2013 Fantasy Baseball SP Rankings
Why are these 2013 Fantasy Baseball SP Rankings so important to Fantasy owners? Well, starting pitchers affect four separate categories, and usually are responsible for your ranking in each of those categories. With 14 hitters in your lineup, one or two hitters aren’t going to pace the rest of your team in four categories. But starting pitchers (both good and bad) are why you will sink or swim in 4 of 10 categories.
I think it’s also important to understand where we are at with pitching in the early part of the second decade in the 21st century. There’s no doubt that Major League Baseball is stronger from a pitching perspective, but much of that is because we’re realizing that the steroid era is officially behind us. Players might still be using PEDs, but definitely not at the same extreme as in the 2000s.
How do I know pitching is taking over? Well, last year, the league averaged 4.32 runs-per-game, and pitchers had an average ERA of 4.01. One year previous, the numbers were even lower, with 4.28 runs-per-game being scored, and pitchers averaging a 3.94 ERA.
Those two pairs of numbers were the lowest in the majors since – 1992 (4.12 RPG, 3.75 ERA), which was a couple years before the player’s strike, and the steroid boom. (In 2000, the league averaged 5.14 RPG, with a 4.77 ERA.)
But despite pitching being on the incline, we’re not seeing dominant pitchers like we did back in the late ‘90s, when Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez were striking out 300-plus hitters a season.
I wonder if we’ll see times like that again.
For instance, in 2012, there were 31 pitchers that threw at least 200 innings, and just three over 230 innings. But in 1999, we saw 44 pitchers go over 200 innings, and nine went over 230.
But we do still see a lot of quality pitching, despite the lack of relative quantity. In 1999, there were six pitchers that struck out 200 batters. But in 2012, despite having 13 fewer 200-inning pitchers, there were 13 pitchers that struck out 200 or more hitters. (That’s twice as many!)
So while we’re not seeing the Big Units and the Pedros and the Curt Schillings (although, we’ll see what a full season of Stephen Strasburg shows us), we seem to have a deeper class of quality pitchers to choose from. Let’s take a look at that group!
There are a few changes you’ll want to track, like:
- The 2012 NL Cy Young winner starts out the 2013 season in the American League. R.A. Dickey was traded to Toronto, where he could help lead a team to the AL East division title. There’s going to be a whole new group of hitters having to face his knuckleball for the first time. Also, Josh Johnson brings his inconsistency north of the border from the Marlins, along with Mark Buehrle.
- As I mentioned, Strasburg will finally be unleashed for a full season, with no innings limit. He threw 159.1 innings last season, and he struck out 197 hitters. If he ratchets up his innings to 210 or so, he could end up leading the majors in strikeouts with over 240 Ks. But, let’s remember that he still started 28 games last season. So he’s only looking at an extra four to six starts.
- Zack Greinke leaves Anaheim for the pitcher-friendly confines of Chavez Ravine in Dodger Stadium. He’ll have a stellar team around him again, and a very good chance at his first 20-win season. (I wonder if he misses Kansas City.) Also leaving the Angels is Dan Haren, who goes back to the National League with Washington.
- Coming TO the Angels, areformer Braves starter Tommy Hanson comes TO the Angels, as he hopes to put 2012 behind him, and former Red Sox star Josh Beckett.
- Speaking of Kansas City, James Shields was traded from Tampa Bay to the Royals this offseason, where he’ll mentor a completely different pitching staff. He has started 33 games with over 200 innings in five consecutive seasons. True, he’s not going to have the Rays’ bullpen behind him this season, which ranked third in the majors with a 2.88 ERA. But the Royals weren’t too bad last year either, with a 3.17 bullpen ERA, which was good for sixth in the majors.
- Some of the pitchers that are eligible as both starting pitchers and relief pitchers include: Kris Medlen and Hisashi Iwakuma.
- Ryan Dempster continues his major league tour of pitching in hitter-friendly parks, as he signed with the Red Sox this offseason.
- Do you think Edwin Jackson just rents his houses by the week these days? He’ll start his 11th season with the Cubs, which happens to be the eighth different team six years. EIGHT!
2013 Fantasy Baseball SP Rankings
Pitchers make up a good chunk of your team, and whether you are in Rotisserie or Head-to-Head leagues, these 2013 Fantasy Baseball SP Rankings could mean the difference between you coming in first, fifth or 12th.