See the first entry on pitching for an explanation of the method being used here.
#1. Dodgers: Brandon McCarthy (2.6 WAR, #35 overall)
Dear God, Brandon - you are really intent on making it hard for Arizona fans to root for you. Fair enough, you didn't have any say over who you were traded to - though you certainly didn't help matters by suddenly performing like an ace for the Yankees. But then to join the Even More Evil Empire as a free-agent? I am left with no other choice but to give serious consideration to unfollowing you on Twitter. That'll show you. Though I do still appreciate the way your Twitter avatar is currently a very crudely MS-Paint'd photo of you, cap and gloves colored Dodger Blue with all the finesse of an over-active pre-schooler. However, that isn't enough to make me cheer for you this year. Sorry.
#2. Padres: Andrew Cashner (1.5, #93)
Despite off-season rumors that had Cashner a target for both the Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies, he seems to have remained a Padre. He's now contemplating an extension, and saying he'd "love" to stay in San Diego, though he probably won't get to repeat last year, where he was their Opening Day starter. He'll certainly be hoping for better health than in 2014, when he suffered from a smorgasbord of elbow, shoulder and neck ailments. Though he also would like better run support: there was an 11-game run where Cashner went 0-6 despite a 2.86 ERA, as the Padres managed a total of 19 runs in support, with a high score of four. Ah, Petco...
#3. Rockies: Tyler Matzek (1.5, #96)
Former first-round pick in the 2009 draft Matzek has a rocky - or even Rockie, hohoho - road to the majors, troubled by struggles with his control. Over five minor-league seasons, he averaged six walks per nine innings, but performed much better in his rookie major-league campaign, getting that figure down to 3.7, while leading Colorado starters in strikeout rate. His season peaked with a complete-game shutout on Sep 5, the first by any Rockie in more than three years. If he can keep the walks off the basepaths as he did, he'll be fine, but with less than 120 major-league innings, the projections are understandably cautious about that being a given.
#4. Diamondbacks: Jeremy Hellickson (1.4, #104)
Interestingly, this trade re-unites the 2011 American League Rookie of the Year with the man who was runner-up the same season: Mark Trumbo. And just like Trumbo, this is another case where we're forced to talk about "upside", in this case hoping for a bounceback season in contrast to Hellickson's injury-curtailed 2014, and largely ineffective 2013. He has won just twice in his previous 23 starts, and the Rays lost his last nine appearances, Hellickson going 0-4 with a 5.44 ERA. There were rumblings he hid his arm injury, which caused him to miss the entire first half of the 2014 season, until after his arbitration deal was settled too. Fingers crossed...
#5. Giants: Jake Peavy (1.2, #111)
Going by these projections, the Giants seriously need to consider using Beethoven's Fifth as their entry music this year, because after Madison, their rotation is going to be "Bum-bum-bum BUUUUUUM". Sure, ours may end up sucking every bit as hard - but it will also be young suck with a decent ceiling, and suck cheaper. The Giants got good work from Peavy down the stretch, with a 2.17 ERA over 12 regular-season starts, even if he lost both World Series outings. Turning 34 in May, his glory days seem behind him, with an ERA+ of 100 in both 2013 and 2014. Still, this relentless mediocrity was apparently enough to get a two-year $24 million contract.
It's been said before, and we'll say it again: trading for Hellickson, dealing away young prospects to get him, doesn't seem to sit with the philosophy of building for a long-term future, especially considering Hellickson is a free-agent at the end of next year. I can kinda perhaps see the relevance of getting someone with experience, but much like Trevor Cahill, Hellickson's early success appears significantly caused by fortunate BABIP: in his Rookie of the Year campaign, it was .224, the lowest among any of the 92 qualifying starters that season. His career FIP is 4.36, and that's probably what I'd expect from him this season. At least most of our division rivals won't be much better off.
Finally, this isn't particularly relevant to anything, but I might as well drop it here. May I recommend bringing a book to Hellickson's starts? Because the one thing he will do is slow the game down, and it's in extremely sharp contrast to the man he effectively "replaces" in our rotation, Wade Miley. Among the 171 MLB starters with 60+ innings last year, Miley was fourth-quickest by time between pitches; Hellickson ranked 170th, taking 26.4 seconds per pitch. Only David Price was slower: it's probably a good thing those time of play changes didn't involve a pitch clock.