Originally posted on Fantasy Baseball 365  |  Last updated 11/8/11
The free agent season is underway and while rumors continue to rule the interwebs, it's never too early to look ahead. These five starting pitchers might end up with some decent sleeper value should they land in the right spot as a free agent.

Note: Some text origionally appeared in my 2012 Free Agent Primer series for The Outside Corner. Player's 2012 age in parenthesis.

12-team mixed
Javier Vazquez (35) Talk about the tale of two halves. Vazquez posted a 5.23 ERA in the first half of 2011, but exploded in the second half to post a 2.15 ERA with almost one strikeout per nine innings pitched. It’s no surprise that his dominance returned along with his once lost velocity. Vazquez could become a decent late round pick if two things happen: One, he stays in the National League, in a decent pitcher's park. Two, he maintains his increased velocity this coming spring training. If he's throwing 89 MPH in mid-march, I'm knocking him down my draft board.

Erik Bedard (33)– I hate Aerosmith, but the lyrics to the song “Same Old Song and Dance” ring true with regard to Bedard. When healthy enough to toe the rubber, Bedard is a fantastic pitcher. However, he has never thrown 200 innings in a major league season and he hasn’t topped 130 innings since 2007. The Red Sox are among the teams interested in his services, which could mean an increased chance at more wins in 2012. He's going to eat up a DL spot at some point, however, so consider the format of your league before taking a late-round flier.

Hisashi Iwakuma (31)– The A’s won the bid to negotiate with Iwakuma last season ($19.1M), but could not come to an agreement on a major league contract. Iwakuma returned to Japan where he posted a 2.42 ERA in 119 innings with 90 strikeouts and only 19 walks (4.74 K/BB ratio), but he did miss some time with shoulder soreness. His 6.86 career K/9 is likely to fall against major league batters, so he’ll have to rely on command and defense. Should he land in a favorable pitchers park and/or with a team that boasts an excellent defense, he'd certainly be worth a late-round look.

Deeper formats
Joel Pineiro (33) – His 2011 numbers are ugly, there’s no getting around that fact, but they can be explained to some extent due to a right shoulder that had bothered him since spring training. His sleeper status is based on him being 100 percent healthy in 2012. If that happens, he should see a progression in his ground ball and strikeout rate, which would make him quite capable of a 4.00 ERA and xFIP or better.

Jeff Francis (30)– A 6-16 record and 4.81 ERA are nothing to gloat about, but Francis has some skills that could still result in a very valuable season in 2012. He rarely puts runners on via a base on balls (BB/9 under two for the past two seasons) and he gets hitters to pound the ball into the ground with some frequency (47 percent ground ball rate over the last two seasons). 2011 was the first season since 2008 in which Francis did not have to be shut down due to a shoulder injury. I'd like to see him build a little more velocity, but the underlying skills to succeede are still there.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Best and worst from NBA All-Star Saturday night

WATCH: Klay Thompson can't go home unless he beats Steph Curry in 3-Point contest

Star players are hurting Houston Rockets

Emmitt Smith: Adrian Peterson only current player who could break rushing record

Coach K gets buzzer-beater win over Virginia for his birthday

Baylor approves new measures to deal with sexual assault

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joe Mauer: Concussions blurred vision, affected hitting

LeBron James says Kevin Love-Celtics trade rumor is false

Michael Jordan gifts Kobe Bryant full set of Air Jordans

Bethune-Cookman football player killed at party

Former UFC heavyweight Kevin Randleman dead at 44

WATCH: Chelsea scores three goals in less than 20 minutes

LaVine, Gordon put on best NBA dunk contest in years

WATCH: Thompson beats teammate Curry in 3-point contest

NFL teams, players hand out awesome Valentines

Earl Campbell ‘disappointed’ in Johnny Manziel, wants to help

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA skills challenge

MLB commish: Cubs will host All-Star Game in near future

WATCH: Memphis forward recreates Vince Carter's elbow dunk in game

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

Drake has Kentucky edition of custom ‘OVO’ Air Jordan 8s

QUIZ: Name every NBA All-Star Game MVP

Watch rare footage of Stephen Curry from 2001-02 emerges

Check out this custom camouflage Oregon helmet

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker