Switching up to cover the NL West prior to the Australia games, let me say that I am not banking on any Diamondback pitcher to be a top notch starter for my fantasy teams this season. There is the possibility of late round value with some of the pitchers, and with Patrick Corbin out for the season, there isn't much here I am interested in, at least in mixed leagues until the late middle rounds.
Starting Pitching Rotation Analysis
Potential Rotation Alternatives
ADP designated by * indicates no reported ADP as of date of publication. Projections are based on a compilation of several sources (ZiPS, Oliver, Steamer, RotoChamp), given equal weight.
Wade Miley is an Arizona starting pitcher that has learned the value of inducing hitters to drive the ball into the ground in the desert, having improved his GB/FB ratio by nearly a whole ratio point (2.03 in 2013, as opposed to 1.17 in 2012). It’d be nice to see an uptick strikeouts, but as Crash Davis once said:
“Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.” Bull Durham (1988).
If the groundballs keep his ERA and WHIP within acceptable ranges, then just accept him for what he provides his owners.
Relying on a sinkerball in Arizona is a fine strategy and one that Trevor Cahill should be able to employ. His 2013 was marred by a period prior to hitting the DL with a hip injury, when he gave up 27 earned runs courtesy of a sky high .393 BABIP. When not pitching injured, he was superb, posting a 2.80 ERA in 20 starts. He won’t rack up the strikeouts, but will produce very good peripherals in his role as the third starter. Well worth a late round pick, so long as you have strikeouts covered.
Bronson Arroyo signed with the Diamondbacks after the Reds let him walk to give Tony Cingrani a spot in the starting rotation. Moving from The Great American Ballpark to Chase Field will not help out his homerun tendencies, which I project out at about one and half per 9 innings. Expect him to chew up innings, put up acceptable peripherals and avoid handing out too many free passes. Not exciting, just a back of the fantasy rotation workhorse.
Brandon McCarthy is an injury risk, but he has great control, and just happens to be another extreme groundball pitcher that doesn’t provide much in the way of whiffs. His 2013 FIP clocked in at 0.63 points below his actual ERA, proving that he was somewhat better than his stats would indicate. If the annual injury disappearance from the active roster does not concern you with where you have drafted him, then take a late flier on him.
It is up in the air whether or not Randall Delgado will take the ball every fifth day as the fifth starter when the Diamondbacks break camp, but I do expect that Archie Bradley will head back to the minors to work on his control. If he can keep the ball down in the zone, and limit walks (he had a very nice 1.78 BB/9 in 116.1 innings in 2013), he can be serviceable for his team, but you should avoid him on your fantasy rosters.
Expect Archie Bradley to live up to his number one prospect status with a post All Star Game call up, if not before due to injury or ineffectiveness of one of the other starters. He has a nice repertoire of pitches, featuring a high-90s fastball, a changeup and a knuckle curve that has a tough, hard break. It is his lack of control that will need to be worked on in the minors to start the season, having posted a 4.31 BB/9 in Double-A Mobile last season, which dragged down his K/BB ratio to an average 2.02. On the plus side, he limits home runs, never having put up greater than a 0.40 HR/9 in the 3 years he’s been in the Arizona system. As the anticipated ace of the Diamondback staff in the near future, he is golden in keeper or dynasty leagues, even if he will not provide much benefit this season.
The Diamondbacks have wisely tailored their staff to their home park, trotting out groundball inducers to counteract the hitter friendliness of Chase Field. Most of the rotation can be had late in your drafts, and if you are not searching for strikeouts at that point, any of the Diamondback starters can provide value to the savvy owner.
If you disagree with my assessments, or just want to discuss starting pitching, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I enjoy comments and am more than willing to engage in discussion about fantasy baseball, so feel free to write.