February 15, 2013; Viera, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Ross Detwiler (48) throws to first during spring training at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Preview: Ross Detwiler


Kicking off DoD’s fantasy previews, we have presumptive #4 starter Ross Detwiler, who recently announced he would be pitching for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. These previews will begin with the rotation, moving then to the bullpen, starting lineup, and bench. They will be using predicted numbers from four sources: Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS system, and the fantasy experts from MLB.com, CBSSports, and ESPN Fantasy. Here are Detwiler’s four projected lines:

ZiPS:  130.1 IP*, 84 K, 43 BB, 4.07 ERA, 1.37 WHIP

MLB.com: 179 IP, 117 K, 57 BB, 3.82 ERA, 1.28 WHIP

CBSSports: 175 IP, 117 K, 51 BB, 3.75 ERA, 1.31 WHIP

ESPN Fantasy: 181 IP, 114 K, 60 BB, 3.58 ERA, 1.33 WHIP

*ZiPS is so pessimistic because it is a program that calculates stats based on the player’s previous seasons. It has no way of knowing that Detwiler was not a full-time starter, and as such predicts fewer innings pitched by him this season. We can consider this a bit of an outlier.

Average: 166.1 IP, 108 K, 53 BB, 3.81 ERA, 1.32 WHIP

These numbers seem pessimistic at first glance, even if we realize the negative effect of the potentially-erroneous ZiPS numbers. Detwiler’s stats last year were  164.1 IP, 105 K, 52 BB, 3.40 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, despite the fact that he spent time in the bullpen early in the season to accomodate Chien-Ming Wang. The MLB/CBS/ESPN predictions seem more likely, with an all-but-certain jump in innings pitched, combined with regression from his overachieving 2012 in runs and hits allowed. Those three are all in the likely ballpark, with certainty, of course, being impossible. Fantasy rankers have him low among pitchers and for good reason, but in a deep league, he could provide value with decent ratios and a good W/L record. For the Nats, he will continue to be one of the game’s best back-end starters. He is effectively the team’s #5 starter, but will likely be placed in the fourth spot in order to alternate lefties and righties, with righty Dan Haren in the fifth spot.

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