X
Lost password?

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

X

Receive free daily analysis

NFL
NBA
NHL
NASCAR
CFB
MLB
MMA
PGA
ESPORTS
BETTING

Already have an account? Log In

X

Forgot Password


LINEUP RESOURCES

Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts

Starting Pitchers Who'll Continue to Break Out in 2019

I'm sure many of you are familiar with the concept of "TINSTAAPP". Spelled out it means "There's No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect" and it basically implies that it's impossible to predict which starting pitching prospects will pan out and which will flame out. There are plenty of examples in both directions; for example, Chris Sale was hyped coming up and has followed through on that. How about Chris Everts? If you're not familiar with the name, I don't blame you. He was selected one spot ahead of Zack Greinke in 2002 and even further ahead of Cole Hamels, and I'd wager no more than 50% of you have even heard his name.

Being able to separate the flame-outs from the rising stars is what separates top fantasy players from those who chase "potential" and "upside". It's impossible to predict, but you can use the data to make some educated guesses on guys who will be successful even if they weren't necessarily top prospects.

That's what I'll focus on here. Some not-so-obvious names that had excellent 2018 seasons and should be on your radar for 2019. Let's take a deeper dive on five names who could become make-or-break players later on in your draft.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best MLB Series, NFL Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals

Flaherty is ranked behind similar breakout studs like Walker Buehler, Aaron Nola, and Mike Clevinger (I know he was solid in 2017, but I'm counting 2018 as the breakout due to the 200 IP) but he should be held to the same standard. After dominating every stop in the minors, Flaherty announced his presence with authority (name that movie) with a 3.34 ERA and an eye-popping 182 strikeouts across 151 innings last season.

The peripheral stats support a repeat performance in 2019. His 3.58 xFIP and 79.3% LOB% in 2018 indicate that there wasn’t a ton of luck involved with his final lines, although I think it’s fair to expect a small jump from his .257 BABIP and therefore his ERA and WHIP.

The biggest shot you can take at Flaherty was the fact that he struggled to work deep into games. The 151 innings came across 28 starts, which puts him at just over 5.1 innings per start. Flaherty will carry a ton of value in any ratio-based format, but his points league owners would like to see him go deeper into games and accrue more quality starts and wins. There isn’t an extensive injury history working against him, and the future is extremely bright for the top arm in the Cardinals organization. A dare to declare him an ace heading into 2019.

 

Nick Pivetta, Philadelphia Phillies

Although you'd never know it judging by his 7-14 record (#KillTheWin), Nick Pivetta quietly flashed excellence in 2018. Following a middling 2017, Pivetta improved in several key areas in his sophomore season and gave fantasy owners plenty of reason to invest heading into the new season. For starters, Pivetta turned on the nastiness and upped his K/9 to 10.32 (up from 9.47) while simultaneously cutting back on walks, shaving off more than a full walk per nine innings (2.80).

The homers were still a bit of a problem (1.32 per nine) but that marked a strong improvement from 2017 (1.69). His ERA was an unsightly 4.77, which, combined with his record, likely explains why the hype train isn't firing on all cylinders here in March. It's definitely left the station, but we ain't chuggin' yet. His xFIP was a rock-solid 3.42, so there was definitely some bad luck mixed in there last year. Similarly, the .326 BABIP will likely come down a little bit this season and hover closer to his .304 career mark. 

Pivetta is currently coming off the board as the SP44, but there is easy top-30 upside here given his penchant for making batters swing and miss. His 12.0% swinging-strike is an encouraging mark that should yield to a great return for those looking for true upside options later in the draft.

 

Kyle Freeland, Colorado Rockies

Let's just say it at the beginning, so I don't need to bring it up again, shall we?

"kYle FrEeLaNd pItChEs iN cOoRs hE iS HaRd tO tRuSt."

Yes, the Coors effect. It's a quantifiable, measurable factor that can't be ignored. HOWEVER...Kyle Freeland may be the guy that you can work with in Coors. German Marquez too, but I'll save that for another time. Freeland was positively excellent all season, tossing 202.1 innings of 2.85-ERA ball and earning a 17-7 record. Wackiest part of that? He was BETTER at Coors (2.40) than he was on the road (3.23). WITCHCRAFT.

He's got a lot of the peripheral stats to back up the surface numbers too. Like Pivetta, Freeland improved his K/9 while cutting back on walks, and somehow managed to lower his already decent 0.98 HR/9 to an absurd 0.76. Read that again--15 of his 33 starts came at Coors, and his HR/9 was 0.76. The man keeps the ball down, and keeps runs off the board because of it.

Freeland is likely going to regress--his 4.22 xFIP indicates that a sub-3.00 ERA is not likely to be repeated. However, a regression of a full run in the ERA department would still put him under 4.00 and make him a legitimate contributor to any fantasy rotation. The Rockies will get their fair share of wins this year, so if you're in a league that still counts that horrid stat (#KillTheWin), he's particularly useful.

 

Marco Gonzales, Seattle Mariners

Gonzales was a top prospect early on in his career, but a string of injuries has turned him from bona fide blue chip to post-hype sleeper. He finally threw a full season last year, and the results were there. Across 29 starts he went 13-9 with an even 4.00 ERA, and provided a huge value to anyone who snagged him early in the season.

Gonzales relies heavily on a sinker, an ever-improving cutter and a nice mix of off-speed stuff, which is conducive to keeping the ball down and has proven effective. There's no real blow-away stuff here, but all of it is well-developed and keeps Gonzales in the game every time out.

The big factor that separates Gonzales from the field is his pinpoint control. In 2018 he walked just 32 batters across his 29 starts, which is one of the better marks in the majors. In the days of casual 100-mph heat, that kind of accuracy is no longer considered sexy--it's still darn effective though. There is nothing to suggest that Gonzales will regress, and in fact, he may improve upon some of his marks given that his xFIP was nearly half a run lower than his ERA. Right now Gonzales is the 69th (nice) starting pitcher off the board, which is wildly cheap for what kind of production I foresee him bringing to the table.

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice




LINEUP RESOURCES

Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts

ROTOBALLER PLAYER NEWS

Damien Harris1 hour ago

Not Expected To Play Thursday Night
Joel Embiid2 hours ago

Returns Against Hawks
Los Angeles Rams2 hours ago

Aaron Donald Dealing With High-Ankle Sprain
Clint Capela2 hours ago

De'Andre Hunter To Play On Monday
Melvin Gordon III2 hours ago

Expected To Sign With Chiefs
Anthony Davis2 hours ago

Likely To Suit Up Monday
Christian McCaffrey2 hours ago

Dealing With Knee Irritation
Brandon Ingram2 hours ago

Downgraded To Out
Jaylen Brown2 hours ago

To Miss Monday's Game
Elijah Mitchell2 hours ago

Likely Out 6-8 Weeks
Pascal Siakam2 hours ago

Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam To Play Monday
Michael Carter2 hours ago

Has A Low-Ankle Sprain
Terry Rozier3 hours ago

Ruled Out On Monday
Joe Mixon3 hours ago

Trending In The Right Direction For Week 13
Darnell Mooney3 hours ago

Done For The Season
James Reimer3 hours ago

Placed On Injured Reserve
Linus Ullmark3 hours ago

Available For The Next Game
Alex Pietrangelo3 hours ago

Out Monday For Personal Reasons
Nick Perbix3 hours ago

Returns On Monday
Robert Thomas3 hours ago

Misses Monday's Game
Warren Foegele3 hours ago

Ryan McLeod Out Monday
John Gibson4 hours ago

Joins Team For Trip To Nashville
Justin Verlander6 hours ago

Dodgers Meeting With Justin Verlander Monday
J.K. Dobbins6 hours ago

To Practice This Week
José Abreu6 hours ago

Astros "Finalizing A Deal For" Jose Abreu
Mike Clevinger6 hours ago

Signs With White Sox
Jameson Williams6 hours ago

A Long Shot To Face Jaguars
Kadarius Toney7 hours ago

Day-To-Day With Hamstring Injury
Caris LeVert7 hours ago

Probable For Monday
Dallas Mavericks7 hours ago

Kemba Walker Expected To Sign With Mavericks
Jarrett Allen7 hours ago

Remains Sidelined Monday
Kevin Love7 hours ago

To Sit Out On Monday
Jaden McDaniels7 hours ago

To Miss Monday's Game
Joel Embiid8 hours ago

Tagged As Questionable For Monday
Travis Etienne Jr.9 hours ago

Says He's Fine
Ja'Marr Chase9 hours ago

Expected To Return In Week 13
Mo Bamba12 hours ago

Exits With Back Spasms
Evan Mobley12 hours ago

Stands Out Versus Detroit
Jaylen Brown12 hours ago

Scores Season-High 36 Points
Bradley Beal12 hours ago

Scores 30 Points In Sunday's Loss
Tyler Herro12 hours ago

Notches A Triple-Double Versus Atlanta
Draymond Green12 hours ago

Logs First Double-Double Of The Season
Grayson Allen12 hours ago

Nets Season-High 25 Points
Aaron Rodgers12 hours ago

To Undergo More Testing
Aaron Rodgers22 hours ago

Questionable To Return On Sunday
Elijah Mitchell22 hours ago

May Have An MCL Sprain
Jalen Brunson23 hours ago

Scores 30 Points In Losing Effort
Darnell Mooney23 hours ago

May Be Done For The Year
Allen Robinson II1 day ago

Needs Surgery, Won't Return This Season
Elijah Mitchell1 day ago

Won't Return On Sunday
Elijah Mitchell1 day ago

Questionable To Return Against Saints
Kirill Kaprizov1 day ago

Extends Scoring Streak To Career-High Nine Games
Matias Maccelli1 day ago

Returns With Two Assists
Johnny Gaudreau1 day ago

Sits Out Sunday's Practice With An Illness
Tampa Bay Buccaneers1 day ago

X-Rays Negative On Tristan Wirfs
Adam Fox1 day ago

Misses Practice With An Illness
Sam Lafferty1 day ago

Sits Again Sunday
Aleksander Barkov1 day ago

Set To Miss Two More Games
Brock Boeser1 day ago

Matches Career-High Point Streak
J.T. Miller1 day ago

Leads The Way With Three Points
Ryan Pulock1 day ago

Hands Out Four Assists
Auston Matthews1 day ago

Notches Three Points Against Pittsburgh
Jack Hughes1 day ago

Gets His First Career Hat Trick
Jordan Kyrou1 day ago

Extends Point Streak With Two Goals
Brayden Schenn1 day ago

Getting Evaluated For A Lower-Body Injury
Ryan McLeod2 days ago

Delivers Three Assists Saturday
Carlos Santana3 days ago

Pirates Agree With Carlos Santana On Friday
Narciso Crook3 days ago

Red Sox Sign Narciso Crook To Minor-League Deal
Denyi Reyes3 days ago

Mets Sign Denyi Reyes
Milwaukee Brewers3 days ago

Blake Perkins Signs With Brewers
Elliot Soto3 days ago

Twins Re-Sign Elliot Soto
Los Angeles Angels3 days ago

Angels Sign Jacob Webb
Xander Bogaerts3 days ago

Padres Looking At Xander Bogaerts?
Brandon Nimmo3 days ago

Rays Among Teams Interested In Brandon Nimmo
Michael Conforto3 days ago

Cubs Considering Michael Conforto
Hoy Park4 days ago

Red Sox Acquire Hoy Park From Pirates
Chad Wallach5 days ago

Angels Re-Sign Chad Wallach
Cody Bellinger5 days ago

Rockies Interested In Cody Bellinger
Carlos Rodón5 days ago

Rangers Have Serious Interest In Carlos Rodon
Aaron Judge5 days ago

Giants Expected To Make Formal Offer To Aaron Judge
Bryce Harper5 days ago

Undergoes Tommy John Surgery
Hoy Park5 days ago

Pirates Designate Hoy Park For Assignment
Joely Rodríguez5 days ago

Red Sox Sign Joely Rodriguez
Hunter Renfroe5 days ago

Brewers Acquire Janson Junk In Hunter Renfroe Trade

RANKINGS

QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
RANKINGS
C
1B
2B
3B
SS
OF
SP
RP