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Build the Bridge: Pitchers

Kevin Nielsen takes a look at Starting Pitchers who had strong second half performances last season in an effort to make a better judgement of what to expect from them in 2013.

Max Scherzer
Max Scherzer
Jason Miller

Build the Bridge: Pitchers

The first thing that most fantasy players look at when assessing a player's value each off-season is the previous year's statistics. The next step in the process is usually figuring out whether those statistics were sabermetrically sound or not (if not then either the player was a bit lucky and put up better statistics than he perhaps should have or the player was unfortunate and better can be expected moving forward). It is a helpful exercise each off-season to take a look and find out which players put up significantly better second half statistics in the previous season in relation to their respective first-half statistics. Analyzing each player's second half, figuring out how legitimate the statistics are, and deciding whether to associate more value on the player moving forward is a process that can help uncover value that many of your league-mates might not realize is there. If it is decided that any of these players will likely build the bridge from last season's second half to this season then it will likely be worth going an extra dollar or two for them on for auction leagues and moving these players up your rankings appropriately in snake-draft leagues.

Homer Bailey

1st Half

90 IP

4.42 ERA

1.37 WHIP

61 K

2nd Half

118 IP

3.12 ERA

1.14 WHIP

107 K

Bailey did improve and took a real step forward in the second half. Be careful; don't ignore his Home/Road splits. He had a 5.16 ERA at home while allowing 21 HR but on the road he had a 2.32 ERA while allowing only 5 HR.

Clay Buchholz

1st Half

86 IP

5.53 ERA

1.54 WHIP

58 K

2nd Half

103 IP

3.76 ERA

1.15 WHIP

71 K

Buchholz' second half is a better indicator of his skill-set but I don't think he's quite that good. Draft him expecting a 4 ERA and anything else will be gravy. It should be noted that he had a disastrous April (8.69 ERA) and his last start of the year was a 1.2 inning 8 earned run outing vs. the Yankees.

Yovani Gallardo

1st Half

96 IP

4.14 ERA

1.40 WHIP

95 K

2nd Half

108 IP

3.24 ERA

1.22 WHIP

109 K

Gallardo has the talent to turn in a full-season of his second half production. His upside is as high as many pitchers who get taken ahead of him, including the possibility for 20 wins with the Brewers offense.

Jeremy Guthrie

1st Half

71 IP

6.56 ERA

1.72 ERA

36 K

2nd Half

110 IP

3.59 ERA

1.21 ERA

65 K

Guthrie had a 3.16 ERA and 1.13 WHIP after being dealt to Kansas City. Nobody is expecting those numbers from him in 2013 but he certainly has a decent shot to be useful in AL-Only and deep leagues. Consider him for spot-starts, even in shallow leagues.

Paul Maholm

1st Half

84 IP

4.84 ERA

1.34 WHIP

55 K

2nd Half

105 IP

2.73 ERA

1.13 WHIP

85 K

Maholm made some real gains in the second half and has a chance to be a Tim Hudson type in 2013. His peripherals should be decent with a low K rate and high win total.

Shelby Miller

Pre-Allstar AAA

77 IP

6.17 ERA

1.72 WHIP

90 K

43 BB

17 HR

Post-Allstar AAA

59 IP

2.88 ERA

.94 WHIP

70 K

7 BB

7 HR


13.2 IP

1.32 ERA


16 K

4 BB

0 HR

Shelby was terrible before the All-Star Break at AAA. However, he has a track record of success in the minors and has been regarded as a top SP prospect with ace upside for a couple of years now. He showed why after the All-Star break at AAA and during his brief MLB time. Shelby has a real chance to begin the season in the Cardinals rotation with Carpenter's injury. He'll be a player that I target late in nearly all of my drafts.

Mike Minor

1st Half

86 IP

6.20 ERA

1.47 WHIP

72 K

2nd Half

94 IP

2.21 ERA

.86 WHIP

73 K

An elevated HR/FB rate contributed to Minor's very poor first half but he also improved his command quite a bit in the second half. Even with his gains in the second half don't expect an ERA under 3, but do target Minor in the range of SP you expect to have about a 3.75 ERA with a decent K rate and WHIP.

Max Scherzer

1st Half

90 IP

4.98 ERA

1.43 WHIP

114 K

2nd Half

97 IP

2.59 ERA

1.13 WHIP

117 K

Scherzer is my top SP target after the proven aces are off the board. There isn't really anything not to like here. He is going to K a ton of guys, pitches in a decent park for a team with a great offense, and he made true gains this past season. His 3.23 xFIP and 2.99 SIERA were by far the lowest of his career. He can take the next step in 2013 by putting up an ace-type season, start to finish.

Hopefully this article will make each of these players' respective values and projections a little clearer. While there are some players that are highly likely to build the bridge from their respective second half 2012 production towards their respective full-season 2013 production there are also some that may have a tough time doing that. Sometimes it's important to analyze players from different angles, like second half production, in order to value them more accurately. I encourage you to do your own analysis and find other players who had strong second halves or even first halves in 2012. You will likely be able to solidify your rankings and projections as a result of this exercise.

Build the Bridge: Hitters can be found here:

Build the Bridge: Hitters