Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
The southpaw's market demand as a starter doesn't leave much room to protect your club if he falters. (If he moves back to stopper, bueno, but those skills fall back to a more volatile fantasy position. That would sting a little.)
Vogelsong no longer comes cheaply
To be fair, he manned an SP rubber in Cuban ball. To be fair, part dos: The quality of those competitors, on the whole, falls short of that held by MLB bats. Sometimes, switching roles, regardless of experience in either, falters out of the gate with attempts to streamline pacing; pitch sequencing; mound mentality; fielding the position for five-plus frames; and other differences in rotation duties.
Will he transfer his control growth from the 'pen? He must cultivate his changeup and/or splitter, as well. He's thrown those before, but there'll be some adjustment, and hitters punish a lack of variety. There's also legit talk of an innings cap of something around 150.
At some point, the K's in that abridged window will stand out. Some will pay as if he's already had ace-like seasons. Acknowledging the 25-year-old's upside as, say, a fourth mixed starting pitcher or an in-season buy-low candidate would be more comfortable. -TH
Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants
Even after a correction from his absurd 2011, Vogelsong was quite useful in 2012. A bigger boost of infield flies forced and a drop in liners allowed showed he adjusted even while hitters did the same. He might even be establishing a baseline of high left-on-base percentages.
So why is he overvalued? How much of your mixed SP corps' faith are you comfortable putting into someone with a below-average frequency of swinging strikes forced? His makeup seems quite reliant on minimizing damage and inducing weak connections, not overpowering hitters. Any time you're relying on that from a 35-year-old with one of your top three starting pitcher spots leaves you with a miniscule margin for error.
Vogelsong can't be had for a ditty in many rooms, thanks to his successful follow-up album. Asking him, for a premium, to make more hits - well, in this case, prevent them - amounts to a highly possible fantasy flop where he'd turn into muzak. -TH
Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners
The Asian import probably gave the M's more than they expected last season, thanks to his midseason move to the rotation. After the All-Star break, he really picked up steam, posting a 2.50 ERA, a 7.40 K/9 and a 2.50 BB/9. He almost looks like a breakout candidate.
Unfortunately, for his prospective owners and Seattle, most breakouts don't occur in a player's age-32 season. This isn't some young buck. His 2012 peripheral marks aren't surprising. His 17.0 HR/FB will almost certainly come down, and he kept batted balls on the ground more than 50 percent of the time. However, his left-on-base rate of 80-plus percent, which rose while he was starting, is due for some correction. In addition, his health record in Japan was far from clean. Part of the organization's motivation for sticking him in the bullpen initially must've been related to his durability.
Iwakuma has been a trendy pick to open the final third of mixed-league drafts. There are dozens of more appealing options at that stage, when the search for upside is on, however. -NM
Fantasy baseball sleepers, undervalued: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP
Fantasy baseball busts, overvalued: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP
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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