What's up RotoBallers. Welcome back to another article in our series of early ADP value analysis for fantasy baseball.
Today, we'll cover some undervalued and overvalued NL starting pitchers, to try and help identify draft targets and avoids based on ADP.
Opening Day is still over two months away, but it's never too soon for draft prep. ADP data from early NFBC rankings can give us a glimpse into what other owners are thinking heading into a new campaign.Editor's note: Get 50% off any MLB Premium Pass. Draft guide, cheat sheets, 200 days of DFS access, and over 20 premium tools. Dominate your leagues all year long! Sign Up Now!
Undervalued NL Starting Pitchers
Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks (ADP: 98)
Look, there's no getting around this: Greinke's ERA went up by nearly three runs last year compared to his transcendent 2015. Some of that increase was fait accompli, of course. Greinke had enjoyed a friendly home park, excellent defense, and crazy good fortune in Los Angeles, and none of that was likely to be waiting for him in Arizona. But you'd have won a lot of money if you'd wagered that Greinke's ERA would begin with a four. All the aforementioned factors swung in the other direction for him, and he also got hurt. Before the injury, though, Greinke was having a year that was more or less standard issue:
Have reservations about a 33 year old coming off shoulder issues? Fair enough. But Greinke's been a reliable fantasy arm for most of the last decade, and 2016 was a perfect storm of bad breaks. There's profit potential at the current price.
Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates (ADP: 117)
As a sequel to his breakout in 2015, Cole's performance last year was less The Empires Strikes Back and more The Matrix Reloaded. His ratios rose sharply and his strikeout percentage took a dive. How much of that was due to the elbow problems he experienced is tough to say definitively, It seems like a logical assumption that it played a significant role. Then again, Cole's velocity and most of his peripherals stayed constant from the prior year, so maybe the 40-point jump in BABIP and some rotten sequencing were culprits as well. Regardless, he's on his normal offseason routine with no issues so far, which is excellent news. Cole is just 26, has a favorable team and park context, and we've seen him reach his potential already. This is a overly generous injury discount.
Rich Hill, Los Angeles Dodgers (ADP: 135)
Speaking of injury discounts, the market is naturally pricing in Hill's high risk. Thanks to multiple blisters (the price you pay for those beautiful and multitudinous curveballs, because life is nothing if not cruel and unyielding), Hill logged just 110 innings last season. Now, those innings were of superior quality, but they also represented his high water mark for the last decade. You simply can't reasonably expect 180 innings from the man. 150 might be a stretch. But a repeat of last year plus some smart streaming could easily add up to a full-season ace at a bargain price.
Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies (ADP: 220)
In his first full big-league season, Nola maintained his solid walk rate while adding several percentage points to his K% and cutting down on home runs. Under normal circumstances, he'd be somebody for whom we were all paying an expectant price. Unfortunately, an elbow injury and a co(s)mically horrible strand rate conspired to wreck his ERA and ultimately, ended his season. Recent reports indicate that he'll enter spring training with no restrictions. Nola was in the midst of a breakout before the injury. The risk at this price is minimal, and the profit potential immense.
Overvalued NL Starting Pitchers
Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs (ADP: 67)
Here's what I wrote about Hendricks back in November. The current price tag certainly isn't surprising, but it is one I'm not likely to pay in any of my drafts this year. Tough not to feel like he could be this year's Dallas Keuchel.
Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals (ADP: 73)
Martinez turned in his second consecutive season with an ERA just above 3.00 and shaved a few points off his WHIP, but he really didn't show much improvement over the previous season. His walk rate remained middling, his batted ball data didn't budge much, and his K% actually fell by three points. Most importantly, he continued to have problems with left-handed hitters. Make no mistake - the current model is a good pitcher. This just feels a couple rounds early for him. You're paying for a breakout that may not be coming.
Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh Pirates (ADP: 150)
Taillon returned from
the dead the hinterlands of Siberia two injury-wiped seasons to post impressive results, first at Triple-A and then the majors. Thanks largely to an exceptional walk rate, the former top prospect gave owners who rolled the dice some solid ratios (3.38 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) in just over 100 MLB innings. It's always nice to see someone persevere against injury, especially early in their career. There are some lingering concerns with Taillon from a fantasy perspective, however. He's never thrown more than 165 innings he did last season, and after a two-year layoff, it's fair to wonder how many frames he can be counted on for in 2017. Taillon also didn't pile up many strikeouts despite his success, which limits his ceiling. There are several pitchers going a few rounds later whose upside is more worthy of a gamble.
More Undervalued & Overvalued Picks
Check out RotoBaller's entire 2017 fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!