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This is almost the end of the 2012 fantasy baseball rankings.  With these top 80 starters for 2012 fantasy baseball, there’s a few names that I’m really gunning for on my teams… My deeper teams.  On last year’s top 80, there were a few guys that shot up the rankings (Hellickson, Anibal, Garza and Zimmermann), so I imagine a lot of you won’t need most of the names on this list, but there will be some.  Now humor me.  There’s tiers and projections mentioned for everyone.  Anyway, here’s the top 80 starters for 2012 fantasy baseball:

61. Brandon McCarthy – This tier started in the top 60 starters for 2012 fantasy baseball.  This tier ends at Peavy.  I called this tier, “Holy crap, there were a lot of starters I didn’t like in the top 60 starters post.  Let’s see some names I like.  Please.”  The first two guys in this tier could’ve been called, “Young pitchers who don’t strike out many that you should start at home.”  McCarthy’s ERA at home was 2.65 and 1.11 WHIP.  As said two sentences ago, McCarthy doesn’t strike out a whole lot of guys.  Two Sentences Ago, “Why don’t you come up with your own points?”  2012 Projections:  8-11/3.50/1.17/140

62. Tim Stauffer – Last year Stauffer had a home ERA of 2.57 and a 1.13 WHIP.  I’ll give this to you nice and simple like Minnie Pearl would’ve wanted it.  Stauffer is a Hodgepadre.  Start him at home and sit him on the road.  He did have 94 1/3 IP innings at home last year, so you’re talking about a top tier reliever’s ratio stats if you hold firm when to start him.  2012 Projections:  8-10/3.80/1.24/135

63. Ted Lilly – I could’ve made a sub-tier within this tier calling these last three guys, “Pitchers that I refuse to learn from no matter how many times they burn me.”  I really believe last year we saw the beginning of the end of Lilly.  Fading Lilly, if you like pithy comments that sound like sushi restaurants.  There’s some arguments to be made that that (stutterer!) is incorrect.  He did come on in the 2nd half (2.94 ERA, 8+ K/9).  If you believe his 1st half (4.79 ERA) was just an aberration on the that-ain’t-the-real-thing tip, then I could see grabbing Lilly late.  For his price, it’s probably worth it.  2012 Projections:  11-8/3.85/1.18/160

64. Scott Baker – For those of you that can’t wait to read the end of this post just to comment that Lilly and Baker’s projections look better than Stauffer and McCarthy so why do I have them below?  Don’t.  Lilly is on the downswing of his career and Baker can’t stay healthy.  Take an upside flyer with Stauffer or McCarthy before these guys.  Those of you who didn’t read this blurb and commented about the order of the rankings, you’re not reading this either.  Too bad, I would’ve had you say hello to your mother for me.  Hey now!  2012 Projections:  11-7/3.65/1.19/160

65. Jake Peavy – If he can stay healthy, he could be valuable.  Unfortunately, my man can’t stay healthy.  Grey, you have no faith in medicine, The White Stripes.  If I were the type to say completely unsubstantiated claims with no factual evidence, I’d say Peavy can’t stay healthy because he used to do steroids.  I would never say that though.  I’m way above that!  Hopefully, there’s no my-momma-didn’t-name-me-that scandal with the reveal that he’s really Jack Peavy and actually 78 years old, but that would jive with all of his health problems.  For those worried about the integrity of our great game, I do think the name scandals will soon end with all players selling their naming rights to companies.  Now pitching for the New York Yankees… Saran Wrap!  2012 Projections:  10-8/3.75/1.21/130

66. Ryan Vogelsong – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Jackson.  I call this tier, “You may get a number three fantasy starter or you may get someone similar to Nadir Bupkus.”  Last year didn’t really make sense.  Not in general, unless you’re trying to figure why you like baseball yet weren’t that crazy about Moneyball.  I think you had to not like baseball to love Moneyball.  But I was referring to last year not making sense for Vogelsong.  He’s like 40 years old (34) and he just put up his best season, even though his peripherals (pitch speed, where the pitches were, etc.) didn’t get better from the last time he was in the States.  Maybe he can repeat it.  More likely, you’re going to get a good spot starter when he faces the Padres, Dodgers and some other weaker offenses.  2012 Projections:  10-9/3.75/1.26/140

67. Jonathon Niese – Last year, his ERA was 4.40 and now the Mets are moving in the fences and constructing a giant Madoff head to blow hot air out to right field.  So why is Niese in a positive tier?  Thanks, clunky expository question!  He had a K-rate of 7.89 last year and showed in the minors that is about right and could be even a little higher.  Also, he had a slightly off BABIP and poor LOB%, so he wasn’t really a near-four and half ERA pitcher, but probably three-quarters of a run better.  All these good vibes about Niese make me want to do my Grind workout.  2012 Projections:  9-10/3.75/1.32/160

68. Bud Norris – You can’t predict wins.  You shouldn’t even try.  It is totally pointless.  But since I had a “Totally Pointless” college degree this is right up my alley.  You are not going to get wins with Norris.  You will get some walks and nice Ks.  I kinda want Norris on every team.  Might even draft him on my AL-Only keeper team for when the Astros realign.  2012 Projections:  7-9/3.80/1.32/190

69. Mike Leake – His ground ball percentage was solid, walks were dropped by over one per game and his strikeouts increased (though not to a rate that is drool-inducing).  If Leake can avoid dribblers through the vas deferns, he should have some success.  2012 Projections:  13-8/3.75/1.22/135

70. Ryan Dempster – I’m tentatively liking Dempster this year.  His 4.80 ERA last year was H to the ideous, but he did have a 3.70 xFIP and a 8.50 K/9.  I’ve seen worse stats.  Some of the guys above him, for instance, they have worse stats.  I don’t know the intricacies of his contract and I don’t think you should draft someone in March with the hope they’re traded, but wouldn’t shock me to see Dempster on a pennant contender before 2012 is through.  Maybe he’ll go to the Padres, if the Yankees change their name to the Padres.  2012 Projections:  12-8/3.90/1.33/190

71. Edwin Jackson – Signed yesterday with the Nats, naturally.  Looks like all the Nats needed to become a contender was to get rid of Bowden.  Great addition for the Nats’ rotation.  For fantasy, it’s a’ight.  Earlier in his career, he was better in the AL than the NL, but now that he’s matured I think it was an immaturity thing.  Funny how that works.  Best case scenario is a 3.50 ERA and kinda icky WHIP.  Worst case scenario is a 4 and a half ERA and icky WHIP.  Speaking of which, I was thinking about what’s the best best case scenario of recent times and I have to think it’s The Jersey Shore.  I can’t help watch the opening and think about how when they made that title sequence they all were probably glad to just be employed by a t-shirt shop, MTV almost axed the show before it started and none of them really had much chance for a future unless you count success by the number of acquired STDs.  Now they’re all millionaires and it’s laughable that they would work at a t-shirt shop.  Of course, the worst worst case scenario would have to be leaving the show a’la Angelina and not reaping any of its benefits.  What a stunod.  2012 Projections:  11-10/3.80/1.35/160

72. Hiroki Kuroda – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Collmenter.  I call this tier, “Solid, but unspectacular.”  See, I will draft solid with a chance for spectacular.  I’ll even take a chance on very risky with a chance for spectacular.  But “Solid, but unspectacular” gets drafted around the time I want to take flyers, so I don’t bother with this tier.  When you’re this late in a draft, it makes no sense to draft a guy like Kuroda, Danks, Buehrle, etc.  Like any investment, they’re the last one in and first one out.  It’s a shame that Kuroda was picked up by the Yankees.  When he was on the Dodgers, he was a solid back end of your fantasy rotation starter that no one ever reached for.  For whatever reason, everyone looked the other way even though his career ERA is under 3.50, WHIP’s under 1.20, walks are low and his K/9 last year was over 7.  Oh, well.  I wouldn’t draft him with your fantasy team in 2012.  AL East and The Stadium They Built Across The Street From The House Ruth Built is two negatives that don’t equal a positive.  2012 Projections:  12-9/3.90/1.24/150

73. John Danks – I’ll admit I’m probably too down on Danks.  He’s the very definition of solid, but unspectacular.  A big issue with solid but unspectacular that I didn’t mention above.  If for some reason you get less than solid, you get Danks’s 2011:  4.33 ERA, 135 Ks and 1.34 WHIP.  That’s not even solid.  At 27 years old, he should revert back to solid, but unspectacular.  2012 Projections:  9-10/3.75/1.28/150

74. Mark Buehrle – Gets wins, mid-3 ERA, lots of innings… What’s not to like?  Oh, yeah, he strikes out about as much as Mystery in a college bar on “Ladies drink for free” night.  2012 Projections:  14-10/3.70/1.28/100

75. Ivan Nova – With a 3.70 ERA, he won 16 games last year in 28 games started.  Basically, Blyleven would’ve been a first ballot Hall of Famer on the Yankees.  If you’re chasing wins, I could see going with Nova, but chasing wins is a losing proposition. (<–Turn of a phrase point!)  2012 Projections:  14-8/4.00/1.33/110

76. Gavin Floyd – I’ve tied Floyd to Danks in my rankings for as long as I can remember, which sounds like a nerdy version of the Goodfellas voiceover.  Floyd is a tad under Danks because of his age.  There’s a better chance of Danks exceeding his projections than Floyd, but they’re both solid, but… Well, you know.  2012 Projections:  9-11/4.00/1.26/155

77. R.A. Dickey – I don’t like Dickey, not that there’s anything right with that.  He’s totally blown away my projections the last two years, but I can’t trust a knuckleballer.  I don’t like when I’m relying on a pitcher that has no idea where the ball is going.  I’m sure he’s used to the hate.  Can’t be easy going through puberty with a name like Dickey and being a knuckleballer.  2012 Projections:  10-9/3.75/1.27/130

78. Josh Collmenter – You thought I didn’t like Dickey?  Try my dislike of Collmenter on for size.  Too snug?  That’s cause you have both of your arms in the same sleeve.  Collmenter had a 5+ K-rate and a 4.18 xFIP.  No Ks there is a than, but no thans.  2012 Projections:  8-10/4.25/1.24/110

79. Francisco Liriano – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until here.  I call this tier, “Screw you, Liriano.”  He got very lucky last year.  No, not with his FIP or xFIP or BABIP or men left on base or with runs scored for.  He got lucky I didn’t kill him.  2012 Projections:  11-11/4.30/1.35/155

80. Brett Cecil – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Volquez.  I call this tier, “You’ll probably drop most of these guys by mid-April and may not even have the nads to start them once on your team, but you may as well take a flyer.”  (The projections in this tier are optimistic.)  I saw one ‘pert didn’t rank Cecil in his top 100 starters.  I thought that was odd.  He’s only 26 years old.  Then I looked at mock draft results and he wasn’t anywhere.  I saw Joel Pineiro.  I saw Jason Hammel.  I even saw Javier Vazquez.  He retired.  We’re all that done with a 26-year-old pitcher who was being drafted last year in the top 200?  I don’t want to point any fingers, but you — yeah, you.  Don’t look behind you. — were excited about drafting Cecil last year.  Nothing in his stats say bounce back, but between him or Pineiro or a guy that retired, I’m going with Cecil.  2012 Projections:  12-9/4.00/1.30/145

After the top 80 starters, there’s a lot of names, but here’s some that stand out:

Homer Bailey - With a career ERA of 4.89, I’ve warded off Homer to use two of the better father names in the history of television.  Now, I find myself seeing a scenario where I could draft him very late.  His walk rate last year was more than one walk off his previous year.  His K-rate fell a bit, but it’s still over 7.  His xFIP was 3.77 and his team should win some games.  Bailey is long overdue for a breakout.  I’m saying sleeper and grab him late.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it until he defecates all over my ERA.  2012 Projections:  12-9/3.70/1.28/130

Chris Sale – If I had to, and I probably do, write a sleeper post about Sale or Bard, it’s a no-brainer.  It’s Sale all the way.  Sale’s only real question mark is how many innings will the Pale Hose throw him.  (BTW, if I was writing newspaper headlines in 1919, I would’ve wrote “Paint the White Hose Black.” If there’s any time travelers reading this, take it, it’s yours.)  I think Sale sees about 125 innings.  2012 Projections:  8-8/3.50/1.24/130

Daniel Bard – When the Sawx first announced Bard would start, here’s what I said, “The Sawx are toying with the idea that Daniel Bard should be in the rotation rather than as the closer.  To incorrectly quote Gordon Gekko, “That’s a toy with fleas.”  As a starter in the minor leagues, his ERA was 7.08 and walked 78 hitters in 75 innings.  Granted, this was early on in his minor league career, but I don’t see the Sawx taking a pitcher that is actually succeeding as a reliever and stretching him out to fail.  Then again, their rotation isn’t exactly five deep.  Hopefully Daniel doesn’t stay *pinkie to mouth* Bard from the bullpen.  Or should I say bullpun.”  And that’s me quoting me!  I still think the Red Sox make a last minute move to keep Bard in the bullpen and acquire another starter.  2012 Projections:  9-7/3.70/1.22/160

Brad Peacock – I already went over my Brad Peacock fantasy.  It’s January Grey’s favorite post.   2012 Projections:  9-8/3.60/1.30/170

Edinson Volquez – If he gets 200 innings, he will strikeout 200 hitters.  Look at the rest of this post and try to find another guy K’ing 200.  So why isn’t he ranked higher?  Well, there’s this little problem with him walking people like it’s his job.  It’s not his job.  If that’s getting lost in the translation, someone should tell him that is not his job.  Yo camino no trabajar!  2012 Projections:  8-12/3.75/1.33/200

Ricky Nolasco – This is the last tier.  This tier is called, “I didn’t forget these guys.  I’m just not drafting them.”  Nolasco hasn’t had an ERA under 4.50 in 3 years, but if you’re playing in a league that counts K/BB rates or guys that underperform, then by all means go with Nolasco.  2012 Projections:  12-9/4.25/1.29/150

Wade Davis – He had strikeout numbers in the minors, and I think those return from wherever they went, but I’m not drafting him on the assumption they will.  Could be a nice during-season-pickup if he gets his shizz together.  2012 Projections:  10-10/4.15/1.35/115

Carlos Zambrano – Ozzie will either bond with Zambrano and have him produce his best year since the mid-naughts or their personalities together will become so combustible that Little Havana will break from the union and form the 51st state with Ozzie becoming Supreme Leader of Little Havana and having Zambrano executed.  My money’s on the latter.  2012 Projections:  11-10/4.10/1.35/130

Johan Santana – The Mets are hoping to get 25 starts out of Johan.  The Mets are saying he’s a question mark for Opening Day.  The Mets pronounce players ready to return usually six months before they’re back on the field and they’re saying bad things already about Johan.  Instead of drafting Johan, if you’re into torturing yourself, try meeting up with random people from Craigslist’s Missed Connections.  Here’s one, “You didn’t tan, your freckles merged.  Now I want our bodies to.  I saw you at the Jiffy Lube on Tuesday.  I can’t wait another 3 months or 3,000 miles.”  2012 Projections:  7-5/3.75/1.22/80 (in 120 innings)

  1. Steve says:
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    Interesting that you can still find guys whose WHIP is still kind of OK, even this far down the rankings.

    I’m also testing the ‘new comment email notification’ thingamajig.

  2. Steve says:
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    Well I would be if I ticked the damn box.

    There. That’s better.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Steve, testing it back at cha…

      • Steve says:
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        @Grey, Awww, you stayed up specially. I got two emails. One notifying me of, and including, your reply, and another with my original comment, plus your reply.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          @Steve, And everyone else’s first comment or everyone else’s first comment and reply?

          • Steve says:
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            @Grey, One for each new comment, and one for each subsequent reply to that comment. Thus, JoeC’s comment at #8 has (so far) generated 4 separate emails for me.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              @Steve, Hmmm… That’s a bit excessive.

  3. Giant JJ says:
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    Grey, You have Peacock as a sleeper but you rank him beyond the top 80 starters. MDC has his ADP as the 60th starter taken. I think i will target Cecil, Bailey, Sale and Volquez as late fliers in my deep league. Thanks. I trust your rankings over any other source.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Giant JJ, No problem…

  4. TheNewGuy says:
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    “This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until here. I call this tier, “Screw you, Liriano.” He got very lucky last year. No, not with his FIP or xFIP or BABIP or men left on base or with runs scored for. He got lucky I didn’t kill him.”

    LOL agree with you there man!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @TheNewGuy, Hehe

      • @Grey, That was my favorite tier so far and I didn’t even own the dude. Two LOLs. If VinWins puts together that spreadsheet of tiers again, he’ll have to do some serious paraphrasing on a few of the tier names. This one, not so much.

  5. Paulie Allnuts

    Paulie Allnuts says:
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    …I call this tier, “Screw you, Liriano.” He got very lucky last year. No, not with his FIP or xFIP or BABIP or men left on base or with runs scored for. He got lucky I didn’t kill him.

    Grey, a number of us out there will thrust the knife in simultaneously. “E tu, Allnuts”? Targeting Liriano as my projected ace, picking up The Donkey, and having all of my closers either lose their job or get injured within the first month of the season summed up the worst team I have had in my personal fantasy history. At least my league had the top competetive ratio in the RCL. This year can’t be worse. Well, maybe it can – the Metropolitans are targeting F-U-Dome and Ankiel as their free agent gems. Well, I guess they coulda brought Izzy back again. Maybe Bennie Agbayani will come back and give us a thrill at Metco. At least they are bringing back Banner Day. Maybe I can off the Wilpon’s in a 2 for 1 special.

    That’s my vent for the week.

    • Curt says:
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      @Paulie Allnuts, —-Bring back the big 3—–Pulsipher and Wilson w/Izzy—-What a disgrace that was!!!!!!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Paulie Allnuts, Yeah, they’re a bit of a mess, kinda pun noted.

  6. chata says:
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    @ Grey :

    thank you , thank you , THANK YOU .

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @chata, No problem…

  7. Lance Berkman says:
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    Hey, why do you have players with better projections ranked below pitchers with worse ones??

    He he he he he =)

    • JoeC says:
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      @Lance Berkman, Because god hates Scott Baker? ;)

  8. JoeC says:
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    FYP

    “I think you had to not like baseball, *or be an Oakland A’s fan*, to love Moneyball.”

    Also, it was worth it alone to see Philip Seymour Hoffman in a baseball uni. And, perhaps, the last time Fat Jonah Hill graces the silver screen. Let’s not even get into Brad Pitt’s dreaminess.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @JoeC, Really? It didn’t bother you that the aces were nonexistent? Even though they kinda were in the book too.

      • JoeC says:
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        @Grey, Aces? We don’t need no stinkin’ Aces!

        But seriously, the A’s were in there enough, especially when they were highlighting the 20-game win streak. Brought back a lot of good memories (and to hear the voice of Bill King again, well that was priceless).

        In fact, if they would’ve ended the movie right there, after the A’s had won their 20th in a row, I think it would’ve been a much better movie. The last 15 or 20 minutes really drug the whole thing down in my book.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          @JoeC, Yeah, they needed to wrap up the singing daughter storyline though.

  9. TheNewGuy says:
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    Was having a quick chat with Albert Lang on the other thread last night (well was night for me here in England) about keeping pitchers (SPs) for multiple years, whats your view on it? I’m tempted to keep Gio for 2 yrs at $11 in my keeper league, and whilst Albert was ok with the price, he’d only go the 1yr ($8) route because of the injury/unpredictable nature of SP’s. What is your stance kind sir? (us Brits don’t all normally talk like that don’t worry)

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @TheNewGuy, Size of league?

  10. JoeC says:
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    Regarding Mark Buehrle’s projections (14-10/3.70/1.28/100), you don’t give him ANY strikeout boost going over to the senior circuit? That seems wrong (not football bat wrong, but wrong nonetheless).

    I could see 125 Ks. That may not be enough to feed the needy, no need to be greedy… but it’s somethin’!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @JoeC, Nah, his stuff is lame no matter the league. Marcum didn’t gain anything.

  11. Amish G says:
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    @ Grey

    Thoughts on Shelby Miller this year? I have him at bargain basement price in keeper league. Also…what’s the dealio on Chapman (have him cheap too)?

    Thanks!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Amish G, Don’t think Miller starts the year with the Cards. Don’t think Chapman starts.

  12. Eddy says:
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    Grey,

    I’m guessing you don’t think the Aroldis Chapman starter experiment is going to work out? I haven’t seen anything saying they’re backing down from it.

    On a related note, FanGraphs has him at a mid-3s FIP and ERA….with about a 7 BB/9. Odd what a 13 K/9 can do for someone.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Eddy, Too many Reds starters already. Unless and injury happens…

  13. Pops says:
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    Thoughts on Nathan Eovaldi? He could plug a hole in the Dodgers rotation. Fastball, slider guy who could end up looking as good or even better than Peacock.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Pops, He will be a deep league grab, but waivers in most leagues. Could gain matchup value though quickly.

  14. SPolychronopolis says:
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    Nice Eric Nies reference. Wherever E-Love is, I’m sure he appreciates it.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @SPolychronopolis, Ha, thanks…

  15. Vacation says:
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    Grey, question:

    1. Which pair would you prefer in a keeper league, Ellsbury/McCann or Longoria/Jennings?

    Thanks

    • dingbat says:
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      @Vacation, I’m not Grey, but I take Longo/Jennings easily there. Jennings has sick value in keeper leagues, and catcher is too deep to use a keeper pick on McCann.

      Also, hooray for nested commenting!

      • Vacation says:
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        @dingbat,
        Thanks. Just traded Ellsbury for Longoria straight up. Working on Jennings for McCann.

  16. schlitzy says:
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    What would the title be for the Chris Sale sleeper post? “Come Sale Away With Me” or maybe “Take Advantage of this Sale”? The possibilities are endless.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @schlitzy, Chris Sale, 2012 Fantasy Sleeper

      • schlitzy says:
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        @Grey, simple and to the point. I like it. I think you have a future in this non-paying business.

  17. joe from point pleasant says:
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    @Grey:

    Nice commenting feature!

    Erik Bedard?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @joe from point pleasant, Thanks… Blech…

  18. mauledbypandas says:
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    holy crap, things is a changed!

    61-80 sure was pretty yawnstipating. I guess all the SP goodness in the middle makes up for the outsides being kinda meh…. like an oreo… mmm oreo

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @mauledbypandas, Comment back at me, I wanna see if your gravatar shows up.

      • mauledbypandas says:
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        @Grey, oh, i forgot i have a gravatar!

        • mauledbypandas says:
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          @mauledbypandas, i can see it on my end

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            @mauledbypandas, Yup, I can see it too. Very cool… Might encourage others to get one…

            • mauledbypandas says:
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              @Grey, It’s a very easy process to get one. Totally free. I got one when I started playing Battlefield 3

            • @Grey, How might one do so?

  19. vinko says:
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    love what you did to the place! looks expensive.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @vinko, I got a good deal, it’s all refurbished.

  20. Challenge Guy says:
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    OK I’m probably late on this, but I laughed out loud (at work!) when I read the Liriano Tier. I’m the biggest Liriano apologist out here, but enough is enough. I used to think he’s be trade bait for the Yankees or something, but they’ve had the good sense to ignore him. I watched him in person enough to see the body language that says, “I just don’t care”. Now I don’t either…..

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Challenge Guy, Yeah, agreed… He doesn’t care…

  21. Wake Up says:
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    Homer…I’m going with tabula rasa…and I’m always up for an Aegeatic search for donuts…mmmmm

    *Dickey…relying on a pitcher

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Wake Up, Ha… And thanks!

  22. tHe sHiT says:
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    Just saw Moneyball last night, liked it a lot. Kinda wanted them to go into the players a bit more, Hudson, Mulder…Loved the part where they told little Giambi he was traded. The movie serves as a good tool to show the females in our lives why we fantasy baseballers (<—-Greys moms term) love it so much…really like what you did with the site, your winter has been especially productive!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @tHe sHiT, Saw it in a great venue (The Alamo in Austin) with Rudy, was so excited to see it… Maybe I had too high of expectations. More of Royce Clayton playing Tejada wouldn’t have hurt either.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @mauledbypandas, Oy vey, bleacher report…

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          @mauledbypandas, Yeah, we were talking about it in the comments yesterday. Awesomus brought up a good example where alcohol worked wonders…Swiggy.

          • mauledbypandas says:
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            @Grey, ahh sorry, I was really busy yesterday, so this is literally yesterdays news? Shame on me

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              @mauledbypandas, No worries…

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              @mauledbypandas, Still hasn’t been resolved yet.

  23. Mark says:
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    Whoa, sweet, nested comments!

    Anyway, Niese might be a bit of a sleeper. He had a 3.36 / 3.28 / 3.42 FIP / xFIP / SIERA, which ranked 27th / 14th / 18th among all SP with at least 150 IP last season, and he was still only 24 so there’s still some room for growth. He has respectable strikeout rate, doesn’t walk too many guys, and gets ground balls. He looks like one of those guys who’s jack-of-all, master-of-none, which for such a young guy could eventually bring his whole game together and make him something just a bit shy of a fantasy stud. He’s one of the three young lefties I’m looking at late in drafts: Mike Minor, Niese, and Danny Duffy. Minor for obvious reason, Niese for the reasons stated above, and Duffy in spite of his struggles last year because of his pure stuff and minor league pedigree.

    A bit (okay more than a bit) on Duffy: he reminds me a lot of Jon Lester. Two high-pedigree lefties with good stuff who were briefly out of baseball for a time in the high minors (though for different reasons, obviously). Their statistical profiles are similar as well. This was both of their rookie seasons (actually this is Lester’s second season after he came back from his….recovery, but his 2006 was actually a touch worse):

    Lester (2007, age 23): 12 G, 11 GS, 63 IP, 7.14 K/9 (18.2 K%), 4.43 BB/9 (11.3 BB%), 4.57 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, .279 BABIP, 5.24 FIP, 4.97 xFIP, 5.16 SIERA

    Duffy (2011, age 22): 20 G, 20 GS, 105 IP, 7.43 K/9 (18.4 K%), 4.36 BB/9 (10.8 BB%), 5.64 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, .329 BABIP, 4.82 FIP, 4.53 xFIP, 4.46 SIERA

    On the surface, looks like a couple guys worth ignoring, but lefties with their status as prospects, minor league track records, and pure stuff don’t come along all that often. Duffy had the higher ERA and WHIP, but just about all of that is explained by the BABIP difference (FWIW, Lester’s career BABIP is .299). Duffy had a few more Ks, a few fewer walks, and the better FIP, xFIP, and SIERA, and was even a bit younger. Duffy’s numbers in the minors were also stronger. Even more, they have similar repertoires. Both threw their fastball just over 50% of the time (Lester: 51%, Duffy 54%) and Duffy’s actually had more velocity (Lester: 91.8, Duffy: 93.3). Both also feature a good curve as the pitch they throw the second most often (Lester: 15%, Duffy: 21%) along with a useful second fastball (Lester has the cutter, Duffy the two seamer) and a useable changeup (both threw each ~10% of the time), and a both will feature an occasional slider as well.

    I think the ‘perts are overlooking Duffy a bit too much based on a poor 20-start debut. He’s a guy who will probably be on waivers in 90% of mixed leagues on opening day, and might be owned across the board by the end of the year.

    But I digress. One of my goals this year is to get Minor on as many teams as I can, and then either one of Niese or Duffy–Niese if I’m looking for floor, and Duffy if I’m looking for upside. I see Niese as a guy with a decent chance to wind up Top 40 (thought not much Top 20 potential, not quite enough upside in any single category), and a pretty safe bet to be Top 70 or so, while Duffy has an outside shot at Top 20, but could also have negative value if he doesn’t improve at all.

    The only other guys from this group (besides Niese) I’m remotely interested in are Baker (good numbers, would take the health risk if its late enough), Norris, Dempster, Liriano (I felt the same way as you last year but at such a reduced price I might take the plunge again), Sale, and Peacock. I’ll probably be ignoring most of the rest of ‘em.

    • mauledbypandas says:
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      @Mark, good food for thought. Is Minor the 4th or 5h starter? Wondering about Teheran also

      • Mark says:
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        @mauledbypandas, We’ll see. The Braves are so pitching rich, its a shame they couldn’t move Jair (for Minor’s fantasy purposes). Randall Delgado is a concern as well. I want to believe they can’t overlook Minor again, and with Hudson iffy early in the season hopefully Minor locks himself into a roster spot, but he performs poorly and Delgado and/or Teheran perform well, there’s always a chance he’s the odd man out.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Mark, I agree with you on Duffy, but he won’t be owned outside of AL-Only leagues or very deep mixed leagues. He’s probably around 100th SP right now. Yes on Minor!

      • Mark says:
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        @Grey, Yeah I hear ya. If I was an AL-Only player (I do NL-Only sometimes but never done AL-Only) I’d probably reach for Duffy. In mixed, I probably won’t draft him in leagues where you’ll see fewer than 80 SP rostered, but anything deeper than that and he’s someone I’ll consider spending one of my last couple picks on depending on how my pitching staff looks. Those picks are generally all about upside, and despite his struggles and the lack of buzz, Duffy has more than most of the pitchers in this range. I’d rather have him than a lower upside guy like Vance Worley, or a better prospect who may not be on a roster like Julio Teheran, or an inferior (fantasy) prospect with less MLS service like Jarrod Parker. I’d take him over Johan too. In leagues were guys like Minor, Sale, Niese, and Peacock are still on the board in the last two rounds (actually scratch Minor, he probably won’t be because he’ll already be on my roster), I’ll probably ignore Duffy, but if those guys are all off the board and I have a couple picks left, all bets are off.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          @Mark, Yeah, but if he goes out and shizzes the bed in his first two starts how much of a leash are you gonna give him?

          • Mark says:
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            @Grey, yeah I’d probably drop him if he has like a 6.00 ERA in April unless his peripherals are ungodly good, but FWIW, as long as the Royals break camp with five starters, his first start should be in OAK, so he’s not even bad choice just to draft as a week 1 streamer.

  24. Oregon Nut Cups

    Oregon Nut Cups says:
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    Being in a deep keeper league (30 rd drafts, 12 teams), its these late plays that I appreciate reading about. Thanks for all you do, Grey.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Oregon Nut Cups, No worries…

  25. Derek in Utah says:
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    Grey- thanks for putting together all of these rankings. I’m in a competitive Dynasty $ League (14 mgrs) over at Rotoworld, and your rankings have helped me a lot.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Derek in Utah, No problem…

      • Derek in Utah says:
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        @Grey, next year let’s get into the same league. Maybe 14 of us regular commentators in here. We’ll even let you be the Commish :)

  26. Ryan G says:
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    Great reference on Mystery in Buerhle’s post.

    What a joke they both are

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Ryan G, Thanks!

  27. birrrdy! says:
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    I don’t care what anybody says, Johan Santana will take me to the fantasy title this year like Chris Carpenter did for me in 2008! And that’s me quoting me!!

  28. Grey

    Grey says:
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    ****THERE’S A NEW POST****

  29. Tony says:
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    while everyone else is loving this “nested comments” im on the fence, its a change, maybe once im use to it i’ll be ok, right now bleh… after 4-5 years of one way, its tough to change, god i sound like a grandpa…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Tony, It’s a little clunky to read, but I think it might be better in the long run.

  30. Mike says:
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    Alexi Ogando why no ranking.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Mike, He’s now a reliever.

  31. Mike says:
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    Thanks

  32. bill says:
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    Grey- I’m adopting you as my go to fantasy guru. 1- because you make me laugh and no other blog-pert does that 2. your logic on players makes sense and 3. you are man enough to rock a stash
    It could also be because you say nice things about my keepers
    So.. I just made an offer on CAnibal- I’m changing his name (if the Latin players can do it so can I) to make him sound more macho

  33. Tarasco's Secret Stash says:
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    Man, not even a peep about Billingsley in the also-rans? He’s fallen THAT far?

    • Wake Up says:
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      @Tarasco’s Secret Stash, you must not have had him last year

  34. guy says:
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    I’m drafting Scott Baker. :(~
    ^ That’s me sticking my tongue out at you. ( Just I should clarify)

  35. Fenst says:
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    Did I miss Porcello or are you not a fan?

    I’m drafting him over almost everyone you have on this last group of 20 outside of maybe Norris.

    Would like to see some more K/9 out of him but I think it will develop a bit as he is still 23. Good bb/9 and k/bb ratios point towards better surface stats than last year as well. What are your thoughts?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Fenst, I wouldn’t touch Porcello in any league.

  36. Eric says:
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    Bud Norris, Jeff Samardzija, Daniel Bard, and John Danks just got dropped in my league. Would you drop Francisco Liriano or mike minor for any of these guys.

    H2h league
    scoring for pitching is W ERA WHIP K9 QS

  37. Mookie wilson says:
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    Which side:
    Bumgarner/hardy or andrus/samardzj?

Comments are closed.