Fake Teams Staff Post: I Think I'll Pass - Starting Pitchers

Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE

Each of your favorite Fake Teams writers let you in on who the starting pitcher they will be avoiding at their current values.

Each week, when we cover a position here at Fake Teams, in addition to all of the content you've been seeing, we're going to be doing two staff posts where each of the writers will contribute a brief comment on a player they will personally be targeting in drafts and a player they will be avoiding. Yesterday we shared the optimistic side of this equation, but today is a day of reckoning. These are the players who we are weary of at their projected draft day values.

So without any further ado, I present the Fake Teams staff and their least favorite starting pitching targets for 2013:

"There is a pitcher ranked within the top-30 SP of our consensus rankings who had a 4.00 xFIP over 219 innings in 2012 and the last time this pitcher threw even 112 innings prior to 2012 was 2008. So while Jake Peavy, admittedly, had a fantastic season in 2012, I'm certainly not going to pay the price to find out if he'll stay healthy for two seasons in a row. On top of that, I'm skeptical as to whether Peavy can maintain the HR/FB rates that he has so far with the White Sox. In fact, his HR/FB rate of 9.2% while a member of the White Sox is actually LOWER than the 9.6% HR/FB rate he put up in San Diego. I'm comfortable taking the risk with Peavy inside the top-50, but if I have to take him over the likes of C.J. Wilson, Matt Harvey and Anibal Sanchez, among others, I don't see him ending up on too many of my teams." --Bret Sayre

"Coming off his worst full season as a starter, you'd think Jon Lester - once regarded as one of the league's better starters - would be in line for a nice bounce back season. But I don't think that's the case. Lester struggled all year in 2012, finishing 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP with 166 strikeouts in 205.1 innings of work. After averaging 210 strikeouts per season the previous three years, Lester failed to reach 180 strikeouts for the first time since 2008, and while his walks went down, his home runs went up. Lester's not missing as many bats as he used to, as his SwStr% is now just league average. Bill James projects a big bounce back from Lester - a 3.55 ERA with 192 strikeouts in 211 innings - but I don't see that happening. I see Lester as a top 40 pitcher in 2013, not a top 30." --Alex Kantecki

"The question with Kyle Lohse is just how much you believe that he can repeat the performance he had in 2012. He posted the highest strikeout percentage (16.6%) since 2006 last year, along with the lowest walk percentage (4.4%) of his career. For me, you should be drafting Lohse as the pitcher who doesn't hurt you and your ratios, and provides a decent amount of counting stats to go with it; the known quantity. He has value, but if I am going to draft a pitcher when you would need to based on our rankings, I want more upside to go with it." --Jason Hunt

"I'm wary of Chris Sale for two reasons. One, he's a slider-throwing lefty, and those guys tend to get hurt. Second, his red hot first half was probably the product of what is most likely an artificially low home run rate. In 102.2 first half innings, he gave up just five homers, which seems impossible in the generally homer-friendly U.S. Cellular Field. Naturally, things seemed to correct themselves in the second half, when he gave up 14 home runs and saw his ERA rise. I still think Sale will be a very good pitcher, but I don't see him as an ace in the making, and there are at least five pitchers outside of the Fake Teams top 20 that I'd take in drafts before him." --Paul Rice

"So it looks like I'm going to be "that guy" on Kris Medlen. Two of my esteemed colleagues made him "their guy" yesterday as part of our staff post. I'm going to be the person letting Medlen fall. I don't have anything against the guy - I was high on him when he first came up and often thought he was overlooked when people fawned over Teheran, Vizcaino and Delgado. At the same time, I think the views presented yesterday might be a bit...optimistic. Sure, he had a GB% of 53% last year. By far a career high. His previous career high was 43%, which is still fine but not nearly the same level. As discussed yesterday, his BABIP is due for a massive regression, but you can't just acknowledge that and move on. Given his phenomenal GB%, we need to appreciate just how absurd Medlen's .261 BABIP was, since it's generally fly ball pitchers who gain a BABIP advantage as a tradeoff for more of those balls going over the fence. I'd also like to point out that the last time that Medlen was even a part time starter, his HR/FB was 11.5%. In 2012 he cut that in half and posted a 5.7% HR/FB. I'm not saying that 11.5 should be his baseline instead of 5.7, but given our limited data, we should probably assume somewhere in the middle. There's also the strand rate of 91% that Jason pointed out. Obviously that's likely to change no matter how good the Atlanta bullpen is. Look, I'm not trying to say that Medlen is going to be a bad pitcher in any respect. But his 2012 was insanely good and regressing a little bit of that probably isn't doing enough. I think Medlen will be valuable, but a #2 fantasy SP? I quite doubt that. Perhaps I'm just missing what everyone else is seeing, but I see someone who, without the same luck is going to be a solid 3/4 SP on a fantasy team." --Craig Goldstein

"I love when an older starting pitcher defies the odds and puts up a season that no one saw coming, and that is exactly what we got from R.A. Dickey last season. He won 20 games with a 2.73 ERA, 3.27 FIP, 3.27 xFIP, and a 1.05 WHIP. His season was so good, he won the National League Cy Young Award, deservedly so. But, there are several reasons why I would avoid Monsieur Dickey, as he now calls Toronto home: he is 38 years old and throws a knuckleball, and he is moving from the NL to the AL, moving from a pitchers park to more of a hitters park. In addition, here are some numbers to ponder:

2010: 11 wins, 5.37 K/9, 8.4% SwStr%, 82.0% contact

2011: 8 wins, 5.78 K/9, 7.8% SwStr%, 83.4% contact

2012: 20 wins, 8.86 K/9, 12.2% SwStr%, 75.4% contact

Some of these numbers don't belong with the other. Was his 2012 season a one year aberration? I think it might have been. He won't duplicate the 20 win season and there is a good chance his strikeout rate drops having to pitch to a DH four times a game rather than a pitcher and a few pinch hitters." -- Ray Guilfoyle

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