Something that may help you is my pitchers pairing post. Something else that may help you is our Fantasy Baseball War Room. Something else that may also help you is mocking Billy Butler. Nice moobs! So, these starters are all being drafted after 200 overall. Now, this is a (legal-in-all-countries-except-Trinidad-and-Tobago) supplement to the top 100 starters for 2014 fantasy baseball. Click on the player’s name where applicable to read more and see their 2014 projections. Also, I’ve gone over all positions for sleepers; to see them all 2014 fantasy baseball sleepers. Anyway, here’s some starters to target for 2014 fantasy baseball:
Corey Kluber (Yahoo 223, MDC 244, ESPN 309) Topps should do one of those novelty duo cards with DJ LeMahieu and Kluber where they have glow sticks and they’re hanging with a 22-year-old Asian girl who looks like she’s 15 while they do E. Or not, I’m not in charge of their cards. Kluber had a breakout season last year that is remembered by no one. Y’all new to this thing we call fantasy baseball? Straighten up and fly right, broken-winged birdie! Kluber had a 8+ K/9 and a 2.02 BB/9 with a 3.10 xFIP. Close to ace numbers (Note: Not Ace from Real World: Paris). Kluber should get a ton of ground balls, should strikeout more than eight per nine (AP rules for numbers represent!) and won’t walk more than three hitters per nine. Yes, please and Sky also hit you up with a Corey Kluber sleeper post.
Francisco Liriano (ESPN 197) Technically, he doesn’t make the arbitrary cutoff for being ranked after 200 by ESPN, Yahoo or Mock Draft Central, but it was an arbitrary cutoff anyway. Sue me for my commemorative Civil War figurines. Liriano’s ranking at ESPN has me puzzled. I’m staring at their rankings like they’re a 25,000 piece cloud puzzle and I just counted out 24,999 pieces and I need to re-count. I’m at the Puzzle Zoo and the 17-year-old pimply faced Puzzle Zoo employee just showed me their newest zebra puzzles. I’m wearing the Riddler’s leotards and I got question marks up the wazoo. If I had to guess what their problem with Liriano is he was crazy lucky at home last year. He had a .231 BABIP and 86.5% LOB. He still had a 3.10 xFIP at home and a 3.12 xFIP for the whole year, which was 11th best in the league between Jose Fernandez and Strasburg. He also had a 9.11 K-rate, which was also 11th best in the league. It has all gone to hell for him before, but that’s no reason to think it will this year. He doesn’t really fit the mold of sleeper, because I have him ranked around where I’d take a first starter, but I could see sitting on him for a few rounds and taking him as my 2nd or even 3rd starter.
Zack Wheeler (MDC 214, Yahoo 226) Bit surprised by the lack of love I’m sensing for Wheeler considering what Harvey did last year. Let’s just look at the 2nd half for Wheeler and Harvey in 2012, prior to his breakout. Harvey: 3.49 xFIP, 10.62 K/9, 3.94 BB/9; Wheeler: 3.83 xFIP, 7.88 K/9, 3.75 BB/9. Wheeler also threw an extra 12 2/3 innings. Okay, so Harvey’s numbers are better. What does all this mean? Um, not a whole lot. Okay, moving on!
Taijuan Walker (Yahoo 261, ESPN 293, MDC 300) Falls into the same category as Wheeler. Surprised by the lack of enthusiasm surrounding him. Velocity isn’t everything, but last year he averaged a 94.7 MPH fastball. That would’ve ranked him 5th for all of baseball behind: Matt Harvey, Strasburg, Jose Fernandez and Wily Peralta. If he can hold his 2.40 BB/9 from last year, he’ll be a top 25 starter this year…easily! Yeah, you can’t handle the ellipsis adverb exclamation mark! I already went over my Taijuan Walker fantasy. It was written in Sharpie on the shell of a turtle. Said turtle should’ve moved faster, sucka.
Drew Smyly (ESPN 204, MDC 250, Yahoo unranked) This list is guys to target, so I don’t want to be a Johnny Griperseed, but if Smyly doesn’t live up to the emoticon that represents him or one thing goes wrong in the Tigers middle innings, Smyly will be moved back to where he pitched so successfully last year. Also, as common sense would tell you, relievers can use their best stuff non-stop because of the brevity of their appearances and hitters rarely see them twice. As a starter in 2012, Smyly had a 3.79 ERA and that sounds about right if he can stick there. I projected him for a much lower ERA due to thinking he’s going to be a middle reliever for half of the year.
Tyler Skaggs – (ESPN 469, Yahoo unranked, MDC unranked) Last year, he posted a 5.12 ERA. Hehe, you suck, Skaggs, moving on! Right? Or riiiiiiiiiight? More like the ten i’s one. His xFIP was 3.95 last year and it was way too small of a sample size to mean anything — that’s what she said! Guys and four girl readers, he’s 22 years old and in camp he’s showing more velocity. More velocity could mean a 8+ K-rate and a top 50 starter.
Chris Tillman – (ESPN 213, MDC 231, Yahoo 266) With Corbin and Medlen dropping out of the pee/poop tier, only a handful of guys are left to anchor it. The pee/poop tier was meant to stabilize your staff and without just two guys, a vacuum opens. It leaves our pee/poop tier with Porcello, Cashner, Tillman, Archer, Ryu, Kuroda and Johnson. Four of those guys are upsidey and two of those guys are older, leaving Ryu as the only ‘safe’ one and he only has one season under his belt in the states. It’s not ideal, but with seven number three starters, you can make due, or make doo considering the tier name. As for Tillman, I like him for mid-range ratios and solid Ks. BTW, you’re consulting someone who is referring to a pee/poop tier. Cust kayin’.
Tyson Ross (Yahoo 249, MDC 278, ESPN 563) He was pretty borderline for top 100 starters, but after I dropped Gausman (due to Ubaldo’s signing), I added Tyson Ross into the top 100 starters. There, I gave reasons why I didn’t originally rank him saying, “A) A number one starter on the Padres may not win ten games. B) Ross has never thrown more than 125 IP in a major league season and he’s already going to be 27. C) There’s no C.” And that’s me quoting me! I was a bit too harsh by not ranking him originally and for that I offer mea culpas to my Latin readers. Of course, I’ll own him all through the year for his home starts — hodgepadre! — but I still don’t see him being drafted in most 12 team leagues or being started in away games until he shows a few solid starts. Also, Sky gave you his Tyson Ross sleeper post.
Erasmo Ramirez (ESPN 490, Yahoo unranked, MDC unranked) Was so surprised nearly no one ranked him that I tried to do a ‘Find’ for just Ramirez. There’s Hanley, hey Aramis, what’s up Alexei? But Erasmo? Nada, nada, not a damn thing. Then I went to see if Rudy’s projections have Erasmo living way off grid, but they don’t. He’s ranked 279 there and I have him at 256. Sure, he’s nothing but a $1 flyer at the end of drafts, but it’s odd he’s not even being mentioned anywhere. I mean, ESPN ranked 150 starters. You can’t tell me Chad Billingsley or Vidal Nuno needed to be ranked that badly but they couldn’t even squeeze in Erasmo. The same Erasmo who regularly posted sub-2 BB/9 and 7+ K/9 rates. At 23 years old, it’s not like he doesn’t have time to recapture his upside.
Rick Porcello (ESPN 224, MDC 238, Yahoo 296) If I have a chance, I may write a whole sleeper post on Porcello, but time is limited and soon we’re in the season and what I said literally the day before doesn’t matter anymore to most of youse, “Hey, Grey, fantastic mustache, now would you trade Shin-Soo Choo for Manny Machado? I know there’s about a hundred ranking difference in their draft spots, but Machado hit a homer yesterday in case you missed it.” That will be someone on April 10th. Porcello is thisclose to breaking out in a big way. If he can maintain his strikeout gains from last year, continue to post miniscule walk rates and throw a bunch of ground balls as his wont, then I want him — you feel me!? Okay, could you feel me a little lower on my thigh. Thanks.