Past the Rankings: 3 Sophomore Pitchers Who Will Help This Year

Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Jason Hunt takes a look at three second year pitchers who could be very interesting for deep league fantasy owners.

Over the past few months we have been releasing our positional rankings, including our top 100 starting pitchers for the 2013 season. But even past the top 100 there are a lot of pitchers who have the potential to be very interesting, especially for deeper mixed or AL-only leagues. With that in mind, let's look at three second year pitchers who will help astute owners at some point this season.

Erasmo Ramirez - Seattle Mariners

Even with the changes being made to Safeco Field, I'm inclined to believe that the park will play very similarly to previous years. With that in mind, you have a pitcher in Ramirez who has shown solid strikeout rates in the minors (around 7 per 9 innings) and in his 59 innings last season in the Majors. He limits his walks, with his highest single stint was 2.76 per 9 innings in AAA in 2011. Add in that the Mariners' rotation appears at this point to be King Felix, Hisashi Iwakuma, and anyone's guess, and Ramirez could look to lock down a spot for the full season. Even with the potential of three different pitching prospects arriving during the season, I could see Ramirez keeping his spot, and posting an ERA around 3.75 with a solid WHIP and 140 strikeouts over 175 innings. He's definitely worth a look in a lot of leagues, but the key will be to monitor what his role ends up being out of Spring Training.

Drew Smyly - Detroit Tigers

Smyly pitched well last season between the rotation and the bullpen, posting a 3.99 ERA, 8.52 K/9 and 2.99 BB/9. However, the rotation in Detroit is currently full, which appears to send Smyly to Toledo to start the season. However, the Tigers have been rumored to be discussing trading Rick Porcello, which would clear the way for Smyly long-term. I could see similar numbers to Ramirez from Smyly if he had a lock on a rotation job to start the season, so for now just keep an eye on the Tigers and their trade discussions.

Lucas Harrell - Houston Astros

Harrell made 32 starts for the Astros last year, with a 3.76 ERA (3.75 FIP), 6.5 K/9 and 3.62 BB/9 over 193 innings pitched. To me, he is absolutely an AL-only play given that there isn't much upside beyond those numbers given his minor league track record. He's not going to carry your team with the potential for a much better season, especially with the move to the AL, but Harrell is going to provide innings pitched, strikeouts, and should provide at least reasonable ratios in formats where there is substantial value to this type of pitcher.

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