In the last week’s article, I discussed several hitters that may be in line for a huge rebound in 2014, which could dramatically raise the ceiling for your team. It is now time to discuss several aces that experienced disappointing 2013 campaigns, but may provide ample value to your team if you can draft them later than their average draft position.
The World Series hangover may have lasted a bit too long for Matt Cain last year. After an impressive 2012 season and playoff campaign, he struggled most of 2013. For the first time in five seasons, he earned a single digit win total and finished with an ERA over 4.00. Many of his struggles were the result of allowing a career high in home runs and striking out a career low of 158 batters. Cain is healthy heading into spring training and has a high probability for a bounce-back season. It would be realistic to expect around 12-15 wins, an ERA between 2.50 to 3.50, and 175 strikeouts.
It was not smooth sailing for Washington Nationals’ flame throwing ace Stephen Strasburg in his second season removed from his 2011 Tommy John surgery. Despite being taken in the first three rounds in many leagues last year, Strasburg finished with a disappointing eight wins and 191 strikeouts. With an ERA just topping 3.00 and a WHIP at 1.05, his peripherals were actually very close to his 2012 season. Unfortunately, Strasburg also fell victim to the Nats offensive woes as they averaged 3.47 runs per start for Strasburg. Strasburg is a top rebound candidate and will finish with over 200 strikeouts, 15 wins, and a low ERA, if he can stay healthy.
Was 2013 a bump in the road for C.C. Sabathia or a major sign of his decline? Sabathia’s elbow never seemed 100% and his velocity suffered last season, which may explain his 175K/65BB ratio and ERA close to 5.00. It does not appear that the New York Yankees offense will be much more potent than last season, but Sabathia should be improved. He has reported to camp forty pounds lighter than two years ago and is expected to be healthy this spring. His potential decline should not be ignored as he will turn 34 in July, but Sabathia has the skill set to post a better line than 2013. Expect around 15 wins with over 200 strikeouts and ERA around 3.50 to 3.75.
There was very little to be excited about in Anaheim after their 2013 season which fell supremely short of expectations. Despite enduring a few injuries, Weaver earned 11 wins with 127 Ks and a 3.27 ERA over 154 innings. With an offensive rebound expected from the Halos and Weaver remaining healthy, he should eclipse another season with around 15 wins, 200 Ks, and an ERA around 3.00.
The AL East was not welcoming to the 2012 NL Cy Young Award winner. R.A. Dickey’s first season in Toronto was more of a “nightmare” than a “dream come true” as he walked a career high 71 batters with a 4.21 ERA. The AL East does not contain as many pitcher-friendly parks as the NL East and Dickey is now 39 years old. Although his last few seasons have been “storybook,” he may now be in the final chapter. Even if Toronto’s knuckleballer is slightly better in 2014; it is highly unlikely that he will ever replicate his 2012 season.
Good luck this season!