Last Minute Pickups: AL Starting Pitchers
I don’t think there are any unwritten rules about picking players up during the last week of the season in dynasty leagues. So if it’s okay with Brian McCann, I will move forward with this post and recommend three American League starting pitchers that are widely available and could make decent sleepers heading into the 2014 season. I’ll get the ball rolling this afternoon and my partner and new BFF @80gradewant will put a bow on it tomorrow.
Just a disclaimer, I’m not big on pitching. In fact, most years I would say 75-80% of my staff is plucked from the waiver wire or streamed. That being said, there are plenty of reasons to want good young pitchers on your team, especially the ones that won’t cost you too much to acquire. I decided to use 15% ownership at the four letter word as my cutoff to avoid discussing players that are owned in a lot of leagues, but even with that small number I was surprised to find some of these names. Just goes to show that if you play your cards right and do a little leg work, you can find some nice players on the scrap heap, even at this point in the year.
Jose Quintana | CWS (15%)
Quintana has been one of my favorite pickups this year because he doesn’t do any one thing that’s amazing, but he’s consistent. He’s close to pitching over 200 innings for the first time in his career, and in 32 games started, he’s allowed more than 4 earned runs only twice. Currently he sports a 7.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, and a HR/9 a hair under 1.00. Quintana hasn’t walked more than 3 batters in a start all season long. He’ll turn just 25 this offseason, and if he continues to see these strikeout numbers from his zippier fastball while maintaining the excellent control he showed this year, he should make for a great bargain again in 2014.
Danny Duffy | KC (2%)
My love for Danny Duffy is based solely on my love for strikeouts. I was all ready to snatch him up when he returned from Tommy John surgery this year, only to find him scratched just five starts later with tightness in his forearm. Now he’s back on the DL and it’s unlikely he’ll be pitching again this year. This should put a damper on his value yet again, and he’s an arm I’d be willing to take a chance on in deeper leagues, if only because Kauffman is one of the more pitching friendly venues and Duffy has a knack for striking guys out. The 24-year-old lefty didn’t post a K/9 under 10 in the minors and during his short stint with the Royals this year, he retired batters via the whiff at a rate of 8 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s kind of a low risk/high reward since his injuries and poor walk rates will keep his price low, while his youth and swing-and-miss stuff make for some nice upside.
Drew Smyly | DET (9%)
You know the type. They smoke a pipe instead of cigarettes. They drink almond milk instead of moo juice. And they roster middle relievers on their fantasy team instead of just closers and starters. Well, this year one of the most valuable middle relievers in the game was Drew Smyly, and there has been a lot of speculation on the innernette that he could end up as a starter once again. I would be thrilled to see it happen since his appearances as a reliever this year would allow him to flex either as a starter or reliever on my roster next season. The only questions are will the Tigers put him in their rotation and will he be successful if he does get a shot? As far as opportunity, I’d imagine Smyly’s biggest sparkle would be in his left-handedness which would add some depth to an all right-handed rotation. He’s also one of the cheapest arms they have and at age 24 still has room to grow. As far as success goes, this year he has put up some really nice numbers with a K/9 over 9, a 2.60 SIERA, and a HR/9 of 0.48. A guy that can keep the ball in the yard while accumulating strikeouts would make a great addition to the back end of my fantasy rotation next year and the Tigers’ potent lineup can pad his win totals should he get the chance to return to a starting role.
Stay tuned for more AL starters tomorrow…