Fantasy Baseball 2012 Strategy and Advice: Examining Last Season’s Unlucky Pitchers

Finishing up the series where we’ve examined lucky hitters, lucky pitchers, and unlucky hitters from last season, as well as looking at the potential impact on the fantasy landscape it 2012, we arrive at our final stop: the unlucky pitcher.

This article concludes the lucky and unlucky series for this year, but if you haven’t checked out the other lucky/unlucky articles, I’d highly recommend you doing so.  Not only were they written by yours truly, they are very useful for draft prep.

Enough with the banter, let’s dive into the pitchers who were unlucky last year.

AJ Burnett

Burnett was absolutely one of my favorite sleepers headed into the 2012 season, until I found out he couldn’t bunt in BP.  Regardless, he’ll miss a chunk of time in the beginning of the season, but that will only make him cheaper on draft day.

A change from AL-NL will do wonders for his numbers, and what will even do more wonders is his luck correction that is coming.  Burnett has been riding a two-year streak of absolutely horrendous luck, in regards to strand percentage.  His underlying skills have actually been improving, despite the negative trend of his ERA.  Look for an end of season ERA around 3.9, with a healthy portion of strikeouts on the side.

Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster fantasy baseball 2012 strategy unlucky pitcher

Ryan Dempster is coming off of an unlucky season. Look for his numbers to improve. (Photo by Mshake3 via Wikimedia Commons)

Mess of a season probably left most fantasy owners calling him the “Dumpster” as his ERA neared 5.  The results weren’t due to a declining skill set however, but thanks in part to a 69% strand rate, and an unlucky BABIP.  The only concern I have that would prevent a bounce back would be his age (35).  However, look for a solid ERA under 4 to go along with 200 Ks.

Gavin Floyd

Now that he is 29, it is easy to forget that he was once regarded as a big-time pitching prospect.  An unlucky strand percentage ruined an otherwise solid season last year, and a bounce back is in store.

Don’t give up hope that the one-time can’t-miss prospect can finally put a stellar season together—and if he does: 3.75 ERA to go along with 170 Ks.

Zack Greinke

Plagued by an abnormally high HR/FB% and a slightly unlucky BABIP, Greinke still posted a 3.83 with 201 strikeouts in 172 IP.  With a correction coming, the potential is limitless.  This season has the chance to be 2009 all over again.  In 2012 look for a 2.5 ERA, 250 Ks, and, wait for it, NL CY Young.

Rich Harden

Consecutive 5.00+ ERA seasons have many fantasy owners vowing never to touch the injury prone hurler ever again.  Don’t fall into that group.  Sure he will be on the wrong side of 30 next season, and, yes, his durability is worse than poor, so the risk is obviously there. But so are the skills.  One partially healthy season corresponding with a luck correction in BABIP, and HR/FB% could equal Rich Harden of old.  Why not take the chance?  It won’t cost you much to find out.

Brandon Morrow

How to explain this maddening two-year stretch of bad luck is beyond me, but the third year will be the charm.  If anyone is overdue for a luck correction it is Morrow.  Should his anemic 65% strand rate and his inflated BABIP and HR/FB% finally regress this season, we are looking at a fantasy ace.  Possibility of a sub 3.5 ERA to go along with 250K’s is very real.

Jon Niese

The towering 6’4″, 215 pound left-hander quietly flashed some excellent skills last season.  If it wasn’t for a terribly unlucky BABIP and a poor second half strand percentage, he would be a coveted mid- to late-round pick this season.  Instead, you can grab him from the bargain basement, and laugh all season long as he posts a 3.3 ERA with 160 Ks on the side.


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