2014 Outlook: Wood's career got off to an impressive start, albeit aided by a low home run-per-fly ball rate. On the other hand, his hit rate was high, even for a ground-ball artist. The lack of a reliable baseline makes Wood a pretty big risk, despite the optimistic outlook. The league should catch on to his deceptive motion, and then it will be up to Wood to adjust back. Then there's the issue of a crowded Braves rotation, though Wood should get his chances. Especially compared to the other young arms that debuted the past couple of seasons, Wood is flying under the radar, so the cost to see just how good he is seems worth the risk, especially if you can stash him in the event he begins the season in the bullpen.
2014 Outlook: Ross is one of the more popular breakout candidates in 2014 coming on the heels of a stellar second half last season. His 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings was the 11th-best mark of any pitcher tossing at least 40 post-All-Star break innings. Combined with walking only 2.6 batters per nine innings over that stretch, Ross was one of the league's best second-half hurlers. However, since the post-break strikeout and walk rates were both so superior to career norms, some regression should be expected. The breakout potential is there, just be cautious about chasing a little more than two months worth of data that is so different from the previous body of work.
2014 Outlook: Armed with a mid-90s fastball and above-average changeup, Kelly exploded upon his arrival in the St. Louis Cardinals' rotation to begin July; he had 10 wins and a 2.58 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) from July 1 forward, counting the playoffs. Still, his peripherals revealed that he pitched a bit over his head, as he had a 4.01 FIP, 1.35 WHIP, 1.80 K-to-walk ratio and 82.4 left-on-base percentage for the season, meaning that despite his performance giving him an excellent chance at beginning 2014 in the Cardinals' rotation, regression is possible. Kelly's low-strikeout nature makes him more NL-only back-end, or streaming material in shallow formats.
2014 Outlook: There's an expression in fantasy circles: one skill away. The implication is the player is one skill away from making the jump to the next level. If you're willing to concede the change in venue will help assuage Santiago's home run woes, he can be considered one skill away, that skill being control. Santiago's strikeout rate is strong and the move to Angel Stadium should help keep the long balls in check. If he can manage to limit the bases on balls, there's some tangible upside in Santiago's game. Taking a risk is made easier when you know you'll at least get something, in this case whiffs. If you're feeling frisky, taking a chance on Santiago could yield benefits.
2014 Outlook: How does a guy with a career 3.12 ERA get projected for an ERA above 4.00? His strikeout and walk rates are both a tick worse than league average and he doesn't induce enough grounders to counter the homer haven that is Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. A career .257 BABIP has rescued him. If he's starting, he's not a bad AL-only play, but he's a risk in mixed formats since you lose the edge of streaming him at home.
2014 Outlook: The normally durable Cahill was sidelined for about six weeks last July and August but returned to finish strong, to the tune of a 2.70 ERA. However, his second-half WHIP was actually worse than the first half, when his ERA was 4.66. The difference was a handful fewer homers, along with better fortune with men on base. Mixed-leaguers can move on, but Cahill can be useful in deeper leagues if you can absorb his ratios.
2014 Outlook: A handy swingman during his first two big league seasons for the New York Yankees, Phelps will get his greatest opportunity yet to lock down a starting role this spring; he's in the mix for the No. 5 starter job. He lacks overpowering stuff, relying on a deep arsenal of pitches as well as above-average ground-ball and strikeout rates to get the job done. Unfortunately, the sum of those parts paints the picture of a matchup candidate rather than a breakthrough bet, meaning that he'd need to earn more fantasy owners' trust with a big spring in order to be a mixed-league asset. Phelps could be a useful mix-and-match type, so don't forget about him in larger formats.
2014 Outlook: A swingman for his first three big-league seasons, Richard made huge strides in terms of his control last year, his 7.1 percent walk rate actually an improvement upon his 7.4 career minor league number, and the result was five wins, seven quality starts, a 3.72 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 13 turns after joining the Los Angeles Angels' rotation permanently in July. He'll start for them again entering 2014, and his high ground-ball rate coupled with a somewhat wide platoon split makes him a prime matchups candidate or AL-only back-ender.
2014 Outlook: Summoned from the minors for a June 18 spot start only because the Arizona Diamondbacks were desperate for a fill-in, Delgado rattled off six quality starts in his first eight turns for the team, perhaps making the team feel foolish for failing to give him the fifth-starter job out of camp. He succeeded by peppering the strike zone, his 1.78 walks per nine innings a substantial improvement on his 3.95 ratio in two years in Atlanta, though it must be stressed that it was the first time in his pro career he had exhibited that level of control. Might the motivation of a rotation spot have contributed? Perhaps, and it's why Delgado's prospective NL-only owners need carefully consider his matchups. He's more streamer than every-start material.
2014 Outlook: Once considered a top prospect while rising up the ranks of the Detroit Tigers organization, Turner's stock has slipped in his year and a half with the Miami Marlins, his command numbers tumbling steeply to 1.43 K's per walk in 20 starts for the big club in 2013. Though he's a 22-year-old with plenty of time to elevate his game, at this stage of his career he looks the part of a matchups type: He had a 2.67 ERA against losing teams, 5.00 against .500-plus teams, in 2013, and he had a WHIP 0.14 lower at Marlins Park than on the road. Consider anything more in 2014 gravy.
2014 Outlook: One of several candidates for the Washington Nationals' fifth-starter job this spring, Roark might have an advantage on the competition, if simply because he was the man to finish 2013 in the role, doing so quite successfully: He was 4-for-5 in quality starts with a 1.74 ERA in September. Though more of a command/ground-ball type who must capitalize on his matchups than a true major league rotation mainstay, Roark is a pitcher worth stashing in NL-only leagues based on his hope of a regular role.
2014 Outlook: While the axiom about never having too much pitching usually rings true, Boston bringing in Chris Capuano after Ryan Dempster opted to take the year off is a signal that Doubront will not be handed the fifth rotation spot for the world champs. Doubront's 2014 featured a splendid 15-game stint in which he compiled a 2.55 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, so he has the talent, he just needs to be more consistent with respect to throwing strikes. Given that parsing data can be misleading, those 15 tilts should at least put Doubront on your radar in mixed leagues, especially if you can use him mostly at home. This is one of those rare occasions a pitcher may be more mixed-worthy than deep-league worthy, because you'd be more apt to stream him. His walks and penchant for the long ball make him risky in AL-only setups, especially if his punchouts don't rebound.
2014 Outlook: April 2012 Tommy John surgery cost Baker significant chunks of both the 2012-13 seasons, but after a promising three-start, late-season stint with the Chicago Cubs, he landed a non-guaranteed deal this winter with the Seattle Mariners, with whom he'll compete for a rotation spot. If he emerges victorious, Safeco Field would be a good place for his fly ball nature, and his history of low WHIPs and walk rates might make him an interesting AL-only flier.
2014 Outlook: Although he'll have to officially earn it in camp, Duffy is the odds-on favorite for the Kansas City Royals' fifth-starter role this spring. He made five starts following his return from Tommy John surgery late last year, and while his command was spotty, all six of his pitches showed degrees of effectiveness, and those familiar with that procedure know command is something that often comes with time. Don't forget that Duffy was one of the better prospects in the game pre-surgery, making him an intriguing late-round stash in AL-only formats. With some luck, he might even develop into a matchups candidate in mixed leagues.
2014 Outlook: After improving his skills in 2012, albeit just slightly, Detwiler was on a few breakout lists last spring. Unfortunately, back and oblique injuries curtailed his season and now he is embattled in a fight for the last spot in the Nationals' rotation, though it is likely his job to lose. Detwiler relies on control and inducing grounders, which often leads to a higher than average hit rate. This, in turn, results in a WHIP that is a bit too high for mixed formats but still viable in deeper leagues. That said, Detwiler can occasionally be deployed at home, so long as you don't burn a waiver spot but instead just pick him up off waivers then toss him back.