This year in particular, there looks to be many prospects or former prospects who are stuck in somewhat of a no-mans land... getting moved to the bullpen or the minors but still within close range of a rotation spot. Being in a deep AL-only league always looking to find sneaky value, I'm curious how playing time will shake out for these guys... someone could end up with a steal.
Zach Stewart - Rated a B by John entering the season, he started some games in 2011 with mixed results, with his top performance as a 1-hitter shutout. He clearly has upside as evidenced by his K potential, but he may get stuck as a sixth man-long reliever and may have trouble getting in unless an injury strikes.
Chris Tillman - Was fighting for a fifth rotation spot and doing rather well, now he pitches an inning out of the bullpen? Is that game over for his rotation chances? He wasn't great last year, but his peripherals were better than 2010. Not a prospect, you say? He's still only 23, believe it or not.
Felix Doubront - Struggled with injury and ineffectiveness in 2011, but he's still in the running for the fifth starter spot. But even if he wins it, it's unsure how he'll hold up, both from health and performance standpoints. He's only 24 though, and got a C+ rating by John last year.
Alex Cobb - Was pretty great in the minors and majors when needed last year, but got bumped after an injury, and with Moore joining the rotation and Davis as the likely sixth man, it's unclear whether he'll get a chance as a starter.
Tyson Ross - He was great in the majors in limited time, but struggled with injuries, personal issues, and ineffectiveness in the minors. Has good velocity but a underwhelming K rate. Still young though and has good upside if he can stay healthy and control the ball, but any grasp he'll have on a rotation spot is tenuous with Parker and Peacock waiting in the wings.
Aaron Crow - Came on strong at the start of the 2011 season, but control issues caught up to him a bit. Was looking to be a starter, which could have been a boon to his fantasy value, but looks like the Royals changed their minds. Still, it might not be a stretch to think he'll fill in... just look at the Royals current rotation.
Jake Arrieta - May have the fifth starter spot, but it's tenuous at best with many guys fighting to take it over (Wada, Tillman). Will need to cut down walks if he wants to be effective, but the K rate is good and was a B+ guy last year. But he's pretty old already, turning 26 soon, and he's on the Orioles.
Liam Hendriks - I wasn't going to put him on as I thought he'd start in the minors, but it looks like he could get a shot if Baker starts the season on the DL. He reminds me of Kevin Slowey (vintage Kevin Slowey) but he could get demoted as soon as Baker is back. He'll have to give a reason to knock out one of the other pitchers instead.
How would you rank these guys in terms of value for the upcoming season (non-holds league, so starters are significantly more valuable than relievers, the more innings the better, provided they're well-pitched.) How do you project their playing time situtation will shake out in 2012?