Below you will find some AL pitchers to target in later rounds of your fantasy baseball drafts.
Dylan Bundy. 20. Precocious talent, #1SP prospect on many lists. Likely to pitch for the Orioles at some point in 2013. ADP 353. Only 20 year-old pitcher capable of duplicating the impact of Trout/Harper in 2012. Worth a reach pick simply for the tremendous upside.
Junichi Tazawa. 27. Two seasons removed from Tommy John surgery, dominant out of the Red Sox pen, 2H 2012. Watch closely during Spring Training. If he is stretched out to start, add him to your draft list. He looks primed for a complete breakout. Darkhorse for saves, should he stay in the pen, but that won’t likely occur until several options ahead fail/get injured.
Ivan Nova. 25. We were warned prior to 2012, Nova out-pitched his peripherals by a wide margin in 2011. Well, regression visited upon Ivan’s 2012 with full vengeance. By over a full run, according to his xEra. 36% hit rate killed his 2H. He is a sneaky late-round play, though his home park will always inflate HR/FB.
Matt Moore. 24. Hardly a sleeper, current ADP 26/100, behind Halladay, Cueto, Latos, Scherzer, Shields, Gallardo, JZim, Medlen, Wainwright, Sabathia, and Sale. I like him at least a round earlier based on upside, team, and a fairly safe floor. Looks poised to supply plus plus strikeouts should he pitch 220 innings.
JA Happ. 30. Happ has K skills. Should he improve his control a tick or two, he quickly becomes relevant. Roster in deep leagues, radar otherwise. Don’t be shocked if he is first choice to step into the Jay rotation to replace an injured or struggling starter.
Drew Smyly. 24. A better choice than Porcello. Superior K-rate, not nearly as dependant on the glove-work behind, I think Smyly wins the #5 out of Spring Training, or shortly after. Fully capable of delivering a sub-4 era, with a helpful win total.
Wade Davis. 27. Struggles with control doomed his prior efforts in rotation. Very strong season out of the pen in 2012. Increased FB velocity keyed uptick in off-speed pitch values across the board. Solid four-pitch repertoire, looks to be returning to the rotation in 2013. Does move away from A.L. East help balance the minus of starting for the Royals? First, he must improve his BB/9, which is still too high to forecast success as a starter. Keep tabs.
I intended to offer up at least one pitching option per team, but the A.L. Central rotations, with the exception of Detroit, are so completely bereft of talent, it becomes hard to recommend any of them with a straight face. Kyle Gibson? Carlos Carrasco? Dylan Axelrod? Yuck. If only there was some powerhouse offensive juggernaut in this division that one could focus on... a team of sluggers fortunate enough to face these weak rotations, day in and day out. We might half expect a triple-crown winner to emerge from the pile-up.
Lucas Harrell. 28. Dynamite with bases empty, not at all good out of the stretch. Last spring the Astros converted a starter into their closer. They have since moved Myers, and then his capable replacement, Lopez. Now the pen looks decidedly short on closer options. Keep tabs.
CJ Wilson. 32. Coming off October surgery to clean up his elbow, which bothered him throughout the 2012 2H, and greatly contributed, he claims, to his disastrous numbers, July to October. Solid in the 1H, he was the beneficiary of a fortunate hit%. Had the same elbow work done to remove bone spurs in 2008, and he rebounded strong. His ADP has slipped a lot, an opportunity for you to profit.
AJ Griffin. 25. Currently the 75th starter off the board, AJ offers the kind of control-based value you want at the back end of your staff. Be ready to nab him in your draft if he falls among pitchers like Vargas, Y Chen, Cobb, Volquez, Tillman.
Hisashi Iwakuma. 32. With the Safeco fences moving in, you’ll want to focus on Seattle starters with a ground-ball lean. He was excellent upon moving into the rotation, 2H of 2012, with >50% GBs. Draft for an era around 3.75, a ratio near 1.3, middling Ks and wins. In other words, late in the draft, but before the scary/ugly arms. His current NFBC ADP puts him with McCarthy, Pettitte, Marcum, EJax, and WRodriguez and a round behind Milone, THanson, and PHughes. If he slips past these names, pounce.
Charlie Furbush. 27. I am rostering Charlie on most of my NFBC Draft Champion teams, which go 50 rounds. I think he is a far better option for the rotation than either Beavan or Noesi. Don’t blame you if you shrug at that news. Consider then; he has four plus pitches. His extreme BABIP swing 2012 to 2013 (.320 to .230) requires a deeper look into his core skills. He achieved a big jump in K/9, 2012, and his siera last season was an impressive 2.76. His 71/12 contact/swstr%, further encourages me to be optimistic about Charlie, should get a shot at the rotation.
Alexi Ogando. 29. Impressive pitcher with across-the-board plus skills. Expected return to the rotation in 2013. He has good K/W, excellent ratio, and no debilitating platoon split. One caveat, he has out-pitched his xEra consistently. This might be due to a low BABIP, which is due for regression, or it might simply be sss noise. Use his 2010 season as your baseline (about a $15 starter ). Understand that he might finish the year short in innings, since there is always the danger that he will have to be shutdown during the season. Expect that while he is pitching, the numbers should make you happy.