Baseball HQ's 2013 Track Record

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Need player projections? Pick up any one of a dozen spring magazines or browse over to any fantasy baseball web site. But what you're really getting are three-year averages, subjective opinions or canned, inert numbers. Real performance forecasting is a living, breathing process that looks beyond faulty statistics and focuses on the analysis of component skills and leading indicators. That's what we do at Baseball HQ; it's a process that has been the foundation of our publications since 1993.

In 2013, this process produced a set of projections that could have made the difference in your fantasy season. Here is a look at how the analysis works, and some of the results...

2013 Batters

Brandon Belt mashed RHPs when he finally got an extended opportunity in 2nd half, though xBA remains skeptical. More power to come? .906 OPS at home, so AT&T is not killing him. xPX says power still there, just waiting for more FB. Add in some hr/f regression, and.... UP: 20 HR. (Paley)
2012: 7-56-12-.275 in 411 AB
2013: 17-67-5-.289 in 509 AB

Michael Bourn: Speedsters entering their early thirties are a questionable investment. Without his terrific wheels, Bourn is an ordinary hitter at best that lacks power, employs an inconsistent approach at the plate and is transitioning to a superior league. It isn't likely that his SB upside falls apart this season or even next, but the threat is always there with a one-dimensional player. (Becker)
2012: 9-57-42-.274 in 624 AB
2013: 6-50-23-.263 in 525 AB

Domonic Brown: Until he fractured a hamate bone that required surgery in spring training 2011, it looked like he was on track to becoming the next big thing in Philly. He's struggled since, but the tools are there—plus bb%, ct% and PX in otherwise underwhelming stints in 2011 and 2012. He's flashed solid Spd in the past as well so it's just a matter of putting it all together. Just 25 years old, the opportunity is now for him to realize his considerable potential. (Becker)
2012: 5-26-0-.235 in 187 AB
2013: 27-83-8-.272 in 496 AB

Melky Cabrera: Things that went up: Eye, Spd (big time), GB%, BA (especially vLHP), xBA (does not support BA), wacky h%, and detected banned substances. Things that went down: power (new home park hurt), games played after suspension and credibility. If his numbers depended on chemicals, DN: 2010 (Paley)
2010: 4-42-7-.255 in 458 AB
2011: 18-87-20-.305 in 658 AB
2012: 11-60-13-.346 in 459 AB
2013: 3-30-2-.279 in 344 AB

Mike Carp may well be the best bet from the next tier. He had a nice mini-breakout late in 2011, but never got started on his 2012 followup attempt after getting hurt on the season-opening trip to Japan. From what we saw in that 2nd half of 2011 (282 AB of 140 PX), this is a bat that will play and play well, if and when he makes his way to the top of this logjam of options (in Seattle). (Murphy)
2012: 5-20-.213 in 164 AB at SEA
2013: 9-43-.296 in 216 AB at BOS

Matt Carpenter's strength is in his lack of a glaring weakness. He makes enough contact and takes plenty of walks, giving him a reasonably high BA floor. He also has PX and Spd enough to produce double digits in both HRs and SBs. (Becker)
2012: 6-46-1-.294 in 296 AB
2013: 11-78-3-.318 in 626 AB

Michael Cuddyer's lowest PX for any month last year was 132. It wasn't all courtesy of the thin air as his 17% hr/f on the road was just a shade behind his 19% mark at home. While his xBA of .296 is probably a tad optimistic, Cuddyer's BA is a strong bet to improve and in spite of his poor Spd, he's managed to swipe at least 5 bags every year since 2006. Cuddyer offers great value should he remain in Colorado all season, and even though playing half the time in Coors Field isn't critical to his success, it sure doesn't hurt. (Becker)
2012: 16-58-8-.260 in 358 AB
2013: 20-84-10-.331 in 489 AB

Chris Davis: It seems that nobody trusts that he can repeat last year's performance. Heck, at 27 he could get better. He's shown signs in the past that he can hit higher than .270. The incredible power and high batting average he displayed in the minors are still a part of his skill set. Entering his peak years, he could well build on 2012's numbers, hitting upwards of 40 home runs with a batting average approaching .300. (Shandler)
2012: 33-85-2-.270 in 515 AB
2013: 53-138-4-.286 in 584 AB

Ian Desmond looks like a possible bargain, with an ADP in the late 6th round. While some regression from his 2012 breakout would be natural, his power growth looks reasonable, though the HR total was clearly inflated. Still, the power/speed combination is hard to pass up in the 5th or 6th. (Cederholm)
2011: 8-49-25-.253 in 584 AB
2012: 25-73-21-.292 in 513 AB
2013: 20-80-21-.280 in 600 AB

Josh Donaldson: Injuries propelled him into an everyday role late in the season and he responded with promising power (8 HRs in Aug/Sept). Encouraging ct% growth offers a path to continued fanalytic relevance. Keep an eye on this one... UP: 20 HR, .270 BA. (Gelfand)
2012: 9-33-4-.241 in 274 AB
2013: 24-92-5-.305 in 571 AB

Stephen Drew: Sure, the ankle injury was bad, but in typical Drew family fashion, it took him far longer than expected to fully recover. Plate patience came back intact; resurgent Sept. (5 HRs, 45% FB%) along with aggregate xPX all suggest that a return of 2010 power is in play. (Gelfand)
2010: 15-61-10-.278 in 565 AB
2011: 5-45-4-.252 in 321 AB
2012: 7-28-1-.223 in 287 AB
2013: 13-64-6-.249 in 433 AB

Jacoby Ellsbury: Now two injury-decimated seasons in three years, with a complete breakout/outlier sandwiched in the middle; this may be the toughest 2013 projection out there. We know the speed is legit, but xPX doubted the 2011 power when it happened, so discount that until we see it again. 50 SB more likely than 20 HR. (Murphy)
2011: 32-105-39-.321 in 660 AB
2012: 4-26-14-.271 in 303 AB
2013: 9-53-52-.298 in 577 AB

Edwin Encarnacion: This monster season was just a case of sewing together skills he'd owned all along: solid plate approach/contact ('10-'11) for a slugger, plenty of FBs ('08, '10), established power ('08, '10), good health ('08, '11). Mild regression will preclude a full repeat, but this was no one-year wonder. (Murphy)
2012: 42-110-13-.280 in 542 AB
2013: 36-104-7-.272 in 530 AB

Danny Espinosa: Compelling power/speed profile comes with warning signs galore: ct% erosion reaching dangerous levels, xPX doesn't fully back HR, SBs stem from a shaky cocktail of average Spd and liberal green light. 2nd half showed positive face value, though unsupported growth. Lots of ways this can go wrong. (Murphy)
2012: 17-56-20-.247 in 594 AB
2013: 3-12-1-.158 in 158 AB

Freddie Freeman is a great value as his skills improved across the board in his second full season, particularly his bb%, ct% and PX. He made better quality contact in 2012 as well, increasing both his LD% and FB%. Freeman is just 23 years old, but he already has 30 HR upside right now with more BA growth potential in the near future. (Becker)
2012: 23-94-2-.259 in 540 AB
2013: 23-109-1-.319 in 551 AB

David Freese: 2011 October hero stayed healthy enough for his first 500-AB season... at age 30. Problem is, friendly hr/f drove HR spike more than anything. Hits too many GB to be a reliable power source. And xBA says he's no .290 lock. 2nd half calf, wrist, ankle woes remind us that chronically injured players don't get healthy in their 30s. (Nickrand)
2012: 20-79-.293 in 501 AB
2013: 9-60-.262 in 462 AB

Evan Gattis: Although Brian McCann hopes to be ready by Opening Day, Gattis could surpass talented Christian Bethancourt and break camp with the Braves if McCann has any setbacks. Gattis batted .305 with 18 home runs in three stops in the minors last season, followed by hitting .303 with 16 home runs in Venezuela. Drug rehab and other issues kept him out of baseball for nearly four years. (Beckey)
2013: 21-65-0-.243 in 354 AB

Josh Hamilton's MVP-caliber April and May hid huge ct% tailspin, maddening inconsistency by month. Still hasn't posted 500 AB in back-to-back seasons. xBA trends another warning sign, especially as he opens up swing to hacker levels. This likely was his peak. DN: 400 AB, .270 BA, 20 HR. (Nickrand)
Also... Don't draft Josh Hamilton (HQ: 115, ADP: 11). Yes, you read correctly: we have him in the 8th round, despite him being in the top 5 hitters last year. In almost 60 NFBC drafts, Hamilton hasn't lasted past pick #22. Given the ballpark factors, he'd have to repeat his 2012 production, clearly an outlier, to be worth that high a pick. You've been warned. (Cederholm)
2012: 43-128-7-.285 in 562 AB
2013: 21-79-4-.250 in 576 AB

Chase Headley: Fully 27% of his fly balls went yard in the second half last year, leading to 23 anomalous HRs. Prior to that spike, he was on pace for a typical 16-HR season. That should be your baseline power projection. (Shandler)
2012: 31-117-17-.286 in 604 AB
2013: 13-50-8-.250 in 520 AB

Ian Kinsler: If you were disappointed with his performance, just imagine his counting stats without the huge AB total. Small signs of decline across the board. Even at just-past peak, recent skills suggest that the declines are reversible, but factor in that there's only downside possible in his AB totals. (Cederholm)
2012: 19-72-21-.256 in 655 AB
2013: 13-72-15-.277 in 545 AB

DJ LeMahieu: Secondbasemen with speed skills and a .300 BA don't grow on trees, so this one will get some attention in many leagues. But inflated h% drove BA, and xBA paints a less rosy picture. 2nd half Spd would be worth tucking away for SB flier late in your draft. (Nickrand)
2012: 1 SB in 229 AB
2013: 18 SB in 404 AB

Adam Lind battled back problems, and that's a sure-fire way to kill power. xPX shows it, and also that he's been better when healthy. Forget about '09, but a rebound to '11 HR levels nets a profit here. (Truesdell)
Also... Adam Lind (1B, TOR) had a lousy year in 2012, mostly due to a bad back. He's going in the 21st round, on average, which is about what his 2012 was worth. If you can get him at his ADP, there's a lot of gravy left in the boat. (Cederholm)
2011: 26-87-.251, 133 PX, $14 in 499 AB
2012: 11-45-.255, 93 PX, $6 in 321 AB
2013: 23-67-.288, 145 PX, $18 in 465 AB

Jonathan Lucroy may not hit .320 again, but otherwise Lucroy's mini-breakout is repeatable. Lucroy's improving Eye and PX growth give him a great shot to top 15 HR and he has Spd enough to swipe a handful of bags as well. There's a lot of value in a catcher that can deliver solid numbers like these and an optimistic line in the neighborhood of .285/18/7 isn't out of the question. (Becker)
2012: 12-58-4-.320 in 316 AB
2013: 18-82-9-.280 in 521 AB

Starling Marte: While his lack of bb% is likely to remain a weakness, he has at least shown better ct% in the high minors giving hope for improvement in this area... His GB% caps his power upside for now, but he runs often so if he can retain his SB% gains then he has 15/30 HR/SB upside in 2013. (Becker)
2012: 5-17-12-.257 in 167 AB
2013: 12-35-41-.280 in 510 AB

Leonys Martin is expected to fight Craig Gentry for the CF role, and that seems to be a battle strongly favoring Martin. Once he gets that role, it's entirely possible that Martin will work his way to the top of the Texas lineup and spend the summer racking up SBs and runs scored. He is yet another as-yet-unhyped fantasy option, where a minimal investment could yield 30+ SB and maybe even double-digit HR totals. (Murphy)
2012: 0-6-3-.175 in 46 AB
2013: 8-49-36-.262 in 454 AB

Justin Maxwell's power/speed combo held up well in majors, but he has SO many holes in his swing. Horrific ct% keeps BA right where it is, he doesn't hit righties, and xPX, hr/f say he won't keep all of the power gains. Now 29, this is probably about as good as it gets. UP: 500 AB nets 20/20/.240. DN: Drops into wrong side of a platoon. (Truesdell)
2012: 18-53-9-.229, 171 PX in 315 AB
2013: 7-25-6-.255, 158 PX in 231 AB

Andrew McCutcheon: Exciting breakout, but not without caveats. H% spike not fully supported by skills, meaning his BA should regress. Lingering knee pain likely cut into SBO and SB%, and needs monitoring. His peak may still be 1-2 years away, but growth often comes in fits and starts, even at this level. Expect some regression in '13. (Truesdell)
2012: 31-96-20-.327 in 593 AB
2013: 21-84-27-.317 in 583 AB

Nate McLouth: Sometimes you've gotta hit rock bottom. After a fully earned release from ATL, flashes of the old power/speed combo resurfaced with BAL. Can't hit lefties, health remains a risk, and two months is hardly a definitive sample. But he owns the skills, and in a platoon... UP .270, 20/20. (Truesdell)
2012: 7-20-12-.241 in 266 AB
2013: 12-34-30-.258 in 527 AB

Devin Mesoraco still has the power skills history that made many expect a more positive first impression, but a history of problems hitting RHP suggests his development will take some time. (Truesdell)
2012: 5-14-.212 in 165 AB
2013: 9-42-.240 (.214 vs RHP) in 321 AB

Will Middlebrooks' broken wrist prematurely ended what was shaping up to be a productive indoctrination to the bigs. Clearly, there are some holes: mainly, that poor Eye all but assures a BA drop. That said, beefy power skills held up well with BOS, and HR-hitting 3B are valuable commodities. (Truesdell)
2012: 15-54-.288, 148 PX in 267 AB
2013: 17-49-.230, 152 PX in 343 AB

Mike Napoli: Starting at 1B and less behind the dish for Boston should help his balky hip while potentially allowing him to crack the 500 AB plateau for the first time at age 31. Of course there's plenty of risk here, but Napoli's swing is tailor made for Fenway and a C-eligible bb%/PX combo like this at a reduced price is hard to pass up. So don't. (Becker)
2012: 24-56-1-.227 in 352 AB
2013: 23-92-1-.259 in 498 AB

Buster Posey: Impressive comeback by a rising star—but step back and take a deep breath. The 2nd half h% and PX are unrepeatable, and he won't always dominate LHP like that. He hits tons of GBs, and xPX suggests regression. But 1st half production is a reasonable benchmark; double it (yielding 20-80-.296) and he's still a top-flight catcher. (Adler)
2012: 24-103-.336 in 530 AB
2013: 15-72-.297 in 501 AB

Ryan Raburn is a sleeper option here, picked up from the Tigers this winter. As awful as he was last year (.171 BA with 1 HR in 202 AB), his 2009-11 track record (PX of 146-141-135) speaks better of his potential, and at age 31 he is certainly not too old to recapture something resembling that peak. In a part-time OF/DH role, Raburn could pop 15-20 HR along with a .260 BA over 350-400 AB. (Murphy)
2012: 1-12-.171 in 205 AB
2013: 16-55-.272 in 243 AB

Wilson Ramos was a raw prospect just a few years ago, but now combines strong plate discipline with solid PX and is entering his prime years. A high GB% has limited his power upside to this point, but he has the ability to produce solid HR totals while posting a reasonable BA... Ramos is one of the more intriguing sleepers at catcher in 2013. He has been healthy this spring and while he's likely to share time with Suzuki initially, his superior offensive upside gives him a strong shot at the primary role. (Becker)
2012: 3-10-0-.265 in 83 AB
2013: 16-59-0-.272 in 287 AB

Michael Saunders: Minor league career always pointed to raw power/speed skills; improved contact, BA vs. LHP finally made them MLB-playable. But sub-par ct%, marginal BA - particularly against RHPs - could put his playing time at risk. PX/xPX and SB% are encouraging, but BA/xBA track record says let someone else pay for a repeat. (Thompson)
2012: 19-57-21-.247 in 507 AB
2013: 12-46-13-.236 in 406 AB

Kyle Seager doesn't possess overwhelming skills, but his success in 2012 was no mirage. He makes contact at an above average clip and his LD indicates that it's good contact. His FB lean helps make the most of his decent PX so another 20 HR season is certainly possible. While his weak Spd doesn't support his SB total, Seager's SB% wasn't bad so at least he chooses his spots well. (Becker)
2012: 20-86-13-.259 in 594 AB
2013: 22-69-9-.260 in 615 AB

Jean Segura: Plenty of ct% paired with terrific Spd are skills that will keep his BA floor high, but maintaining (or growing) his bb% is critical to boosting his OBP so that he can reach his full SB potential. The good news is that his bb% has improved after reaching the big leagues. He has the starting job and his skills profile very well at the SS position, which means he can deliver immediate value to his owners. (Becker)
2012: 0-14-7-.258 in 151 AB
2013: 12-49-44-.294 in 588 AB

Shane Victorino has proven that even at less than 100% health, he has more than enough skill to be valuable to his owners. Good Spd is the headliner here, but the ct% and bb% combine to produce an advanced approach at the plate. And while he isn't a slugger, he does offer 15-20 HR potential. (Becker)
2012: 11-55-39-.255 in 595 AB
2013: 15-61-21-.294 in 477 AB

Jayson Werth: Before breaking his wrist in May, Werth was on his way to re-establishing himself after a tough first year in Washington. At his best, he's an OBP machine with plus pop and decent speed that's maximized by a SB% consistently over 80%. He had 550+ AB in each season since becoming an everyday player in 2009 so don't overreact to his unlucky break in 2012. (Becker)
2012: 5-31-8-.300 in 300 AB
2013: 25-82-10-.318 in 462 AB

 

2013 Pitchers

Homer Bailey had another strong finish last season. His skills in the 2H were top-shelf: 8.1 Dom, 1.9 Ctl, 48% GB%, 121 BPV. While he has a rough 5.20 ERA so far this spring, his command has continued to be excellent. He has a 13/2 K/BB in 13 IP. His previous shoulder woes still give him some health risk, but there's a 3.50 ERA here if he can stay healthy and smooth out the performance swings that have plagued him in the past. (Nickrand)
2011: 9 wins, 4.43 ERA in 132 IP
2012: 13 wins, 3.68 ERA in 208 IP
2013: 11 wins, 3.49 ERA in 209 IP

Heath Bell: While J.J. Putz looks solid, he is 36. It wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility for Bell to back into a bunch of save opps. Few know that he posted a 92 BPV in the second half of his 2012 debacle season. (Shandler)
2012: 19 saves, 5.09 ERA
2013: 15 saves, 4.11 ERA (consensus projections were fewer than 5 saves)

Joaquin Benoit: The Tigers plan to go with rookie Bruce Rondon as their closer. Although Rondon's 100+ mph fastball is sexy, the high level of risk suggests the handcuffing of Joaquin Benoit with his outstanding skills (3-year averages of 10.4 Dom, 4.4 Cmd, and BPVs of 174, 117, and 130). (Berger)
2012: 2 saves, 3.68 ERA, 10.6 Dom, 3.8 Cmd, 130 BPV
2013: 24 saves, 2.01 ERA, 9.8 Dom, 3.3 Cmd, 117 BPV

Clay Buchholz took a step backwards in 2012. His shaky skill base finally caught up with him. There is reason for optimism though. Nearly all of his struggles happened early in the season. His PQS DOM% increased by 16% to 52% in the 2nd half and his DIS% dropped 15% to 21%. (Nickrand)
2012: 11 wins, 4.56 ERA in 189 IP
2013: 12 wins, 1.74 ERA in 108 IP

Andrew Cashner has one of the most unique and enticing profiles of any young starting pitcher. He throws in the mid-to-upper 90s and keeps the ball on the ground at a 50%+ clip. His skills in a swingman role with SD in 2012 were extremely exciting: 10.1 Dom, 3.7 Ctl, 53% GB%, 113 BPV. A 15% HR/F drove his 4.27 ERA. Cashner's biggest hurdle is health and durability. If you have a reserve list, don't let those concerns prevent you from stashing him. He's an elite talent. (Nickrand)
2012: 4.27 ERA in 46 IP
2013: 3.09 ERA in 175 IP

Tyler Chatwood quietly had an impressive 94 mph average fastball velocity with COL in 2012. That kind of upside was reflected neither in his stats (5.43 ERA, 1.65 WHIP) nor his skills (13 BPV). But his GB% surged from 47% in 2011 to 56% in 2012, which gives hope that his 19% HR/F could quickly regress. Chatwood should be saved for only the deepest NL-only leagues, but there is some profit potential here. (Nickrand)
2012: 5.43 ERA in 65 IP
2013: 3.15 ERA in 111 IP

Alex Cobb had nice numbers in 2012, but not exactly ones that will make him a prime target in a lot of leagues in 2013. That said, his skills suggest that he has a lot more potential: 7.0 Dom, 2.6 Ctl, 59% GB%, 92 BPV. He threw his curveball 3% more frequently in 2012 and added three inches more movement to it that season. Amazingly, he induced a 76% GB% on his curveball in 2012. There's a great shot that Cobb will post a sub-4.00 ERA in 2013. (Nickrand)
2012: 4.03 ERA in 136 IP
2013: 2.76 ERA in 143 IP

Patrick Corbin was extremely effective with ARI in 2012, even though his 4.54 ERA might suggest otherwise. His skills were really good: 7.2 Dom, 2.1 Ctl, 46% GB%, 97 BPV. His 3.82 xERA confirms that he has profit potential. Corbin's underrated skills suggest that he could be a LIMA gem in 2013. (Nickrand)
2012: 6 wins, 4.54 ERA, 97 BPV in 86 IP
2013: 14 wins, 3.41 ERA, 100 BPV in 208 IP

Yu Darvish: Nice debut from the long-hyped import. Harnessing Ctl is a work in progress, but scary-good Dom held firm all season. Scuffled in July-Aug Texas heat (5.49 ERA), but DOM/DIS says he was just fine. Sept finish (2.21 ERA/xERA, 5.6 Cmd) points to upside. With better Ctl and S% luck... UP: sub-3.00 ERA. (Thompson)
2012: 16 wins, 3.90 ERA, 221 K, 70% S%, 4.2 Ctl in 191 IP
2013: 13 wins, 2.83 ERA, 277 K, 80% S%, 3.4 Ctl in 210 IP

Jorge de la Rosa has been M.I.A. for more than one year but keep an eye on his health reports. Though he's 32 and probably at the tail end of any peak, his 80ish BPV combined with potential 50% ground ball rate makes him another perfect fit for Coors. (Shandler)
2012: 0 Wins, 9.28 ERA in 11 IP
2013: 16 Wins, 3.49 ERA in 168 IP

Ryan Dempster: Terrific start supercharged by fortunate H% and S%. Slowed by mid-season lat injury and 3-week DL stint. 2H wasn't nearly as lucky, even though Cmd and xERA barely budged. Still a consistent, low-upside workhorse, though age, injury and recent ERA/WHIP swings are becoming red flags. (Thompson)
2012: 12 wins, 3.38 ERA in 173 IP
2013: 8 wins, 4.57 ERA in 171 IP

Ross Detwiler is an example of the sum being greater than the parts. Turned good control, GB% spike and fortunate H% into career year and a small profit for his owners. Ctl and Dom history are stable, but don't show enough upside to get excited about. DOM/DIS is another indicator of his low ceiling. Unlikely to repeat. (Thompson)
2012: 10 wins, 3.40 ERA in 164 IP
2013: 2 wins, 4.04 ERA in 71 IP

R.A. Dickey saw his groundball rate dip from 51% before the All-Star Break in 2012 to 41% after it. Now in the AL East, he won't be able to sustain a sub-4.00 ERA if he can't keep the ball down. He should remain an effective SP. Just don't make him your rotation anchor. (Nickrand)
2012: 20 wins, 2.73 ERA in 234 IP
2013: 13 wins, 4.21 ERA in 209 IP

Scott Feldman's improvement in 2012 is easy to miss, but might provide some profit in 2013. With his history of 5.00+ ERAs, he should be available at the end of most drafts. He makes an excellent $1 speculative play. (Hershey)
2012: 6 wins, 5.09 ERA, 83 BPV in 124 IP
2013: 12 wins, 3.86 ERA, 71 BPV in 182 IP

Dillon Gee: A breakout season, skills-wise, was ended in July by blood clot in shoulder. DOM/DIS shows how good he was, with nary a bad start. With his 3.3 Cmd and 50% GB rate, here's where you buy skills and not stats. UP: sub-3.50 ERA (Cederholm)
2012: 6 wins, 4.10 ERA in 110 IP
2013: 12 wins, 3.62 ERA in 199 IP

Jason Grilli's performance in 2012 indicates he could have success in his newly-minted closer's role in 2013. He still has to prove his mettle in the ninth inning, but the skills are there in the short-term at least for Grilli to be successful. (Hershey)
2012: 2 saves, 2,91 ERA, 13.8 Dom, 4.1 Cmd in 59 IP
2013: 33 saves, 2.70 ERA, 13.3 Dom, 5.7 Cmd in 50 IP

Aaron Harang seems to really, really like the NL West, but he's playing with fire now. Cmd eroding for three years, low PQS-DOM%. These mid-3.00 ERAs were the result of low hr/f and slightly elevated S%. Gradual Ctl erosion gives him a razor thin margin for error. Use a 4.00 ERA as an optimistic baseline. DN: 5.00 ERA (Nickrand)
2012: 10 wins, 3.61 ERA in 180 IP
2013: 5 wins, 5.40 ERA in 143 IP

Matt Harvey was extremely impressive in his MLB debut with NYM in 2012, both on the surface (2.73 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) and beneath it (10.6 Dom, 3.9 Ctl, 101 BPV). While he threw his fastball 65% of the time, his raw stuff indicates that he has more than one effective pitch. His changeup had one of the highest levels of horizontal movement of any changeup in the game in 2012. In addition, he was able to rack up strikeouts at a high rate on his fastball, slider, and changeup. He's still green, but remains a premium growth stock. (Nickrand)
2012: 3 wins, 2.73 ERA in 59 IP
2013: 9 wins, 2.27 ERA in 178 IP

Luke Hochevar: All of the Royals' pitching acquisitions will push him to the pen this year. Maybe the opportunity to air out his stuff in shorter outings is all he needs to start realizing his potential. Seemed to help Wade Davis last year. (Shandler)
2012: 5.73 ERA in 185 IP
2013: 1.92 ERA in 70 IP

Derek Holland: Shoulder fatique derailed any possibility for growth. Blame ERA spike on 17% hr/f vs. RH bats and unsupportive S%. BA trend vs. RH confirms he's otherwise making gains. Cmd growth, enticing DOM% trends lay seeds for breakout, if healthy. UP: 3.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP (Nickrand)
2012: 4.67 ERA in 175 IP
2013: 3.42 ERA in 213 IP

Greg Holland: Harnessed stuff in 2H and took hold of closer job. Steadily increasing Dom gives him nice margin for errror when chronic wildness appears again. And it will. Likely H%, hr/f regression will cancel out, so his risk of ERA erosion is minimal. With consistency, a 40 save source without the Prada pricetag. (Nickrand)
2012: 16 saves, 2.96 ERA in 67 IP
2013: 47 saves, 1.21 ERA in 67 IP

Ubaldo Jimenez: Nothing here points to a rebound. However, he posted strong xERA and skills over two-and-a-half years in one of the best hitters' parks, and his first two months in the AL were in line with that. If you're going out on a limb, he's a good place to try your luck--but have a backup plan. (Cederholm)
2012: 9 wins, 5.40 ERA in 177 IP
2013: 13 wins, 3.30 ERA in 183 IP

Corey Kluber had a 5.14 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 63 IP with CLE in 2012, marks that actually hid a nice skill foundation: 7.7 Dom, 2.6 Ctl, 45% GB%, 92 BPV. Interestingly, his swinging strike rate of 10.7% was the ninth best in the AL in 2012, and with an average fastball velocity of 92.6 mph, he's no soft-tosser. At age 26, he's not a premium prospect, but there's some nice end-game value here. (Nickrand)
2012: 5.14 ERA in 63 IP
2013: 3.85 ERA in 147 IP

John Lackey enters 2012 with near-pariah status in Boston, but the Red Sox need him if they have realistic hope of rebounding this year. There is some reason for optimism even though he hasn't reached our 90 BPV/4.00 xERA filter levels since 2008. While his skill set was on a gradual decline path entering 2011's disaster, we now know he was pitching through the elbow problems that eventually forced Tommy John surgery last off-season. We don't know how long those elbow problems had been brewing, so a successful rehab could blow out his ceiling to a degree that even includes a return to his 2007-08 peak levels. Given his public perception, he seems like a target ripe with profit. (Murphy)
2011: 12 Wins, 6.41 ERA in 160 IP
2012: Did not pitch
2013: 10 Wins, 3.52 ERA in 189 IP

Jon Lester: When the Red Sox cratered at the end of 2011, he was caught up in the malaise. Despite the poor 2012, his skills remain strong; he should return to his previous form. If bidding lags, don't hesitate to go full value. (Adler)
2012: 9 wins, 4.82 ERA, 77 BPV in 205 IP
2013: 15 wins, 3.75 ERA, 81 BPV in 213 IP

Mark Melancon was in the closer mix at this time last year in Boston, a status that lasted about three days (a couple of first-week implosions ended that notion). After a Triple-A exile period, he rediscovered his effectiveness and was very solid in the second half. Now, he finds himself in a Pittsburgh pen that is notably thinner than Boston's, and he is backing a closer with no experience in the role, and is 36. Combining 2011 and 2012, Grilli has about 100 IP worth of closer-worthy skills. That's hardly a track record to bank on. And should Grilli falter, Melancon is the clear next-in-line without a lot of further competition behind him. It might take some time, but Melancon is a good bet to get a shot at the role. (Murphy)
2012: 1 Save, 6.20 ERA in 41 IP
2013: 16 Saves, 1.39 ER in 71 IP

Mike Minor has seen his base skills erode for two straight seasons, and he has yet to crack a sub-4.00 ERA. Before you dismiss him as a failed prospect, take a look at how his skills blossomed down the stretch in 2012: 7.0 Dom, 1.7 Ctl, 36% GB%, 93 BPV. That skill growth also was evident in his greatly improved 50/17% DOM/DIS% in the 2H. Breakout bets don't get much better. (Nickrand)
2012: 4.12 ERA in 179 IP
2013: 3.21 ERA in 205 IP

Matt Moore's rookie campaign looks like a letdown if measured against those 2011 MLEs, but by most standards it was successful. Sudden spike in Ctl is problematic, and reminiscient of his pre-2011 work in lower minors. But elite Dom, well-managed workload and health all say "invest," and wait out the wildness. (Murphy)
2012: 11 Wins, 3.81 ERA in 177 IP
2013: 16 Wins, 3.23 ERA in 145 IP

Edward Mujica: Adapt or die: has chopped his FB% since leaving PETCO, while maintaining pinpoint Ctl and sufficient Dom. The resulting skill profile doesn't quite spike BPV the same way, but it's still plenty viable. 2H was just plain awesome, and strongly suggests he can close if the opportunity arises. A LIMA gem. (Murphy)
2012: 2 Saves, 3.03 ERA in 65 IP
2013: 37 Saves, 2.78 ERA in 65 IP

Ivan Nova: Under the cover of a disastrous ERA spike (particularly in 2nd half), he posted noteworthy Dom gains without sacrificing Ctl. The result is a heel turn from a pitcher who had been outpitching his skills, to one whose skills exceed his outward results. GB tilt says hr/9 problems should abate, if so... UP: 3.25 ERA. (Murphy)
2012: 12 Wins, 5.02 ERA in 170 IP
2013: 9 Wins, 3.10 ERA in 139 IP

Bobby Parnell made what would be described as the transition from thrower to pitcher: spiked Cmd by reducing both Ctl and Dom, and mixing in even more GBs. Net result was third straight year of BPV growth, reaching closer-worthy level. Intersection of those skills with opportunity may be at hand. If so... UP: 30 Sv (Murphy)
2012: 7 Saves, 2.49 ERA in 69 IP
2013: 22 Saves, 2.16 ERA in 50 IP

Glen Perkins successfully replicated the skills he displayed during his 2011 bullpen debut, and even kicked them up a notch. Long successful vL, he's now come up with answers vR, too. Worked his way into closer role in 2H and ran with it (8 Sept Sv). Should have leg up on that role for 2013, and BPV says he can succeed. (Murphy)
2012: 16 Saves, 2.56 ERA in 70 IP
2013: 36 Saves, 2.30 ERA in 63 IP

Fernando Rodney: Look at 2008-11 BPV column, and guess the next number in that series. Did you guess "152"? Didn't think so. To post a sub-1.00 ERA, you need to be both lucky and good: he got luck on h%, s%, hr/f, plus awesome BPV. Regression a given, but he can regress a long way and still close effectively. (Murphy)
2012: 48 Saves, 0.60 ERA in 75 IP
2013: 36 Saves, 3.44 ERA in 65 IP

Sergio Romo still owns elite Cmd even after it got cut in half, and he's equally unhittable to lefties and righties. xERA tempers expectations for a repeat, but even a partial repeat has value at this level. In a pen full of question marks, has now demonstrated he can close, so all he needs is the role for... UP: 40 Sv. (Paley)
2012: 14 saves, 1.79 ERA
2013: 38 saves, 2.54 ERA

Anibal Sanchez is an under-appreciated two-time 100-BPV pitcher, likely because his WHIP tends to run a bit high. But he is one of just 12 pitchers in the majors who posted 150 Ks, sub-4.00 ERA and 2.0-plus Cmd in each of the past three seasons. He should crack the $15 barrier for the first time. (Shandler)
2012: 9 wins, 3.86 ERA in 195 IP, $8
2013: 14 wins, 2.57 ERA in 182 IP, $23

Ervin Santana hasn't seen the good side of our skill filters since 2008, thanks in part to an elbow injury from which it seems he has never fully recovered. Despite those diminished skills, he has found ways to remain successful, posting sub-4.00 ERAs in 2010-11 before getting absolutely crushed by a flareup of gopheritis in 2012. His new home park in KC (and the AL Central in general) should help to ensure that his HR rate converges back toward normal. (Murphy)
2012: 9 Wins, 5.16 ERA in 178 IP (2.0 hr/9)
2013: 9 Wins, 3.24 ERA in 211 IP (1.1 hr/9)

Max Scherzer posted a 7.77 ERA in April and a 3.14 mark from May 1 on. 2nd half showed us the stud we have been waiting for, correcting unlucky hr/9 and S%, and shredding opponents down the stretch. Late-season ankle/shoulder injuries a minor concern, but these are Verlander-level skills, so... UP: sub-3.00 ERA. (Paley)
2012: 16 wins, 3.74 ERA in 187 IP
2013: 21 wins, 2.90 ERA in 214 IP

Stephen Strasburg (#30 at Mock Draft Central, #11 at NFBC) is being drafted as an elite front-line starter on the speculation that he will be able to maintain his excellent skill over 200 innings. Fantasy Rule #101: Never pay for a level of performance that a player has never attained. Especially in the first few rounds. (Shandler)
2012: 15 wins, 3.16 ERA in 159 IP
2013: 8 wins, 3.00 ERA in 183 IP

Chris Tillman suddenly found his way out of the woods, guided by velocity gains, newfound control and great progress vLH. MLB xERA doesn't buy that he's a sub-4.00 ERA pitcher just yet, but the skills say he's right on the cusp. UP: 3.75 ERA. (Gelfand)
2012: 9 wins, 2.93 ERA, 4.25 xERA, 6.9 Dom in 86 IP
2013: 16 wins, 3.62 ERA, 3.86 xERA, 7.8 Dom in 201 IP

Jose Valverde couldn't repeat Sv% perfection, and there's a laundry list of ominous signs that say the worst is yet to come: LHBs are figuring him out, Dom took a severe dip, FB% continues to rise, minuscule hr/f has to rise. BPV trend sums it up: try to contain evil cackle if someone drafts him as a top-tier closer again. (Gelfand)
2012: 35 saves, 3.78 ERA
2013: 9 saves, 5.59 ERA

Jered Weaver's ERA has been helped by Hit Rate and Strand Rate the past two years; xERA says not to expect a sub-3.00 ERA going forward. While Weaver remains the Angels' ace, don't expect a repeat of 2011/12. (Adler)
2011: 18 wins, 2.41 ERA in 236 IP
2012: 20 wins, 2.81 ERA in 189 IP
2013: 10 wins, 3.36 ERA in 147 IP