Friday, March 22, 2013

MAKING THE PITCH: Tampa Rays


Felipe M

We take a look at the projected starting rotations and closer situations of every MLB team.  Of course, this will come from a fantasy perspective.  All cited stats are based on 2013 projections.   

To see our preview of the Texas Rangers, click here

Now let's take a quick look at the Tampa Rays: 


2013 PITCHING PROJECTIONS
Player
K/BB
K/9
BB/9
H/9
WHIP
HR/A
David Price
3.38
8.88
2.63
7.58
1.13
0.71
Jeff Niemann
2.38
7.01
2.95
8.19
1.24
0.89
Matt Moore
2.67
9.31
3.49
7.79
1.25
0.94
Jeremy Hellickson
2.22
6.97
3.14
8.17
1.26
1.02
Alex Cobb
2.13
6.80
3.19
8.48
1.30
0.78
Fernando Rodney
2.35
8.58
3.66
6.75
1.16
0.56

As you can see, the projections are ranked from lowest to highest WHIP.  Fernando Rodney is the projected closer. The main concern for Rodney is that his 2012 numbers were so unexpected when you consider the last few seasons prior to 2012, that it's hard to imagine him repeating those numbers in 2013.  Currently, I have him ranked ahead of Glen Perkins as a 2nd tier closer.  His K/9 is too low to consider him a top-notch closer and his BB/9 is identical to Kyuji Fujikawa's.  WHIP is also similar to the weird and wild Chris Perez.   However, Rodney is coming off a successful WBC appearance and says he's more than ready to go for the start of 2013.
Currently, opening day starter, David Price is listed in my top 10 starting pitchers' list (for now).  His numbers are absolutely dominant.  There's a reason why he's the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner.  

Jeremy Hellickson is listed as the #2 starter as the Rays go lefty-righty for the first 4 spots of their rotation.  So far, he's had mixed results this spring.  His numbers don't look very impressive, but even though he's 26, he still has some untapped upside.  Then again, if Hellickson's name wasn't attached to his potential, he would basically be Jason Hammel. Owners will reach for the once, highly-touted prospect, but beware of the hype.

So far, Matt Moore has struggled with control this spring.  But the potential to dominate hitters, based on his K/9 and the fact that he will only be 24 this season, makes him worthy of the risk despite control issues that have haunted him since 2012.  Currently, Moore is right on the border between 2nd and 3rd tier pitcher, just ahead of fellow lefty, Gio Gonzalez.

Meanwhile, Alex Cobb has turned a successful finish to his 2012 campaign into a good spring so far.  1.30 WHIP makes him a risk to draft too early, but Cobb is a candidate to actually exceed his projections.  He is currently ranked between Matt Harvey and Brett Myers.

Jeff Niemann is still in a battle with the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona.  Both are having solid springs.  We all know what "Carmona" is capable of: low strikeout totals, lots of groundballs.  Some issues with control and command.  On the other hand, Niemann is all over the place.  He has history of low strikeout totals, mediocre K/BB, and giving up the long ball.  However, even though he's proven to have a hard time staying healthy, he's actually been improving in the last two seasons (sans the homerun rate in 2012).  Though he only made 8 starts, 2012 was actually a "success" as he improved his K/9 (8.1) and K/BB (2.83).  He also posted his lowest WHIP in his Major League career (1.10).  I've always had faith in Niemann and hopefully, if he wins that 5th spot, he can finally pitch like he's supposed to.  

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