Late-starting pitchers to consider in the Dynasty or Keeper leagues
Last week, we looked at some later spin options to fill the back end of your starting fantasy spins with, those starting pitchers (SP) that can be picked up at the end of your drafts and have some value as full-season additions. In this episode, we’ll continue to research those weapons, but we’ll also be looking at pitchers that have potential in a dynasty or keeper system, who may not be full-time options this season but have the potential to shine in the years to come.
To note: The ADP (Average Draft Position) next to each SP below is derived from the overall averages contained in this year’s Draft Guide (get it here). Depending on the level of knowledge possessed by the participants in your league, however, YMMV (your mileage may vary), and you may be able to get one of these pitchers at an above average value.
Second remark: The projections are based on scenarios, even if they are not the best, forecasts higher than 50% (closer to 80%). In other words, not the ceiling but far from the floor. Also, with the effects of shortened spring training yet to be revealed at the time of this writing, take ALL of these numbers with a huge grain of salt. They are, at this stage, only a guess based on expectations that may not materialize.
The 30-year-old right-hander Jameson Taillon is entering his second season with the Bronx Bombers who just underwent right ankle surgery at the end of last October. The added fact that he is not fully assured of a rotation slot to open the season leads to his draft value being suppressed heading into this season. 2021 found him losing his tendency to generate ground ball charges from opposing hitters, and his home runs allowed rate increased in response. The word from the Yankees camp is that he will be ready to go for the opening day. There is also a possibility that Domingo Germanpenciled in as a fifth starter, won’t recover enough from his shoulder issues to join the rotation initially, allowing Taillon to provide late-round value as the final piece for your fantasy baseball starting team .
Projections: 140 IP / 4.40 ERA / 1.24 WHIP / 133 K
Zack GreinkeFree agent status ended when he signed a contract with the Royals, the team where he began his MLB career in 2005. He will be looking to bounce back after suffering regression over the last two seasons in Houston. With Mike Miner no longer pitching to Kansas City after a trade with Cincy on Wednesday, expect the 38-year-old veteran to immediately play a starring role in the Royals’ rotation. He’s an average batting producer at best, but still has his toolbox in control, making him an effective starting pitcher in perhaps his swansong season where he began his journey through the majors.
Projections: 155 IP / 4.30 ERA / 1.24 WHIP / 120 K
The left-handed Yusei Kikuchi arrived in Seattle after starting his career in Japan, hitting the West Coast with high expectations, most of which went unfulfilled until last season when he finally settled into some sort of groove. He was able to drop his ERA into the acceptable mid-four range, and hit better than a batter an inning on his IP of 157.0. The decision to sign with Toronto means Kikuchi will be backed by a stronger offense than ever with the rebuilding Mariners over the past three seasons. His control is somewhat suspect (3.61 BB/9 since joining the majors) which limits his value, despite his ability to miss a significant number of at-bats while keeping his foot on the rubber (9.34 K/ 9 on its PI of 157.0 in 2021). Kikuchi will slot into the back of the Blue Jays rotation, which means he’s likely slated for 150 IP at best, depending on the health of the rest of the pitching squad.
Projections: 150 IP / 4.28 ERA / 1.31 WHIP / 147K
The 27 year old player Adbert Alzolay has the potential to be the toughest member of the Cub rotation, once he is able to join the staff. He’s probably out for a long time as he recovers from a sprained shoulder. It has the potential to give its owners four months of production, but it will fill a valuable slot or have to be put away on the IR. Once he can get back to the mound, his strikeout rate, low walk rate, and strong ball-inducing tendencies speak well of his promise as a late-round gem.
Projections: 115 IP / 4.48 ERA / 1.29 WHIP / 108 K
Hunter Greene, and his teammate described immediately below, are both going to need strong springs to make the leap to the majors to open the season. The 22-year-old right-hander is arguably the best prospect on the Reds’ 40-man roster and is expected to be part of Cincinnati’s rotation at some point in 2022. He has excellent strikeout production of at least a K per round, and features a fastball that hits triple-digit speed with a hard slider that also looms as a plus offer. Even if he doesn’t break camp with the Reds, expect him to reach the majors soon in 2022 to show MLB hitters what he has to offer on the hill.
Projections: 95 IP / 4.65 ERA / 1.36 WHIP / 101 K
Nick Lodolo LHP CIN
Another Cincy rookie, the southpaw Nick Lodolo isn’t far off in the Reds’ prospect repertoire. It lacks any real plus, but instead offers four average to above-average offerings that miss a lot of bats and, when paired with good control, make for an effective arm on the mound. He is recovering from a strained left shoulder that sidelined him at the end of the 2021 Triple-A season. He, however, threw an uneventful mound this winter and will participate in Cincinnati’s rotation in the spring. He would be a good pick-up in goalkeeping leagues, or dynasty formats, as the Reds rebuild once again.
Projections: 55 IP / 4.25 ERA / 1.25 WHIP / 57 K
As we await the start of the 2022 season now that the lockout is over and spring training begins, these articles dealing with starting pitching ranks will continue on a weekly basis. Once things are back to “normal” and the season kicks off for real, please come back for the weekly two-start pitcher analysis.
As always, good luck and fair winds in all your fantastic endeavours. You can contact this writer with your questions regarding starting the pitch or other fantasy baseball issues at [email protected]