Fantasy baseball owners all over are starting to prepare for the 2014 MLB season, and trying to figure out which pitchers they should take and at what point. There were many pitchers that changed teams this winter - some made decisions that fantasy owners are happy about, while others will be making owners miserable all season long. There are five pitchers in particular that appear to have made the wrong decision from a fantasy point of view. It should be noted that no current free agent pitchers are on this list, because their value for the 2014 season is still unknown at this point. Here are the five pitchers with the most to lose in fantasy baseball this coming year.
5 Fantasy Pitchers With the Most to Lose in 2014
Ricky Nolasco - SP, Minnesota Twins
Nolasco left a great situation with the Los Angeles Dodgers to sign a big money deal with the Minnesota Twins in 2014. The offense around Nolasco in Minnesota isn’t even close to what he had in Los Angeles. That is going to hurt his numbers in a big way. Nolasco went 13-11 overall last season with the Dodgers and Miami Marlins, but the 5-8 record with the Marlins is going to be closer to what he does in Minnesota this year. A lot of people will surprised if Nolasco can finish with more than 11 wins this coming season. He falls at least three rounds in the 2014 fantasy baseball draft with the move to Minnesota.
Bartolo Colon - SP, New York Mets
Colon had his best season in a long time last season, putting up an 18-6 record with the Oakland Athletics. Colon now moves to the National League in 2014, with the New York Mets signing him in the offseason. Colon is also going to turn 41 years old this season, and he isn’t likely to win 18 games ever again. He is going to be drafted earlier than previous years strictly based on what he did last season, but that is the wrong thing to do. Colon is bound for a season where he wins 11-14 games, at most, and has an ERA closer to 3.85 than the 2.65 he put up last season. Don’t get too high on Colon for your 2014 fantasy baseball drafts.
Joaquin Benoit - RP, San Diego Padres
Many people will think that Benoit’s move to San Diego actually can help him, but if owners are looking for saves in 2014 Benoit isn’t going to help at the start of the season. He may get a chance later on in the 2014 fantasy baseball season if Huston Street is traded, or gets injured, but Benoit’s value right now is just for leagues that favor holds, WHIP or K/9. Benoit could put up a season with an ERA around 2.50 again, but he is going to be get drafted much higher than he should in fantasy leagues because he saved 24 games for the Detroit Tigers last season. Don’t make that mistake and spend too early on Benoit when draft time comes around.
Phil Hughes - SP, Minnesota Twins
Hughes had a terrible year for the New York Yankees in 2013 with a 4-14 record and 5.19 ERA. The problem is that like Nolasco, he goes to a Minnesota team that doesn’t have a ton of offense to support his high ERA. 2014 could easily turn into the second straight season where Hughes doesn’t reach double figures in wins. He is still young with talent, and there are several good players coming up for the Twins in the approaching year, but this fantasy season isn’t going to be pretty for Hughes. At this point, it would be hard to draft Hughes in fantasy baseball leagues at all.
Jesse Crain - RP, Houston Astros
There were few relievers as solid as Crain last season, as he put up a stellar a 0.74 ERA in 38 games. He moved over to the Houston Astros during the 2014 offseason, and while he is still an elite reliever, he may also be given a crack at the closer’s role for the Astros. That is where his value gets tricky. On the surface, any relief pitcher getting saves has more value in most fantasy league formats. But Crain isn’t someone who has been a closer before, and he isn’t someone I would trust to put up elite numbers as a closer they way he did the last three seasons as a setup man. Crain will get a bump in value from many fantasy owners compared to last season, but I don’t expect him to put up dominant numbers again in 2014. This is a year to be leery about Crain, even if he becomes the team’s closer.