Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Chicago Cubs Pitching Analysis: 2014 Fantasy Baseball


Many of you may be surprised to read that the 2013 Chicago Cubs starting rotation ranked 15th in baseball in ERA, 16th in strikeouts, and 9th in WHIP. It was a sneakily effective bunch, led by fantasy super-unknowns Travis Wood and Scott Feldman, while also receiving small contributions from Matt Garza and Jeff Samrdzija’s strikeouts. But while the Cubs rotation provided plenty of undervalued production in 2013, it’d be a little difficult to expect such a strong performance once again. And even if they did, the anemic Cubs offense will leave any starters struggling to pick up wins.

2014 Chicago Cubs - Pitching Staff Preview

In the bullpen, while the Cubs collected a few potential closers in Jose Veras, Pedro Strop, and possibly Blake Parker, Jose Veras looks like the early favorite to.  He will be given a shot to hold down the gig, or a leash to hang himself with. He is still not a particularly sexy options, but he could post decent ratios en route to collecting maybe 20 saves.

 

Jeff Samardzija

2013 Stats – 8-13, 4.34 ERA, 1.348 WHIP, 214 K, 213 2/3 IP

Jeff Samardzija Chicago Cubs MLB News

Jeff Samardzija has been one of the more frustrating pitchers in fantasy for two straight seasons. In 2013, Samardzija posted an xFIP of 3.45, a SIERA of 3.60, and a FIP of 3.77, all indicative of Samardzija’s dominant stuff and ability to miss bats. Unfortunately, since he is prone to extended periods of ineffectiveness, he has simply been unable to get his season-end numbers to match those great peripherals up to this point. He needs to clean up his command in the zone, but he’s athletic enough to do so, and if he does he’ll be a top 20 starter. He’s a nice high-upside draft choice who will at least provide strikeouts by the bunch.

2014 Proj. – 12 Wins, 3.80 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 215 K, 215 IP

Travis Wood

2013 Stats – 9-12, 3.11 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 144 K, 200 IP

Travis Wood had an excellent 2013, but count me as one of those not buying in long-term, especially from a fantasy perspective. Wood’s peripherals and batted ball profile in 2013 all suggest a true-talent ERA in the 3.90 to 4.40 range, and his secondary production is nothing to write home about. He’s a fly ball pitcher who kept an amazing % of flies in the park, something I do not see continuing in the friendly confines of Wrigley. Unless Wood miraculously beats his peripherals again, he’s a pitcher who provides below-average production in all four categories. He’s a good streaming candidate, but I would not be drafting him in standard leagues – the upside is not there to justify the significant blow-up risk.

2014 Proj. – 10 Wins, 4.10 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 140 K, 190 IP

Edwin Jackson

2013 Stats – 8-18, 4.98 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 135 K, 175 1/3 IP

Edwin Jackson had a very forgettable 2013, but his peripherals (FIP, specifically) suggest that he was pretty much the same pitcher he’d been for the past four seasons. I’m not projecting a total bounce-back for Jackson, but I think his left-on-base percentage will rebound from its dismal 63% level in 2013, and I think his strikeout rate recovers as well. He’s not a pitcher to draft, but he should be a decent streamer/emergency starter this season.

2014 Proj. – 10 Wins, 4.10 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 150 K, 185 IP

 

Numbers Four and Five - Starting Pitcher

The Cubs have a couple of different options to plug into the back end of their rotation, and none of them are worth following too closely. Jason Hammel is recovering from injury, and nothing about his profile suggests his excellent 2012 was not a fluke. Between the poor production and health issues, I wouldn’t roster Hammel this season. Ditto Jake Arrieta, who’s due for some regression back to his usual high-4 ERA self. Arrieta has the stuff to be a dominant starter, but he has not been able to miss bats, throw strikes, or get outs to this point. Kyle Hendricks, who posted an amazing 2013 between AA and AAA, may get some innings in the rotation this season, but he doesn’t have the stuff to be more than a 4th/5th starter. Chris Rusin will get some innings as well, but he doesn’t have the strikeout potential to make up for the significant shortcomings in the rest of his game. None of these pitchers should be looked at for more than an occasional streaming fill-in.

 

Bullpen

Veras has the closer role, to start, but Pedro Strop is also worth paying attention to. Neither has super-star type closer "stuff", but whichever ends up in the closer’s role long term should be more than serviceable in your fantasy ‘pen.

Jose Veras

2013 Stats – 21 Saves, 3.02 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 60 K, 62 2/3 IP

Veras is a more than capable closer, and though he should regress a bit from his very strong 2013, the move to the National League should help offset that a bit. Veras should be a middle-of-the-road closer, with both a high floor and also little hope he produces like he did in 2013. One small caveat about Veras – there’s a good chance he’s traded at the deadline and is no longer a closer.

2014 Proj. – 25 Saves, 3.40 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 70 K, 65 IP

 

Pedro Strop

2013 Stats – 1 Save, 4.55 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 66 K, 57 1/3 IP

Pedro Strop, when he’s on, looks every bit of a shut-down closer. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been terribly consistent over the last two seasons, and I doubt the Cubs will give him the closer's role unless Veras really struggles. He’s going to pitch in the 8th inning, and will probably pick up a handful of saves, either through being the more effective pitcher or through Veras being moved.

2014 Proj. – 10 Saves, 3.25 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 60 K, 60 IP




More Recent Articles

 

Keenan Allen - Fantasy Football Disaster Recovery

Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds. This isn't a place to find out why you should have sat a player for somebody on your bench. Disaster Recovery is to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about starting, and deciding if you should be panicking at all about... Read More


NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 7) - Targets and Avoids

Another week, more upsets. The Cowboys, Chiefs and Chargers all went down knocking out about 15-20 percent of remaining entrants in survivor pools, including myself. The Baltimore and New England wins were never in doubt, but the Redskins and Packers just barely squeaked out wins. If you've made it this far, you've done a job... Read More


Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 7

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement.... Read More


Running Back Metrics That Matter - NFL NextGen Stats

It's been a month--a full month!--since the last time we took a look at our beloved running backs. I don't think there is a hotter topic of discussion between pro- and anti-analytics than rushing. The guys fighting for stat-supremacy are all about using the passing game as much as possible while ditching the run; the... Read More


Titanic Disappointment - Will Ryan Tannehill Help Tennessee?

In the midst of being shutout by the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Tennesse Titans coach Mike Vrabel made a move that many casual NFL fans had been expecting for the past few weeks: he decided to give Ryan Tannehill a shot at quarterback instead of Marcus Mariota. While Tannehill wasn't noticeably better on Sunday, throwing... Read More


Warning Signs: Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Jared Goff

This is going to be a special edition of Warning Signs. Usually, we take a look at players from different teams who have disappointed thus far. This week, I am going to focus on a single team full of players to worry about. It is not good to have a team of big stars where... Read More


FAAB Bidding - Week 7 Waiver Wire Targets

Assisting our famous waiver wire pickups list, and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB). As a caveat, these prices do not by any means indicate how much these free agent players will... Read More


We Must Overreact Immediately! Week 6 Outliers

In Week 6, several players exploded in fantasy lineups. There were a few receivers that were above the rest of the pack in Week 6, such as Stefon Diggs, Terry McLaurin, Chris Godwin and Tyreek Hill, but there shouldn't be any surprises there as those guys should have been in fantasy lineups. At the quarterback... Read More


Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 7

The bye week difficulties continue this week with Carolina, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay all getting their rest in Week 7. It should be noted, however, that just because a player is currently in their bye week, doesn't mean you should avoid them on the waiver wire. In fact, this is often the easiest way... Read More


Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

All of a sudden, the Chargers look like one of the worst teams in football and the Jets look like a playoff contender. Maybe things won't shake out that way in the end but it goes to show how quickly things change in the "Not For Long" NFL. For that reason, we advise looking at... Read More


The Cut List - Players on the Chopping Block (Week 7)

This is your weekly list of players to drop. I will do my best to limit this list to injured players and players you might consider holding. If you roster pure handcuffs or backups, obviously you can let them go at any time. The players on this list will, ideally, be guys that aren't clearly... Read More


Week 7 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 7 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 7 of the NFL and fantasy football season. In case you missed it, this is our seventh year now writing this weekly column. Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver... Read More


Week 7 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Week 6 is done, and we've seen some outstanding games thus far. We've also seen a lot of surprising teams through six weeks. The San Francisco 49ers, after picking in the top 10 for four straight years, are 5-0 with one of the most complete teams in football. As far as kickers go, we're seeing... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Some of you have been rewarded for your meticulous roster planning by receiving excellent production from your running backs. Unfortunately, many of you have been equally prepared when making roster decisions, but have been undermined by injuries, inconsistent usage, or underwhelming performances. If that applies to you, then those unwanted outcomes have forced you to... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

We weren't really surprised by the top-scoring fantasy wide receivers from Week 6. Out of the top-20 receivers, only Jamison Crowder, Auden Tate and Jaron Brown were less than 50% owned. Jaron Brown (0% owned) was only targeted five times but he scored two touchdowns off of those five targets. Auden Tate (23% owned) hauled... Read More