2015 Outlook: Danks stayed healthy enough in 2014 to pitch in his highest innings total since 2010, as he logged 193 2/3 innings in 32 starts. Despite that, he still put up numbers more in line with his past few seasons rather than earlier in his career, when he posted three straight sub-4.00 ERA years from 2008 to 2010. His 2014 campaign featured a 4.74 ERA, almost exactly in line with his 4.76 FIP, with a 6.0 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9. After an exciting start to his career, these numbers seem to be more aligned with what owners should expect out of the almost 30-year-old. So while he figures to get the opportunity to slot into the rotation as the No. 4 starter, his fantasy upside is limited.
2015 Outlook: Currently a free agent, Soto has been a serviceable hitter at catcher for the past couple of years and could land in several places if he's willing to take a low-commitment deal. The former Rookie of the Year is now 31 and can either be a premium backup or low-ceiling starter for certain teams. He was able to cut down from his astronomical 32.6 percent strikeout rate in 2013 to a better, but still high, 21.8 percent. That should be encouraging for potential buyers, as it reduces the likelihood of the batting-average free fall that can sometimes hit high-strikeout veterans. We won't know Soto's role or the number of starts he gets until he signs with a team, so a true outlook will have to wait until he puts pen to paper.
2015 Outlook: Remember the promise Beckham showed as a rookie back in 2009? How could you? It was ages ago! Perhaps most impressive about Beckham is the fact that he has averaged more than 500 PA per season in the five years since, despite never coming anywhere near that level, which, by the way, wasn't even all that special (.808 OPS in 430 PA). WAR isn't necessarily a fantasy-relevant statistic, but it is worth noting that he had 2.5 WAR according to Fangraphs in that 2009 debut but has accumulated just 2.8 since then. If you can't force your child to be left-handed so he can pitch in the majors until he's 53 years old, you should at least make sure he can somewhat adequately man multiple infield positions because that will extend a baseball career by years as well.
2015 Outlook: Duke is one of the latest starters-turned-relievers to find massive success out of the bullpen, and he was able to parlay that success into a $15 million deal with the White Sox this offseason. Despite gaudy numbers with Milwaukee last season, there will be no mistaking the lefty's role with the Sox, as they also signed David Robertson to a multiyear deal to take over the closing duties. However, Duke could still be useful in deeper mixed leagues if he is able to duplicate his 2014 numbers. The veteran lefty ranked in the top 20 in both groundball rate and strikeout rate among relievers last season, and that excellence led to a 2.45 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. While he was very stingy against left-handed hitters, he also held righties to just a .240/.288/.298 slash line, so Duke should not be pigeonholed as a situational reliever. The switch from the National League to the American League and the move to U.S. Cellular Field are valid concerns, but his ability to miss bats and keep the ball on the ground should aid him in the transition.
2015 Outlook: Petricka spent time on the White Sox's closer carousel last season, racking up 14 saves along the way. At each level since his arrival at Double-A, he's walked at least four batters per nine innings, while his two seasons on the south side of Chicago have featured a sub-7.0 K/9. The White Sox's offseason spending spree pumped the brakes on the aforementioned carousel, as David Robertson will take over the ninth inning. Unless he begins to miss bats more frequently, there are better targets than Petricka in leagues where holds are rewarded. The White Sox likely will use him in middle-inning situations with runners on base, as Petricka's ability to induce grounders at a high clip (career 63.3 percent in the big leagues) makes him a viable option to work out of jams with double plays.
2015 Outlook: Putnam thrived in his first full season in the majors last year, finishing 2014 with a 6-3 record, 1.98 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 54 2/3 innings in 49 appearances out of the bullpen. His 7.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 were mediocre for a relief pitcher, but he made up for it with an excellent 53.1 percent ground ball rate. Putnam also allowed just two home runs, and he held his opponents to a 15.2 percent line-drive rate. By the end of the season, he often found himself pitching in the eighth inning, and he sporadically picked up six saves throughout the year, in addition to 16 holds. Following his impressive rookie season, the 27-year-old Putnam is set to work as one of Chicago's top setup men, in front of new acquisition David Robertson. While he doesn't have the velocity or strikeout rate that one typically associates with a closer, Putnam would likely be one of the top candidates to replace Robertson should the former Yankee be sidelined by an injury.
2015 Outlook: The Mariners designated Noesi for assignment just days into the season and promptly traded the right-hander to Texas, where he made three appearances before getting DFA'd again. Noesi was finally afforded some stability after joining the White Sox on a waiver claim, as he remained in the rotation for the rest of the season, making 27 starts. The results certainly weren't great (4.39 ERA, 1.33 WHIP), and his 4.85 FIP from his time with Chicago even suggests he overachieved. His biggest issue last season was the long ball -- he gave up an AL-leading 28 homers, 19 of which were surrendered in 101 2/3 innings at U.S. Cellular Field -- and it's hard to imagine him correcting those issues given his fly-ball tendencies (40.5 percent FB rate for career). He may very well open the season with a rotation spot, but Noesi's susceptibility to hard contact and middling strikeout (6.4 K/9) and walk rates (3.2 BB/9) make it hard to be even slightly optimistic.