As we continue our look at the early ADP trends in the NFBC mock drafts, it’s time to check in on the starting pitchers. For a lot of people, there is an overwhelming need to grab an ace within the first couple of rounds as they like the security of having that one main anchor for their staff. He’s got plenty of innings pitched so the low ratios he provides are really worth something, his strikeouts are usually abundant which gives the owner a solid foundation and in many cases, that starting pitcher racks up some quality wins. It’s like a warm blanket and a hot cup of cocoa on a cold, rainy day, right?
But then there’s the other end of the spectrum, and on this end, it’s all about using the ridiculous depth available to you at the position. Your prep work for the draft is paramount and if you study the pitchers enough, you realize that you can build a strong enough pitching staff without having to invest so heavily in an ace, and still create a balanced rotation with whom you can win. While some owners are using their second and third round picks on starters, you can stack your offense and then go and build a rotation that will prove to be very competitive in the end. Your rotation doesn’t have to be the absolute best to win your league. It just needs to be competitive. And with so many starters available, you can easily do that without using any sort of an early pick.
With that, let’s take a look at where those in the NFBC are taking the starters…
|Rank||Player||Team||Current ADP||1 Week Ago||Trend|
Not only is the depth of a position important to watch, but the depth of your league as well. Obviously the more teams you have, the more spread out the talent level gets. Most of your average home leagues consist of 10 or 12 teams, which make it easier to build your staff from lower tiered guys. However, in leagues this size, 15 teams, it would seem that many prefer the security of an ace. The top four are all being taken in the second round while the next seven are coming off the board over the next two rounds after that. It seems that the majority of owners are going with one offensive stud and one ace to start and then building from there. Difficult to say whether the choice is right or wrong at this time, but that seems to be the developing trend here.
What you also see, based on the current ADP column is that there’s a steady stream of starters coming off the board fairly regularly over the first seven or eight rounds. It’s not until you get down to Doug Fister, the 28th ranked starter according to recent ADP, where you see a break in the action. And the break isn’t even that long – roughly a round. Perhaps it’s the level of competition, the fact that owners don’t feel like they are going to be able to get their bargain pitchers later because everyone else views them as potential breakouts, sleepers etc., as well.
That being said, let’s take a little closer of a look and see who’s on the rise lately and who might be falling out favor…
As you can see, the increases here in ADP aren’t more than just a handful of picks. Pitchers and catchers have yet to report we’re really still just going by projections rather than actual performances. Still, it doesn’t hurt to look a little deeper.
Jonathon Niese, NYM (+3.99%) –Hard to argue against someone grabbing Niese in the 13th round which is roughly where he’s going right now. He’s not the most glamorous of starter out there, but he’s been fairly consistent with his walk and strikeout rates, and actually lowered his WHIP last year by going deeper into games. While it’s difficult to imagine him going much higher, if he continues to pitch at his current level, he’ll land on more people’s radar for sure.
Hiroki Kuroda, NYY (+2.94%) – Kuroda is another guy you could see on the rise more with a strong spring. He did a fantastic job making the jump from the NL to the AL and maintained a tremendous consistency within his numbers despite going to one of the most hitter-friendly parks in the game. He lost a little in strikeouts, an obvious drop not facing a pitcher in the lineup anymore, but he was also able to cut his walks and maintain a near identical K:BB from year to year.
CC Sabathia, NYY (+2.89) –The big man is still a premium pitcher in the game with strong strikeout totals and a fairly safe bet for beefing up your wins totals. Surgery to remove bone spurs in his able was a success and he should be on track to start at the opening of spring training. He didn’t start up his throwing program until after Christmas so don’t be surprised if he struggle initially. He should be more than fine for Opening Day.
Wade Miley, ARI (+2.78%) – Last year saw a number of skeptics proven wrong as Miley maintained a spot in the Diamondbacks rotation all year and pitched so well that he actually finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. However, while he kept the ball in the yard and limited hard contact, he definitely benefitted from a favorable BABIP. Should that normalize in his second year, he could be in for a substantial fall. Those pushing his ADP up could be in for a rude awakening this season.
Mike Minor, ATL (+2.36%) – He’ll be another trendy pick this year as his first half/second half splits were dramatically different with him just crushing it in the second half of the season. He has a chance to climb even more, but it will really depend on how many walks he issues. It was a huge problem in the first half last season, but he chopped his BB/9 almost in half of what it was.
Brandon Morrow, TOR (-8.45%) – He was headed towards a breakout campaign last season before an oblique injury sidelined him for almost two full months. Now the questions linger on his durability, not whether the improved ratios were for real.
Roy Halladay, PHI (-5.06%) – He’s continuing to slide down the rankings as few people are sold on the rebound from last year’s shoulder issues. He had a successful throwing session recently where he threw 30 pitches from a mound, but it seems like there are more concerns than beliefs.
C.J. Wilson, LAA (-4.79%) – His drop-off in the second half was abysmal and it had fantasy owners pitching fits left and right. But it was later learned that the decline was caused by a bone spur in his elbow which was surgically removed in October. They say he’ll be back to his old self come Opening Day, but obviously there are skeptics.
Ian Kennedy, ARI (-3.36%) – Most people expected regression from Kennedy last year, but there was nothing real gradual about it. His biggest issue was that he was giving up too many home runs which has led to speculation that he was actually hurt. Nothing was proven one way or the other, but there seems to be good read reason to be concerned.
Kris Medlen, (-3.14%) – He’s been a real trendy pick this year given his performance in the second half when he posted a 0.94 ERA and a 84:10 K:BB over 12 starts. But it’s not much of a track record and another time through the National League could prove to be a little more difficult this time around.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------