Trevor Cahill 
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 3/1/1988 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: SP|
Profile: Cahill improved in a lot of ways in 2012, but was unable to improve further or even maintain those gains in 2013. In 2012, he posted the highest strikeout rate of his career by getting more swings on pitches outside of the zone and, relatedly, more swings and misses. And he also went from having an elite ground ball rate to having the best ground ball rate in the league (61.2%) by three percentage points. A big reason for the improvements in 2012 was the addition of a cutter to his pitch mix. That pitch generated ground balls and got swings and misses at rates better than most of his other pitches. When you consider that Cahill used the cutter even more in 2013, his regression is a bit surprising. But the cutter simply wasn’t as effective. His swing and miss and ground-ball rates declined noticeably on his cutter last year. There’s always a chance the cutter regains its effectiveness or that Cahill makes another adjustment, but absent the absurd luck on balls in play he got in 2010, his upside is nothing more than something like a 3.80 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP, 12-13 wins and an average strikeout rate. That’s the best case scenario. That projection looks a lot like the line Dillon Gee from last year, and he was a borderline top 60 fantasy starters. So best case scenario, Cahill is one of the last guys on your staff. But more likely he’s just a spot starter. (Brett Talley )
Quick Opinion: All the progress made by Cahill in 2012 disappeared in 2013. The cutter that fueled his 2012 improvements was less effective, and his skills regressed. But even if his cutter regains effectiveness or he makes some other adjustment, Cahill’s upside is limited to that of a borderline top 60 fantasy starter.
Matt Cain 
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 10/1/1984 | Team: Giants | Position: SP|
Profile: Cain had himself a down year in 2013, finishing the season with a 4.00 ERA while posting career-lows in innings pitched (184.1), strikeouts (158), and home runs allowed (23). Many were quick to point to him consistently outperforming his FIP and xFIP as an expected reason for his down year, but both his strikeout and walk rates were within his career averages and he lost nothing in velocity. Cain’s biggest problem last year was the long ball as both his homers per nine and homers per fly ball rates significantly increased in comparison to previous seasons. Perhaps the increased use of his slider (from 19.9% in 2012 to 28.2%) caused him to hang too many pitches up in the zone. Considering the majority of his peripherals fell in line with his career averages, the home runs could be more fluke than anything else. He’s a fly-ball pitcher by trade so home runs will always be somewhat of a concern, but if he returns to his normal pitch mix and everything else stays in line, then we should see a return to the range of numbers we saw between 2009 and 2012. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: While Cain endured a down year in 2013, there is plenty of reason to believe that it was more fluke than an actual decline. The majority of his peripherals stayed within his career averages. Given his track record and the specific outliers from last year, Cain is more likely to bounce back than suffer from the same struggles. Believing in him could prove to be a fantastic bargain as his 2013 totals should help suppress his draft day value.
Arquimedes Caminero 
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 6/16/1987 | Team: Marlins | Position: RP|
Profile: The reader may be suspicious that we here at FanGraphs are trying to trick them by providing a profile for an obviously-made-up player. Please know that Arquimedes Caminero is, in fact, quite real and also a pitcher for the Marlins. He was worth exactly 0.0 WAR in 2013, which is the same number that you and I posted. But he probably made more money than us. The world is nothing but a cruel joke. (David Temple)
Carter Capps 
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 8/7/1990 | Team: Marlins | Position: RP|
Profile: Carter Capps is an explosive right-hander, and the Marlins acquired him from the Mariners for a reason. Capps easily sits in the high-90s with movement and a funky delivery, and his slider is a legitimate knockout pitch against righties. Capps has his troubles with lefties, but his stuff is so vile against right-handed hitters that umpires often miss calls due to the wicked movement that brings his fastball back over the outside corner. Capps owns a .363 batting average in 84 big league innings spread across two seasons, and he had major problems with the dinger last season. Capps might never be a closer, but he’s got a chance to provide fantasy buffs with big-time strikeouts with serviceable numbers elsewhere if he can figure it all out. Don’t draft Capps, but keep an eye on him. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Capps has nasty stuff against righties, but he’s got huge problems against left-handed hitters. He’s not ready for fantasy owners… yet.
Chris Capuano 
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 8/19/1978 | Team: Red Sox | Position: SP|
Profile: When he wasn’t being sidelined by multiple nagging injuries (calf, lat, groin), Capuano’s run in the rotation included this bizarre fact: for a stretch of nine consecutive starts, he allowed either zero earned runs (five times)… or five earned runs (four times). That’s somewhat indicative of what Capuano is as he heads into his age-35 season: occasionally useful, rarely reliable. That’s a decent enough option to have as a swingman for some team, but a whole less interesting in fantasy leagues. (Mike Petriello) 
Quick Opinion: Capuano will have to turn around a declining strikeout rate if he wants to stick in the bigs, but at 35, his moderate peak is long over, and so is his fantasy utility.
David Carpenter 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 7/15/1985 | Team: Braves | Position: RP|
Profile: The Braves claimed Carpenter off waivers after the 2012 season, which saw him post a 8.07 ERA with below average peripherals (4.62 xFIP). He spent April and part of May in Triple-A, where he showed improved command and control. Those gains remained upon a promotion to the Atlanta bullpen and were accompanied by an excellent strikeout rate. The 28-year-old struck out over 10 batters per nine (10.14 K/9), held hitters to a .260 batting average on balls in play, and stranded over 90% of base runners. That trio of stats might have been a bit fluky for Carpenter, which explains why his 1.78 ERA doesn’t jive with his 3.11 xFIP. Owners looking for a good holds reliever should still consider Carpenter. He only accrued 12 last season, but he gained increased trust throughout the season and will probably open the season as the seventh inning reliever. (Brad Johnson)
Quick Opinion: Carpenter broke out in 2013 thanks to improved command and control. He upped his strikeout rate while nerfing his walk rate, a combination that helped him to a stingy 1.78 ERA. He probably won’t be that good next season, but he’s a good bet to be above average.
Chris Carpenter 
|Debut: 1997 | BirthDate: 4/27/1975 | Position: P|
Profile: After being unable to pitch for St. Louis for the entirety of the 2013 season, Carpenter has decided to retire. Had he been able to claw back into the major leagues last year, it would have marked the third time that Carpenter had been able to return from an extended absence. And those extended absences are what will keep Carpenter from being remembered as one of the greats. Because he missed large swaths of time, he averaged less than 20 starts per year over his 17 year career. He had a three-year peak from 2004 to 2006 where he won a Cy Young award and posted a strikeout-to-walk ratio above four in each year. He had another solid three-year run from 2009 to 2011. It’s just too bad the peaks were so frequently interrupted. (Brett Talley)
Quick Opinion: Pitcher, interrupted. Excellence divided by injuries is how we’ll remember him, but let’s not forget that he was good when he was in there.
Carlos Carrasco 
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 3/21/1987 | Team: Indians | Position: SP/RP|
Profile: The flashes of brilliance are still there, as is a fastball that has always been good and last year sat at 95 mph. But the results are notably absent. How does a guy who can touch the high 90’s post only 5.79 strikeouts per nine? How does a guy keep a ground-ball rate over 50% for more than 200 innings in his career and still have home run problems? Everything with Carrasco is in the interpretation. I could tell you he has the raw stuff but injuries, inconsistent playing time, and bad luck have conspired against him. I could tell you he’s a hot head (he served a suspension at the start of 2013 for throwing at a batter, and in his first game back, threw at a batter and got suspended again) with a lack of control and a hittable arsenal that looks better on paper than it does crossing the plate. Instead, I’ll just say that Carrasco is fighting for the fifth rotation spot in Cleveland but even if he gets it, he isn’t worth rostering in fantasy… yet. Keep an eye on the velocity. Look for an increase in swinging strikes and strikeouts. See if he can avoid walks and hit by pitches. The ceiling is still high, but the likelihood of reaching anything close to it seems extremely low. (Chad Young )
Quick Opinion: Carrasco is a puzzle and, even worse for fantasy owners, he is a puzzle entering Spring Training without a job. I won’t have him on my draft board, but I’ll be watching his strike out rate closely if he makes the 25-man roster.
Andrew Cashner 
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 9/11/1986 | Team: Padres | Position: SP|
Profile: It doesn’t always make sense to extrapolate out a second-half split and get all excited. But in the second half last season, Andrew Cashner’s strikeout rate jumped (from 16.2% to 20.8%), his walk rate fell even further (from 7% to 6%), his homer rate almost halved (from .72 per nine to .48), and though some of it was batting average on balls in play (.293 to .234), not all of it was (3.68 FIP to 2.92). Another reason this isn’t just the vagaries of the bouncing ball is that Cashner made a significant change to his arsenal in the middle of the season. The hard slider of old — a knuckle slider — came back, and his soft slider was sent packing. That was a significant change, as the whiff rate on his slider went from an underwhelming 8% to an above-average 18%. That alone is enough to fuel a jump in strikeout rate, and when paired with his fastball gas (95+) and decent change-up, the whole package screams sleeper. Of course, he’s had injury issues in the past, and if the change away from the knuckle slider was for injury reasons, then perhaps those injury risks are augmented again. That said, some of his injuries were freak (slicing himself with a hunting knife, for example), and he’s got enough promise to make him a worthy acquisition in this year’s drafts. (Eno Sarris )
Quick Opinion: Keep him away from dressing a deer, and maybe we can get Andrew Cashner through the full, healthy season that will make him a fantasy darling. After all, after a slight change to his arsenal, he has the weapons to put fear into National League lineups. Consider Cashner one of the better affordable pitchers with ace-like upside.
Santiago Casilla 
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 7/25/1980 | Team: Giants | Position: RP|
Profile: While both his walk and strikeout rates declined last season, Casilla still managed to be a solid asset for fantasy owners as his ERA remained a healthy 2.16 and he was a good source for holds. The biggest reason for the disparity had to come from the dramatic decline in home runs allowed by the veteran right-hander, something he struggled mightily with throughout his 2012 campaign. He should continue to be a decent source for both strikeouts and holds as he’ll work as the primary right-handed set-up man this season for closer Sergio Romo and should see plenty of high-leverage situations. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Despite a relative decline in his peripherals, Casilla managed to maintain a solid 2.16 ERA thanks in part to his ability to keep the ball in the park, something he often struggled with back in 2012. He should enter the 2014 season as the Giants primary right-handed set-up man and he should prove to be a valuable commodity for fantasy owners in leagues that count holds.
Simon Castro 
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 4/9/1988 | Position: RP|
Profile: Once one of the top prospects in San Diego’s farm system, Simon Castro’s stock has fallen recently. Sent to Chicago in the Carlos Quentin trade of 2011, he finally broke into the big leagues in 2013, striking out six guys in a little over six frames of low-leverage work. His Triple-A numbers were weaker, with his 4.56 FIP being slightly better than his 5.83 ERA. Neither are pretty, though. In his short PITCHf/x sample, the right-hander’s fastball only topped out at 89 mph in a relief role. Even if you argue that he was still a little stretched out last season (12 starts versus 15 relief appearances at Triple-A), that would imply there isn’t a lot of upside in the velocity department, which doesn’t bode well for his chance at becoming a valuable relief arm. It’s also concerning since he was reported to be working in the mid-90’s just two years ago. If he can improve his command, he might be able to squeeze his way into a role in a weak Chicago bullpen, but if you’ve been holding onto Castro in dynasty league, no one would blame you for giving up the ghost. (Colin Zarzycki )
Quick Opinion: Simon Castro used to be a blue-chip prospect but his stock has crashed through the floor the last few years. If he can rediscover some lost fastball velocity and improve his command, he could be a fungible arm in Chicago’s bullpen, but the odds are against him becoming a relevant pitcher in 2014.
Brett Cecil 
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 7/2/1986 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: RP|
Profile: Cecil, a first-round draft pick in 2006, was once a fairly promising starting pitcher for Toronto, but poor performances in 2011 and 2012 ended that dream. His few relief appearances in 2012 were not encouraging either. But many a failed starter has turned out to be a good reliever, and in 2013 Cecil looked like another one. It should hardly be surprising at this point when a pitcher’s numbers in almost every category improve once he only has to pitch an inning (maybe two) a game, often in situations tailored to his platoon tendency, where he does not have to conserve energy for the long haul, and where he can focus just on his best pitches. As a starter, Cecil mixed mediocre strikeout rates with poor control while allowing a high number of home runs. Much of his trouble was that, despite a nominally varied repertoire, he simply got crushed by right-handed batters out. That is sort of a problem for a starting pitcher. As a reliever only seeing batters once, he has been able to focus on hit fastball and cutter while using his not-so-awesome slider and change less. He dominated lefties as a reliever in 2013, and though he still walks too many righties, he was not useless against them. He is not quite a LOOGY at this point. In real baseball, the Jays have probably found a useful left-handed reliever in Cecil. Does this translate to much fantasy value? Not much. But Cecil will probably continue to rack of the strikeouts and might have an ERA in the low threes. He could be worth a $1 bid or end-of-draft pick to fill out a roster in a deep AL-only league.(Matt Klaassen)(Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Brett Cecil becomes the latest in a long, long line of failed starters to find success as a reliever. He should continue to be a good reliever in 2014, but with at least two pitchers ahead of Cecil in line for saves in Toronto, it probably won’t translate to much value outside of very deep AL-only leagues.
Jhoulys Chacin 
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 1/7/1988 | Team: Rockies | Position: SP|
Profile: One of the season’s luckiest pitchers calling Coors Field home? Who whudda thunk? Chacin posted an ERA nearly a full run below his SIERA, driven primarily by a surprisingly low 6.2% home run per fly ball rate. He’s never shown such prevention skills before and his home park makes it highly unlikely that he comes close to that mark again. When you neutralize his luck, you’re left with a pitcher with weak strikeout ability and only average control with a slight ground ball tilt. Given his history, his walk rate is at risk for regression, though that could be offset by an uptick in strikeout rate, since you have to assume he’s hit bottom there. He shouldn’t be on your mixed league radar and will probably be overvalued in NL-Only leagues. (Mike Podhorzer )
Quick Opinion: With a poor strikeout rate, Chacin possesses a rather unattractive skill set and looks like a worse option after neutralizing the good fortune he enjoyed in 2013. NL-Only leaguers should be the only ones considering rostering him, but he’s likely to fetch an inflated price, making him someone to ignore.
Joba Chamberlain 
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 9/23/1985 | Team: Tigers | Position: RP|
Profile: A horrendous 2013 season by Chamberlain in New York could be Detroit’s gain. Despite lackluster results in the Bronx, he still possesses a power arm (94 mph) and has proven he can strikeout hitters (career 9.03 strikeouts per nine), though he is prone to bouts of wildness. He’s not likely to be the star everyone once thought, but at 28-years-old still has the potential to be a valuable reliever for a long time. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: Not worth a pick on draft day, Chamberlain merits keeping an eye on as the season progresses. Maybe a change of scenery will do him well.
Aroldis Chapman 
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 2/28/1988 | Team: Reds | Position: RP|
Profile: Starter, closer, closer, starter? Though he has started 16 games during his professional baseball career here in the States, the Reds are clearly afraid to mess with what’s been working. In 2013, Chapman posted the fourth-best SIERA among qualified relievers and the second-lowest mark in 2012. And he’s done it primarily by being a strikeout machine, as he struck out the highest percentage of batters in 2013 and the second-highest in 2012 among that group. His control remains questionable and he has become a fly ball pitcher, but it hasn’t mattered. He’s going to lose velocity at some point, but until he does, he will continue to sit at or close to the top of the closer mountain. Since his strikeout totals reach the level of some bottom-tier starters, he is actually one of the rare four-category contributors among relievers. (Mike Podhorzer )
Quick Opinion: Featuring 98 mph gas and the occasional wicked slider, Chapman has racked up the strikeouts, enough so to offset iffy control and a fly ball tendency. Until he loses fastball velocity or is moved into the starting rotation, he should remain one of the best fantasy closers in baseball.
Tyler Chatwood 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 12/16/1989 | Team: Rockies | Position: SP|
Profile: The Rockies are constantly in need of starting pitching. So when someone like Chatwood comes along and posts the fourth-best single-season ERA- mark in team history (minimum 100 innings pitched), people stand up and take notice. And they did. With Chatwood only 24 years of age this coming in season and still under control for a few more years, suddenly the Chatwood-Chris Iannetta deal is looking like a win-win. The caveat is that Chatwood might not have the stuff to back up his shiny 3.15 ERA from a year ago. The margin for success for any pitcher who doesn’t pile up a lot of strikeouts is razor thin, and so it will be for Chatwood. His 6.8% swinging strike percentage was well below the league average of 9.3%. Chatwood simply wasn’t able to get hitters to chase out of the zone as much as you would like to see. This led to a very high contact percentage, particularly within the strike zone. Of the 145 pitchers to toss at least 100 innings last year, only 10 pitchers had higher Z-Contact%’s than did Chatwood. That’s perfectly fine when you’re keeping your walk rate low and stranding more than two-thirds of the runners who reach base, but any slight uptick in either rate and Chatwood is going to appear a lot more mortal. He’s not a closed book yet though, and if he finds a way to miss some more bats, he’ll have a larger margin for error. That makes him a good sleeper, particularly because he is going to soak up a lot of innings for the Rockies, but he’s not someone on whom you should be relying heading into the season.
Quick Opinion: To say that Chatwood’s successful 2013 season came out of nowhere would be an understatement. And while it would be folly to bank on him being just as good in 2014 as he was in 2013, he is definitely an interesting sleeper pick in deeper leagues.
Wei-Yin Chen 
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 7/21/1985 | Team: Orioles | Position: SP|
Profile: Wei-Yin Chen’s sophomore campaign was shortened due to a mid-season abdominal strain, and finished due to surgery to remove bone spurs from his knee. All indications are that Chen will be a healthy member of the Orioles rotation to start 2014, and you can more or less pencil him in for an ERA a shade above four and an unimpressive strikeout total. Chen pounds the zone and doesn’t have swing-and-miss stuff, leading to said strikeout issues and some gopheritis thanks to sky-high fly ball rates. It’s difficult to see the 28-year-old correcting either, as none of his five pitches stand out as an out-pitch or a go-to ground ball inducer (the change is closest, and he could stand to throw it a bit more often). Chen only really has value in an AL-only format, and if the control shows any signs of deteriorating, jump ship. (Blake Murphy )
Quick Opinion: Wei-Yin Chen is a pitch-to-contact, low-strikeout, roughly league-average pitcher. That makes him a nice back-end rotation guy but a risky, low-ceiling fantasy play with a long ball problem looming.
Bruce Chen 
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 6/19/1977 | Team: Royals | Position: SP/RP|
Profile: Bruce Chen has been able to make a career out of throwing weak junk from left side. He gets few, if any, strikeouts (~six per nine) with his 85 mph fastball. The weak fastball has led him to be home run prone over the years (1.5 homers per nine, career). Chen’s home run rate has been suppressed since going the Royals over the past four seasons. He has given up 1.2 HR/9 with the royals and 1.1 HR/9 at Kauffman Stadium. Chen owners should be expecting something like 6 K/9 with a 2.6 BB/9 and a 1.5 HR/9 even with a return to Kauffman, however. After all, he’s another year older. These values will probably produce around a 4.50 ERA. The ERA is not a total value-killer, but an owner might as well get a pitcher with higher strikeout numbers and a similar ERA. There’s isn’t a great reason Chen would have any fantasy value in your league. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Bruce Chen may start for the Royals, but even though they re-signed him, he’s probably more of a backup plan. Hopefully more of a backup plan.
Randy Choate 
|Debut: 2000 | BirthDate: 9/5/1975 | Team: Cardinals | Position: RP|
Profile: If you look up “lefty specialist” in the encyclopedia, you’ll likely see a picture of Choate. In his 13 major-league seasons, the 38-year-old has held lefties to a paltry .249 weighted on-base average, while righties have hit him to the tune of a .352 wOBA. He has never thrown more than 50.2 innings in any single season, and that was back in 2004. Guys like Choate are valuable real-life commodities, but he doesn’t pitch often enough to be fantasy-relevant. (Scott Strandberg )
Quick Opinion: Choate’s career strikeout rate (7.68 per nine) and earned run average (3.84) are less than exciting, and become even more forgettable when one factors in the fact that he only throws about 35 innings per season.
Tony Cingrani 
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 7/5/1989 | Team: Reds | Position: SP|
Profile: One of the bigger surprises of the season, Cingrani is not your typical starting pitcher. Rather than featuring a three-pitch mix like most starters, he’s essentially a one-pitch guy, throwing fastball after fastball after fastball. He occasionally pumped in one of three off-speed pitches, but more than eight out of every 10 pitches was a standard four-seam fastball that averaged about 92 mph. Amazingly, his primarily one-pitch repertoire was still enough to fuel a fantastic strikeout rate, and he’s done this throughout his entire professional career. The risk is that batters eventually catch on, at which points it will be up to Cingrani to improve upon his secondary offerings and start mixing them in more frequently. As a fly ball pitcher with iffy control, any loss of effectiveness from his fastball could dramatically hamper his results. (Mike Podhorzer) 
Quick Opinion: Cingrani’s reliance on the fastball has worked for him and led to huge strikeout rates everywhere he has pitched. Although he may very well continue performing at this level for the foreseeable future, there is great risk that hitters adjust, leaving it up to him to prove he is more than just a one-pitch pitcher.
Steve Cishek 
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 6/18/1986 | Team: Marlins | Position: RP|
Profile: Cishek is coming off the best season of his young career, as his 2.33 ERA and 2.98 xFIP were both career-bests. This is largely thanks to Cishek dramatically decreasing his walk rate, from 4.10 per nine innings in 2012 to 2.84 BB/9 in 2013. The 27-year-old accomplished this by throwing more first-pitch strikes than in either of his two previous full major-league seasons; he threw first-pitch strikes to 63.7% of the batters he faced last season, compared to 56.7% in 2012. The other big improvement Cishek made between 2012 and 2013 was his ability to get lefties out. He’s a righty-killer, as he allowed right-handers to hit just .177/.233/.227 last year, but sidearm pitchers usually suffer from pretty bad splits. He was solid against lefties in 2011, allowing a weighted on-base average of just .280, but that figure ballooned to .340 in 2012, raising concerns about his ability to retire lefties regularly enough to be a full-time closer. He addressed those concerns head-on last season, holding lefties to a .285 wOBA. (Scott Strandberg )
Quick Opinion: With the Marlins’ acquisition of Carter Capps, there is another legitimate ninth-inning option on the roster, but there’s no reason to replace a 27-year old closer coming off the best season of his career. Unless it’s to trade him. If he struggles to start the season, Capps could get a look, but Cishek should be a solid mid-range fantasy closer again in 2014.
Preston Claiborne 
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 1/21/1988 | Team: Yankees | Position: RP|
Profile: Preston Claiborne’s best pitch is his change up. And it’s a very good change up. He’s relatively young, and should get a decent chance at some innings unless the Yankees break the bank on a new corps of relievers. Bringing his home run to fly ball rate down to somewhat-normal levels should help in this as well. Probably not a closer, though. (David Temple)
Paul Clemens 
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 2/14/1988 | Team: Astros | Position: RP|
Profile: Oh, how flush the Astros are with low-strikeout arms vying for back-end rotation spots. Count Paul Clemens and his 15.2% strikeout rate among them, though at least Clemens is kind enough to keep his strikeout-to-walk ratio within spitting distance of two. He’s also very kind to batters, who lit him up thanks to a 48.4% fly ball rate and a total lack of deception. At 25, Clemens still has time to improve but he’s never been a strikeout guy and has struggled with the long ball in recent years in the minors. With a three-pitch mix, Clemens might figure out how best to dance around bats without elite stuff but it’s also possible he ends up as a nondescript right-handed reliever, largely the role he played in 2013 with a 5.40 ERA. (Blake Murphy )
Quick Opinion: Paul Clemens doesn’t quite have the stuff to miss bats and that’s a real issue with the amount of fly balls he gives up. Unless he can develop a way to keep hitters off balance, he’s going to be someone for fantasy owners to pick on.
Maikel Cleto 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 5/1/1989 | Position: RP|
Profile: Cleto struck out about 30% of the batters he faced in 2012 between Triple-A and the majors. Given that measure of his success and the armspeed that helped to facilitate it, he appeared to be a candidate for continued success in 2013. That didn’t really happen, though. Working mostly in a starting capacity for Triple-A Memphis, Cleto recorded a one-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio in 53.1 innings. After being claimed off waivers by Kansas City, his ratios improved in a relief role, but still failed to inspire. The armspeed still exists, but, as has commonly been said of Cleto, the command remains sub-optimal. (Carson Cistulli)
Quick Opinion: The scouting report unfortunately hasn’t changed much on Cleto in recent years: excellent armspeed, less than excellent command.
Tyler Clippard 
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 2/14/1985 | Team: Nationals | Position: RP|
Profile: Clippard has been a 70+ appearance, high strikeout, reliable reliever for four seasons now. His ERAs have fluctuated thanks to the fickleness that is batting average on balls in play in a 70-90 inning sample, but his ERA over that four-year period is 2.73. That’s what he is, a sub-three ERA reliever with a well above average strikeout rate and an average walk rate. In other words, he’s good. If you’re in a league where relievers don’t have to get saves to have fantasy value, Clippard is definitely one of the elite, non-closer relievers. But if you need him to get saves, you’ll have to wait for Rafael Soriano to get injured or to falter. Soriano did see a significant drop in his velocity, strikeout and swinging strike rates last year, so it’s not impossible that he could lose the closer gig. But if he does, Clippard is likely the favorite to take over the role with Drew Storen also being in the mix. (Brett Talley )
Quick Opinion: Tyler Clippard is going to pitch in 70+ games and strikeout tons of batters. That’s what he has done for four straight years. But if you need saves for him to have fantasy value, you’ll have to hope Rafael Soriano’s big drop in strikeout rate is a sign of his imminent demise. For now, Clippard is just an elite, non-closer reliever.
Tyler Cloyd 
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 5/16/1987 | Position: SP|
Profile: A .365 batting average on balls in play made Cloyd’s season appear much worse than he actually pitched, but with a mid-80s fastball, a below-average strikeout rate and an above-average walk rate, he’s not more than a fringe major leaguer and a non-factor in fantasy leagues. The righty inked a minor-league deal with Cleveland, so if he does work his way back to the majors, he can feature poor stuff in a more pitcher-friendly ballpark than he saw in Philly. (JP Breen)
Alex Cobb 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 10/7/1987 | Team: Rays | Position: SP|
Profile: Alex Cobb was the Ace in Training for the Rays in 2013. Though injuries limited him to just 22 starts, Cobb still managed to access the public attention with an ERA that was 27% than league average (and an FIP that was 11% better). His enormous ground-ball rate (56%) makes him a likely career-long candidate for beating his fielding-independent stats, which makes him more valuable in standard leagues than linear weights leagues. But even in linear weights leagues, his nasty, bat-missing curve balls and impeccable control netted him a 23.2% strikeout rate and 7.8% walk rate — both very useful in any manner of league. But can he stay healthy? Well, his injury in 2013 came in the form of a line drive off the cranium. Since he pitched expertly following his return, it’s hard to imagine lingering effects from that horrific injury — but he also had shoulder surgery on his throwing side as recently as 2011. Cobb will only be 26 in the 2014 season, and has no real injury history outside of the line drive ouchee and the surgery, so it’s unfair to assume he’s a greater risk than any other pitcher out there. But it’s worth noting: He still hasn’t pitched more than 150 innings in a single season his pro career. (@BradleyWoodrum )
Quick Opinion: Injuries slowed Cobb’s ascension in 2013, but he finished the season strong and should continue to dominate hitters in 2014. His mix of strikeouts and ground balls make him a bit of a FIP-beater, but he limits walks enough to be valuable in traditional and linear weights leagues. Just keep an eye on his health: He’s never pitched more than 150 innings in a season.
Robert Coello 
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 11/23/1984 | Position: RP|
Profile: From a statistical vantage, Roberto Coello is as forgettable as anyone in baseball: a back-of-the-bullpen arm who’s been through four organizations and an independent league, a right-hander with a 90-mph fastball and a two-day beard. If your league counts number of gifs, however, Coello’s a second-round talent. His “forkleball” is a thing of beauty, if by beauty we refer to anything unusual in our tepid, repetitive lives, but it seems to be even less reliable than a usual knuckleball. He’s not worth a roster spot, but remember that, as we say with R.A. Dickey, these weird pitchers have a habit of finding one trick to putting it all together at once. File the name away, if only to do a google image search every month or so. (Patrick Dubuque)
Quick Opinion: Might have to turn SafeSearch off to fully enjoy Roberto Coello.
Gerrit Cole 
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 9/8/1990 | Team: Pirates | Position: SP|
Profile: Look at Gerrit Cole’s year-end stats and you might not get it. He didn’t strike out batters at better than a league-average rate, his ground-ball rate was good-not-great, and his good stats were seemingly built on the back of excellent control. Watch the game, however, and you know that there’s more on the way. His excellent command of two mid-90s fastballs is the basis of his excellence, but he’s starting to freelance beyond with his secondary stuff. His curve is excellent in getting both whiffs and ground-balls. His slider is good for whiffs. His changeup is only about league-average when it comes to peripherals, but it plays up against lefties. Increased use of those pitches led to a jump in his strikeout rate in the second half. Those numbers — he struck out a quarter of the guys he saw in the second half while keeping his excellent control — are the basis of calling Cole a fantasy ace in the coming year. With no threat of an innings cap, youth on his side, devastating stuff, a strikeout per inning, excellent control, smart defense behind him, and a homer-suppressing park, Cole checks all the boxes. He’s one of the best young pitchers to take a chance on after you’ve taken three or four offensive studs. (Eno Sarris )
Quick Opinion: You never know what will happen as the spring progresses and pundits pick their poison, but talk could be about Michael Wacha and Jose Fernandez as the young pitchers closest to fantasy acedom this season. But Gerrit Cole has just as much of a chance — maybe better — to end the season as a top-12 fantasy pitcher.
Louis Coleman 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 4/4/1986 | Team: Royals | Position: RP|
Profile: Louis Coleman broke out in 2013 by developing a sinking fastball. In his first two seasons, he had a respectable 3.25 ERA. While he almost struck out nearly ten per nine innings, his main problem was the damage done by his 1.5 homer per nine and 4.2 walks per nine rates. Most of the problem came from left-handed hitters (5.52 FIP in 2011 and 5.87 FIP in 2012). In 2013, Coleman developed some sink on his fastball and his production improved dramatically. He saw his fastball percentage drop from near 60% to 35%. At the same time, his HR/9 dropped to 0.3. Additionally, he quit walking as many batters and his BB/9 dropped to 1.8. Finally, he was able to post a reverse FIP split (1.94 vs lefties, 2.08 vs righties) in 2013. All the improvements led to a 0.61 ERA, 2.04 FIP and 2.37 xFIP. While some regression should be expected in 2014, he still should be productive as long as he keeps the ball on the ground. As for the opportunities, he should be in line for some holds, but getting saves may be difficult. He is probably at least behind Luke Hochevar if Greg Holland gets hurt/traded. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Louis Coleman had the league’s second-lowest ERA in 2013 (minimum 20 innings pitched), and there was good reason for his improvement, but he might lack the opportunity to get holds, yet alone saves in 2014.
Josh Collmenter 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 2/7/1986 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: RP|
Profile: Collmenter had a nice year in a long relief role for Arizona. He posted a 3.13 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 92 innings over 49 appearances. The ERA is likely to rise next year when his home run per fly ball rate regresses from 6.9%. That’s especially true since Collmenter is a heavy fly ball pitcher (46.8% fly ball rate). But even with a little regression there, Collmenter’s ERA should sit respectably in the mid-to-high threes. The most encouraging number for Collmenter is a 10.8% swinging strike rate, up 8.7% from 2012. You might think the reason for the increase is that Collmenter more frequently saw right-handers pitching exclusively out of the bullpen. But all of the gains in whiffs came against left-handers thanks to an increase in the use of his change up against them. The reason it’s important to know that Collmenter was good last year and that he made improvements against lefties is that he could potentially find himself back in the rotation at some point. No one would be surprised if Brandon McCarthy missed some time, and either Collmenter or Archie Bradley would likely take over that spot. If Bradley takes the first opening, Collmenter would be in line to take the next one. (Brett Talley )
Quick Opinion: Collmenter has a successful year in a long relief role for Arizona. Some if it was bit lucky, but he made improvements against lefties that will be helpful if he ever has to slide back into the rotation. If he becomes a starter again, he could have some some spot start value.
Alex Colome 
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 12/31/1988 | Team: Rays | Position: SP|
Profile: Colome is a live-armed Dominican on the cusp of helping the major league Rays. A lively fastball up in the mid 90’s and a solid change up allow him to get out both left and right-handers. What holds Colome back is lack of a quality breaking ball and a weak command profile resulting from reliever style mechanics. His curveball lacks consistency in shape, spin and location. Colome has the raw stuff to help a rotation over the short term, but his best fit is ultimately pitching out of the bullpen — where he could be helping the Rays shortly. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Colome made his major league debut in 2013. He can help in the rotation if the need arises but likely fits best out of the bullpen due to command problems and the lack of consistency in his secondary pitches.
Bartolo Colon 
|Debut: 1997 | BirthDate: 5/24/1973 | Team: Mets | Position: SP|
Profile: At 41, Bartolo Colon is way off the end of any aging curve, so maybe the age-old truths we know about age are less relevant to predicting his future. He’s stayed steady around 89-90 mph for a few years now, anyway, and he’s been relatively healthy for two years in Oakland. Maybe he can manage another two years despite the available research on aging starters . His reliance on the fastball means fewer whiffs, but that fact, paired with his great control, might mean fewer mechanics-related injuries in the last few years of his career. And though he’s moving from a park that helps mitigate one of his flaws — he has had homeritis in the past — to a park that actually augments homers a bit, he’s also moving from the American League to the National League. The fact remains that he’s no longer a one-dollar sleeper, and if you want him, you’ll have to make a bigger investment. So he’s less interesting than he was in the past, at least in fantasy terms. Any large man who inspired reams of research on pitcher abuse only to have controversial surgery and return for a fantastic finish to an up-and-down career is interesting, of course. (Eno Sarris)
Quick Opinion: There’s even more risk with Bartolo Colon than your average post-PED-suspension player, considering he’s over 40 and moving out of a pitcher’s park and into a more neutral one. But the bottom of National League lineups should help him into a soft landing for the end of his career.
Jose Contreras 
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 12/6/1971 | Position: RP|
Profile: Contreras will be 43 in 2014. He’s a reliever with a low-90s fastball and almost 1200 innings logged in his arm. Well, both arms were present for those innings, technically, though only his right did the work. Both of his arms have only a modicum of use in any situation these days. He has an outside shot (waaay outside) at some save opportunities in Texas, but hasn’t logged over 20 innings since 2010. (David Temple)
Ryan Cook 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 6/30/1987 | Team: Athletics | Position: RP|
Profile: There are probably a few people out there disappointed that Oakland acquired closer Jim Johnson this offseason, and Ryan Cook is chief among them. The presumed closer for 2014 is now likely second in line despite a 2.55 ERA and 2.89 FIP over 148.1 major league innings out of the pen. The righty brings 95 MPH heat and a vicious slider, complementing them with a sinker he can call on for ground balls. It’s perhaps a bit curious that Cook has a 4.3% home run per fly ball rate for his career but O. Co Coliseum helps and a lack of line drives with a high infield fly rate hint that he could just be really good at inducing weak contact. In any case, he’d be a decent closer at worst and will be a must-add if Johnson stumbles or gets hurt at any point. (Blake Murphy )
Quick Opinion: A good heater and filthy slider can sometimes a closer make, but even with a decent third offering Ryan Cook finds himself passed over for save opportunities entering 2014. He’d be a strong add should Jim Johnson stumble, though.
Patrick Corbin 
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 7/19/1989 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: SP|
Profile: Corbin was easily one of the bigger surprises of 2013 as he was virtually undrafted in fantasy leagues and finished 27th among starters in Wins Above Replacement. The biggest reasons for the breakout were a slight change in his pitch mix and better luck on balls in play. As for the pitch mix, Corbin’s slider was a much more effective pitch than his change up in 2012 according to our pitch values, and he increased the slider usage and decreased the change up usage in 2013. His slider also turned out to be one of the fifteen best sliders among starters last year. As for the luck on balls in play, a 34 point drop in batting average on balls in play never hurts. His BABIP was extremely low early in the year with a .247 first half BABIP, but it evened out somewhat with a .337 second half BABIP. His strand rate followed a similar path. As a result of the BABIP and strand rate leveling out, it looks like Corbin faded down the stretch with an ERA of around six. But his strikeout and walk rates remained similar, and his ERA remained under four in every month of the season. Ultimately, Corbin got a little more good luck than bad and should probably expect his roto numbers to rise a touch more in 2014. The Steamer projection seems on the money. Combined with above average strikeout and walk skills, Corbin should still be an above average starter next year. But maybe a top 40-50 starter as opposed to top 30. (Brett Talley )
Quick Opinion: By altering his pitch mix a bit and getting better luck on balls in play, Corbin broke out in 2013. All of the better luck came early in the year, so the regression makes it look like he faded down the stretch. But his skills remained constant throughout the season. He may be in line for a touch more regression in 2014, but he should still be an above average starter and a top 40 starter in fantasy leagues.
Kevin Correia 
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 8/24/1980 | Team: Twins | Position: SP|
Profile: It was a bit of an upset that the Twins signed Correia in the 2012-’13 offseason, as the right-hander just wasn’t the type of arm that signaled a club-wide commitment to improvement. But ultimately, the Twins got what they paid for in Correia, as the move from the National League wasn’t as painful as many forecasted. Correia didn’t turn any heads in his first foray to the junior circuit, but he more than held his own with a 9-13 record, 185.1 innings, and a 4.18/4.40/4.24 ERA/FIP/xFIP. Essentially, the Twins identified what they truly wanted out of a pitcher in 2013: Innings. And for the right price — an average annual value of $5 million — that’s exactly what they got from Correia. If the Twins’ reported dalliances with free agent pitchers bring fruit, it’s likely that Correia could be on the chopping block. His low salary and durability could possibly bring back as C+ prospect, or maybe a nice utility infield option. And that might be on the low end, given current free agent prices. Correia won’t be anything more than a week-to-week fill-in or AL-only fantasy option no matter what happens, though. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Correia’s value is tied solely to the number of innings he pitches. That makes him hands-off in pretty much all fantasy formats.
Jarred Cosart 
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 5/25/1990 | Team: Astros | Position: SP|
Profile: Jarred Cosart threw over 1000 pitches last year, in four or five different flavors depending on your favorite classification system. Not one of those flavors got average whiff rates. Sure, the fact that he throws a 95 mph cut fastball is interesting. And yes, his curveball has ten inches of drop and six inches of cut. That curve is a behemoth that led to decent strikeout rates in the minor leagues — but only decent. And we haven’t yet started talking about his command, which is poor. Legendarily poor, even — his 14.2% walk rate would have led baseball if he qualified, by three percent. Or maybe we have started talking about his command. Maybe it’s just command separating Cosart from better numbers across the board. Because batters have to swing at a curve to really take advantage of that kind of movement, and the best way to make batters swing at a curve is to put them in counts where they have to swing. And Cosart does get good ground-ball rates on most of his pitches. If there was some way he could iron out his issues, get batters to swing and miss at the curve, and use the rest of his arsenal for grounders… That’s a lot of ifs, which collectively make Cosart a deep dynasty league pickup at best, a guy to monitor, a name to remember. (Eno Sarris )
Quick Opinion: Even in his better games during his debut, Jarred Cosart struggled to command his pitches. Until he starts to win that struggle, he’ll forever stymie your eye test. The curveball! The velocity! All for naught.
Neal Cotts 
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 3/25/1980 | Team: Rangers | Position: RP|
Profile: Neal Cotts turned in easily the best season of his career in 2013. He posted a 1.11 ERA (2.17 FIP), a 0.95 WHIP, and a 29.2% strikeout rate. In 57 innings pitched, Cotts gave up only 36 hits. And it’s not like Cotts was just used as a LOOGY — of his 57 innings, 29.1 came against right-handed batters who actually performed worse than the left-handed hitters. RHB slashed just .154/.230/.206 against Cotts while LHB hit .198/.259/.306. In fantasy formats, Cotts value is hampered due to the volume of quality bullpen arms around him. Even with Joe Nathan leaving in free agency, Cotts is probably third or fourth on the depth chart to close — and he’s not much closer to contributing in holds leagues either. Keep an eye on whether Neftali Feliz will close or start, because if he starts, that should bump Cotts up a rung in holds leagues, but it would still take a huge shakeup to see him closing out games. As it is, it looks like Feliz will relieve, which puts Cotts third or fourth on the closer role depth chart. (Michael Barr )
Quick Opinion: Neal Cotts sits comfortably in the middle of one of the better bullpens in baseball. His 2013 season was easily his finest, posting a 1.11 ERA (2.17 FIP), 0.95 WHIP, and a 29.2% strikeout rate. Cotts is perhaps due for some regression looking at a particularly high strand rate and particularly low batting average on balls in play, but he’s likely to still be a valuable piece in the Ranger bullpen. The Rangers have such depth in the bullpen, Cotts isn’t likely to see closer duties, and will only net you a handful of holds.
Jesse Crain 
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 7/5/1981 | Team: Astros | Position: RP|
Profile: A shoulder injury limited Crain’s usage throughout 2013. While he only pitched 36.2 innings, Crain put up strong numbers. He signed a one-year deal with the Astros in December, and could be in line for saves. As long as he’s healthy, he could be a useful asset at least through the first half of the season. Only Chad Qualls and a balky shoulder stands in his way. Given the state of the Astros, Crain is a prime candidate to be dealt around the deadline even if it all works out. Shoulder injuries can be serious, so he’s the type of player to monitor during Spring Training. If he’s throwing hard and looks good, he could make a nice late-round pick. But don’t get too comfortable with him as your closer. (Chris Cwik )
Quick Opinion: Shoulder injuries limited Crain’s usage last season, but not his production. If he’s the closer in Houston, he’ll have nice value at least through the first half of the season.
Aaron Crow 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 11/10/1986 | Team: Royals | Position: RP|
Profile: The former 12th overall pick has found a home in the bullpen, where his stuff plays up. Crow is a good enough middle reliever and could probably handle the seventh or eighth, but the Royals have a few better options for the ninth inning ahead of him. As a sinker/slider guy, he doesn’t really have a weapon against lefties, and his splits agree. His career strikeout rate drops from impressive against righties (28%) to below-average against lefties (19%). (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: Crow has successfully found a niche in the bullpen but won’t be in line for save opportunities any time soon as the Royals have better options.
Johnny Cueto 
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 2/15/1986 | Team: Reds | Position: SP|
Profile: The lat injury will likely scare many away, but savvy owners have the opportunity to look past the injury red flags. Consider this: despite the strained lat, his velocity remained in line with his 2012 numbers, his strikeout rate didn’t decrease, his swinging-strike rate increased and Cueto compiled a sub-three ERA for the third-consecutive season. The standard concerns that arise during injury-plagued seasons didn’t appear. Furthermore, the right-hander returned to the Reds’ rotation in late September after an extended absence and didn’t experience any velocity loss, which once again lessens the post-injury anxieties. Johnny Cueto owns a 2.61 ERA in his last 433.2 innings, and much of that can be attributed to a vastly improved change up. His swinging-strike rate on that change up increased to 21.2% last season. He’s a bona fide potential top-10 starter when healthy. The injury will ensure that he won’t be valued as such on draft day, which opens an opportunity for intelligent owners to swoop in and acquire a potential bargain ace. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: Some fantasy owners may back away from Cueto on draft day due to his missing 10 weeks with a lat injury, but the stellar results continued on the mound. The right-hander appears poised to return to his 2012 form, in which he was a top-10 fantasy starter.
John Danks 
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 4/15/1985 | Team: White Sox | Position: SP|
Profile: Danks’ return from shoulder surgery went as expected. Danks lost some velocity on his fastball, which contributed to giving up a ridiculous 1.82 homers per nine. While the walk rate was surprising coming off the injury, Danks saw his strikeout numbers fall to an unacceptable territory. The White Sox have handled injuries incredibly well in the past, but shoulder issues should always be taken seriously. At this point, it’s unclear whether Danks will return to form. He was a low-end fantasy starter when healthy, so it’s tough to draft him now unless he shows significant improvement by the end of spring. (Chris Cwik )
Quick Opinion: Danks struggled to return from a shoulder injury. It’s unclear whether he’ll ever return to form, making it tough to rely on him in 2014.
Yu Darvish 
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 8/16/1986 | Team: Rangers | Position: SP|
Profile: I’ll have to admit I love Yu. The minute I saw Darvish pitch in Japan, I believed he had the stuff to dominate American hitters. And after striking out 498 dudes in two years, there’s no doubt about that ability any longer. Mid-nineties velocity, two sliders, two curves and a splitter — all of them plus — give him plenty of weapons. But now I have to admit that there are reasons I worry about Yu. It’s tempting to say his control got better in 2013 — he did cut his walk rate, after all. And after being squeezed some in 2012, it’s tempting to say that he finally got a fair shake from the umpires. But his first-strike rate (the best walk rate peripheral) got worse and is still below league average. Much of his improvement in control was just getting batters to whiff on pitches outside the zone more than he had his first year. And a word about injury. He throws his slider almost a quarter of the time, and that puts stress on his elbow . You also have a guy who’s a little wild, so he’s not a Billy Beane strike-thrower guy . Last, Darvish went on the DL in 2013, which is the best predictor of future DL woes. He seems about as likely for an injury in 2013 as it gets for a dominant 27-year-old. Obviously, there’s a ton of upside. But now, at ace prices, there’s a ton of risk, too. (Eno Sarris )
Quick Opinion: If you got into Yu before it was cool, congratulations. Now that you have to pay market prices for the Ranger’s ace, the risk might be too much to make it a great proposition. When it comes to injury and wildness, there are reasons to worry about Darvish in 2014.
Wade Davis 
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 9/7/1985 | Team: Royals | Position: SP|
Profile: Wade Davis has little to no fantasy value because of a lack of talent. The Royals’ ineptitude in evaluating his true talent might make it seem like he’s interesting, but don’t be fooled. First, Wade Davis is not an average starting pitcher. As starter in his career, he has 4.57 ERA and 6.3 strikeouts per nine. The Royals didn’t believe those numbers and started him 24 times in 2013… and he put up a 5.67 ERA. Davis basically only throws a fastball and a curve which are not enough pitch types to make it as a starter. As a reliever though in 2013, he posted a 0.90 ERA. He has shown an ability to pitch as a reliever with career values of 2.24 ERA and 10.5 strikeouts per nine. Those relief numbers would great in the bullpen as a closer or setup man. The problem is the Royals still want him to be a starter, so he goes from one of the league’s best relievers to a below-average starter. Davis’s value will only be realized if he is a reliever. If he does go back to the pen, he could fill a team’s SP spot on off days and accumulate stats (holds and strikeouts). Otherwise, I don’t see Davis being draftable in his current role. If the Royals bullpen gets ravished by injuries or he gets traded to a team with a shallower bullpen, then his value may increase. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Wade Davis’ only value would be a setup man or closer, which he is not. If he is in the rotation, stay way from him like Dave Cameron avoids blinks.
Justin De Fratus 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 10/21/1987 | Team: Phillies | Position: RP|
Profile: De Fratus spent most of 2013 on the Phillies major league roster. In his brief exposure to the majors, he’s had a lot more trouble controlling his walk rate than in the minors. De Fratus has been a recognized relief prospect in the Phillies system since 2010, but his ceiling appears to be that of a setup reliever. He’ll be asked to be a reliable relief ace for the Phillies in 2014, but that may be more than he can provide. Owners in holds leagues may want to target him since he’ll probably pitch the seventh inning. He only strikes out an average number of batters (for a reliever) and has allowed an ERA in the high threes to date. (Brad Johnson)
Quick Opinion: De Fratus may pitch setup innings for the Phillies in 2014, but he may require more seasoning before he’s truly a “setup man.” Reliever performance is erratic and De Fratus in particular should be handled carefully.
Dane de la Rosa 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 2/1/1983 | Team: Angels | Position: RP|
Profile: The former real estate agent (it’s true, look it up ) went from riding the Delta Shuttle between Durham and Tampa Bay to becoming a strong contributor in the Anaheim bullpen. De La Rosa made tweaks to his delivery and arm slot once joining the Angels and saw an immediate uptick in his results. His zone contact rate dropped over five percentage points from his previous career low, and he showed better fastball command that allowed him to both set up and utilize his other pitches more effectively. With his height and long stride, he gets on top of the ball well and is tough for batters to elevate. That said, he has several options surrounding him if the Angels ever tire of Frieri’s struggles in the closer role. (Jason Collette)
Quick Opinion: With his height and long stride, he gets on top of the ball well and is tough for batters to elevate. That said, he has several options surrounding him if the Angels ever tire of Frieri’s struggles in the closer role.
Rubby de la Rosa 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 3/4/1989 | Team: Red Sox | Position: RP|
Profile: De La Rosa arrived in Boston near the end of 2012 as part of the Adrian Gonzalez-Carl Crawford-Josh Beckett mega trade. De La Rosa was seen as a bit of a recovery project since he was still recovering from Tommy John Surgery at the time. The Red Sox limited his workload early this season and it was clear he was still feeling his way back. De La Rosa has a live arm and the raw stuff is impressive. On the downside, he doesn’t repeat his delivery well and his command and control are subpar. Along with the tremendous starting pitching Boston has in the high minors, these things (and the injury history) point to a likely future in the bullpen. It is still possible he bounces back even stronger in 2014 a year further removed from the surgery. De La Rosa does have ninth inning potential down the road either way. (Al Skorupa)
Quick Opinion: De La Rosa may end up relieving — his mechanics could continue to lead to bad control and command — but even if he does, his upside is superlative. Closing or starting, he has stuff worth watching.
Jorge de la Rosa 
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 4/5/1981 | Team: Rockies | Position: SP|
Profile: Once upon a time, De La Rosa had a 93-mph fastball in his arsenal, and primed with that cheese and some more refined control, he was on the verge of becoming a fantasy stud. Then in 2010, he missed a bunch of time thanks to an injury to his middle finger, and then in 2011 he blew out his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. His comeback was delayed by complications during rehab, and he ended up having three lost years — from 2010 to 2012 he tossed just 191.1 innings and totaled just 3.0 WAR. Good numbers for a single season, but certainly not for three. When he came back this past season, he had lost two mph off of that fastball, but he compensated by turning more to his two-seam fastball and offspeed offerings. The new mix of pitches led to him allowing the lowest percentage of fly balls in his career — just 27.6%. He gave up his fair share of line drives, but he was able to strand three-fourths of the runners who reached base, which kept his ERA low. His 3.76 FIP wasn’t exactly dogmeat either, as it clocked in at 13 percent better than league average. Turns out, keeping balls from landing in the cheap seats is a good path to success. Who knew? The trick will be whether or not he can do it again. His 7.7% HR/FB was easily a full-season low, and with the diminished velocity taking away his ability to will strikeouts out of thin air, he will need to maintain that low home run rate in order to remain successful. If he can, he’ll be a great bet in the middle rounds. But you’re better off hoping he slides towards the end of your draft.
Quick Opinion: One of the milder surprises of the 2013 season, De La Rosa once again put himself on the map as a solid, mid-tier fantasy starter. He isn’t going to get strikeouts, and he isn’t going to be super efficient either, but as long as he can keep the ball in the ballpark and his team in the game, he’ll be a decent bet to be productive.
Samuel Deduno 
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 7/2/1983 | Team: Twins | Position: SP|
Profile: With a 4.09 ERA the past two seasons, Deduno continues to defy convention. That’s exactly a league-average ERA (by ERA+) that Deduno has put up despite accruing just six strikeouts and four and a half walks per nine. Those secondary stats have kept Deduno down in the ‘intriguing number five candidate’ rather than etching his name into a solidified rotation spot. Now 30, and amidst his second straight injury-riddled offseason, Deduno will again have to fight to get a shot at that final spot in the Twins rotation even after posting the third-highest WAR among Twins starters in 2013. This year’s injury — arthroscopic shoulder surgery — is a bit troublesome. The competition is also stiffer, as the Twins already have Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey, Phil Hughes, and Ricky Nolasco locked into four spots, and a competition featuring Deduno, Vance Worley, Scott Diamond, Andrew Albers, and a number of others for the last spot in the rotation. Deduno’s main calling card is a 90 mph fastball that has intense downward action which has induced a career groundball rate of 59%. Had Deduno qualified, he’d have had one of the top groundball rates across the majors in each of the last two seasons. And that groundball rate is likely what will keep him on the big league radar in the next few years to come. He’s not a fantasy consideration — last year was his high-water mark at 108 innings pitched — but he’s the kind of guy who is fun to watch as appointment viewing on MLB.tv. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Deduno’s peripherals are far too scary to tie yourself to in a shallow mixed league, but he can be worth watching in weekly leagues and AL-onlys. At this point, however, he’s no guarantee to even make the Twins out of spring training. It’s best to just stay away.
Steve Delabar 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 7/17/1983 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: RP|
Profile: Former substitute teacher Steve Delabar did not have trouble striking people out when the Mariners first brought him up. His problems had to do with his walk rate and an affinity for the long ball. His homer-itis is probably why the Mariners were willing to trade him to Toronto for Eric Thames in 2012. Strangely, moving from Safeco to the Rogers Centre seemed to almost immediately “cure” his problems with the home run in 2012, and this continued in 2013. Delabar had a great 2013 — he still walked a lot of hitters, but he also had an extremely high strikeout rate and the ball stayed in the park. If Delabar was unlucky in Seattle, he is probably getting a bit lucky in Toronto. Boringly, his true talent likely lies somewhere in between. Delabar has attributes associated with some of the best relievers: questionable control that is more than balanced by a tremendous strikeout rate and a repertoire (fastball and splitter, with more sliders to righties) that makes him effective versus southpaws as well as same-siders. Still, Delabar isn’t quite elite. While home run per fly ball rate varies quite widely (and thus is difficult to pin down with respect to true talent), fly ball rate is pretty clear a skill, and Delabar is a a pretty extreme fly ball pitcher. His home run problems could appear again. Still, he is still a very good setup man, and should probably be drafted in all but the shallowest AL-only leagues. If something happens to closer Casey Janssen, Delabar will likely get some saves. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: A few years ago, Steve Delbar was a substitute teacher. Now he is one of the better setup men in the American League. Worth a pick in most AL-only leagues.
Randall Delgado 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 2/9/1990 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: SP|
Profile: On the positive side of things for Delgado’s 2013 season, he upped his zone percentage nine percentage points and opposing hitters swung more as a result. That helped Delgado’s walk rate drop down to a well above average 4.9%. His first pitch strike percentage, zone percentage and swing percentage are all near league average for starters, so his walk rate is likely to regress towards league average. But even if it ends up just being average, that would be a win consider his walk rate was 9% or higher at basically every stop in the minor leagues. On the flip side, Delgado has yet to strike batters out at anywhere near the rate at which he struck them out in the minors. And unfortunately, it didn’t seem like he was “growing into” the strikeouts last year as his strikeout rate dropped towards the end of the year. Although that could be a function of Delgado putting up 40+ more innings than he did in 2012. He does have a strong record of strikeouts in the minors, so there’s certainly the possibility that Delgado has upside in the strikeout department. And his home run per fly ball rate is sure to come down from 17.3%. With more strikeouts and fewer home runs allowed, Delgado would likely see his ERA dip below four. The question is how much upside there really is. He’s worth a shot in NL-only leagues for sure. (Brett Talley )
Quick Opinion: Delgado has a spot in the Arizona rotation and some upside. He had a strong track record of above average strikeout rates in the minor leagues and his control improved significantly last year. The upside is definitely worth targeting in NL-only leagues.
Ryan Dempster 
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 5/3/1977 | Position: SP|
Profile: After posting five incredibly consistent seasons (peripherally) from 2008-2012, Ryan Dempster seemed to slide backwards in his first season with the Red Sox. The 36-year-old saw a continued slow decline in his strikeout rate (down to 20.8%), mirrored in a slight drop in fastball velocity as well as swinging strike rate. More concerning, Dempster’s walk rate crept up into the double-digits, the first time that had happened since the 2007 season. Interestingly, his first strike rate held fairly constant around 60% but his overall zone percentage dropped off the table (falling below 40%, Dempster’s career average is 47%). He continued to do a decent job pumping in strikes to start at bats but missed after that. Dempster’s performance coupled with the emergence of Felix Doubront and acquisition of Jake Peavy meant that he ended up in the Red Sox bullpen down the stretch and into the playoffs, the first time he appeared in relief since 2007. Unfortunately, he didn’t see a velocity spike after being removed from the rotation, in fact, he saw his fastball tick down a couple mph. Headed into 2014, Dempster is still Red Sox property but may be on the outside looking in when it comes to the team’s rotation. Behind an aging Jake Peavy, a somewhat inconsistent Felix Doubront, and a quasi-injury-prone Clay Buchholz, Dempster could see some starts, but may spend a large portion of the season as a fantasy-value-sapping swingman. (Colin Zarzycki )
Quick Opinion: Ryan Dempster started to show signs of being in his late-30’s in 2013, seeing both his strikeout and walk rates slip the wrong way. With Boston having a surplus of starters he’s a candidate to open the season in the bullpen as a swingman. Which, of course, would torpedo his fantasy value.
Ross Detwiler 
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 3/6/1986 | Team: Nationals | Position: SP|
Profile: Detwiler missed most of the 2013 season with oblique and back injuries, but continued to flash his unique approach when he actually took the mound. You see, Detwiler throws his fastball almost exclusively — nearly nine out of every 10 pitches this past year were of the four-seam or sinker variety. That’s highly unusual as we think of starting pitchers as possessing at least a three-pitch mix, all of which are thrown with some sort of regularity. Detwiler’s fastball-heavy approach unsurprisingly fails to generate strikeouts or any sort of strong ground-ball tilt. He has posted good walk rates though, but control is really the only skill he has excelled at. In late November, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo stated that Detwiler may be used as a reliever in 2014, which would wipe out any potential fantasy value he had. (Mike Podhorzer )
Quick Opinion: Detwiler’s reliance on the fastball has capped his strikeout potential, which really limits his fantasy upside. More importantly, he could find himself in the Nationals bullpen to open the year, which would make him undraftable.
Scott Diamond 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 7/30/1986 | Team: Twins | Position: SP|
Profile: Every last bit of positivity from Diamond’s solid 2012 was squashed in 2013, as the left-hander fell flat and failed to look even remotely close to the guy who was worth more than two wins above replacement the year before. Location was an issue all season long for Diamond, whose walk rate jumped from 1.6 to 2.5. And while 2.5 is still quite respectable, it wouldn’t pair up well with the 4.7 strikeouts per nine that Diamond posted in 2012. Nor did it pair up with the actual strikeout rate Diamond posted in 2013: 3.6. The 0.9 homers per nine proved tough for Diamond to repeat as well, as it swelled to 1.4 which is far more indicative of the stuff the 27-year-old brings to the table. That was also likely aided by a ground-ball rate of 46.9%. Again, also respectable, but far beneath the 53.4% mark that propelled Diamond to his solid 2012. Moving forward, it’s hard to see Diamond as anything more than a token contender for an open number five spot in the Twins rotation in 2014, and with upcoming pitching prospects like Trevor May and Alex Meyer ready sooner rather than later, Diamond could be on the outs rather quickly. Diamond is not going to be a fantasy consideration in 2014. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Diamond is out of options in 2014, but that doesn’t mean he’ll do anything but compete for the number five spot in the Twins rotation. That’s a battle he’s unlikely to win. He’s not a fantasy consideration.
R.A. Dickey 
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 10/29/1974 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: SP|
Profile: Not only is Dickey dang good, but he makes the guys behind him better . Not relevant in fantasy, though. More concerning is the fact that the 39-year-old knuckleballer took steps back in the following stats in 2013: ERA, WHIP, strikeout rate, walk rate, home run rate, swinging strike rate, ground-ball rate, knuckleball velocity, and innings pitched. Some of that is to be expected from an older man. But, as he pointed out, a more conventional younger pitcher wouldn’t have been able to pitch through the injury  he had this season. Obviously a real-life team enjoys a pitcher that can pitch through pain and still be valuable, but fantasy teams have a higher benchmark. Yes, an injury can keep him from throwing the hard knuckler  — and enjoying all the success that comes with that pitch — and yet still allow him to stay off the disabled list. Fantasy owners might rather he was excellent while in and in the extra injury slot while hurt. That alone probably pushes him out of contention for the top three starter slots on your fantasy team, even if a healthy year still has the upside of above-average strikeouts for a starter, a good WHIP, and many many innings. We know that knuckleballers aren’t any more likely to give up homers than regular pitchers , but it sure seems like the move to the American League has given Dickey a little homeritis. If you are upbeat about his chances, take the over on his projections — he’s no normal 39-year-old, and knuckleballers always enjoy good batting averages on balls in play. (Eno Sarris )
Quick Opinion: The projections probably won’t help with R.A. Dickey. They make assumptions about balls in play that don’t hold for knuckleballers. So, use your scouting eye or your intuition: can a 39-year-old put together another healthy year with the hard knuckler? If you think so, improve his projected numbers across the board and enjoy a cheap and useful fantasy pitcher.
Jake Diekman 
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 1/21/1987 | Team: Phillies | Position: RP|
Profile: Diekman is a very good lefty specialist, as he has allowed a slash line of just .165/.276/.189 to lefties in his two major-league seasons. He’s not awful against right-handers (.279/.379/.390), but his splits are still extreme enough to keep him entrenched in the lefty specialist role. (Scott Strandberg )
Quick Opinion: The 26-year-old can pile up the strikeouts, especially against lefties, but his career walk rate of 4.93 per nine innings is atrocious (almost as bad as his 5.05 BB/9 in 427.1 minor-league innings), and the splits are significant enough to keep him out of the late-inning picture.
Sean Doolittle 
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 9/26/1986 | Team: Athletics | Position: RP|
Profile: Sean Doolittle pretty much throws one pitch  over and over again. But funky angles, deception behind his glove hand, exceptional control, and 94+ mph gas makes that pitch effective. As a lefty, he’s probably not the preferred post-Grant-Balfour solution at closer in Oakland, but he doesn’t have the splits of a traditional lefty reliever. He says he’s working on the slider, always, but none of his secondary pitches get average whiffs, while his fastball gets twice the average whiffs for a fastball. It’s a strange package — especially since he was once a first baseman — but it’s worked for over 100 innings now, and there’s no reason to project him to lose it this year. The 27-year-old reliever should be a holds monster, but depending on how Jim Johnson fares, he might sneak his way into the closer role. There’d be little reason to doubt him if he was given the chance, too. (Eno Sarris )
Quick Opinion: What would Doo Doo? He’d do the Doo all over your lineup late in the game, is what he’d do. Doolittle does a lot with one pitch, and might ride that all the way into the closer role if Jim Johnson has another stretch of bad batted ball luck.
Octavio Dotel 
|Debut: 1999 | BirthDate: 11/25/1973 | Position: RP|
Profile: Dotel pitched in only 4 2/3 innings in 2013 due to an elbow injury. Though he was serviceable in 2012, he hasn’t had an impact season since, well, ever. Add a significant elbow injury to a 40-year-old mediocre relief pitcher, and the results probably won’t be kind. Dotel was always a strikeout pitcher, but his high walks constantly hurt his value. (David Temple)
Felix Doubront 
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 10/23/1987 | Team: Red Sox | Position: SP|
Profile: Nicknamed “Doobie” among Boston beat writers, it’s sometimes tough not to associate him with the Bud Light penguin commercials of yore . A popular late-round sleeper thanks to a spot in Boston’s starting rotation and a 2012 24% strikeout rate, the lefty provided some mixed-league value, but didn’t take a huge jump forward the lottery-ticket buyers hoped. The strikeout spike proved to be unsustainable in the starting role, and the swinging strike rate and punchouts ticked down a bit. Other than the whiffs, Doubront’s 2013 was remarkably like his 2012. The one other major difference is a halving of his home run per fly ball rate. Since it dropped from well-above the league average, to well-below, a regression to the midpoint seems like a reasonable projection. He used his cutter more as the season went along, trading a few of those whiffs for grounders. Coming off a postseason where he shined in multi-inning relief for the World Champions, he heads into 2014 fighting with Ryan Dempster and Jake Peavy for the fourth and fifth spots in the Boston rotation. With the Sox trying to shave some more off their payroll, it’s possible Dempster or Peavy (both in the last year of their contracts) are shipped out, opening the door for Doubront. However, if both remain on the team, Doubront seems like a natural fit for swingman out of the bullpen, meaning he’ll have to wait for an injury to open up a rotation slot. Watch this position battle in the spring — if Boston’s young lefty heads north in the rotation, he’ll be again worth a late-round pick, capable of helping in wins and strikeouts. (Colin Zarzycki )
Quick Opinion: Felix Doubront saw his strikeout rate dip, but was still usable in spurts during the 2013 season. Now tangled up with Ryan Dempster and Jake Peavy for the last couple spots in the Boston rotation, he’ll only sustain mixed-league draft value if he can break camp as a starter. Could also be a sneaky waiver wire pickup during the summer if injuries strike.
Kyle Drabek 
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 12/8/1987 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: RP|
Profile: The son of former big leaguer Doug Drabek missed parts of 2012 and ’13 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow. His stuff appears to be all the way back and his heater was sitting at 93 mph during his short stint in the majors last season. Lack of command continues to be the big issue with Drabek and the time off certainly set him back in that area of development. There should be four or five arms vying for Toronto’s fifth-starter gig in 2014 and Drabek will be in that mix. However, it might be time for Toronto to look at him as a high-leverage reliever. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: With no clearly defined role at the big league level in 2014, as well as a lot of pitching depth in Toronto, it’s not wise to count on Drabek for regular innings. However, the talent remains for him to eventually break out so monitor his situation closely.
Brian Duensing 
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 2/22/1983 | Team: Twins | Position: RP|
Profile: From a raw numbers standpoint, Duensing had his best year in the last three. The 3.98 ERA was relatively solid, and the 8.3 strikeouts per nine eclipsed his career mark by two-plus. But from the standpoint of “what the team really intended for him to do,” well, Duensing fell a bit short. In 2012 Duensing held left-handed hitters to a .522 OPS. In 2013, that mark swelled to .678. Still good, but falling out of ‘useful LOOGY’ territory. In Duensing’s defense, he was used as a swingman in both years, meaning he made a number of starts and by rule faced far too many right-handed hitters for what his skillset could handle. In 2013, he was used exclusively out of the bullpen. He showed a nice velocity spike (92.2 mph versus 91.4 career mark), and for the first time in his career he faced nearly as many left-handed hitters (132 PA) and he did righties (136 PA). Inexplicably, that resulted in a .786 OPS allowed versus lefties, and a .713 to righties. And while neither of which is particularly bad, the total package — including 1.48 WHIP — probably isn’t enough to justify the Twins taking him at his year two arbitration price, which could exceed $2 million. Either way, he’ll probably stick with the Twins and work out of the front end of a bullpen that’s better than most people realize. As far as fantasy consideration, he is probably the fifth or sixth option at best in that bullpen for saves. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Duensing is a LOOGY who is trending in the wrong direction versus left-handed hitters and is about to get expensive via arbitration. Nothing to see here.
Danny Duffy 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 12/21/1988 | Team: Royals | Position: SP|
Profile: Danny Duffy has quite a bit of potential, but his lack of control may derail his fantasy value. First, this will be his first complete season after having Tommy John surgery in 2012. He was able to throw a decent number of strikeouts (8.1 strikeouts per nine in the majors). He has two inter-connected issues limiting his potential. First, he walks too many batters (4.75 walks per nine in the majors). A pitcher is rarely going to make it in the big leagues when they put an extra runner on base every other inning. The walks lead to his second limitation, pitch inefficiency. In five 2013 starts, he averaged 4.9 innings. It was not like he was on a super-short pitch count either — he averaged 94 pitches per start. He did improve a bit from 2012 when he was at 4.5 innings per start. If he can’t even pitch five innings, he can’t be awarded a win. Going into 2014, I would be look to pick Duffy up on the cheap. Follow him early to see if he starts throwing more strikes and enjoy the breakout. If he doesn’t, dump him and move on. Keeping him will not be worth the roller coaster ride. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Danny Duffy has the potential to be a number two starter if he can just throw more strikes. Until then, he will just be another high-strikeout, high-walk pitcher.
Zach Duke 
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 4/19/1983 | Position: RP|
Profile: Zach Duke used to be a starter with low strikeout totals and now he’s a reliever with low strikeout totals. His strikeout-to-walk rate in 2013 was less than two — a fairly consistent number for him. He may turn into a decent mop-up guy, but that’s probably where his ceiling stops. It’s a low ceiling. Zach Duke is like that floor on Being John Malkovich. (David Temple)
Mike Dunn 
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 5/23/1985 | Team: Marlins | Position: RP|
Profile: The left-handed Dunn is expected to share Miami’s setup duties with newly acquired righty Carter Capps. Dunn had easily his best major-league season last year, setting career-bests in ERA, FAIP, and walks per nine innings. The big issue with Dunn remains his spotty control, however, as last year’s 3.72 BB/9 is still mediocre, despite being a marked improvement over his first two full seasons. The 28-year-old still has a walk rate over 5.00 BB/9 for his career. (Scott Strandberg )
Quick Opinion: Dunn does rack up the strikeouts, as his career mark is just under 10 strikeouts per nine innings. He’ll be in line for his fair share of holds, but isn’t relevant in fantasy leagues that don’t count holds. Even if Steve Cishek loses his hold on the closer’s job, expect Capps to be next in line, not Dunn.
Jake Dunning 
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 8/12/1988 | Team: Giants | Position: RP|
Profile: The 25-year old right-hander moved quickly through the Giants system and looked fantastic in his first go-around in Triple-A as he posted a 1.46 ERA with a 3.14 K/BB over 48.1 innings. He was rewarded with a series of call-ups where he again looked impressive, ultimately posting a 2.84 ERA over 25.1 big league innings. His drop in strikeouts with the jump in level comes largely due to the heavy reliance on his sinkerball, but the disparity between his ERA and FIP at both levels is a bit disconcerting and seems to indicate heavy regression coming. He’ll be given an opportunity to compete for a bullpen role in 2014, but fantasy owners might need to steer clear of him until he gets a little more seasoned and pitches regularly in high-leverage situations. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Dunning has looked strong moving through the Giants system and while his strikeouts will remain low the more he relies on his sinker, he’s been able to maintain extremely tight ratios between Triple-A and his first go-around in the majors. He’ll compete for a bullpen job in 2014 this spring, but if the disparity between his FIP and ERA numbers is any indication of his true talent level, he may have to spend more time in the minors trying to hone his skills.
Nathan Eovaldi 
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 2/13/1990 | Team: Marlins | Position: SP|
Profile: For a pitcher who brings as much heat as Eovaldi does, you’d expect him to get more strikeouts. In 2013, his average fastball velocity was 96.1 mph and he dialed it up over 100 mph on occasion. Yet even with his huge fastball, Eovaldi struck out just 6.6 batters per nine innings. The problem isn’t just that he lacks quality secondary pitches, it’s that he hardly ever throws them. Last year, over 70% of his pitches were fastballs. Velocity matters far less when major-league hitters know the heat’s coming. The 23-year-old’s best secondary offering is his slider, which is a slightly above average offering. He also throws a curveball and a change up, but both pitches are well below average. If he can’t develop his secondary stuff, a move to the bullpen wouldn’t be a big surprise. That’s not to say Eovaldi is without value, however. In 260.1 career innings, he has a respectable 3.84 ERA. (Scott Strandberg )
Quick Opinion: There’s certainly room for Eovaldi in every NL-only league. Despite the mediocre strikeout and walk rates, his FIP has improved in each of the last two years, as has his line-drive rate. He should be able to keep his ERA somewhere near four, and he has at least a little bit of upside if he can improve his secondary stuff.
Robbie Erlin 
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 10/8/1990 | Team: Padres | Position: SP|
Profile: At some point in his career, prior to his trade from Texas to San Diego, Erlin became overrated. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with him as a player — he projects to develop into a number four starter at the big league level, and could possibly produce more like a number three for a few years in his prime — but he’s not the impact arm that some people are expecting. He’s an undersized lefty who posted some solid numbers in the low minors because he overpowered inexperienced players with his four-pitch repertoire as well as his above-average command and control. He struggles to create a downward plane on his pitches so he works up in the zone too much and is susceptible to the long ball — something that is a little less of an issue in his spacious home park. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Erlin could be a solid arm (with a little upside) to round out your pitching staff in NL-only leagues and he should be more valuable while pitching at home than on the road. His big league rotation is suddenly crowded.
Marco Estrada 
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 7/5/1983 | Team: Brewers | Position: SP|
Profile: It proved to be a tale of two halves for Marco Estrada. The right-hander dished up home runs in the first half like Subway does obnoxious commercials, allowing 1.82 home runs per nine innings, which resulted in a bloated ERA that made him unownable in all leagues. The core skills remained, though. He continued to miss bats and limit the free passes; thus, when the home run rate normalized in the second half, he became nasty. His 2.15 post-All-Star ERA benefited from a .199 batting average on balls in play, but again, the core skills illustrate his true potential. He owned the seventh-best swinging-strike rate (11.8%) and sixth-best strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.09 K/BB) in the second half. Fantasy owners should be worried his velocity dropped yet again, but he continued to miss bats because he relies on sequencing and a plus change-up. Injury concerns also exist. Considering his highest SIERA the past three seasons was 3.51 and he can strike out almost a batter per inning, owners would be wise to have Estrada on their sleeper list this spring. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: Estrada is the type of pitcher who helps you win fantasy championships. His brutal first half masked his true abilities; he can provide above-average strikeouts, along with a solid WHIP and ERA, and that’s not often available in the mid-to-late rounds.