How is this year's rotation shaping up?
Olt bolting to bigs?
Rotisserie managers should have a better idea of what to expect from Yu Darvish this time around. In the second half, the Asian right-hander improved his control rate by a full walk per nine innings and in general became tougher to hit. He made a transition to the States (living, not just playing baseball at the game's highest level) look a lot simpler than it is, and he should be better in 2013 because of all he learned last season.
Left-hander Matt Harrison backed up a strong 2011 campaign with a more profitable 2012, thanks mostly to his 18 W's. He's backed up those significant control gains and remains a threat to post an ERA well under 4.00. Although he's no soft-tosser, he doesn't promise to generate a K/9 of anything greater than 6.00, however, and heavily team-dependent results implore fantasy owners to check their bids early.
On the other hand, this could be a good year to buy Derek Holland. The 26-year-old has maintained a healthy rate of strikeouts while reducing his BB/9 in consecutive seasons. The home run ball has been a problem for him, but never more so than last season. Reducing such costly mistakes and keeping the ball down seems to be a matter of maturity in terms of his development. Although there's nothing specific that suggests Holland will take that step this season, his cost may tempt you to gamble that 2013 will be it.
Righty Alexi Ogando has already proven that he's a capable starter. How will he handle the transition a second time? Bidders certainly shouldn't pay for what he did in 2011 (13 wins, 3.51 ERA and 6.71 K/9 in 169 frames), but they may throw in a little extra for the possibility.
The Rangers seem to be prepared to enter the season with Martin Perez as their No. 5 starter, too. The erratic left-hander is considered one of the better pitching prospects in the game, but he has yet to demonstrate that he knows where his pitches are going. His recent outcomes hint at a focus on reining in his arsenal before he tries to rack up strikeouts. Perez, 22 in April, has a long way to go before he's a consistent pitcher, but he'll warrant AL interest.
Texas hopes that Perez pitches well enough to hold down the fort, sans injuries, until Colby Lewis has recovered from surgery to fix the flexor tendon in his right elbow. The team hopes to have him back in May or June. He was on his way to a career year (3.43 ERA, 7.97 K/9 and 1.20 BB/9) before he was injured. His previous, solid results suggest that he'll be worth stashing in all but the shallowest of leagues, although his owners shouldn't just expect him to pick up where he left off last season.
If the rotation begins to fall apart, Texas may seek outside help. For short-term, temporary or experimental fixes, the organization has righties Justin Grimm and Neil Ramirez waiting in the wings. Grimm in particular, with his shiny peripherals, is an interesting, very deep sleeper.
What's the explanation for A.J. Pierzynski's 27 home runs?
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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