Last week, we looked at some later round options to populate the back end of your starting fantasy rotations with, those starting pitchers (SP) that can be snapped up at the end of your drafts that have some value as a full-season addition. This installment, we will continue to seek out those arms, but also look to those hurlers that have potential in a dynasty or keeper system, who may not be full time options this season but have the potential to shine in future years.
Note: The ADP (Average Draft Position) next to each SP below is derived from the overall averages contained in this year’s Draft Guide (get it here). Depending upon the level of knowledge possessed by your league participants, however, YMMV (your mileage may vary), and you may be able to get any one of these hurlers at greater value than on average.
Second Note: Projections are based on while not best-case scenarios, better than 50% prognostications (closer to 80%). In other words, not the ceiling but far from the floor. Also, with the effects of the shortened spring training yet to be revealed as of the writing of this article, take ALL these numbers with a huge grain of salt. They are, at this juncture, merely a supposition based on expectations that may not come to fruition.
The 30-year-old righthander Jameson Taillon begins his second season with the Bronx Bombers coming off right ankle surgery at the end of last October. The additional fact that he is not entirely guaranteed a rotation slot to open the season leads to his suppressed draft value heading into this season. 2021 found him losing his tendency to generate loads of groundballs from opposing hitters, and his rate of homers allowed rose in response. Word out of Yankees camp is that he will be ready to go for Opening Day. There is also a possibility that Domingo Germán, penciled in as the fifth starter, will not be fully recovered from his shoulder woes enough to join the rotation initially, leading to opportunity for Taillon to provide late-round value as the final piece for your fantasy baseball starting staff.
Projections: 140 IP / 4.40 ERA / 1.24 WHIP / 133 K
Zack Greinke’s free agent status ended with his inking of a contract with the Royals, the team where he began his MLB career way back in 2005. He will look to rebound after suffering from regression over the past couple of seasons in Houston. With Mike Minor no longer pitching in Kansas City after a trade to Cincy on Wednesday, expect the 38-year-old veteran to immediately step into a prominent role in the Royals rotation. He is an average at best strikeout producer, but still has control in his toolbox, making him an effective starting pitcher in perhaps his swan song season where he began his journey through the majors.
Projections: 155 IP / 4.30 ERA / 1.24 WHIP / 120 K
The southpaw Yusei Kikuchi arrived in Seattle after beginning his career in Japan, hitting the West Coast with a whole lot of expectations, most of which were unfulfilled until last season when he finally settled into a groove of sorts. He was able to drop his ERA in the acceptable range of mid-fours, and struck out better than a batter an inning over his 157.0 IP. The decision to sign with Toronto means Kikuchi will be backed by a stronger offense than he ever had with the rebuilding Mariners over the past three seasons. His control is somewhat suspect (3.61 BB/9 since he arrived in the majors) which limits his value, despite the ability to miss a significant number of bats while toeing the rubber (9.34 K/9 over his 157.0 IP in 2021). Kikuchi will be slotting in at the back of the Blue Jay rotation, which means that he is probably slated for 150 IP at best, depending on the health of the rest of the pitching staff.
Projections: 150 IP / 4.28 ERA / 1.31 WHIP / 147 K
The 27-year-old Adbert Alzolay has the potential to be the hardest-throwing member of the Cub rotation, once he is able to rejoin the staff. He is likely out for an extended period as he recovers from a lat strain in his shoulder. He has the potential to offer his owners four months of production but he will either take up a valuable roster slot or need to be stowed on the IR. Once he can return to the mound, his strikeout rate, low walk rate and strong groundball inducing tendencies speak well for his promise as a late round gem.
Projections: 115 IP / 4.48 ERA / 1.29 WHIP / 108 K
Hunter Greene, and his teammate profiled immediately below, are both going to need to have strong springs to make the jump to the majors to open the season. The 22-year-old righty is arguably the top prospect on the Reds’ 40-man roster and figures to be a part of the Cincinnati rotation at some point in 2022. He offers great strikeout production of at least a K per inning, and features a fastball that reaches triple digits in velocity together with a hard slider that profiles as a plus offering, too. Even if he does not break camp with the Reds, look for him to reach the majors soon in 2022 to show MLB hitters what he has to offer on the hill.
Projections: 95 IP / 4.65 ERA / 1.36 WHIP / 101 K
Nick Lodolo LHP CIN
Another Cincy rookie, the southpaw Nick Lodolo is not far back on the directory of Reds prospects. He lacks any true plus pitch, but features instead four average to above-average offerings that miss plenty of bats and when coupled with good control, make for an effective arm on the mound. He is recovering from a strained left shoulder that sidelined him at the end of the 2021 Triple-A season. He has been throwing off a mound without incident this winter, though, and will compete to join the Cincinnati rotation out of the spring. He would be a fine pickup in keeper leagues, or dynasty formats, as the Reds rebuild yet again.
Projections: 55 IP / 4.25 ERA / 1.25 WHIP / 57 K
While we await the start of the 2022 season now that the lockout has ended and spring training is getting underway, these articles discussing the Starting Pitching ranks will continue on a weekly basis. Once things get back to “normal” and the season starts up for real, please return for the weekly Two-Start Pitcher analysis.
As ever, good luck and godspeed in all your fantasy efforts. You can contact this writer with your questions regarding starting pitching or other fantasy baseball issues at email@example.com.
Fantasy Baseball 2022
- The Ultimate Fantasy Baseball Cheat Sheet
- Late-Round Starting Pitchers to Consider When Drafting
- Draft Guide: When To Draft Starting Pitching
- Draft Guide: Streaming Strategies for Hitters & Pitchers
- Fantasy Baseball March 18 Round-Up: Ronald Acuña Jr. To Open 2022 Season on Injured List