Most fantasy baseball owners will chase players with upside at a reasonable price. These intriguing arms will help owners will their leagues this year because other owners can draft the expensive aces, but these cost-effective starters will give a boost to their respective teams.
Alex Wood bounced back from his stint at AAA in 2014 with a 8.9 K/9, 2.78 ERA, and a 1.14 WHIP. Look for Wood to continue the successful K/9 with 62% of his first pitches for a strike. 48% of Wood's pitches stayed on the ground, and his ability to control his pitches will lead to a solid season, even if his BABIP, .295, corrects itself slightly. Wood will pitch like a #2 starter, and owners will only have to pay a #4 price.
Kevin Gausman can hone his slider this year to move to the next tier of SP. With more control than a 3.0 BB/9, Gausman can give up fewer walks by throwing my first-pitch strikes. (57% in 2014) A full year in the Baltimore rotation will allow him to improve his secondary pitches, along with improving his 44% GB rate. He will have some bumps this year, but his teams will be able to ride his fastball throughout the season.
Danny Salazar wooed owners with another spectacular second-half performance. (100 K in 94 IP with a 3.23 ERA) Owners witnessed a similar Salazar in the last-half of 2013, but his 9.7 K/9 will play in 2015, and he looks to lower his 2.9 BB/9. He needs to find a way to lower his 42% FB, and his .343 BABIP should lower this year. Salazar's huge upside could lead to some ace-level starts with only a 16-18th round pick in a 15-team mixed league.
These four arms have the capability to provide strong value at a cheaper price this year. Owners can draft reliable bats early and wait on SP to fill out their rotations in 2015.