2012 Starting Pitching Preview
Mar 27, 2012 by Dan Wheelock
Six Starting Pitchers I Love
Zack Greinke, MIL – Greinke is an awesome source of strikeouts (10.5 per nine innings in 2011) and his xFIP (a good estimation of future ERA) was the best in baseball last year at 2.56.
C.J. Wilson, LAA – Wilson has pitched over 200 innings each of the last two seasons after transitioning from the bullpen. The move out of Arlington can only help his ratios.
Madison Bumgarner, SF – Mad-Bum recovered nicely after a horrendous start to his 2011 campaign to finish with a 3.21 ERA and a 1.21 ERA. He strikes out about a batter a clip and is still just 22 years old.
Mat Latos, CIN – Latos’ ratios could very well take a hit in 2012 now that the bandbox in Cincinnati is his home ballpark. He will get plenty of run support, however, and is still a strikeout pitcher. He’s also just 24 years old and is still getting better.
Jordan Zimmermann, WAS – Zimmermann somehow had a losing record a year ago (8-11) despite sporting a 3.18 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. That is just fluky and won’t happen again this year. Zimmermann is underrated in my (almost professional) opionon.
Brandon Beachy, ATL – Beachy came out of nowhere last season and went 7-3 with respectable ratios while striking out 10.7 batters per nine innings. He is probably the least risky of Atlanta’s starters.
Four Starting Pitchers I Will Avoid
Jeremy Hellickson, TB – While Hellickson had a sub-3.00 ERA, his K/9 dropped from 8.2 in 2010 to only 5.6 in 2011. His xFIP was 4.72 last year so an ERA south of 4.00 may be a stretch, let alone south of 3.00.
Chris Carpenter, STL – I wasn’t going to invest in the soon-to-be 37-year-old anyway, but I will definitely stay away now that he is out until at least May with a neck issue.
Matt Moore, TB – Moore had tasty minor league numbers a year ago and backed it up with strong performances in the regular season and playoffs. If you want him you’ll have to pay a hefty price. Just remember how David Price did in his rookie year after having a similar start to his career.
Ricky Romero, TOR – I never really liked Romero and I don’t really have an explanation for it. He took a huge jump forward in his ratios in 2011 but he benefited from a crazy-low .245 BAbip. I also don’t like pitchers from the AL East that aren’t from New York or Boston.
Five Mixed-League Sleepers
Cory Luebke, SD – Luebke started 17 games for the Friars in 2011. He posted great ratios and struck out just under 10 batters per nine innings. The only issue with Luebke will be his win total.
Gio Gonzalez, WAS – Gio has walked an unsightly 4.1 batters per nine innings over the last two seasons but he has also had an ERA under 3.25 during that span. His K/9 will be around 9 and the move to the NL should help a bit.
Doug Fister, DET – After being traded to Detroit, Fister was other-worldy in 10 starts. He went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and an unheard of 11.4 SO/BB ratio. Don’t expect those numbers, obviously, but he will do great with the Tigers.
Ervin Santana, LAA – Santana is grossly underrated. His ratios (3.38 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in ’11) and K rate (7 per nine) are good and I see a great win/loss record in 2012. Perhaps a 16-7 record like he had in 2008.
Mike Minor, ATL – Minor is guaranteed a rotation spot this year and is primed to take advantage of it. He has tremendous K potential. He has a 2.25 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP so far in 24 spring innings.
Photo from Flickr user SD Dirk
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