March 2012

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Mock Draft Analysis: ADP Comparisons

It has been a boring mildly slow week in transactions, so I'm posting something a little different today. Before the RotoAuthority Mock Draft fades too far in the rearview mirror, I'll be taking a look at some of the biggest (and most noteworthy) differences between the choices of our mock drafters and the collective wisdom of the community. It turns out, there were plenty of surprise picks, and a few interesting trends along the way. View a spreadsheet of our draft results here.

Each time I mention when a player was taken, I'll include the difference with his ADP. For clarity's sake, negative numbers mean they were taken earlier than their ADP. I know I've been confused on this point before ...

The draft started with a reach, when someone took Troy Tulowitzki (-4.8) over the vague consensus of Matt Kemp/Miguel Cabrera. OK, it was me. I'm still not sure if that was the right call, but it's tough to go too far wrong in the first round. Carlos Gonzalez (-5.24) was taken a bit above his ADP, but late first- and early second-rounders tend to blur together for me.

One early trend was that we waited on pitchers. Justin Verlander (14.36), Roy Halladay (6.7), and Clayton Kershaw (9.77) all went later than their ADPs. Verlander was -- appropriately -- the second pitcher off the board and taken more than a round later than the mock drafters are grabbing him. This makes sense to me, as I don't see a huge difference between Verlander and a lot of the guys around him -- Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez, etc. It's good to have one of those guys on your team, but it's better to get the last one and hope it's his turn for the big year. 

Through the first six rounds there were only three position players that we let slip far past their ADPs: Hunter Pence (12.74), Carl Crawford (19.91), and Elvis Andrus (20.75). Other than showing just how much we liked the hitters over the pitchers, this seems like three separate instances more than a trend. Andrus is overvalued--steals and little else isn't that great, even from a SS--Crawford presents more risk than seems necessary that early, and Pence ...well, maybe we just forgot about him. Credit Tom Warman for grabbing him in the fifth round.

As a group, we were very enthusiastic with third basemen. David Wright (-11.72) went in the second round, Ryan Zimmerman (-15.22) in the third, and Brett Lawrie (-18.75), Alex Rodriguez (-18.35), and Pablo Sandoval (-23.56) in the fourth. After Kevin Youkilis (-20.56) went in the sixth round, I made the first major reach of the draft and got Mark Reynolds (-42.77). It's tough to say whether we intentionally targeted third basemen aggressively, or if it was more of a chain reaction sort of situation. Either way, it makes sense to pay a premium for an early third baseman, as there is a big dropoff and they start to look a lot like shortstops after a while.

Another trend is that we were very patient with closers. Craig Kimbrel (19.23) was the first reliever off the board in the seventh round; the next one taken was Mariano Rivera (11.32) in the tenth. We waited on John Axford (27.28) and Drew Storen (42.39), two pitchers who are going earlier than they should in a lot of drafts. While you won't always be able to wait as long as we did for saves, the variance and interchangeability of relief pitchers makes me try to draft them as late as possible. One reliever who might be good value is Ryan Madson (-27.58), whom Tim Dierkes drafted in the tenth after most other elite closers were gone.

As the rounds got later, the differences--positive and negative--in our picks and ADPs grew larger, which is only natural, and individual choices started to stand out more than larger trends. Our biggest reach of the night somehow didn't go to me; instead Shuckleball took Yunel Escobar (-90.78) seven rounds before his ADP. I don't mean to criticize the move -- you have to balance getting the player you believe in with trying to get the best value you can. Could Shuckleball have gotten Escobar several rounds later? Probably, unless someone else had the same idea. I thought I could get Yu Darvish (-29.3) in the ninth round. Instead, Tim Dierkes took him in the eighth.

Reaching for "your guys" can have its negative consequences, too: I made Max Scherzer (-52.85) my ninth-round pick and lost out on James Shields (32.07) two picks later to Shuckleball because I wasn't looking past my plans for value.

As far as pitchers we let go past their ADPs, I think there were a few collective misses that resulted in bargains for the teams that drafted them: Tim Hudson (83.21) had the biggest positive difference between our draft slot and his ADP, but Neftali Feliz (63.05), Justin Masterson (42.39), Wandy Rodriguez (78.06), Ryan Vogelsong (40.61), Michael Pineda (44.27), and Jeremy Hellickson (64.86) were just a few of the pitchers we took forty or more places after their ADP. All come with real concerns, but in the late stages of the draft, who doesn't?

Finally, there were a few hitters taken well below their ADPs, and with good reason. Stephen Drew (30.4) and his injury concerns didn't impress; neither did Austin Jackson (48.65), Carlos Quentin (35.34), or Michael Brantley (81.53). We may like taking risks, but none of us were enthusiastic to bet on Adam Dunn (38.97), and I think we're all just plain tired of Vernon Wells (78.48).

Every draft has its own idiosyncrasies, and ours was no exception, but it was a balanced draft between experienced players. Our collective advise seems to be: be aggressive with third base, patient with starters, very patient with relief and ... don't take Vernon Wells. Hopefully this helps you in your own drafts. Finally, don't be afraid to go right after the players you target, but don't forget to take value when it drops to you.

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Position/Role Battles: The Twins' Second Baseman

Newly signed international players have a habit of being drafted at least a couple of rounds earlier than they should by fantasy owners eager to look smart by claiming the next Ichiro (keep this in mind if you want to draft Yoenis Cespedes this year).  Tsuyoshi Nishioka was an example of this phenomenon last spring, though admittedly, there are worse risks to take than drafting a then-26-year-old with 2B/SS eligibility coming off a .346/.423/.482 season for the Chiba Lotte Marines.

Nishioka signed a three-year, $9.25MM contract with the Twins in December 2010 and was Minnesota's Opening Day second baseman ... then it was all downhill from there.  Nishioka broke his leg in just his sixth Major League game, putting him out of action for over two months.  When he returned, Nishioka hit just .226/.278/.249 in 240 plate appearances, a performance so underwhelming it created rumors that the Twins could just release Nishioka and move on to other infield options.

Nishioka will still be a Twin in 2012, however, though now he's slated for a utility slot.  A shortstop by trade, Nishioka will backup newly acquired shortstop Jamey Carroll, second baseman Alexi Casilla and even third baseman Danny Valencia, as Nishioka will take a few reps at third during Spring Training.

So why am I writing about an unproven utility infielder in a fantasy column?  Because, as Nishioka may have been slightly overvalued last season, he could be an undervalued asset for this season.  Utility tag aside, there is definitely room for him to regain the starting second base job.

Casilla's fantasy value is largely tied to his basestealing prowess (50 steals in 58 attempts), as his inconsistency at the plate has led to frustration for both his fantasy owners and the Twins.  Ironically, Casilla has entered each of the last two seasons in Nishioka's current situation --- penciled in as a backup but with room to possibly win a starting role.  Casilla indeed won the shortstop job last spring and hit .260./322/.368 (plus 15 steals) in just 365 PAs, thanks to hamstring injuries.

As we saw last season when Casilla lost playing time to Trevor Plouffe and Luke Hughes, Ron Gardenhire is perfectly willing to sit Casilla should he struggle again.  The door is open for Nishioka to force a platoon or even win the job outright.  Nishioka and Casilla are both switch-hitters and it's unclear if a traditional platoon could work between the two --- Nishioka's 240 Major League PAs are too small a sample size to properly judge, and while Casilla hits better against right-handers, that still amounts to just a career .666 OPS against righties.

I'm not saying that Nishioka is going to hit .346 this season as he did in Japan, but he's now had a year to acclimate himself to Major League Baseball and presumably he won't suffer another hard-luck injury trying to complete a double play.  Nishioka could have plenty of upside and is worth a look as your traditional flier pick in the last round of your fantasy draft.  Carroll is an underrated on-base threat, and I see Valencia having a post-sophomore slump bounce-back year, so Casilla is the best bet in the Minnesota infield to lose his job.  Casilla's history of inconsistency will probably open the door for Nishioka at some point in 2012, so you could find yourself with a starting second baseman at a very cheap price.

Yahoo and MDC ADP Analysis & Draft Tiers: Starting Pitchers

This week's ADP-related article will rank starting pitchers in order of their Yahoo and Mock Draft Central (MDC) average draft positions, and then identify draft tiers and strategies (position qualifications referenced in this article are based on Yahoo position qualifications). Using the standard 12-team mixed league format and six starting pitchers per team, the first 72 starting pitchers will be ranked. The draft tiers will have 12 starters per tier so that the tiers represent Starters Nos. 1-6 in a standard format with 12 teams each carrying six starters.

  1. Justin Verlander - 10.44 (12.6 Yahoo; 8.27 MDC)
  2. Clayton Kershaw - 14.6 (13.9 Yahoo; 15.3 MDC)
  3. Roy Halladay - 15.17 (15.6 Yahoo; 14.74 MDC)
  4. Cliff Lee - 21.15 (22.5 Yahoo; 19.80 MDC)
  5. Tim Lincecum - 25.88 (27.3 Yahoo; 24.46 MDC)
  6. Felix Hernandez - 28.01 (29.6 Yahoo; 26.42 MDC)
  7. CC Sabathia - 30.62 (30.6 Yahoo; 30.64 MDC)
  8. Cole Hamels - 32.13 (33.4 Yahoo; 30.85 MDC)
  9. Jered Weaver - 34.34 (35.3 Yahoo; 33.38 MDC)
  10. Dan Haren - 45.08 (47.8 Yahoo; 42.35 MDC)
  11. David Price - 45.89 (53.7 Yahoo; 38.07 MDC)
  12. Zack Greinke - 47.19 (45.0 Yahoo; 49.38 MDC)
  13. Yovani Gallardo - 55.14 (61.3 Yahoo; 48.98 MDC)
  14. Jon Lester - 56.73 (62.0 Yahoo; 51.45 MDC)
  15. Stephen Strasburg - 60.61 (57.1 Yahoo; 64.12 MDC)
  16. Matt Cain - 61.66 (62.6 Yahoo; 60.71 MDC)
  17. James Shields - 73.30 (79.8 Yahoo; 66.79 MDC)
  18. Ian Kennedy - 75.00 (79.9 Yahoo; 70.10 MDC)
  19. C.J. Wilson - 85.04 (84.6 Yahoo; 85.48 MDC)
  20. Madison Bumgarner - 85.48 (94.6 Yahoo; 76.35 MDC)
  21. Mat Latos - 91.78 (112.9 Yahoo; 70.66 MDC)
  22. Daniel Hudson - 93.33 (101.0 Yahoo; 85.66 MDC)
  23. Josh Johnson - 99.03 (97.5 Yahoo; 100.55 MDC)
  24. Tommy Hanson - 99.48 (104.9 Yahoo; 94.06 MDC)
  25. Matt Moore - 99.86 (97.4 Yahoo; 102.32 MDC) - RP Only in Yahoo
  26. Josh Beckett - 99.88 (108.5 Yahoo; 91.25 MDC)
  27. Michael Pineda - 100.29 (102.8 Yahoo; 97.78 MDC)
  28. Ricky Romero - 101.36 (115.3 Yahoo; 87.41 MDC)
  29. Yu Darvish - 102.48 (82.3 Yahoo; 122.66 MDC)
  30. Adam Wainwright - 108.94 (112.3 Yahoo; 105.58 MDC)
  31. Matt Garza - 109.57 (109.5 Yahoo; 109.63 MDC)
  32. Gio Gonzalez - 111.87 (117.8 Yahoo; 105.93 MDC)
  33. Brandon Beachy - 118.38 (121.7 Yahoo; 115.06 MDC)
  34. Chris Carpenter - 127.57 (128.5 Yahoo; 126.64 MDC)
  35. Jordan Zimmermann - 128.16 (136.8 Yahoo; 119.52 MDC)
  36. Johnny Cueto - 133.57 (153.8 Yahoo; 113.34 MDC)
  37. Cory Luebke - 134.26 (131.4 Yahoo; 137.12 MDC)
  38. Anibal Sanchez - 136.49 (142.8 Yahoo; 130.17 MDC)
  39. Tim Hudson - 146.97 (156.6 Yahoo; 137.34 MDC)
  40. Shaun Marcum - 148.32 (150.3 Yahoo; 146.33 MDC)
  41. Jeremy Hellickson - 152.25 (175.6 Yahoo; 128.89 MDC)
  42. Ubaldo Jimenez - 153.49 (151.8 Yahoo; 155.18 MDC)
  43. Max Scherzer - 158.88 (168.1 Yahoo; 149.65 MDC)
  44. Neftali Feliz - 162.60 (165.0 Yahoo; 160.19 MDC) RP Only in Yahoo
  45. Ervin Santana - 163.56 (176.6 Yahoo; 150.52 MDC)
  46. Brandon Morrow - 167.53 (152.1 Yahoo; 182.96 MDC)
  47. Hiroki Kuroda - 168.36 (164.9 Yahoo; 171.82 MDC)
  48. Jaime Garcia - 174.14 (170.9 Yahoo; 177.38 MDC)
  49. Derek Holland - 177.00 (185.1 Yahoo; 168.89 MDC)
  50. Doug Fister - 183.44 (181.8 Yahoo; 185.08 MDC)
  51. Wandy Rodriguez - 183.91 (195.0 Yahoo; 172.81 MDC)
  52. Jhoulys Chacin - 192.72 (192.2 Yahoo; 193.24 MDC)
  53. Clay Buchholz - 200.11 (190.8 Yahoo; 209.42 MDC)
  54. Justin Masterson - 201.66 (202.7 Yahoo; 200.62 MDC)
  55. Ryan Dempster - 208.06 (180.5 Yahoo; 235.61 MDC)
  56. Alexi Ogando - 208.76 (207.9 Yahoo; 209.61 MDC)
  57. Jair Jurrjens - 212.04 (209.4 Yahoo; 214.68 MDC)
  58. John Danks - 213.02 (235.1 Yahoo; 190.94 MDC)
  59. Trevor Cahill - 213.09 (247.6 Yahoo; 178.58 MDC)
  60. Chris Sale - 214.14 (195.5 Yahoo; 232.78 MDC) RP Only in Yahoo
  61. Bud Norris - 217.75 (205.0 Yahoo; 230.49 MDC)
  62. Colby Lewis - 217.93 (232.3 Yahoo; 203.56 MDC)
  63. Ivan Nova - 219.82 (201.2 Yahoo; 238.43 MDC)
  64. Ted Lilly - 221.97 (212.9 Yahoo; 231.03 MDC)
  65. Brandon McCarthy - 222.73 (240.4 Yahoo; 205.06 MDC)
  66. Edwin Jackson - 227.65 (218.1 Yahoo; 237.19 MDC)
  67. Johan Santana - 228.90 (228.7 Yahoo; 229.09 MDC)
  68. Scott Baker - 229.44 (247.4 Yahoo; 211.47 MDC)
  69. Edinson Volquez - 229.48 (229.9 Yahoo; 229.05 MDC)
  70. Ryan Vogelsong - 230.33 (240.8 Yahoo; 219.85 MDC)
  71. Aroldis Chapman - 230.47 (220.3 Yahoo; 240.63 MDC) RP Only in Yahoo
  72. Roy Oswalt - 231.4 (232.0 Yahoo; 230.80 MDC)
  • Notes: Javier Vazquez - 228.17 (241.7 Yahoo; 214.64 MDC) was not included since he appears to be retired and is unlikely to be drafted in the top 72 starters.
  • Tiers:
    • Starting Pitcher No. 1 in 12-team mixed leagues (Ranks 1-12): Verlander, Kershaw, Halladay, Lee, Lincecum, Hernandez, Sabathia, Hamels, Weaver, Haren, Price, Greinke.
    • Starting Pitcher No. 2 in 12-team mixed leagues (Ranks 13-24): Gallardo, Lester, Strasburg, Cain, Shields, Kennedy, Wilson, Bumgarner, Latos, Hudson, Johnson, Hanson.
    • Starting Pitcher No. 3 in 12 team mixed leagues (Ranks 25-36): Moore, Beckett, Pineda, Romero, Darvish, Wainwright, Garza, Gonzalez, Beachy, Carpenter, Zimmerman, Cueto.
    • Starting Pitcher No. 4 in 12-team mixed leagues (Ranks 37-48): Luebke, Sanchez, Hudson, Marcum, Hellickson, Jimenez, Scherzer, Feliz, Santana, Morrow, Kuroda, Garcia.
    • Starting Pitcher No. 5 in 12-team mixed leagues (Ranks 49-60): Holland, Fister, Rodriguez, Chacin, Buchholz, Masterson, Dempster, Ogando, Jurrjens, Danks, Cahill, Sale.
    • Starting Pitcher No. 6 in 12-team mixed leagues (Ranks 61-72): Norris, Lewis, Nova, Lilly, McCarthy, Jackson, Santana, Baker, Volquez, Vogelsong, Chapman, Oswalt.
  • Draft Strategy: Starting pitching is top heavy within the first three tiers and then levels out into deep but interchangeable quality.  An owner should make sure to have at least three starters from the first three tiers since the quality of starting pitching is so top heavy. ...  Tiers 4, 5, 6 and other draftable starters are deep, and owners can feel comfortable waiting on drafting within these tiers. ... When drafting, the starters in Tiers 1-3 should be used as guideposts to make sure that you are drafting a starter from each tier. If you realize that only a few starters from Tier 1 remain and you have not drafted a starter, you should be alerted that you need to draft a No. 1 starter (same with Tiers 2 and 3). Similarly, if all of the Tier 1 and 2 starters have been drafted and you only have one starter, then you should be alerted that you need to draft multiple Tier 3 starters. ... Within Tier 1, Haren, Price and Greinke provide excellent value compared to their ADP, and an owner can feel comfortable waiting on those three to draft their No. 1 starter.  However, if any of the top six ranked starters fall too far below their ADPs, then an owner should jump at the chance to draft any of those six. ... Within Tier 2, Bumgarner and Hudson provide solid value at the end of the tier. ... Tier 3 is still loaded with top-heavy talent compared to ADP such as Moore, Garza, Beachy & Zimmermann. Within Tier 4, Luebke, Sanchez & Feliz stick out as excellent value picks.  Tiers 5, 6 and other draftable starters provide deep value, so owners should avoid reaching for any starter within these tiers since the first six starters listed as "other draftable starters" make excellent fallback plans as No. 6 starters. Lilly, McCarthy & Baker in Tier 6 have more value than most of the Tier 5 starters and provide excellent targets compared to their ADP.
  • Draft Strategy (Yahoo ADPs): Owners should keep in mind the starters listed as "RP Only in Yahoo" means that they will not appear within the list of starting pitchers in the draft tool. For this reason, owners searching for starting pitchers may overlook them. Do not make this mistake. Within Yahoo's ADP, Darvish (Yahoo Default Ranking 85 compared to 82.3 Yahoo ADP), Dempster (Yahoo Default Ranking 180 compared to 180.5 Yahoo ADP), Sale (Yahoo Default Ranking 199 compared to 195.5 Yahoo ADP), & Nova (Yahoo Default Ranking 381 compared to 201.2 Yahoo ADP) are being drafted too early in Yahoo drafts (even though Darvish, Dempster & Sale are nice targets at their MDC ADP). Baker (Yahoo Default Ranking 230 compared to 247.4 Yahoo ADP), McCarthy (Yahoo Default Ranking 225 compared to 240.4 Yahoo ADP) & Cahill (Yahoo Default Ranking 255 compared to 247.6 Yahoo ADP) are being drafted too low in Yahoo drafts.

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RotoAuthority Live Chat

Click below to read a transcript of tonight's live chat with Steve Adams:


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2012 Position Rankings: Starting Pitchers

With the position players all wrapped up, it's time to move to the mound. The steady decline in offense around the league means there are more quality starters now than anytime in the last few years. The rankings are based on standard 12-team mixed leagues with 5x5 scoring, but obviously saves are a non-issue here.

  1. Roy Halladay, PHI - The Master. Doc does it all in both reality and fantasy, providing strikeouts, wins, and innings while keeping his ERA and WHIP at near microscopic levels.
  2. Justin Verlander, DET - Will he win 24 games again? Almost certainly not. Verlander will flirt with 20 though, and his fly ball ways will keep the Miguel Cabrera-at-third base damage to a minimum.
  3. Clayton Kershaw, LAD - Still just 23, the sky is the limit for last year's NL pitching Triple Crown winner. If Kershaw shows his improved walk rate is real and not a fluke, he'll challenge Halladay's throne.
  4. Cliff Lee, PHI - A left-handed and slightly lesser version of Halladay, Lee's strikeout rate jumped to over nine-per-nine with the move to the NL last season.
  5. CC Sabathia, NYY - Few pitchers move to the AL East and get better like Sabathia has. His strikeout rate shot back up last season, and he's always got a shot at 20+ wins.
  6. Felix Hernandez, SEA - The King saw his ERA jump over a full run last season even though his underlying performance was unchanged. Continue to expect greatness.
  7. Cole Hamels, PHI - Overshadowed by the two guys ahead of him in the rotation, Hamels is entering his prime years and is poised for a huge contract push.
  8. Jered Weaver, LAA - Weaver's strikeout rate dropping back into the mid-7.0 K/9 range after one year over nine-per-nine, but he's at his peak right now and his team improved around him.
  9. Tim Lincecum, SF - It's hard to ignore the trends - three-year decline in strikeout rate and two-year decline in walk rate - but Lincecum is starting from such a high baseline that he could continue to decline and still be elite.
  10. David Price, TB - Price's underlying performance in 2011 was better than in 2010, but his ERA and win total didn't reflect the improvement. At age 26, another step forward could be coming.
  11. Dan Haren, LAA - Not facing pitchers anymore did take a bite out of Haren's strikeout total, but the more favorable park helped his homer rate and ERA. Still somehow underrated.
  12. Yovani Gallardo, MIL - The fluky low homer rate from 2010 (0.6 HR/9) returned to his career average last season (1.2 HR/9), but the long ball is the only blemish in Gallardo's game.
  13. Jon Lester, BOS - Both his strikeout and homer rate took steps back last season, but Lester is right in his prime years with a great team around him. He gets the benefit of the doubt after one off year.
  14. Zack Greinke, MIL - An early-season rib injury cost him about five starts, but otherwise his strikeout run jumped more than three whiffs per nine to 10.54 K/9. I doubt he'll ever be 2009 good again, but Greinke is still excellent.
  15. Matt Cain, SF - Remarkably consistent, Cain doesn't get a ton of strikeouts and his team doesn't always give him the most run support, but you know exactly what you'll get out of him each year.
  16. James Shields, TB - After giving up homer after homer in 2010, Shields incorporated his curveball more in 2011 to get more ground balls while keeping his strikeout and walk rates static. Sub-3.00 ERAs in the AL East are hard to sustain, however.
  17. Madison Bumgarner, SF - Still only 22, MadBum took a big step forward in the strikeout department last season while keeping his walks down. There's still more roon for growth here.
  18. Mat Latos, CIN - Despite playing in Petco Park, Latos has next to no home/road split. He'll inevitably surrender more homers in Cincinnati, but everything else makes up for it.
  19. C.J. Wilson, LAA - Moving from hitter friendly Texas to pitcher friendly Anaheim will help Wilson's performance, but facing his old mates six times a year won't.
  20. Ian Kennedy, ARI - Kennedy is an extreme fly ball pitcher who probably should have allowed a few more homers last season (0.8 HR/9), but that's pretty much the only blemish on his record.
  21. Matt Garza, CHC - It wasn't just the move to the NL that boosted Garza's performance. He starting throwing substantially more sliders and changeups, and the results were a ton more strikeouts and grounders.
  22. Anibal Sanchez, FLA - Now more than three full years out from shoulder surgery, Sanchez's strikeout rate jumped in his age 27 last year. If the Marlins' new stadium plays as big as expected, he could end up a top ten fantasy starter.
  23. Stephen Strasburg, WAS - Strasburg will be held to 160 IP or so in 2012, but his performance in 92 big league innings has been off the charts good. The upside is scary.
  24. Michael Pineda, NYY - Moving to a tougher league and tougher division will hurt his numbers, but Pineda will get a ton more run and bullpen support while fantasy owners will get more wins.
  25. Ricky Romero, TOR - Owner of the quietest sub-3.00 ERA in baseball last year, Romero has been improving his walk rate while keeping his strikeout and ground ball rates static. He just keeps getting better.
  26. Josh Beckett, BOS - The question with Beckett continues to be health. His performance was ace-like last year, but you have to count on him missing a handful of starts a year, if not more.
  27. Jordan Zimmermann, WAS - As he gets futher away from Tommy John surgery, hopefully the strikeout stuff Zimmermann showed in 2009 returns. Big time breakout potential.
  28. Gio Gonzalez, WAS - Gio has gotten better every year of his career, but moving out of the spacious Colisseum in Oakland will jack up his homer rate a bit. 
  29. Adam Wainwright, STL - A bonafide fantasy ace before Tommy John surgery, Wainwright will be back this season and will probably struggle with control like most guys a year out from elbow surgery.
  30. Yu Darvish, TEX - Everything is there for greatness, but his expected performance is completely unpredictable. I usually steer clear of international imports in year one.
  31. Daniel Hudson, ARI - Hudson traded some strikeouts for ground balls last year, which isn't a trade that helps fantasy owners. Still only 24, he needs to get back to missing bats like he did in 2010.
  32. Shaun Marcum, MIL - The big concern here is Marcum's dreadful finish to the season, which carried over into the playoffs. If that's behind him, expect another mid-3.00 ERAs and 13 or so wins.
  33. Tommy Hanson, ATL - Last year's shoulder problem and this spring's concussion make Hanson a questionable proposition, but his performance in 460.1 big league innings is tough to top.
  34. Jeremy Hellickson, TB - The peripheral stats (4.42 FIP) don't match the ERA (2.95), so Hellickson is going to have to beef up his strikeout or ground ball rate to maintain long-term success. Don't overvalue him based on the Rookie of the Year Award.
  35. Johnny Cueto, CIN - Ignore the ERA (2.31) but be conscious of the three-year decline in strikeout rate. Cueto's also good for an injury or two during the season as well.
  36. Chris Carpenter, STL - Carpenter threw a career high 237.1 IP last season at age 36, the last 30 or so with a barking elbow. There's some serious risk here.
  37. Brandon Beachy, ATL - An oblique injury sabotaged Beachy's first full season, but he still showed big time strikeout stuff and a miniscule walk rate in his 25 starts. He might be too well known to qualify as a sleeper.
  38. Max Scherzer, DET - Scherzer cut his walk rate a bit last season but gave up a ton more homers, way more than his career average. I doubt that will happen again in Comerica Park.
  39. Jaime Garcia, STL - Garcia maintained his strikeout and ground ball rates last year while cutting down on his walks, but his ERA rose nearly a full run. I expect him to finish with an ERA closer to 3.00 than 4.00.
  40. Cory Luebke, SD - Luebke's gaudy strikeout rate (9.9 K/9) was the same as both a starter (17 starts) and reliever (29 appearances) last year. He keeps the walks down and will benefit from Petco, giving him serious sleeper potential.
  41. Ervin Santana, LAA - The fourth wheel in the Halos' rotation, Santana's strikeout rate has never matched his stuff. He did improve his ground ball rate, but I can't see another sub-3.40 ERA in 2012.
  42. Ubaldo Jimenez, CLE - Ubaldo's strikeout, walk, and ground ball rates didn't budge from 2010 to 2011, but his ERA shot up nearly two full runs. He's very enigmatic, but another 4.00+ ERA would surprise me.
  43. Matt Moore, TB - The potential is drool worthy, and Moore's new contract means there is no reason for Tampa not to have him in the Opening Day rotation.
  44. Josh Johnson, FLA - It's all about health. When he's on the mound, Johnson is one of the ten best pitchers in baseball. Unfortunately he's only make 37 starts over the last two seasons.
  45. Justin Masterson, CLE - Masterson's success last year had to do with his newfound ability to neutralize lefties. He won't give you strikeouts or a great WHIP, but he's rock solid overall.
  46. Brandon Morrow, TOR - The peripherals say the ERA should be better, but we're going on close to 350 IP as a starter now. The strikeouts will be great, but Morrow can be frustrating.
  47. Scott Baker, MIN - Baker is better than he gets credit for, but he's a lock to miss time with injury each year. I could see Ian Kennedy-type numbers if he manages 33 starts.
  48. Hiroki Kuroda, NYY - I doubt he maintains a near-3.00 ERA after the move to New York, but the Yankees will help boost Kuroda's win total north of his career-high 13.
  49. Wandy Rodriguez, HOU - Wandy's performance took a bit of a hit last year, but if his strikeout rate keeps falling it's going to be hard to get value out of him. A mid-3.00 ERAs with few wins and strikeouts isn't all that great.
  50. Derek Holland, TEX - A definite breakout candidate, Holland improved his walk rate as last season progressed, his biggest bugaboo. Now the strikeout rate has to follow suit.
  51. John Danks, CHW - Now the top lefty in Chicaco, Danks has improved both his strikeout and walk rates every year since 2009. There's no reason he shouldn't get to being a 3.70 ERA guy.
  52. Jhoulys Chacin, COL - Chacin became sinker-heavy last season, leading to an increased ground ball rate but a below average strikeout rate. A balance between the two would be best.
  53. Doug Fister, DET - Don't count on a repeat of his late-season dominant following the trade. Fister allows a lot of balls to be put in play and doesn't get a ton of ground balls. Expect an ERA closer to 4.00 than 3.00.
  54. Trevor Cahill, ARI - Moving to the NL should help Cahill's strikout rate, but Chase Field will not be as kind as the Colisseum. He needs to miss more bats to boost his fantasy value.
  55. Clay Buchholz, BOS - Buchholz hasn't racked up the strikeout totals his stuff suggests he should, but the real issue in health. Back trouble limited him to just 14 starts last season.
  56. Chad Billingsley, LAD - The three-year decline in strikeout rate is scary, and control has never been Billingsley's forte. He's another guy that will leave you wanting more.
  57. Brandon McCarthy, OAK - McCarthy has gained notoriety for his use of sabermetrics to revive his career, though his strikeout and win totals won't be of much benefit to fantasy owners. Neither does his history of shoulder problems.
  58. Jonathon Niese, NYM - Niese has shown the ability to miss bats, limit walks, and get ground balls, but he's also good at getting hurt. He could really take off with good health.
  59. Gavin Floyd, CHW - Safe, reliable, and predictable. Floyd isn't great at anything but he'll do a swell job in four of the five pitching categories.
  60. Edwin Jackson, WAS - Jackson is in his prime years and has developed into a rock solid workhorse starter, but his strikeout totals don't match his stuff. Another safe option like Floyd.

Honorable Mention: Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison & Alexi Ogando, TEX; Tim Hudson, Mike Minor & Jair Jurrjens, ATL; Bud Norris, HOU; Ricky Nolasco, FLA; Homer Bailey, CIN; Ryan Vogelsong, SF; Vance Worley, PHI; Francisco Liriano, MIN; A.J. Burnett, PIT; Ivan Nova, NYY; Chris Capuano, LAD

Other Positions: Catcher, First Base, Second Base, Shortstop, Third Base, Outfield

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