The MLB season is upon us which means it is time for the Fantasy Baseball season. We here at the Sports Script want to do everything possible in setting you up for draft day and helping you throughout the season to win a Fantasy Baseball Championship. We are gathering a team of Sports Script writers as well as some special guest to answer 5 key questions about each position for the upcoming 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season. Today we have gathered me (Ricky Valero), Matt Bell and Matt Wincherauk as we are going to take a look at the Starting Pitchers.
5 Questions surrounding Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers
1 – Which player or players are you targeting?
Ricky – Jered Weaver – While the dip in strikeouts is a concern as they have dropped steadily from the 9 K/9 in 2010 to 6 K/9 last season. But what I do like is the fact you are getting a guy with 10+ wins in 8 straight seasons, a guy with a career 3.24 ERA and someone with a low WHIP over the course of the past 4 seasons (1.06 WHIP). You can have him in the 9th or 10th round and I think he will easily surpass his ADP this season.
Matt Bell – The pitchers that I’m targeting to fill my starting roles are of course the obvious guys just like the other positions. I’m not going to jump on a guy like Kershaw or any of those, but rather try to find value in the starting position later on. The guy I’m targeting most is Jose Fernandez as I was really impressed with this young pitcher last year and think he can do big things this year. He had a 2.19 ERA and averaged over 9 strikeouts per 9 innings last year. He’s young and should only get better as a pitcher at this point in his career. I think he could put up big numbers and be hand a few rounds later than Kershaw.
Matt Wincherauk – Jose Fernandez is a guy I’m going to try to target in a number of my drafts. He’s got a great park to pitch in, had a great year last year, and should only continue to improve. He might not get a ton of wins considering how bad his team is, but he should still have top flight numbers.
2 – Which player are you staying away from?
Ricky – Max Scherzer – He has huge regression written all over him this season. He had an unreal 2013 season which was topped off with winning the Cy Young and with that he is being drafted among the top 5 or 6 pitchers. The price is too high and he will come back down to earth this season.
Matt Bell – The pitcher I will probably avoid most for my drafts is Cliff Lee. He’s 35 years old and pitching for a Phillies team that doesn’t have a ton of offense. They struggle at times to give him run support which is something I want to see when taking a pitcher as early as where Cliff Lee projects.
Matt Wincherauk – I’m going to avoid Gio Gonzalez. Last year was a good indicator that he wasn’t an ace, and more just a solid second option. Yet people are probably going to see a bounce back year to prominence this year. I don’t trust him, and will try to avoid him if I can.
3 – Who is the biggest sleeper heading into 2014?
Ricky – Sonny Gray – In 10 starts last season he was a big time player and I think heading into 2014 he is going to pick up where he left off. He averaged over 1 strikeout per nine as well as he held a 3.35 K/B ratio. I expect a tiny regression and a slight rise in the ERA but expect him to be among the top 20 pitchers for 2014.
Matt Bell – The sleeper for me at starting pitcher I’ll have to admit is sort of homer type pick, but I’m really high on Michael Wacha this year. He had an amazing postseason going 4-1 and striking out 33 hitters over that time. He will be in the Cardinals rotation for a full season this year and with the lineup he has behind him could rack up quite a few wins.
Matt Wincherauk – I think Michael Wacha has to be a guy that will go under the radar a bit. I see some of the bigger sites and writers having him barely crack their top 50. I’m very willing to take a risk on him as my 3rd pitcher, as he could be one of the next major star pitchers in this league after what we saw from him in the playoffs. I’m willing to take a bit of a risk on him, in order to get potentially a huge reward.
4 – Which player will be a bust for Fantasy owners?
Ricky – You could really go with Scherzer here as well but one guy I am looking at is Jose Fernandez. He brought some nasty stuff to the table in 2013 and impressed the heck out of me. But I think we need to be tempered with expectations for 2014 for him. While I think he will be a top 20 pitcher, he is being drafted among the élite and I just haven’t seen enough and he does play for a Marlins team that isn’t going to be very good again this season.
Matt Bell – The biggest bust at pitcher for me this year is Fransisco Liriano. He’s had an ERA over 5 for 4 of the last 5 seasons, but brought false hope to owner with one really good year last year. He went 16-8 last year and while the strike out numbers will still be there I don’t think he can hold the ERA to around 3 against. He will struggle to pick up 16 wins again next year hurting his value fantasy wise.
Matt Wincherauk – One guy I’m not willing to trust is Masahiro Tanaka, and I believe people might get a bit too jumpy on his staggering numbers overseas. He’s obviously coming in and pitching against better competition, and has to do so in one of the most hitter friendly ballparks in baseball. He won’t be a huge bust, but I think he will be a bit of a disappointment.
5 – Give a bold prediction for one player.
Ricky – I like Justin Verlander to bounce back and win 18 games with an ERA under 3.10.
Matt Bell – The bold prediction for the starting pitchers this year is that Strasburg comes back after a full year back and shows why everyone was hyped on him. I’m going to say he comes up to the top competing with Kershaw for a chance as the CY Young winner in the NL this year.
Matt Wincherauk – Max Scherzer’s gaudy numbers from last year will take a significant hit. He won’t top 15 wins, and his strikeout numbers, and ERA will also drop.
If you have any questions about the upcoming Fantasy Baseball season make sure to hope on over to twitter and ask. You can follow me @rickygangster @mattbell211 & @TheMattyWin and we will answer any and all questions.
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