There are around two months to go until the 2014 fantasy baseball season gets underway. There are pitchers all around MLB that have decided on their new homes for the upcoming season, as well. In the end, good choices and bad choices were made as far as fantasy baseball managers are concerned. There are five pitchers in particular that made the right decision for fantasy owners everywhere. It should be noted that no current free agent pitchers are on this list because their value is unknown for the coming season.
Five Pitchers with the Most to Gain in 2014
Dan Haren - Dodgers
Haren wasn't all that successful last season with the Washington Nationals, pitching to a 10-14 record. He moves to the Los Angeles Dodgers where he will probably slot in as the team’s No. 4 starter. The Los Angeles offense is strong enough to overcome any issues that Haren has this coming year. His ERA hasn't been great the last two years, but it will likely come down this season with less pressure on him. Expect a season with 12-15 wins and an ERA around 3.85 for a bounceback season of sorts. Haren is someone to target with one of the final picks in the draft.
Josh Johnson - Padres
It was an epic disaster for Johnson in Toronto in 2013 with a 2-8 record and a 6.20 ERA. He moves to Petco Park with the San Diego Padres, which is traditionally a great venue for any pitcher to be in. His numbers will rebound in a big way, as long as he can stay on the mound all season long. Injuries have been a problem for JJ, and that concern might knock Johnson down a round or two, but feel fairly secure that he can win 13-16 games and have an ERA around 3.45 if he makes 32-34 starts for San Diego this coming season. The stats could end up being much better, as well, if things fall his way.
Tim Hudson - Giants
Hudson's 2013 season ended early with a terrible ankle injury. He finished 8-7 before the injury, and now moves to the West Coast with high hopes of putting together a much better season. He will find himself pitching third or fourth in the San Francisco rotation, and you know he will use the big ballpark to his advantage. He is likely going to win 11-14 games and have an ERA around 3.55 in the process. Hudson is a pitcher that you should invest in as a late-round starter in the draft, with the notion that he could become a major sleeper candidate.
John Axford - Indians
Relievers can have seasons that go from Hall-of-Fame-esque to disaster. Axford had two of those seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, before being mercifully traded midway through the 2013 season. He goes to Cleveland to be the team’s closer, and he will have every opportunity to keep the job all season long. His glory years in Milwaukee saw save totals in the 20s at the least. He is going to finish with at least 40 saves in 2014 if he can keep the job all year long. Axford should go in the second wave of closers around Round 12 or 13.
Jason Vargas - Royals
Vargas takes his talents from the Los Angeles Angels to the Kansas City Royals, and in the process should get a boost in his value. The Royals offense seems to be more consistent than the Angels right now, and Vargas will win more than the nine games he managed in 2013. A smart owner will take Vargas late in the draft as a flier, and should see immediate benefits from the decision-- a season with 12-15 wins wouldn't be surprising at all. He could be one of the biggest fantasy surprises this coming year, so don't be afraid to take a chance in the final few rounds.