January 25, 2013 posted by Matthew Dewoskin

NL SP Individual Player Blurbs

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Johan Santana, SP, New York Mets

As with the other positions, we will be posting this in pieces to get you the information as fast as we can. These are for teh bottom 2o pitchers in the NL as per our rankings.

Wandy Rodriguez

Wandy is still chugging along, racking up 10+win, 180+ innings seasons. He’s hasn’t posted 8.00+ K/9 since 2010 and it looks like those days are behind him. He’s an innings eater with league-average potential, but he has a remarkable knack for staying healthy.

Chris Carpenter

Carpenter returned from shoulder trouble to make exactly three starts last season. He looked competent and his stuff wasn’t as diminished as one would think a 37-year-old working his way back from a shoulder injury would look. He’s had a full off-season to get healthy and hasn’t reported any new or old issues cropping up. He’s a solid bet for 6.00ish K/9 with a sub 2.00 BB/9…if he can stay on the field.

Francisco Liriano

Darwin Award contender Francisco Liriano managed to break his non-throwing arm before finalizing a deal with Pittsburgh. He wound up with a deal, but the injury cost him about $1 million and his contract isn’t guaranteed if needs an extended DL stint. Liriano’s move to the NL should have a positive impact on his career. He proved last year that he’s still capable of posting a K/9 over 9.00. The problem is that he also walks about five batters per nine. He’s an upside play for a fantasy GM who needs some extra K’s. Anything else at this point is a bonus.

Brandon McCarthy

Twitter’s most popular starting pitcher missed time last year with a shoulder issue and a horrific head injury. The head injury isn’t a concern any more. The shoulder is still a red flag. His 4.32 xFIP is also a red flag, but he’s changing leagues and parks. His sub-6.00 K/9 is a concern. McCarthy isn’t a smart play for leagues with innings caps, but he’s one of the few sub-6.00 K/9 guys that fantasy GMs can trust. He posts a low walk rate (under 6% for each of the last two years) and competent ground ball numbers (over 40% each of the last two years). He’ll be fine as long as the guys behind him catch the ball.

Ryan Vogelsong

Vogelsong finally posted a K/9 over 7.00 and a BB/9 under 3.00 and he turned in a career year. He’s outperformed his xFIP each of the last two years. The threat of regression plus his involvement in the WBC could make him a guy for fantasy GMs to stay away from.

Bronson Arroyo

Arroyo has taken the ball at least 30 times in each of the last eight seasons. He hasn’t posted a K/9 over 6.00 since 2008 and he’s given up at least 26 homers every season since 2006. So, he doesn’t get K’s and he gives up lots of homers. Hmmm. His walk rate has improved every year since 2008. Here’s to small victories. He’s the ultimate waiver wire guy. He should almost always be there.

Josh Beckett

If Beckett laid off the chicken and beer, it didn’t show in his 2012 results. Beckett’s BABIP normalized to his career average and he didn’t enjoy the same success he had in 2011. He also lost about two miles off his fastball velocity. Beckett posted a 2.65 ERA in 37.1 September/October innings with 32 K’s and only 11 walks. It’s a small sample size, but Beckett could find success with a return to the NL.

Johan Santana

Santana’s 2012 season was derailed by nagging injuries including but not limited to lower back inflammation. He did make it through 2012 with his elbow and shoulder still attached and he posted his highest K/9 since 2009. His velocity was down slightly, but Santana has never been a high velocity guy. He should be fine as long as he can change speeds and keep hitters off-balance.

Jeff Karstens

Karstens will be competing for a spot in the Pittsburgh rotation this spring. He was signed as Liriano insurance. Karstens will likely get a look if Francisco Liriano needs an extended DL stint. Karstens has some value because he doesn’t walk very many. He’s posted a sub 2.00 BB/9 for the past three seasons. He’s a spot starter who should be on the waiver wire in most mixed league formats.

Corey Luebke

Luebke is expected to make his return from TJS around May or June. Any pitcher with a 9.32 career K/9 who pitches in San Diego is worth a stash until he makes his return. 130ish innings from Luebke will be more helpful than 180 from someone like…

Paul Maholm

Maholm is coming off a career year in which he managed 13 wins and struck out 6.67 per nine. Maholm is pretty much league average waiver wire fodder. He managed a .281 BABIP (.306 career average) with a 1.87 GB:FB ratio. He’s due for a regression and fantasy GMs need to be careful when considering Maholm for the 2013 season.

Chad Billingsley

The biggest red flag here is Billingsley’s health. The Dodgers are hopeful Billingsley can avoid the knife and he supposedly hit 94 MPH in a simulated game in October. He suffered a partially torn ligament in his pitching elbow in August and is trying the rehab route instead of surgery. Fantasy GMs need to be cautious. Billingsley’s elbow could blow up at any time or he could muddle his way through another mediocre season.

Shelby Miller

The only issues with Shelby Miller are his path to a job and his innings cap. The Cardinals have six starters for five slots. The good news for potential Miller owners is that two of those starters are rehabbing and may or may not be available for Opening Day. Miller is a better pitcher than Jake Westbrook for the 2013 season, but the Redbirds have 8,750,000 reasons to keep Westbrook in the rotation. Miller has the talent to post the kind of numbers that should make 2013 the last season that he’s ranked this low…assuming he can get and keep a full-time job.

Edinson Volquez

Volquez has the ability to strike out almost a batter per inning. The problem is that those delicious K’s come with a cost. The bitter aftertaste of walks. Volquez posted a BB/9 over 5.00 for the fourth consecutive season last year. Volquez did post the home/road splits that fantasy GMs should expect from a pitcher at Petco. He managed a 2.95 ERA at home with a 1.29 WHIP. He still posted a 5.01 BB/9, but at least the ERA and WHIP was palatable. He’s a streaming option when he’s at home and not much more at this point.

Jorge de la Rosa

2012 was a lost year for de la Rosa due to his rehab from a torn UCL in his left elbow. He only threw 31 innings across four levels of professional baseball while working his way back last year. He had a cup of coffee with the big club in September and it was clear that he wasn’t all the way back yet. The velocity on his fastball was only 90.5 MPH. That number was down from his 2011 average of 92.7 MPH. He’s worth keeping an eye on in spring training. If his velocity is back up to pre-surgery levels, he could provide solid value for a guy available at the end of most drafts.

Ricky Nolasco

Ricky Nolasco is the last man standing in Miami. He’s the last pitcher the Marlins have resembling a real starting pitcher. The problem is that Nolasco’s K-numbers and his velocity have been in decline for the past three seasons. He’s no longer the sabermetric darling who would underperform while fantasy pundits would write his name on their notebooks and draw hearts around. He’s basically just a guy at this point in his career. His awesome ‘08 season was five years ago and it was the last time his was really useful in mixed league formats.

Julio Teheran

Teheran suffered through a season of inconsistent mechanics and poor results. The raw tools are still there, but he needs to be able to produce them more consistently at the big league level. He tends to achieve better results when he works with a quicker pace and maintains an efficient arm circle. He’s still only 22 years old and his problems should be fixable. It remains to be seen if his mediocre 2012 season at Triple-A is a trend or an outlier. At this point it’s an outlier. Teheran will be in the mix for the Braves’ fifth starter spot. He needs a big spring training to get his career back on track.

Jacob Turner

Turner was once a hot prospect with Detroit. He was 20 years old and breezed through Double-A with a fastball that would hit 94-95 with solid command. Now, Turner is penciled in to the Marlins’ rotation and the fastball that was in the mid 90’s is now in the low 90’s without the command that he showed in the minors. After posting an awesome 2011 season, Turner suffered through the dreaded “dead arm” period early in 2012 and never fully recovered. His is a situation that needs to be monitored in Spring Training before he can be considered a safe investment for the 2013 season.

Jake Westbrook

Westbrook is a solid bet to rack up double digit wins and not do much else that’s useful for fantasy purposes. He doesn’t strike batters out (his career high K/9 in a full season as a starter is only 5.68) and he usually ends up with an ERA around 4.00 with a WHIP over 1.30. He doesn’t do anything that would help your fantasy team other than nick an occasional win.

Ross Detwiler

Detwiler finally threw over 150 big league innings and turned in a competent season. He posted a meager 5.75 K/9 but provided value with double digit wins, a competent ERA (3.40) and WHIP (1.22). He outperformed his 4.34 xFIP and enjoyed a .263 BABIP. Detwiler’s competent season was likely due to a season of good luck on balls hit in play. Detwiler is a regression candidate. He’s not undraftable, but be prepared to go through some struggles.


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