Where is the fantasy value in this club's rag-tag rotation?
Skepticism about Jason Hammel's breakthrough will probably push his draft position to, or close to, complete alleviation of the risk of pursuing a repeat. There will probably be some regression, but the right-hander has definitely established a new baseline for his performance, thanks to his coaching staff's assistance and his proficient use of a two-seam fastball that is just a nightmare for many opposing batters. His bouts with knee discomfort are all that derailed what could've a magnificent season, and his outcomes in multiple starts following prolonged absences indicate that he's thoroughly committed to a regimen that would allow for a rough approximation of a repeat.
Other than the continual adjustments left-hander Wei-Yin Chen should expect to make in his second year in the States, there seems to be little that could prevent him from having a similarly productive season in 2013. His fly-ball tendencies will continue to put his ERA in danger because of the bandbox where he'll make roughly half of his starts. When he's at his best, hitters are off-balance and he's inducing plenty of infield or weakly hit outfield flies, not the dangerous lofts that result in bunches of runs.
The tools are present for Chris Tillman to take the next step, undoubtedly, and he's assured of a rotation spot. His short-term tenure will depend on how routine his overhauled mechanics have become, though. The right-hander didn't begin to witness the benefits of his biomechanically streamlined windup until the second half of last season, while he was in the minors. There is room for statistical growth in virtually every phase of his game, but it's far from guaranteed. There will be additional growing pains, regardless.
Miguel Gonzalez got by without a diverse arsenal, so roto managers in AL-only leagues would be wise to bid cautiously. Zach Britton, Brian Matusz (assuming he still has a chance to remain a starter) and Jake Arrieta remain talented but unpolished, so there must be additional info before their stories change. Will fantasy owners get a taste of Dylan Bundy this year? That's possible - and probably something the majority of fantasy owners needn't plan for.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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