FANFOOD FB’13 – Starters


In this game of Fantasy Baseball, pitching is half of your team. Every year there is debate on how to build a team through the draft. Do you build offense early and search for pitching later in the draft, or do you build a very strong pitching staff and ride them throughout the year?

My answer is: You can do both.




[C] [SP] [RP] [1B] [2B] [3B] [SS] [OF]


Most every team will get roughly the same stats out of their SP1s, that is if you grab one of the top 12. It’s the teams that round out the rest of their rotation by making the smart choices later in the draft that will be at the top of the standings come September. Here is my take on the starters for 2013 followed by a recipe to help you cook that beef tenderloin you just trimmed.

So, how many starting pitchers do you draft? When do you draft them? This depends on the settings in your league. How many teams are in your league? Are you playing in a ROTO or Points League? Is it Head to Head (H2H)? How many innings are you limited to? Is your league weighed heavier on things like Wins (W) or Quality Starts (QS)? These are some of the things you need to ask yourself and adjust your plan accordingly.

Lets assume you are in a 12-team ROTO league that starts 2 pitchers each day and counts Wins, (W), Losses (L), Strikeouts (K), Earned Run Average (ERA), Walks and Hits per inning pitched (WHIP). This is on what I will base my rankings.

Did you know that of the top 36 SPs last year, 21 were drafted after 100 players had already been drafted. This means that you could have found these pitchers in the double digit rounds in your draft. That is not to say that you can wait until then to grab your SP1. When it comes down to it, there are 6 types of Starting Pitchers to choose from.

The Elite
Bad Season
The Old Dogs
New Teams
Hidden Gems
The Rookies


The Elite Starters

Your SP1 & SP2 should be a 5-tool pitcher. One that will get you many wins, strikes out a ton of batters, keep the ERA low, and in turn not give up a ton of hits and runs. These are the elite pitchers and you should have one on your team. Most likely your league will only draft 70 or so starting pitchers so while you need to keep pace with you opponents, if it comes down to an elite pitcher or an elite hitter, draft the hitter. In my opinion they are pitchers  in this class are: Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Stephen Strasburg, Felix Hernandez, David Price, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Jered Weaver, R.A. Dickey, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, CC Sabathia, & Zack Greinke.


Making Improvements/Returning from an injury

Often a starting pitcher can be on the cusp of fantasy greatness with improvement in one area, like Gio Gonzalez dropping his walk rate from 4.1 to 3.4 per nine in 2012. It’s hard to predict who they will be, but keep an eye on the stats in spring training and early in the season to find them. Look at guys that are coming of injuries. Players returning from injury, carrying an injury-prone reputation, or just coming off an injury-shortened season may be that SP3 for your team that you can get cheap. This year they include pitchers such as C.J. Wilson, Doug Fister, Brandon Morrow, Josh Johnson, Brett Anderson, Scott Baker, Derek Holland, Matt Garza, Josh Beckett, Tommy Hanson, Andrew Cashner, and Tommy John survivors Brandon Beachy (potential late June return), Cory Luebke (late May return), Daniel Hudson (July), and Felipe Paulino (July).

If rolling the dice on injured players is not your thing, you can roll the dice on some unproven talent. This year they are the likes of Aroldis Chapman, Matt Harvey, Hisashi Iwakuma, Dylan Bundy, Mike Fiers, Marco Estrada, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Shelby Miller, Tyler Skaggs, and a host of others.


Pitchers Coming of a Bad Season

There are some very talented pitchers who are going late in part because of ERAs around 4.00 in 2012. Players such as Jon Lester, Tim Lincecum, Mike Minor, or Derek Holland, are intriguing bounceback or breakout candidates. Others include Marco Estrada, Mike Fiers, Jeff Samardzija, Alex Cobb, Dillon Gee, Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Pat Corbin, Carlos Villanueva, Edwin Jackson, and Ian Kennedy.


The Old Dogs

You can find some older pitchers outside the top 100 universe. Keep on eye on pitchers like Hiroki Kuroda, A.J. Burnett, Ryan Dempster, Ryan Vogelsong, Kyle Lohse.


New Faces in New Places

There are many pitchers that have changed teams and leagues and you need to be aware of who they are. Many pitchers will fall in the draft because fantasy managers are worried and may not see them listed in their favorite team’s depth charts. Here is an alphabetical list with notes on the movers and shakers.


PitcherNew TeamNotes
AlvarezMarlinsPitching in the NL will not help him
BakerCubsA Cubs SP you can pass on
BedardAstrosouch. Playing in Houston makes him one to pass on
BlantonAngelsNot even worth typing about, pass
BuehrleBlue JaysI see 18-20 wins this season. Not bad for a SP4
CorreiaTwinsNew Home, same spot on the waiver wire
DavisRoyalsCould really surprise and could really dissapoint.  High Risk/Low Reward
DempsterRed SoxWill get his share of wins and K’s in Beantown
DickeyBlue JaysKuckleball is unhittable either in the NL or AL. clear cut SP1
FeldmanCubsThe Cubs are not the Rangers.  Pass
GrienkeDodgersFormer CY Young will get run support.
HansonAngelsHe will get you the wins you need out of your SP5
HarenNationalsA source of wins. Suited for the NL
HumberAstrosDid you know that he has pitched a perfect game? Either way pass
JacksonCubsBelongs on the Waiver Wire to start and end the season
JohnsonBlue JaysOne year removed from TJ.  Gunna get run support.
LannanPhillies“The Canon” is just a nickname. I would pass
LirianoPiratesYou just don’t know what you’re going to get.  Worth a flyer though
MarcumMetsPlaying for an awful team is not where you want to go
McCarthyDiamondbacksPitching in the NL will help his numbers, you could do worse for a SP5
MyersIndiansis RP eligible, makes him worthy of a roster spot early, waiver later
PelfreyTwinsnot worth a roster spot
RyuDodgersHe could be that SP5 starter for your team, then again could be a FA
SantanaRoyalsPass on Ervin
SaundersMarinersH2H league spot starter, if that
ShieldsRoyalsPitching for a worse team this year, but still a lot to like
VargasAngelsHe will win more in LA than SEA. Sleeper material
WorleyTwinsMy expectations for him were high last year. Wrong Year


Hidden Gems

You might think that drafting a SP that averages 110-130 Ks a year will hurt your team. You may be right, but what they will lack in K/9, they may make up for in Wins, and ERA. Because they don’t miss many bats, you will see these pitchers are always at the mercy of hits allowed. It’s hard to trust strong ratios from these types, your best bet among low strikeout starters is to target someone who at least has the stuff for strikeouts and/or has done it in the past, such as Cueto heading into 2012. Jeremy Hellickson, Ricky Romero, and Wandy Rodriguez are a few examples of pitchers who were players with low K/9s in 2012 who could rebound or take a step forward in that department. If you’re going to draft a low strikeout guy with no real K potential, at least aim for one with great control and a nice groundball rate, like Tim Hudson.

After all the team and luck dependencies of Runs Scored and ERA, WHIP tells us a lot about a pitcher’s true talent level. Grab pitchers with a helpful WHIP, even if they came with a marginal ERA last year. The band of successful pitchers in this category is pretty small so consider good WHIP guys like Kyle Lohse (1.09), Jake Peavy (1.10), Brandon Morrow (1.11), Gio Gonzalez (1.13), Marco Estrada (1.14), Mat Latos (1.16), Hiroki Kuroda (1.17), James Shields (1.17) & Jordan Zimmermann (1.17).


The Rookies

If you are in a very deep league and you have a free bench spot, why not take on flyer on a rookie? The four starting pitchers who I think could have the biggest fantasy impact in ’13 are Tyler Skaggs, Chris Archer, Dan Straily, & Julio Teheran.



The talent at Starting Pitching is deep again this year. You will be able to round out your rotation with starting pitchers in the later rounds. Here is my top 100 SPs for ‘13.




Top 100 Starting Pitchers


Justin Verlander
Clayton Kershaw
Felix Hernandez
Stephen Strasburg
David Price
Cole Hamels
Matt Cain
Cliff Lee
Jered Weaver
R.A. Dickey
Madison Bumgarner
CC Sabathia
Zack Greinke
Gio Gonzalez
Kris Medlen
Adam Wainwright
Yu Darvish
Johnny Cueto
James Shields
Roy Halladay
Chris Sale
Mat Latos
C.J. Wilson
Jordan Zimmermann
Matt Moore
Ian Kennedy
Josh Johnson
Brandon Morrow
Yovani Gallardo
Doug Fister
Jon Lester
Jake Peavy
Max Scherzer
Jeff Samardzija
Tim Lincecum
Jonathon Niese
Hiroki Kuroda
Jeremy Hellickson
Homer Bailey
Kyle Lohse
Ryan Vogelsong
Trevor Cahill
Mike Minor
Lance Lynn
Matt Harvey
Dan Haren
Ryan Dempster
Shaun Marcum
Anibal Sanchez
Tim Hudson
A.J. Griffin
Jarrod Parker
Alex Cobb
Phil Hughes
Marco Estrada
Clay Buchholz
Matt Harrison
Matt Garza
A.J. Burnett
Hyun-Jin Ryu
Andy Pettitte
Josh Beckett
Wade Miley
Jason Hammel
Brandon McCarthy
James McDonald
Dan Straily
Shelby Miller
Hisashi Iwakuma
Trevor Bauer
Wei-Yin Chen
Wandy Rodriguez
Chad Billingsley
Chris Tillman
Kyle Kendrick
Edwin Jackson
Hisashi Iwakuma
Johan Santana
Tommy Hanson
Chad Billingsley
Vance Worley
Mike Fiers
Dillon Gee
Chris Archer
Ricky Romero
Jacob Turner
Jaime Garcia
Bronson Arroyo
Jason Vargas
Tommy Milone
Julio Teheran
Miguel Gonzalez
Jaime Garcia
Derek Holland
Clayton Richard
Aroldis Chapman
Ivan Nova
Trevor Bauer
Matt Harvey
Felix Doubront


Honorable Mention: (in no particular order)

Mark Buehrle,Jeremy Guthrie,Francisco Liriano,Justin Masterson,Cory Luebke,Jeff Niemann,Gavin Floyd,Lucas Harrell,Chris Capuano,Ubaldo Jimenez,Carlos Villanueva,Mark Rogers,John Danks,Cory Luebke,Travis Wood,Drew Smyly,Franklin Morales,Bud Norris,Ross Detwiler,Jeff Karstens,Wily Peralta,Joe Saunders,Chris Narveson,Blake Beavan



[C] [SP] [RP] [1B] [2B] [3B] [SS] [OF]





Perfect Beef Tenderloin

Serves 8


One (4 to 5 pound) beef tenderloin roast, trimmed
4 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon or so rosemary
1 teaspoon or so thyme
Olive oil
Butcher’s twine


The day before serving, examine your tenderloin and trim off any excess fat or tendons. Using a mortar and pestle, grind together the garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme, using a little olive oil to smooth it along. Rub this mixture all over the tenderloin. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours.

Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator an hour or more before roasting and let it come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Tie up the tenderloin such that it is even in thickness, tucking up the thinner tail if necessary. Insert a probe

thermometer into the thickest part of the roast and place in a shallow roasting pan.

Roast 35 to 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees F. Loosely cover with foil and allow to rest for 15-30 minutes before carving.

And that’s it. You’re done! Slice and serve.




High Heat

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