Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Likely Available Waiver Wire Talent: Jose Quintana, James Paxton, Hector Santiago, Martin Perez, Alexi Ogando

Jose Quintana (23%)

The White Sox may have had a terrible season, but you can't blame it on Quintana. He quietly made 33 starts and put in 200 innings of solid work (122 ERA+). Since wins is still a major category in fantasy and things outside his control (playing on a bad team) kept his win total in single figures (9), his contributions still fell under the radar. If things break right, he could be a possible fantasy breakout star in 2014.

Through age 24, his closest comparison is Noah Lowry. Lowry seemed on track to have a decent career. He had a couple of productive seasons after his age 24 season before his career abruptly ended due to injury. While that is always a risk with pitching, I think Quintana is on track to have a solid career as a #2/#3 starter.

James Paxton (17%)

When all is said and done this year, Paxton will likely be owned in more than 17% of leagues if everything breaks right. He got four starts towards the end of the year and pitched very well and that momentum appears to have continued as he's had a solid spring.

Even with that, he's a moderately ranked prospect (#68 by baseballprospecuts). He did strike out a lot of batters in the minors but was also very hittable in AAA (1.48 WHIP). At this point, i'd be cautiously optimistic about Paxton but his owners will need to pay attention/react quickly to any signs of trouble.

Hector Santiago (14%)

Another potentially decent low end option who had his value suppressed by a horrible White Sox team. In 34 games (23 starts) Santiago struck out 8.3 per 9 innings and had a nice 120 ERA+ though he only won 4 games. His value should increase for reasons beyond his control as he ended up on the Angels in the three team trade that sent Mark Trumbo to Arizona.

Speaking of control, that could be the one thing that decreases his value and something that will need to be addressed for sustained success. He was 10th in the AL in Walks and had a 1.40 WHIP.

One encouraging note is that he has pitched well in four spring starts and has displayed a strong 3.1 SO/BB ratio (small sample size alert) compared to a career total of 1.93.

His most similar player through age 25 is Jim Roland. After his age 25 season, Roland had a few solid seasons out of the bullpen pitching primarily in relief.

Drew Hutchison (13%)

Hutchison got his first taste of the show last year, making 11 starts and coming in with a 92 ERA+. Based on his spring numbers. At the very least, he'll give you some cheap strike outs (7.5 per 9 last year). If you take stock in spring training performance, he could be a sleeper as he's struck out 16 in 9 2/3 and has a .828 WHIP.

Looking at his minor league performance, he is a bit under the radar (never been on any top 100 prospect lists) and he didn't pitch that well in the minors. While there is potential as a good low end option, if you pick him up, you may need to react quickly if he has a couple of bad starts in a row.

Martin Perez (11%)

Perez had his first extended look last year and did relatively well in 20 starts (114 ERA+). He's still very young (22) so he definitely has room to get better. One thing that may help is if he develops more on the strikeout side (6.0 per 9 IP career).

His most similar player through age 22 is Floyd Bannister. He struggled in his age 23 season (69 ERA+) but he did go on to have a decent starting pitcher though not a star with four of his seasons with an ERA+ in the 120s. Does that indicate that last year's performance is close to as good as we can expect out of Perez or is it a preview of things to come?

Alexi Ogando (10%)

For Ogando, its not a matter of whether he's going to be productive, (139 ERA+ in 381 innings). Its a matter of a) Is he going to stay healthy? and b) If so, is he going to be a starter where he can be of value or is he going to be in the bullpen while valuable for his team, this would reduce his value in fantasy?

If Ogando does start the season in the rotation, he could be a good hidden gem as he has pitched very well regardless of the role he plays. Through age 29, his most similar player was Murry Dickson. After his age 29 season, he had several solid seasons as a starter and ended up playing until he was 42.

Will Ogando play until his 40s? More likely than not. Does he have more valuable and productive seasons ahead of him (2014 included)? most likely.

All numbers, comparisons, etc found on baseball-reference.com