We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2013 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2013 Tigers Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy Kevin Vela from Detroit Tigers Weblog.
1) There have been trade rumors swirling around Rick Porcello all off-season. Is Rick Porcello out in Detroit at some point this year and if so, who takes his spot in the rotation? Will either Porcello or his replacement be fantasy worthy for the 2013 fantasy baseball season?
What people are asking is “how much time can we give this kid?” His core stats have been disappointing each of the past three years, but if you look at his peripherals, he made a nice step last year. His K/9 saw a healthy increase (though it’s still alarmingly low) resulting from a 2 MPH jump in his velocity, and his FIP dropped below 4. Further, his walks were low (2.25/9), his HR rate dropped, and he had an unlucky .344 BABIP (that’s largely due to the fielding behind him). He was a very serviceable starter in 2012. As a ground ball pitcher, it doesn’t help that he’s got a range-less left side of the infield, and then several Delmon Young instances to put up with. Many in the Detroit media seem to think that Drew Smyly is the guy, if nothing else because he’s a lefty. I’d love to deal Porcello because I think he still holds some value, and we need a lefty in the rotation. Remember, he just turned 24. If Porcello doesn’t figure it out soon, his value may plummet. To answer your question, I can’t see him being very valuable unless it’s a deep combined league, or you get points for lots of ground balls even with his great spring.
2) Fantasy baseballers just love a hyped rookie prospect and Nick Castellanos fits that description perfectly. Are we going to see Nick up with the big league club this year and if so, what is the timeline and do you think he’ll be fantasy relevant out of the gate?
I’m as excited as everyone else – I’ve been keeping him on my Scoresheet team for 3 years now. But no, I don’t expect to see him anytime soon unless Cabrera misses extended time. There’s not enough ABs for him up here and he needs to continue to develop as a corner outfielder. Though I wish they could convert him into a second baseman. I don’t think he’ll land full time until 2015.
3) With Jose Valverde no longer on the roster, the closer spot is open to the Tigers relieving public. The original thinking was Bruce Rondon would be closer when the Tigers break camp but he got sent down. So you tell us Mr. Expert: who’s the guy for the Tigers and if so, do you think he takes the job and runs with it for all of 2013?
Expert is a far-fetched characterization, but I’ll take a stab at it. I can’t say that Rondon still isn’t the guy eventually. Eno Harris of Fangraphs summed this up nicely in a post on Feb 22nd (http://www.fangraphs.com/
4) Name this player: 8.3 K/9, 2.94 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, with a 4.61 K:BB ratio since joining the Tigers in mid-2011. Ok, that’s not fair, you know who it is, that’s Doug Fister. Despite these numbers, Doug is going outside the top 30 starters in yahoo leagues at 121 and is ranked 43rd as a starter in ESPN leagues. Do they see something the stats don’t say or is Doug Fister a fantasy sleeper for 2013?
I don’t get it either. That K/BB ratio is so impressive that I looked it up, he was 10th in the AL in 2012 (min 160 IPs). I think that people overlook him because of his low K/9 (6.08 for his career), and because he’s only pitched over 180 innings once in his career. On the flip side, the guy has ice in his veins, he has very little pressure as the #3 guy in Detroit, and he’s still learning how to pitch (he’s had 4 full seasons in the show). Don’t forget that ridiculous game last September when he K’d 9 in a row. I expect 13-17 wins and a sub 4 ERA. About right for the #3 on a team expected to go deep into the playoffs.
5) The Tigers are back in the World Series in 2013. What is the main thing that got them there?
A) Andy Dirks finishes in the top 5 in batting average on the year, hitting 15 HRs and sparking the lineup as he slides into the two spot by May.
Dirks’ greatest upside is winning a batting title – lefty hitter, hits to all fields, speed…but I don’t think he’s ready quite yet.
B) Anibal Sanchez is motivated by by getting the nickname ‘Liger’ which is short for ‘Lady Tiger’ due to his girly first name and returns to 2011 form.
Didn’t Napoleon Dynamite trademark that?
C) Victor Martinez plays like he never left, garnering 500 at-bats, batting .300 and driving in 100 RBIs
This is the reason right here. Look for Prince Fielder to put up monster numbers in 2012. V Mart is going to have a nice twilight as a professional hitter. Thank goodness for the DH.
D) Verlander – devastated by losing Kate Upton – comes into camp focused and wins 25 games, doing the Dougie in a bikini after every win in her honor.
From what I’ve seen, he’s a fun and wild guy. This is a real possibility.
E) Austin Jackson finally puts it all together, putting up a 20/30 season while hitting .300 and scoring 100 runs.
He came close to this last year other than the SBs. Honestly, I just don’t get why he doesn’t steal more bases.