This is the tenth article in the series of our 2013 fantasy baseball rankings looking at the position of starting pitchers ranked 21-40. There are quite a few pitchers in this group that were ranked in the top 20 a year ago but because of injury / decline in performance, they have now fallen into this group, such as Tim Lincecum, Dan Haren and Jon Lester.
There are also a couple of red flag injury risks in this group as well in Jake Peavy and Brett Anderson. Typically I am risk adverse so those type of players I will usually avoid on draft day unless they are available at an extreme discount. Remember that staying healthy is a skill as well and pitchers that have been injured multiple times in past seasons hardly ever suddenly run off a few seasons of 200 innings in a row.
Here is a look at the fantasy baseball starting pitchers ranked 21-40 for 2013.
21. Jordan Zimmermann - progress has been in baby steps with injury history, but if he can maintain ground ball rate from first half plus strikeout rate from second half, then breakout season is the result.
22. Max Scherzer - a touch more velocity plus better slider and suddenly he is striking out three more batters per nine innings. Not sure he can hold that k rate again, but his ERA and WHIP should both be better in 2013.
23. Johnny Cueto - kept most of his ground ball rate improvement from 2011, improved strikeout rate plus solid bullpen behind him all played a part. Only worry is past injury history as last year was first season hitting 200 innings.
24. Yovani Gallardo - too many walks and too many home runs keeps him out of the top echelon of starting pitchers. Still a solid pitcher who has struck out 200+ four seasons in a row and a good number two starter for a fantasy team.
25. Mat Latos - moved from Petco Park to CIN without any change in his ratios. Strikeout rate was down for a second year in a row but he still fanned eight hitters per nine innings. Last year was the first time he reached 200 innings.
26. Ian Kennedy - a few more balls fall in for hits, a few more balls fly over the fence plus some extra walks and the WHIP and ERA can go north pretty quickly. His 2011 season was probably a little over his head and 2012 was not as bad as the ratios may indicate. Expect a middle ground in 2013.
27. Aroldis Chapman - moves into starting rotation and will face an innings limit though a number has not been determined yet. Strikeout rate will go down with more pitches per appearance, but he still will likely own the highest k/9 rate outside of possibly Strasburg.
28. Matt Moore - not too bad of a rookie campaign, but most fantasy owners were disappointed given their high expectations. Too many walks as most young left-handers typically deal with, but strikeout rate was nice and he improved as the season went on, posting a 3.01 ERA and 1.21 WHIP after the All-Star break.
29. Doug Fister - has changed as a pitcher the last two seasons, throwing a lot less fastballs and relying more on his curve and slider which has boosted his strikeout way while maintaining his high ground ball rate. Upside here in 2013 with 200 innings of work.
30. Matt Garza - only made it through half of the season before being shut down with a stress reaction in right elbow. Before the injury, his numbers were in line with 2011 except for a jump in ERA thanks to a home run spike.
31. Jeff Samardzija - transitioned to the rotation and made good strides the second half of the season, posting a 2.58 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. The key to success for him his maintaining his walk rate again in 2013 given his control issues in the past.
32. Brandon Morrow - continues to tease us with his promise but his health won’t let anyone cash in on his potential. Improving walk rate and assumption strikeout rate comes back most of the way means I will be buying his lottery ticket again in 2013.
33. Hiroki Kuroda - another year closer to 40 and move to American League had no impact on his ratios. Strikeouts were down slightly, but he should be okay to own in 2013.
34. Jake Peavy - no one has ever doubted his skill set (which by the way has shown improved control the last two seasons), just his ability to stay healthy. I am not betting on a repeat for 2013 given his past history.
35. Tim Lincecum - still was striking out hitters, but his control continues to decline as his walk rate increased for the third year in a row. That coupled with a decrease in velocity knocks him way down in the rankings from where he was just a year ago.
36. C.J. Wilson - had elbow surgery in October but is expected to be ready to start the season. Walk rate reverted to 2010 levels last season combined with increase in home run rate spiked ERA.
37. Lance Lynn - moved to the rotation with no problems and still carried a high strikeout rate. Has looked better in the major leagues than he did in AA/AAA so I would expect a little regression coming up.
38. Jon Lester - velocity down three years in a row which has made him easier to hit and offsets his improvement in walk rate last two seasons. Improvement in home run rate should bring his ERA down a little but drop in strikeouts cuts into value.
39. Dan Haren - velocity was down last season and was not signed by several teams in the offseason due to concerns over back issues. Strikeouts should see an increase with move back to National League but durability is now a question mark.
40. Brett Anderson - major league of 175 innings was back in 2009. Came back from Tommy John surgery at the end of last season and looked the same as prior seasons when healthy. His health is the huge question mark; cross your fingers for 175 innings and make sure you have a good pitcher on reserve.
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