With all of the preseason rankings coming out of the woodworks, I thought this would be a good time to talk about some of the lesser known pitching talents heading into this season. Here are some of the guys i see falling to the final rounds of drafts (if drafted at all) that could well exceed their expectations:
Andrew Miller - FLA (from Detroit) 6-6 lefty who throws gas and just moved to the National League. He put together some decent starts last season, but exceeded 5.0 innings just five times. He has great stuff and I think the move to the NL could boost his numbers.
Matt Garza - TB (from Minnesota) Former first round pick who went 5-7 last season. If he can hold down a No. 3-4 starting spot in the D-Rays rotation behind Kazmir and Shields, I see him in the 8-10 W range with a ~4.00 ERA and 6.5 K/9.
Dave Bush - MIL I am forever optimistic about this guy. Back-to-back 12-win seasons, but he can't seem to break the 4.00+ ERA mark. He has SUPERB control (134 K to 44 BB last season) and has a bit more value in leagues that count K:BB ratio, but sometimes I think he throws too MANY strikes and you never know what you're going to get when he takes the mound. Seems like he's always done in by one 4+ run inning. This will be his fifth year in the bigs and if he can stay consistent, I think he will be a late-round or WW steal.
Scott Baker - MIN Had a good August and September last season that included a one-hit, 9 strikeout complete game (against KC, but still impressive). I don't know much about his talent, but he was useful as a spot starter last season. Like Dave Bush, he has great control but some times throws too many strikes (102 K, 29 BB last season). This will be his fourth year in the league. I'm going to keep an eye on him in the early months.
Jair Jurrjens - ATL (from Det) I've read varying reports about this guy. He is small (6-1, 160), but crafty and has a good shot at earning a starting spot with the Braves. I don't really know what else to say except that I won't draft him, but wouldn't be surprised if he ends up on a lot of rosters by mid season.
That is all I can come up with for now. I'm putting my list together and will add more as I pore over last season's stats. Feel free to include some of your top "Guys to Watch."
Zach Greinke 98-mph heat and a former 6th-overall pick in 2002. KC put him in the bullpen in May and he was dominant enough to earn back his spot in the starting rotation before the end of the season. His game log from last year is a thing of beauty. If he ends up in the starting rotation again this year, which he most likely will, I see him becoming a top-25 pitcher, even pitching for the Royals. If he stays in the pen, hellooooo top-10 closer.
Ubaldo Jimenez - He is young (24) and needs to improve on his BB/9 (4.06) but he throws hard (94-100mph) has a good slider (87-92mph). His change and curve are improving but not nearly as good as his fastball and slider. he is 6'4" with good mechanics, and as long as he can cut the walks some I see him with good numbers. 10 W 160K 4.00 1.30. He can be had late in the draft and is well worth the flier.
John Danks - He is young (22) and still walks too many as he is wildly effective. He has an average fastball (90-94) a good curve (76-80) and a solid change. He has to work on keeping the ball down more as he gives up the long ball too often. But if he settles in a bit I could see him as a good bargain at the end of the draft. 10 W 150K 4.30 1.30.
Now I don't expect either of them to jump into the top 25 SP, but I wouldn't mind having them round out my rotation as a #5 or so.