Fantasy Baseball Draft 2014: Top 10 Players to Watch in Spring Training: Pitchers
Jason's Fantasy Baseball Analysis: Top 10 Players to Watch in Spring Training: Pitchers
February 26, 2014
Top 10 Players to Watch in Spring Training: Pitchers
1. Justin Verlander - Verlander's down season last year can be blamed on injury. Verlander had deteriorating core muscles that affecting his pitching ability, Verlander stated he did not feel quite right last year, but he could not figure out what the problem was till he finally tore a muscle. Now that he has had surgery to repair the damage, there is reason to believe he can get back to being one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. Fantasy owners should monitor Verlander during spring training, and if he shows signs that he is fully recovered, he will be a bargain as a 4th or 5th round pick.
2. C.C. Sabathia - Sabathia is another former fantasy ace that had a bad season last year. Unlike Verlander, Sabathia's poor season cannot be blamed on injury, but he could have been affected by his weight loss. Sabathia said that he may have lost some power last year because of his weight loss, but he has come into camp this season weighing even less than he did last year. Sabathia is a very risky fantasy pitcher this season, and he should be totally avoided if he is not able to perform well in spring training.
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3. Masahiro Tanaka - Tanaka is another Yankee pitcher with a lot of fantasy buzz around him, but fantasy owners should be cautious before they overspend on the Yankees' newest pitcher. Tanaka will have the same struggles all pitchers from Japan have to overcome, and that means fantasy owners will need to monitor his spring training progress.
4. Patrick Corbin - Corbin came out of nowhere to wow the fantasy world last year, but his slow finish to the season caused many fantasy owners to forget about his fantastic first half. Corbin is still listed atop the Diamondbacks starting rotation and there is a good chance he will get the opening day start. The Diamondbacks have faith in Corbin to be a top of the rotation pitcher, and his first half stats last year are a very strong indication of what he is capable of. Most young pitchers struggles at the end of their first full MLB season, and Corbin should be given the benefit of the doubt. If Corbin is able to pitch in spring training like he did in the first half of last season, then fantasy owners should not be hesitant about drafting Corbin.
5. Johnny Cueto - Cueto is another staff ace that is coming off a terrible year due to injury. Cueto has been stellar over the last three seasons when he has been healthy enough to pitch, but his injury concerns have caused him to plummet down draft boards this year. Cueto has stated in the past that he may tweek his delivery if he cannot stay healthy and any change to his mechanics could have a big impact on his stats. Cueto should be on all fantasy radars this spring to see if he changes any mechanics and to determine the state of his health.
6. Brandon Beachy - Beachy is ready to get back into the full swing of things this year after missing the majority of the 2013 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Beachy should be watched this spring to see if he has been able to regain his old form.
7. Tim Lincecum - Lincecum was at one time arguably the best fantasy pitcher, but his best days have long past him by. Now that Lincecum has a new teammate, Tim Hudson, Lincecum is learning a new way to pitch. Hudson has been working with Lincecum and teaching him how to pitch to contact since Lincecum can longer over power hitters. Fantasy owners should keep an eye on Lincecum this spring to see if he is able to learn a new pitching style.
8. Brandon Morrow - The Blue Jays are hoping for a rebound season from Morrow, but fantasy owners should be very cautious before investing in the Blue Jays pitcher. A forearm injury ended Morrow's season last year and fantasy owners will need to see some solid evidence this spring that he has recovered before taking a late round flier on him.
9. Tanner Roark - Roark was absolutely sensational for the Nationals over the last two months of last season as he went 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA. Roark stole several wins in relief appearances, but he still pitched well in his five starts for Washington. There is a good chance that Roark could earn the final spot in the Nationals starting rotation, and if he does, he could be worth owning in fantasy leagues. Fantasy owners should monitor Roark this spring to see how well he pitches and if he is able to earn a job in the starting rotation.
10. Michael Pineda - Pineda looks set to fight for a rotation spot with the Yankees after missing most of the last two seasons because of injury. Pineda took the fantasy world by storm as a rookie in 2011, and now fantasy owners will need to monitor his progress this spring to see if he is able to recapture his old form.
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