With the help of ESPN.com fantasy gurus Eric Karabell and Tristan Cockcroft, we continue our look at the top-5 Texas Rangers in terms of fantasy value for the 2014 season.
No. 3: Yu Darvish
For those of you expecting to see Darvish on top of the list, remember that every day players carry big-time fantasy value and the Rangers have a couple of middle-of-the-order hitters who will make this ranking in the coming days.
Darvish returns after a Cy Young runner-up performance that had to please fantasy owners. He's a strikeout monster and he reduced his walks last year, making him even more valuable.
Karabell's thoughts: "He's second on my list of starting pitchers after the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, but with so much pitching depth for fantasy owners and a scarcity of top power hitters, I'd wait a bit to get him. You need offense. Darvish finished last season as fantasy's No. 5 starting pitcher and he's about the only guy capable of approaching 300 strikeouts. Considering only 12 pitchers fanned 200 hitters last year, that's a big deal."
Recommended round: Early third
Cockcroft's thoughts: "He’ll be the class of AL-only pitchers this season, commanding potential $30-plus bids in auctions, thanks to an exceptional array of at least eight pitches that resulted in the game’s highest qualified strikeout rate (32.9 percent of the hitters he faced)."
Recommended round: Third
Both Karabell and Cockcroft expect Darvish to continue to be one of the elite pitchers in the game. So do I. If you're in a keeper league and have Darvish, congratulations. If you get the chance to draft him, don't pass it up.