Who'll serve as tricks up this rotation's sleeve in 2013?
Statham has nothing on this Parker
The A's have already revealed most of the science behind the magic. Right-handers A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily are projected to begin 2013 in the rotation, but they're unlikely to find that pitching in the majors is as easy as they made it seem in their initial exposure. Griffin, in particular, is due for some a rude awakening in hit rate against him. Straily found that his stuff isn't so swing-and-miss against MLB batters, but the positive for him is that, with some easily projected improvement in control rate, he could see better results in 2013.
The nice thing about southpaw Tom Milone: What you see is what you get. Unquestionably, he has the skills and smarts to succeed year after year. He leaves a fair bit of his outcomes up to the BABIP gods, but that's nothing new. He doesn't hurt himself. The soon-to-be 26-year-old won't win you a rotisserie title, but he probably won't lose it for you, either, because of his stable, modest K/9, extremely low BB/9 and, thankfully, a spacious home park.
That brings us to the front of the starting five. Jarrod Parker, in his first full season after having Tommy John surgery, was astounding, maturing before fantasy owners' eyes in the second half (6.82 K/9 and 2.06 BB/9), although his 3.92 ERA didn't completely reflect his advances. The right-hander pitched more than 130 frames in 2011, so his progress from TJS wasn't miraculous; Parker is simply back on the track of a potential No. 1 or No. 2 starter. There'll be more bumps and bruises, but look out, in the long run.
And, of course, there's the reconstructed elbow of lefty Brett Anderson. It looked pretty good (6.43 K/9, 1.80 BB and 2.57 ERA in 35 MLB stanzas), didn't it? An oblique strain cut short his comeback effort, which reminds roto managers of his fragility. The big plus: That muscle pull is, hopefully, just a case of poor timing and nothing like his previous injuries that suggested or resulted in structural damage. With a full winter spent on preparation for the spring, and not rehab, there's a lot of reason to be interested - once again - in Anderson, 26.
At some point, southpaw Travis Blackley will probably be called upon to fill a hole. Expectations shouldn't be too high, but in short stretches, he can be effective, as he was in the first last season (3.20 ERA). Left-hander Andrew Werner may get some nods, as well, and he should have a little more luck if so.
But the real rabbit could be right-hander Brad Peacock, who endured quite a trying season at Triple-A Sacramento (6.01 ERA, 9.29 K/9 and 4.41 BB/9). A number of writers have pointed to extraneous factors affecting his results, last season, however; more than anything, fantasy players should probably view it as a growth campaign that'll make him stronger in the long run. He improved as the season wore on. He may not warrant more than a reserve pick in AL leagues, but at some point, he'll debut and could be a factor in mixed leagues.
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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