reaches rabid heights for the first week or two of the season, before we settle into the jogger's pace that takes us to the All-Star break. However, the increased importance we assign to early-season starts doesn't make them reliable barometers. They're certainly no more worthy of consideration than any other individual start over the course of the season just because they're the only data point available at the end of the first week. So before we write too many more breathless words about Jake Arrieta, Jeff Samardzija, and others, let's revisit the good first impressions some young starters made last season and look at how things ended up for them.
After starring for opposing teams in the Japan Series, Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada will try to adjust to life in Baltimore and last place, as the Orioles react to the new CBA by plugging their pitching holes with Asian imports.
On November 12th, 2011, as Major League Baseball recovers from one of the most exciting World Series in recent memory, Nippon Professional Baseball begins its own best-of-seven championship: the Japan Series.
Much like MLB, Japanese professional baseball has two leagues—the Central and the Pacific—and much like MLB, the champions of those respective leagues play each other to determine a final champion for the entire season. As NPB has only 12 teams compared to to MLB's 30, however, the playoffs are structured a bit differently; with only six teams per league, NPB does not bother with divisions or Wild Cards—the best three teams in each league make the playoffs, with the league's top seed getting a first-round bye. The second and third seeds play a best-of-three series, and the winner faces the first seed in a best-of-five “Climax Series” that's roughly analogous to MLB's League Championship Series. The winning club from each league's Climax Series is that league's champion and advances to the best-of-seven Japan Series to determine which is the best club in NPB. The Climax Series format was implemented first by the Pacific League in 2004 and then adopted by the Central League three years later. Previously, there had been no real postseason in NPB: the team with the best season record from the Central would play the team with the best season record from the Pacific in the Japan Series, and that was that.
A look at the kind of investment $1 players are in fantasy league.
Dollar days in a fantasy auction are a true melting pot of individuals. They include the young, the old, the promising, and the worn down. They include the well-known, the little-known, and a lot of second catchers and middle reliever sleepers as well. Some owners are quite comfortable going into dollar days with five roster spots left while others avoid rostering any dollar players because they do not want to hand over any leverage to the other owners as they try to fill their final roster spots.