FANTASY BASEBALL: SP/RP THE HYBRID PITCHER
Strategy: Having a pitcher that qualifies at “Relief”, but actually is a “Starter” brings you a huge edge. If that quality starter pitches twice in that week you can potentially get double digit Ks from your RP spot. On top of that you have the chance for two wins. Usually from a solid closer you hope for 3 saves and 7 Ks in a week. Now none of those numbers are guaranteed as closers can blow a save, and starters can have a bad start. Though it is always nice to have that flexibility in weekly leagues to alter your lineup if you need to make up for “Ks” and “Wins” in rotisserie leagues.
(Ranked in order from most effective when pitching)
1. Cory Luebke (SD)- Prediction: 25 Starts, 10-15 Wins, 3.50-4.00 ERA, 180-210 Ks.
After striking out 154 batters in 139 Innings, everyone is very excited to see what Cory can bring to their fantasy team in a full season. He should be able to go from 17 starts to at least 25 which gives him the potential of at least another 40-50 Ks. That would bring his total to over 200, with an ERA that is sure to be under 4.00. If there was one downfall for Cory, he pitches for the Padres. A team that will be hard press to win over 80 games and make any sort of playoff run. Run support will be an issue, everything else should be great.
2. Matt Moore (TB)- Prediction: 28 Starts, 13-16 Wins, 3.75-4.25 ERA, 160-185 Ks.
Moore made one start last season. It was in Yankee Stadium in September when the playoff race was at the heat of the moment. Moore came out and threw 11 Ks, in 5 innings. In the process he only gave up 4 hits and 0 ER. That is the type of potential that everyone wants on their fantasy roster going into this season. Moore is supposed to have an electric arm, and be a pitcher that is capable of breaking the 175K plateau. Manager Joe Maddon has already said, “Moore will have no innings limit.” He has potential fantasy ace written all over him.
3. Neftali Feliz (TEX)- Prediction: 22 Starts, 8-12 Wins, 4.00-4.25 ERA, 120-150 Ks.
Feliz was always among the leaders in saves, but now gets the chance to be a starter. Pitching for Texas is usually a good thing as they happen to win a lot of games. The bad news is, the pitching staff is very deep this season and there is a chance they go with a 6 man rotation. Either way it does not seem like Feliz is a safe bet to pitch the entire season as a starter because nobody is too sure how long he can last. Either way as a starter Feliz has potential to be a 6K/game option which is good enough to make him drafted and starting in all leagues.
4. Aroldis Chapman (CIN)- Prediction: 16 Starts, 5-8 Wins, 4.00-4.25 ERA, 110-130 Ks.
Chapman is one of the most electric left handers to pitch in MLB history. His fastball can screech past 100 MPH, and a season ago he recorded 71Ks in 50 Innings. Now that Chapman wants to be a starter, (what the original plan was when he signed with the Reds), you are looking at the potential game changer of all relief pitchers. Chapman does have competition for the starting spot, as he still has to beat out Mike Leake and Homer Bailey for the #5 spot. So make sure you keep a close eye on the stud reliever. Even if he begins the season in the minors, he makes a great late round flier as he would be a Must-Start option when he is in that rotation.
5. Daniel Bard (Bos)- Prediction: 25 Starts, 12-14 Wins, 4.00-4.25 ERA, 115-130 Ks.
Bard is one of the best set-up men in baseball. With Jonathan Papelbon departed, it appeared the closer spot would go to Daniel. Instead the Red Sox ended up making Bard a competitor for a starting spot. Bard had 74Ks in 73 Innings a season ago, which shows that his K potential is there. But the real nice thing about Bard is he pitches for the Red Sox. Boston wins a lot of games, which means Bard will have the chance to win a lot of games. If Daniel has a good spring training, I will be sure to target this stud late in my draft.
6. Chris Sale (CHW)- Prediction: 27 Starts, 10-13 Wins, 4.00-4.25 ERA, 110-140 Ks.
Sale had a chance to be a starter last year, but ended up being a Left Handed reliever out of the pen. He cumulated an ERA 2.79 in 71 innings. On top of that he also had 79 Ks which gave him more than a K in an inning of work. The White Sox have a nice offense and should win a lot of games this season. That alone makes Sale worth an option in all leagues as he can be a legitimate 140K pitcher. Though Sale does have to earn his job this spring as Zach Stewart remains his competition.
7. Alfredo Aceves (Bos)- Prediction: 15 Starts, 4-7 Wins, 4.25-4.75 ERA, 50-80 Ks.
Aceves is far from a fantasy ace. However pitching on Boston will allow him to have the opportunity to get a lot of cheap wins. His strikeout rate is far to be desired as you more likely to get less than 1K per every 2 innings pitched. Aceves is no lock to hold onto the starting spot all season as there will be plenty of times where he gets absolutely rocked. Look for the once young poised Andrew Miller to eventually take his job.
Obviously this is before Spring Training, and a lot can change. For now keep an eye on all these guys and see who emerges from the pack. There will be plenty of great fantasy baseball content all Spring long as BEAST DOME prepares you for a full season of Fantasy Baseball action.