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15 Reasons Why You Never Draft Pitching Early

Written By: mike gottlieb on 5/11/2013 7:27 AM
Revisionist history is fun, right? Hind sight is always 20-20. But this theory is neither revisionist nor hind sight. Not drafting pitchers early in fantasy baseball drafts is not new. The following is a fifteen-pitcher starting pitching staff (fourteen of them not named Matt Harvey) with an ADP of 200 or higher and their stats this year, so far (as of 5/11/13). It will make you feel kind of silly for drafting David Price, Cole Hamels, Gio Gonzalez, or others of their ilk.

HOWEVER, if you happen to have any number of these 15 pitchers, sell high while you still can. Try to get one of the struggling aces. Get your profit from your home run of a draft pick. If you check out the RotoWire YouTube page, @Chris_Liss and @Jeff_Erickson discuss whether they'd trade Matt Harvey for David Price or Cole Hamels straight up. The answer is not so straight forward. Another reason why you trade for the top pitchers instead of drafting them. Too much uncertainty in pitching. Just imagine if you drafted one-third of these guys and combine them with some of the lower-ranked closers or highest-ranked set up men who have become closers off the waiver wire. Unless you had the worst strategy picking hitters at the top of the draft, you'd be profitting from fantasy baseball this year.

Without further adieu, the list (in order of ADP):

SP 1) Anibal Sanchez (ADP 204.50): 45.2 IP, 3-3, 1.97 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 58 K
SP 2) Lance Lynn (ADP 220.75): 43.0 IP, 5-1, 2.72 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 47 K
SP 3) Kyle Lohse (ADP 222.50): 43.1 IP, 1-4, 3.53 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 30 K
SP 4) Trevor Cahill (ADP 224.00): 45.0 IP, 2-3, 2.80, 1.16 WHIP, 34 K
SP 5) Matt Harvey (ADP 228.00): 49.1 IP, 4-0, 1.28 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 58 K
SP 6) Ryan Dempster (ADP 228.50): 43.0 IP, 2-3, 2.93 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 55 K
SP 7) Hisashi Iwakuma (ADP 229.75): 51.2 IP, 4-1, 1.74 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 51 K
SP 8) Wade Miley (ADP 233.00): 43.0 IP, 2.93 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 34 K
SP 9) Derek Holland (ADP 241.75): 49.2 IP, 3-2, 2.54 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 43 K
SP 10) Wandy Rodriguez (ADP 241.96): 37.1 IP, 3-2, 3.63 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 27 K
SP 11) Ervin Santana (ADP 246.25): 42.0 IP, 3-1, 2.36 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 35 K
SP 12) Hyun-Jin Ryu (ADP 256.25): 43.2 IP, 3-2, 3.71 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 48 K
SP 13) Alex Cobb (ADP 258.75): 46.2 IP, 4-2, 3.09 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 46 K
SP 14) Clay Bucholz (ADP 282.28): 50.2 IP, 6-0, 1.60 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 56 K
SP 15) Tommy Milone (ADP 285.38): 46.0 IP, 3-4, 3.13 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 41 K

By bebobri, 5/11/2013 9:49 AM
This article is pointless. You can always go through draft lists and hi-grade good picks and bad picks. How about Clayton Kershaw and Felix Hernandez? Verlander, Darvish... you get my point. For every late round gem, many of which are listed here, there are 4-5 busts that give that discussion depth.
Of the sell high list I don't see a fade from Ryu, Iwakuma, or Harvey. They are legit and here to stay.

By lvtdude, 5/13/2013 12:57 AM
I think Holland is legit, too. He's always had the stuff, and he's figured out how to pitch. His K:BB ratio is 4.3 to 1, which is a huge improvement over his career 2.56 t0 1. Batters are hitting .222 against him, and his fastball velocity is up compared to last season. Is his 2.54 ERA for real? Well, his FIP is 2.60. Take out that one 6 ER start against the Angels and his numbers are even more unbelievable: 1.63 ERA, 0.909 WHIP. He's only walked 10 guys this year, and 4 of those walks were in that game. I say hold onto Holland, unless you are blown away.

By brockway2, 5/16/2013 5:12 AM
Those 15 SPs certainly have had a good start to the season, but I wouldn't bet they all finish as strong. In a competitive league you can only bank on picking up one or two of these guys and I gaurantee that if you don't draft pitching high, you probably missed on one or two late rounders as well... It's possible to wait on pitching and do well, but it's very risky. I consider my primary league to be very competitive and never has anyone successfully adopted the strategy of waiting on SP and won.

By kdo, 5/16/2013 10:33 AM
Good read....but a clown article bro

By elsicilian, 5/19/2013 12:04 PM
Sorry to pile on, but the your argument is kind of preposterous. Plenty of the top 5x5 OFs (including Chris Davis, Starling Marte, Carlos Gomez, Hunter Pence, Vernon wells, Nate McLouth, Dexter Fowler, Norichika Aoki, Carl Crawford and Gerardo Parra) were late round picks or completely undrafted. Does that mean we shouldn't target OFs early either?

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