I’ll be looking back at a list of pitchers I suggested you should avoid on draft day. To judge how I did on my predictions I’ll quote what I said then, give myself a letter grade on how in the ballpark I was, then give a short commentary on what you can expect from these fantasy baseball pitchers in 2013.
CC Sabathia – Seems like slow start CC’s slow starts are lasting longer and longer. I would tread with caution drafting CC in early rounds waiting for a big second half, much like fellow Yankee, Mark Teixeira.
Grade C+: I played it safe on CC saying “tread with caution in early rounds”, but what does that mean really? No one is drafting him before round 4 and his numbers for a late 4th round pick would have been stomachable (Is that a word?) I think in your 2013 fantasy baseball draft I’d target CC lower than 6th round.
Ian Kennedy – This guy had a STELLAR season last year, and I am not saying that he will be terrible this season, but you absolutely need to have realistic expectations for him as he is a young gun that may come with some growing pains.
Grade A: I’m looking at a 4.02 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, feeling good about my realistic expectations of the young arm. In 2013 I say draft with confidence in Round 9, but more evaluation to come.
Kyle Farnsworth – I think Clave will have my back on this, do NOT expect Kyle Farnsworth’s unreal season last year to be repeated. This is a guy with a career WHIP of 1.34 that was down to .99 last year. You might argue that he was trending down in WHIP the past 3 seasons but he will NOT be a guy you can bank on next year.
Grade A+: Farnsworth was a 1 hit wonder, and should NEVER hold a closer job for a full season again. He has no fantasy baseball value in 2013.
Ricky Romero – I actually like Romero, and it will set my brother off that he made this list, but it had to be done. Romero is a guy that might be able to turn the corner and really be a solid 2-3 starting pitcher for fantasy teams but it is more realistic that he continues to fall apart in the second half of seasons. I have benefited from selling high on him the past 2 seasons but may not roll the dice again.
Grade B+: Romero was worse than I expected he would be, so I cannot give myself an A, simply because I held out that he could turn the corner. 2013 will be a real sweet time to buy low on Romero as he might go undrafted after this horrible season.
Matt Latos – OK, we are going to treat Latos with the same caution as Kennedy. He is a great young pitcher but people may be close to figuring him out and he is moving to a less pitcher friendly park which will not bode well for some of those fly ball outs he had last year.
Grade C-: Latos’ ERA wasn’t great BUT for his K:9 and WHIP it wasn’t all that bad either. Latos might be able to turn the corner and be a fantasy Ace (which is MUCH different than a real life Ace) next year.
Jonathan Papelbon – All his trash talk and antics may have caught up to him. It’s time to get back to letting your pitching do the talking. We’ll see if he still has it.
Grade F: Papelbon was good this year, really good. He converted 38 saves, which is surprising because it felt like that was more games than the Phillies won in 2012. This kid is back on track as a top closer.
Gio Gonzalez – Again as previously stated, I’m never really a fan of pitchers leaving a pitcher friendly park, especially when they are young and still developing. Gio was saved on more than 1 occasion by Oakland Colisseum last year.
Grade F… heck, make that an F- and I withdrew from Fantasy Baseball Pitcher Prognostication University: Gio Gonzalez was STELLAR this season. Anyone who drafted him had to be giddy every time he pitched. I wouldn’t draft Gio this year before Round 4, but if your league weighs pitching higher or everyone takes pitchers early, he can be your fantasy Ace no problem with a repeat performance.
Andrew Bailey – Gosh, Bailey is 1) a pitcher leaving a friendly park for a short porch, 2) a relatively unproven pitcher going to a big time baseball town in a tough market and 3) an injury waiting to happen the past 2 seasons. 3 strikes, you’re out.
Grade A: Bailey is not worth your time unless it is the last rounds and you need a closer. I bet Boston missed Josh Reddick everytime Bailey warmed up last season.
Trevor Cahill –I was actually really surprised that Cahill was traded, and I’m not excited about the change of stadium for him. Cahill has a tendency to leave breaking pitches hanging and those will be long gone in Arizona!
Grade C: Cahill struggled mightily early, but righted the ship and gave so semblance of hope for fantasy owners for next year. Too early to call on what type of fantasy baseball pitcher he’ll be in 2013 without taking some time to dive into his periphreal numbers.
Derek Holland – Holland was a great find last year, and as such people might be willing to draft the kid far too high next year. Let your league mates draft him and take a more accomplished pitcher in that same round and you will not regret it!
Grade A, Holland was way down, then up a little, then way down again. His mustache is spotty and Texas is a tough place to pitch when you leave pitches hanging. I wouldn’t draft Holland in 2013.
Craig Kimbrel – I want to end with the guy who finished as the NL rookie of the year, and best RP fantasy wise. DO NOT spend an early pick on ANY relief pitcher, just ask the owners that drafted the Bearded One last year.
Grade D, I know what your thinking I deserve a fat F for this one. Well, I still stand by my advice that you don’t spend an early pick (Round 1-3) on a closer. But if you want to, this kid is about as elite as a closer can get. He had just 8 strikeouts less than Ricky Romero last year in ⅓ the innings.
So there is my report card when it came to predicting the future performance of some of 2012 fantasy baseball pitchers. I hope this helps you and you begin early preparations for your 2103 fantasy baseball draft.