It is with great excitement that today I announce details regarding the 2013 Starting Pitcher Guide. This is the sixth year of the guide and it has grown exponentially since that first iteration which actually started on a message board (the now-defunct Rotojunkie.com which has morphed into RJ Bullpen). In the 2008 debut, I ranked 100 guys (or 112 if you consider “12 Under 30” add-on) in about 11,000 words growing to last year’s 400 player/76,000 word epic that spiked download count by 2x over 2011 and was even mentioned by Bill Simmons on his podcast. We’re ready for another step forward in 2013.
The first big piece of news related to the 2013 Guide is the addition of Doug Thorburn (Twitter) as a contributor. Doug is my colleague over at Baseball Prospectus and does some of the most amazing work on the site analyzing pitcher mechanics. He has also co-authored a book with Tom House on the mechanics of pitching. He has worked at the National Pitching Association (NPA), too, adding yet another impressive notch on his pitching resume (and those are just the highlights!). Both this 2008 interview with him at BP (before he started working there) and his latest article on Gio Gonzalez are free to view.
Take a look at the Gonzalez piece especially because that will give you a feel for what he will be contributing to the guide (and because it’s amazing). In addition to an essay on pitch mechanics to help us better understand them he will also be contributing a series of Mechanics Report Cards similar to the one you saw in the article. The report card list will be hand-selected by Doug with each team being represented by at least a couple players, though some teams will have a more robust offering. There will also be insight attached to the report cards crystalizing the information found within the card. We are still fleshing out some details, but this gives you a general idea and the one thing I can promise is that it will be awesome.
The next big news is the addition of bullpen coverage! Closers, for better or worse depending on your view, are a big part of fantasy baseball and having a firm handle on how to evaluate those who have a beat on the role as well as (and perhaps more importantly in some cases) those who might end up in the role can be extremely helpful to your success. It will also create an avenue to discuss the Middle Reliever Methodology that I have long been a fan of utilizing, especially in AL/NL-Only auction leagues.
Essays are returning to the 2013 guide! In 2011, the front of the guide contained a series of essays on various pitching-related topics, but they were absent a year ago. They are coming back with a vengeance this year with the only difference from 2011 being that I will be writing all of them (except for Doug’s pitching mechanics one, obviously). Topics will include strikeouts, prospects, bold predictions (often found here yearly, but this time tied to the guide), and park factors, plus much more. I have some other ideas, but they aren’t as set in stone so I’ll go with “plus much more” instead so you can dream about what might be included (you’re welcome!).
Projections are returning for 2013! Last year was my first attempt at putting together a projection set and it went well so I’m going to do it again this year. The ERA ranges will be used again spanning four to seven earned runs. I think it gives a better idea of what I’m expecting out of the pitcher, plus it covers a bit of luck on both ends. The ranges aren’t too wide over 185-200 innings and that’s another reason I do it. When you see 3.29-3.60, it feels quite significant, but it’s a seven run difference or one every five or so starts.
Of course this is all in addition to the player capsules you’ve grown accustomed to year in and year out. There isn’t a set number of capsules and there won’t be an announced number ahead of time so I don’t paint myself into an unnecessary corner by excluding someone to stay under an arbitrary round number. Instead, I’ll just say that it will likely be a number between 400 and 600. I have over 700 names on the initial list to be pared down as some situations became clearer and some low upside far-from-the-majors minor leaguers are eliminated.
Like last year, the focus will be on plentiful profiles of those with the most impact and upside, so Jason Hammel is going to get more attention than Carlos Martinez (Cardinals prospect at Double-A), but Martinez is going to get more attention than Nick Blackburn. Hammel is impacting 2013 and Martinez is impacting 2014 & beyond for dynasty/keeper leaguers. Blackburn, by costing the Twins $5.5 million dollars this year, is only impacting their ability to buy a free agent better than Kevin Correia. Blackburn isn’t even on the 40-man roster. That’s a foolproof sign that your signing has gone awry.
With the continued enhancements to a product you’ve hopefully already come to enjoy, we are moving to a very affordable pay model. The guide will available in late-February just in time for the fantasy season and is available for $12.
The guide comes via email in PDF form.
Questions & comments can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org