Welcome to the Rotoballer.com Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Series, ADP Arbitrage. Here the RotoBallers take a look at two players and compare them by both projected statistics and average draft position. Today we will look at starting pitchers; you can view the RotoBaller.com Starting Pitcher Rankings with ADP Comparison here. If you want RotoBaller to compare two players you do not see listed in the ADP Arbitrage series, head over to the Ask Us section and request an ADP arbitrage for any two players at any position.
Anibal Sanchez vs. Ryan Dempster
Anibal Sanchez (175 ADP): Sanchez has been one of the more consistent pitchers in baseball over the past three seasons, during which time his ERA has ranged from 3.55 to 3.86, his K/9 from 7.3 to 9.3, and he’s logged 195, 196.1 and 195.2 IP, respectively. The fact that he’s averaged just 10 W per season in that time frame is a direct result of some of the poorest aggregate run support in all of baseball, including a 3.17 mark in 2012 that was second-lowest in the game. A stable transition to the AL last July portends more of the same skills in 2013, except that you might expect a few more wins now that he’s pitching with the potent Detroit offense behind him.
2013 Projection: 12 W, 175 K, 3.75 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Ryan Dempster (228 ADP): Don’t let an ugly ERA in 2011 and last year's disappointing half-season with Texas fool you: Dempster has been a quality starting pitcher since 2008. He’s averaged 199 IP in that span, with around 12 wins and 182 K's, with a remarkably consistent xFIP ranging from 3.69 to 3.77. An unusually low HR rate in 2008 resulted in a deflated 2.96 ERA, while high BABIP in 2011 (.324) and with Texas last season (.339) were the primary reasons for his ERA spikes. Nevertheless, Dempster has maintained a steady (albeit below-average) HR/FB rate and league-average-or-better LD% for years. A move to Boston should produce similar results from Dempster, especially considering that Fenway Park could actually further reduce the number of home runs he allows.
2013 Projection: 12 W, 165 K, 4.00 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
On average, Sanchez is being selected in fifth-starter (15th round) territory of fantasy drafts, a time when a team’s starting roster is just short of completely filling out. Dempster, on the other hand, is going in the 19th round, a point at which owner's are filling their benches with depth selections. Considering the two pitchers' similar projections, there's no question that you’d be better off going for a high-upside extra outfielder and/or injury stash (think Corey Hart, who has a 189 ADP) in the 15th round, and then grabbing Dempster as a comparable fifth starter several rounds later.
Think about perceived vs. expected value during your draft. That's how ADP Arbitrage will help you win your league.