Here we have an exercise we at The Fantasy Amateurs like to do every year, and that is to try and predict a Starting Pitcher going outside the top 50 (according to FantasyPros.com consensus ADP) that will finish the season inside the top 20 among starters. If either of myself or Joe manage to nail one, it counts as a win for us on the annual Wendy's Back "line it up" challenge. You can check Wendy's back using the tab at the top of the page to check out the bets, and the results from prior years.
Yordano Ventura (51st SP, 169 Overall) Typically in this ADP range I'm going for more solid guys, but if you're looking at upside with some added volatility, Ventura is your ticket. I don't much care for the Yordano persona, but if you're looking for a starter that can return a profit, you need a guy that strikes out a lot of batters. He still walks too many guys and hasn't shown the ability for especially low ratios, but he's young and the upside is there. He upped his K-BB% by 2.2% from '14 to '15, though the resulting 14.1% still isn't great. However, he can approach a strikeout per inning, and underperformed his peripherals last year (4.08 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 3.60 xFIP), so if he can improve his command and throw 190 innings, the K's could make him top 20.
Patrick Corbin (55th SP, 182 Overall) In 2013, Corbin threw 208 innings for the Dbacks with a 3.41 ERA and a 14.4 K-BB%. In his comeback from TJS last year, he pitched 85 innings with a 3.60 ERA, which isn't great, but his FIP (3.35) and xFIP (3.27) say the results should have been better. He also saw an increase in velocity after his TJS, and increased his K-BB% to a tasty 17.1%. If he can go 200 innings with those ratios, he's got a real shot to finish as a top 20 starter.
Ian Kennedy (68th SP, 248 Overall) Kennedy has managed over a K/IP for the past two seasons, which is quite nearly a prerequisite for this list. His new home in KC brings him a much better defense than he he had in SD, and a home park that's one of the best at suppressing home runs, which has been the biggest flea in his closet throughout his career. With the potential for over 200 strikeouts, if his ERA and WHIP crawl into even league average territory, you've got a package that can finish top 20.
Matt Moore (69th SP, 250 Overall) This is sort of playing with fire, but Moore has about as much upside as he does downside. He's been known for his lack of control, but in Spring Training he's gone 10.1 innings with 11 K's, 0 BB's and a 1.74 ERA. Obviously you need to take ST stats with a Shaquille O'Neal sized grain of salt, but the biggest take away here is the complete lack of walks. If he's somehow found a way to harness his control and maintain his strikeouts from before TJS, he can approach top 20 value.
Anthony DeSclafani (74th SP, 264 Overall) I wrote up DeSclafani in my Dudes & Don'ts, so I'll make this one quick. First, it bears mentioning that as of this writing, DeSclafani seems likely to open the season on the DL due to an oblique strain. I thought pretty hard about putting someone else here due to that, but I'm gonna stick to my guns. DeSclafani switched up his pitch mix midseason last year and his numbers skyrocketed, with his first half to second half K-BB% more than doubling, from 7.6% to 18%. If he can maintain those gains while approaching 190 innings, he's got a shot to crack the top 20. Wins will be the hard category to obtain, but hey, if Colby Lewis can win 17 games with a 4.66 ERA, DeSclafani can win 15 on a crappy Reds team.