Two weeks ago we examined why Ubaldo Jimenez and Hiroki Kuroda were pitchers to avoid this year. Let's look at a few other hurlers who will be moving into new digs this year and how the move will affect their fantasy value.
Trevor Cahill saw his ERA rise from 2.97 to 4.11 and his WHIP from 1.11 to 1.43. That was rough sledding for Cahill owners last year. That's good for you because it creates a buying opportunity in 2012. Cahill is being drafted in the 18th round. He moves from the Coliseum, a pitchers park with lots of foul territory, to Chase Field, which is much friendlier to hitters. On the bright side, less foul territory and facing the pitcher should lead to a few more K's. Trevor already improved his K/9 rate from 5.4 to 6.4 last year. The move to the NL might spike that rate to around 7, in which case Cahill's upside is about 165 to 170 K's. Cahill also suffered from having one of the worst defenses in the AL behind him. The Athletics UZR rating of -22.1 was 25th in the Majors in 2011. That's all behind him now, as the Diamondbacks fielded the best defense (55.8 UZR). That will likely slip a little with the defensively challenged Jason Kubel replacing defensive stalwart Gerardo Parra in left field. Still, Arizona's defense should remain very good. This should help his ERA a smidge, and with his 56% GB rate, the HR damage Chase inflicts should be minimized. The move to the NL could have Trevor sporting a 3.50 ERA along with serviceable win and K totals. He will be a cheap end of rotation pick for you in the later rounds.
Erik Bedard isn't really more injury prone than Darren Dreifort. It just seems that way. If you draft Bedard, you have to assume that he'll probably get injured at some point. When healthy and in the right environment he can be an asset. Bedard pitched effectively for the Mariners in Safeco before the trade to Boston and getting sequestered in Fenway. He should find the sailing smoother moving out of the brutal AL East. Erik posted a 3.62 ERA with an 8.7 K/9 rate. The move to the NL should see those numbers improve to about 3.20 and 9.2 respectively. That makes Bedard a 200K pitcher if he could just stay healthy for a full season. Granted, the odds of that may be about 20%, but I'll take a floor 16+ starts with those rate stats for the cost of a 21st round pick. If you're lucky you'll get more. If you're not so lucky, add 16 starts from Bedard and 18 from serviceable FAAB pickups and you've got a decent return on your investment.
The Rockies acquisition of Guillermo Moscoso looks so bad there must be something we don't know about because on paper this move makes no sense. A 55% fly ball rate, a .221 BABIP that will rise, and a 4.23 FIP in a pitchers park all take residence at Coors Field. Unless someone on the Rockies staff has a magic elixir that will add an effective 2-seamer to his arsenal, this is someone to avoid even as a 30th round pick.
Moneyball failed to bring home any awards from the academy. However with a little bit of luck, moving pitcher C.J. Wilson could bring home an award from the BBWA if everything falls into place. CJ leaves the Ballpark in Arlington for the pitching friendly confines of the Angel Stadium of Anaheim. He also leaves a very good defense (Texas UZR 25.9) for a great defense (Anaheim UZR 42.4). His Home/Road splits are very interesting, posting (3.69/1.23) at home and (2.31/1.15) on the road. With an ADP of 70 in the NFBC, the time to buy low on CJ is now.
Mark Buehrle (ADP 309) moves to Miami and a league that will be kinder to his ERA and a home park that will likely turn a couple of his Home Runs into long fly outs. Buehrle's FIP (3.98) didn't fully support his ERA (3.59), but that's a recurring theme in his career, so there may be something in his profile that resists FIP's pull. However, Buehrle will inherit what projects to be a below average defensive unit. Expect 125 K's and a 3.50-3.75 ERA.
If you're thinking about drafting Aaron Harang outside of NL only leagues this year, we need to talk. Harang's ERA was 3.64 last year. Looking at his home/road splits gives us insight on what to expect from Aaron as he moves away from Petco Park. In 2011 he sported a nifty (3.05/1.21) at home, and a not so nifty (4.70/1.64) on the road. If your strategy is punting ERA, WHIP, and Wins, then Aaron Harang will make an excellent addition to your staff.
On the opposite end of the spectrum Edinson Volquez leaves the launching pad known as Great American Ball Park for pitching Nirvana. He struggled of and on with his command during the course of the season. That's a common ailment for pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery. Edinson displayed flashes of brilliance, often cruising along with great command and dominance for 2-3 innings before suddenly losing his ability to locate his breaking balls, getting behind in the count, and then grooving fastballs in hitter's counts as opposing teams teed off. The results in the box score were so ugly the Reds sent him to Louisville for 13 starts to figure things out. In Triple-A his command improved (83/29 K/BB rate). The ace that struck out 206 batters with a 3.21 ERA back in 2008 is still inside waiting to come out. He needs to learn to trust his stuff more and Petco should facilitate that process. If you want to take a flier on Volquez it will cost you a 21st round draft pick. If he slips past that don't be afraid to take a chance on this arm.