2010 List of 12
OK folks here’s the 2010 list of 12.xls!
For those of you unfamiliar with the List of 12, the concept
is pretty simple: we look for starting pitchers who crossed the 500 career
innings barrier during the previous season, and focus on them as breakout
candidates for the upcoming season. The theory behind this is that it takes
pitchers at least a couple of seasons to fully adjust to pitching in the
Majors, so in fantasy we want to find guys who are ready to have breakout
seasons but might still be a little under the radar. Some of these guys stink and will continue to stink, but if you’re looking for guys who are ready to take the next step, this list is a good place to start.
The original list was only 12 guys — hence the name — but since
it’s drawn each year from an objective set of rules, sometimes we get fewer or
more than the original dozen. This year illustrates that to the extreme, with
23 guys on the list! There’s someone on here for every taste and style.
Of course, some of these guys are already top-shelf stars
(Lincecum, Wainwright, Lester) and a few are already in that next tier of
fantasy notoriety (Baker, Billingsley, Danks, Floyd, Weaver). But even with so
many whose values appears to be established, there are still some values to be found.
Here’s a quick first-blush rundown of my view on each guy as we turn our eyes
Backe, Brandon – Too many arm problems to consider.
Baker, Scott (right) – On the surface his 2009 season looks virtually
identical to 2008, but those who were paying attention know that those numbers
are skewed by a very poor start. He topped the 200 IP barrier in 2009 and is a
target pitcher for 2010.
Bannister, Brian – He’s had his moments but the
season-ending injury makes him a risky pick for 2010.
– Perceived as a breakthrough stud going into 2009, second-half fades in
consecutive seasons make him something of a question mark going into 2010. A great upside pick if the price is right, but try to get a discount.
Carmona, Fausto – Two straight awful seasons but it’s tough
to forget his awesome 2006, and his last two starts were very impressive… a
great $1 flier in AL-only and deep leagues.
Correia, Kevin - A very quiet but impressive season this
year. He’s a little old to be viewed as a breakout candidate but should be a
solid end-of-rotation choice.
Danks, John – Rate stats all went in the wrong direction
this year but that may be skewed by a few disaster starts. I’d like him better
in a different ballpark but as it is he’s a solid mid-rotation guy and still
Davies, Kyle – 500+ innings of suck.
De La Rosa, Jorge – The trends and his age suggest this
breakthrough is for real. Obviously Rockies pitchers are
risky, and his command is still shaky, but this one is a decent gamble to
approach if not necessarily improve upon his 2009 numbers again in 2010.
Floyd, Gavin (right) – Those who judge pitchers by W-L or
even just ERA are going to miss the boat on this one. Rate stats and age point
to a major breakout in 2010, and make special note of the fifty percent
decrease in his second-half walk rate.
Garza, Matt (below) – See Floyd, Gavin. Three straight seasons of
improvement in K/BB rate along with career highs in IP show ability growing along with durability. He may be too homer
prone to become a fantasy ace, but I’m still a very bullish on him for 2010.
– Consistency and throwing enough strikes have always been problems, but an
intriguing one to watch if he ends up back with the Yankees. Another good $1
Guthrie, Jeremy – Here’s where stats come in handy… watching
him pitch you think he’s a future ace. The stats are all trending in the wrong
direction, though, and scream “stay away.”
Jackson, Edwin – His ERA was double in the second
half what it was before the All-Star break, and every other rate stat went in the wrong direction as well, which I personally attribute to overwork by noted arm-fragger Jim Leyland.
But the overall body of work shows major improvement, so he could take another
big step forward in 2010… just don’t gamble full price on it.
Jimenez, Ubaldo (right) – Possibly the best Rockies
starter ever. Never mind Coors, he gets tons of grounders and simply doesn’t
give up homers; all signs are positive and there’s no reason to think he won’t
be at least as good in 2010, if not better.
Lester, Jon – Check out the 2.48 ERA and 9.8 K/9 ratio in
his last 24 starts. Stud.
Lincecum, Tim - Three straight years of improvement in WHIP,
hit rate, walk rate and homer rate… now entrenched as the #1 pitcher in fantasy baseball.
Maine, John – Still
has excellent stuff but the history of arm problems is scary. Still, he’s shown
effectiveness when healthy, so he’s worth a flier in deeper and/or unmixed
Nolasco, Ricky (right) – Like Floyd and Garza, the overall stats
don’t tell the full story. He was dominant after returning from a brief
Triple-A exile, with a five-to-one K/BB and 10.1 K/9 ratio in his last 22
starts. The added age and maturity should help prevent the disaster starts that
skewed his overall numbers last season; as much as anyone on this list he is
poised to take a major leap forward next in value next season.
Saunders, Joe – Pitched exceptionally well down the stretch,
with a 2.55 ERA in eight starts after coming off the DL, suggesting that some
of his struggles may have been injury-related. The lack of strikeouts limit his
value but he should continue to be a solid end-of-rotation option.
Wainwright, Adam – Threw 13 straight quality starts at one
point, and 18-of-19. Stud.
Weaver, Jered – Took a big step forward this year in terms
of maturity and consistency, but the trends are mixed for 2010. His innings
pitched have increased in three straight seasons, which speaks to his durability, but the rate stats have
all fluctuated around his career averages, so this may be as good as it gets.
That’s certainly good enough to make him a solid #3 in any format.
Wellemeyer, Todd – I liked him as a sleeper in 2009 but he
was awful and injured. Worth a flier in deep and unmixed leagues but nothing
So to sum it all up, here’s how I rank them going into 2010:
* Full-price studs: Lester, Lincecum, Wainwright
* Breakout picks: Baker, Floyd, Garza, Jimenez, Nolasco
* Upside with risk: Billingsley, Jackson
* As good as it gets?: Danks, De La Rosa, Weaver
* Cheap options: Correia, Saunders
* Fliers: Carmona, Gaudin, Maine,
* Stay away: Backe, Bannister, Davies, Guthrie
Enjoy the rest of the postseason!
P.S. — If you want to add one more guy to the list to make
it an even 24, for a double-sized List of 12, the next guy who just missed the
cut on innings was Josh Johnson of the Marlins. He’ll be on everyone’s
radar next season and for good reason!