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Value in Mid-Level Starting Pitchers

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.

Marcus Stroman owns 55% ground ball and a 7.6 K/9 in his debut with Toronto. His dominant pitches will allow him to raise his K/9 this year, and his 2.87 FIP ERA will continue to lower his ERA in the process. His 1.9 BB/9 provides further encouragement for growth. While he may not throw 200 IP this year, his strikeouts, ratios, and ability to keep the ball on the ground will establish his presence.

Marcus Stroman is out for the season with a Torn ACL

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.