This is Part II of the Digging Deeper into SP series, in which we take a look at pitchers number 21 through 40. Check out Part I of the series, and ask the experts for in-depth advice on any player in the majors at the Ask Us section of RotoBaller.com. Also, don't miss RotoBaller.com's full 2013 Starting Pitcher Rankings.
21. Aroldis Chapman – Chapman was the closest thing you can get to a pitcher being unhittable. He ran up 122 K... from the RP position! In just 71 IP, he averaged nearly 2 K/IP. The question remains how this dominance translates into a starting role. Now, I don’t think we should necessarily expect 340 K if he pitches 200+ IP-- in fact, I wouldn’t expect 200+ IP at all. The scenarios for Chapman are as follows: either he starts 12-15 games , performs well and then goes to the bullpen for the later months of the season, or else he tanks as a starter and immediately becomes the closer. One thing you can be certain of is that you cannot expect to have Chapman startign ballgames during September. RotoBaller.com provides a deeper analysis of Chapman's prospects for 2013 that you should definitely check out.
22. Johnny Cueto – Cueto is underrated and overshadowed. He won 19 games in 2012, pitched to a 2.78 ERA and most importantly hit a career-high in IP. He has shown control as a pitcher over the last couple of seasons, and while he doesn’t strikeout guys at an alarming rate, 170 isn’t too shabby. He is a great player to pair with a Yu Darvish or a Max Scherzer. You must strategize if you want to win your league.
23. Jordan Zimmermann – Another underrated pitcher and a true gem this late in your draft. Like Cueto, he won’t overwhelm you with strikeouts but he has become a true pitcher, and he will be let loose this season. Look for the W and K to roll in as the Nationals are a much improved team.
24. Matt Moore – Moore had a productive rookie year. He will have a lot of pressure and I would expect him to go through some bumps and bruises in his sophomore year. His win total will go up as will his strikeouts, but 4.00 ERA wouldn’t shock me. RotoBaller.com analyzes Moore in detail here.
25. Matt Latos – Latos fit in well in his first season with Cincinnati. I would expect a little more from Latos in 2013 including a higher strikeout rate and a lower ERA. The Reds offense is improved with some new additions, which will help Latos achieve his potential in the W column.
26. Gio Gonzalez – He did it; he didn’t do it; if he did I wish he could still. Gonzalez had a monster year in 2012 in which he won 21 games and was a finalist for the NL Cy Young Award. You won’t find another potential 20+ game winner and a sub 3.00 ERA this late in your draft, so Gio is well worth the risk of him going into a relapse, or being suspended. Jump on Gio with confidence by the 8th or 9th round if no one else has.
27. Yovani Gallardo – Four straight seasons of 200+ K and you can count on a fifth in the coming year. Based on his career he is a mid-3 ERA pitcher and will get you between 15-7 wins. Depending on how you draft, getting one of thirteen players (in 2012) that can get you 200+ strikeouts here is well worth a tenth-round pick starting pitcher. Watch out for the BB and the WHIP, though. Read more on Gallardo here.
28. Brandon Morrow – There’s no lack of concern when drafting Morrow. We have him in our top 30 because of his potential and the potential of the Toronto Blue Jays. There is a sense of winning around this ball club and Morrow has the talent to be part of it. The concern is him having the ability to heal. If he can start 30 games expect the strikeouts to roll in along with wins and a possible sub 3.00 ERA. Some might call it a reach, some might call him a sleeper.
29. Jeff Samardzija – The Chicago Cubs Opening Day starter, former Notre Dame wide receiver and former long reliever, has transformed into a formidable fantasy SP. His control has gotten better rather quickly, and there are no IP limitations on his 2013 season. He is a strikeout pitcher with 200+ ability. Wins could be hard to come by, especially when the Cubs begin to trade guys away, but Samardzja will contribute in areas other pitchers can’t.
30. C.J. Wilson – Do not be scared of his 2012 season in which he took a major step back. Every single time I saw Wilson pitch it was a tough match-up and I watched him a lot. He will settle in LA and his second season will be much better than his first.
31. Josh Johnson – After an injury in 2011, Johnson returned in 2012 and struggled to get back to his ace form. He wasn’t awful, but from 2009 - 2011 he had maintained a very low ERA and WHIP, which he did not match in 2012. He showed flashes last season including an improved second half season, and his peripherals were fairly strong, so look for a bounce-back year from Johnson in his new home north of the border.
32. Ryan Vogelsong – Expect another good year from Vogelsong as he has been steadily improving since his 2011 season. The Giants leaned on him more due to Tim Lincecum's struggles, and Vogelsong stood up to the challenge. He struck batters out at a higher rate in 2012 and lowered his WHIP, both extremely positive signs for the RHP.
33. Mike Minor – Talk about a second-half player. In five starts in April he went 2-2 in 33 IP with a 4.68 ERA. In five starts in September he went 4-0 in 31 IP with a 0.87 ERA. His second-half ERA was an amazing 2.16 compared to the 5.97 he had carried before the All-Star break. He more than doubled his IP for the second year, 40 in 2010 to 80 in 2011 followed by 180 in 2012. Perhaps the 2012 season caught him off guard and he wasn’t prepared. Regardless, if he struggles in the beginning of 2013, just sit him on your bench until July.
34. Jake Peavy – Turning 32 in May, Peavy is coming off his best season since his last full healthy season in 2007. Much is contingent on his health, of course, but Peavy looked solid all year and put up great stats. The White Sox offense struggled a bit, which cost Peavy a few wins, but he 23 of his 32 starts were QS in 2012, which is a great sign.
35. Tim Lincecum – It was not a good season for Lincecum owners, and it really never progressed in a positive direction. What was more concerning was his lack of an explanation. Many owners felt the need to continue to start Lincecum as he went out and destroyed your ERA and WHIP game after game. On the bright side, he managed more than a strikeout per inning racking up 190, and many of his peripheral stats were in line with his career. It's safe to say his days of striking out 260 batters are gone, but if he can go from a thrower to a pitcher, he is worth a shot. Read more on Lincecum here.
36. Dan Haren – Snagging Haren this late in your draft would be a steal. Assuming he stays healthy-- which is always a concern-- he had his best days in the NL which is where he has found a new home as a Washington National. I will be targeting Haren, and you should too. He will be facing much weaker lineups in the NL East than he had in the AL West, including the rebuilding Mets and aging Phillies.
37. Ian Kennedy – If you had Kennedy in 2011, you caught lightning in a bottle, because come 2012 he looked like a different pitcher. He will not pitch to a sub-3.00 ERA but he can pitch to a sub-4.00 ERA which is a fantasy value starter if the wins continue to roll in. Check out our deeper analysis of the former Yankee farmhand here.
38. Josh Beckett – Beckett looked great in seven starts as a Dodger to close out the 2012 season. I consider Beckett somewhat of a sleeper in 2013 with high win potential wjo will put up decent ERA and K totals. Don’t be scared to draft Beckett, especially if he slips.
39. Jon Lester – Lester's disastrous season fit right in with with rest of the 2012 Red Sox team. Things were so bad the team got blown up and the wunderkind GM Theo Epstein even left. Now in 2013, Lester is a nice bounceback candidate. He won't be as bad as last year, and he has 190K 18W potential with Boston. Check out our deeper analysis of the Lester here.
40. Hiroki Kuroda – Expect an exact replica of Kuroda’s 2012 season in 2013. He pitched right around his career averages and he still has a lot left in the tank. He will get you wins and a low WHIP, which is great to pair with an exceptional strikeout pitcher.
If you've missed them, be sure to also check out RotoBaller.com's other pre-season 2013 fantasy baseball positional rankings for more in-depth analysis: