C.J. Wilson Player Projection No. 88

Key StatsC.J. Wilson was a top 50 player in fantasy baseball last year playing in the worst pitcher’s park in all of baseball according to ESPN Park Factors. Now he goes to the OC and the park that was 27th in all of baseball in terms of runs by Park Factors. In three starts at Angel Stadium last year, Wilson had an 0.53 ERA. During the last two seasons his ERA has been significantly worse at home than it has been on the road. This switch was perfect. 

Skeptics Say: He is coming off of a contract year in which he got a really big contract. Between finding a new house and finding a way to spend his new found wealth, how much time did he spend getting in shape for a season? There’s a reason that players typically dip after a contract year and Wilson could be another example of that this season. 

Peer Comparison: Wilson is going to be slotted as the Angels number three starting pitcher to start the season behind Dan Haren and Jered Weaver. It doesn’t matter much as far as fantasy baseball is concerned because off days, rain outs, managerial decisions, and injuries always shake up rotations so that matchups are completely random. Just for the fun of it though, here are some of the other best number three starters in the American League:

Clay Buchholz 
Jake Peavy
Derek Lowe
Scott Baker
Jeremy Hellickson
Ivan Nova
Neftali Feliz

It isn’t impossible for any of these pitchers to have a better season than Wilson, but none are even close to deserving more auction dollars or being picked sooner. And that’s been clear in the early data. Hellickson is the only guy going in the top 40 on Mock Draft Central and he’s going about 40 picks after Wilson on average. The Angels have the best number three pitcher in the AL and the best player in baseball. Money can’t buy titles, but it sure makes the Angels a contender next season. 

Team Outlook: It’s obvious the Angels offense got better with Albert Pujols coming to town, but there were some more subtle improvements made. Jeff Mathis had a .174 average in 247 at-bats and is off to Toronto. He is being replaced by Chris Iannetta who had a .238 average and has a much better hitting reputation (whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing for Wilson is debatable). 

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #17 Starting Pitcher; Tristan Cockroft of ESPN.com: #22 Starting Pitcher#89 Overall; Mock Draft Central: #23 Starting Pitcher & 107 Overall; RotoChamp: #67 Overall

Projection: Given his ability to speak out on Twitter, it’s hard to fathom Wilson comes into 2012 in horrible shape. He should continue to be an effective innings eater and this year have a lot more of a pitcher’s park to do his work with. 
18 wins 3.07 ERA 1.22 WHIP 189 K in 216 innings