Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Starting Pitcher Busts Due to Bounce Back In 2019


Every fantasy team needs starting pitching to compete, and this year’s crop offers an exciting mix. There is a clear top-three in a tier alone, with 12-15 more names claiming to be “fantasy aces.” Past the top few tiers, the pitching pool turns into a mixture of similar options, with small differences that could amount to drastically different production.

Below are pitchers with the chance to separate themselves from the fold, and while ace-status is off the table, SP3 would be the realistic endpoint for these arms if health and form return. Every option on this list has a shot at a permanent starting role this year, and that alone is worth the research, or follow, to start the year.

Read along to see who to target late in drafts, and what stock you should be buying this year. With any pitcher comes risk, but the injury risk for most of these arms is already built into the draft price.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs (152 ADP)

If he is healthy, Darvish is one of the best arms in the game. With a four-pitch mix and a fastball that can touch 97, the stuff is elite and will post positive returns for fantasy owners if last year was a mirage. Chicago was never a fun place for Darvish with injury concerns, and pressure taking its toll over the long season. And yet, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

Command was the main issue last year, with an 11.7 BB%, up from a career average of 8.7%. If this can return to a career norm, then Darvish will keep runners off base, and deflate that 1.43 WHIP. The other good news is that the stuff still played with an 11.1 SwSt%, right at the career expected mark. The Cubs are a good team in general, offering value in support for the pitcher. Assuming injury was the main culprit, there are five good years of value that should matter more to owners than one down campaign. At a sunk-cost price of 152 in TGFBI, the cost is low enough to risk a 12th-round selection.

 

Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies (219 ADP)

Gray owners have been waiting for the breakout since his rookie debut and were disappointed with a dud of a 2018 campaign. The good news is that he looked better after a demotion to the minors, with an ERA that improved to 4.37 from the early season 5.77 mark. Ks are never the concern, with a 24.6 K% throughout the full season. Gray might be the best of the starting option in Colorado, as while fantasy owners will always need to deal with some run inflation, the stuff plays.

On a good Rockies team, with a chance to win close to 90 games again, Gray will be the pitcher of record with an opportunity to benefit from the run environment as well. Even if he gives us four per six, that means that the Rockies are in games. Owners should avoid him if they need an ERA anchor, but in terms of raw counting stats from the pitching bump, Gray is a reliable target.

 

Sonny Gray, Cincinnati Reds (328 ADP)

The move to Great American is not ideal, but moving out of New York is. The splits were wild, and away from home last year Gray was a top-40 pitcher. The stuff and track record are there for a return to form, but much like the other Gray, owners should not be counting on five-category additions.

Gray's second-half ERA dropped to 3.66, after a 4.42 to start, and this was coupled with a surging ground-ball rate from 48 to 54. Velocity was good, sitting a 93.3 for the campaign, higher than he was throwing in Oakland by half a mile or so. All signs are there that Gray is not much different than the pitcher the Athletics dealt two seasons ago.

This is the type of profile where owners need to ignore the negative talk about Gray and look to the overall production to see a valuable pitcher. While I will not be owning many shares, in a draft and hold, or seven-bench league, Gray deserves a shot to return to form.

 

Lance Lynn, Texas Rangers (447 ADP)

What a year for Lynn with a contract holdout to start, and then, after the trade to the Yankees at the deadline, a bit of a rebound. The xERA dropped from 4.26 to 3.92, and the WHIP from 1.16 to 1.44 after the move, so trending in a better direction. The main issue for Lynn last year was contact in general, as he allowed with a season-long WHIP of 1.53. That's not the type of profile that owners want from a pitcher who will give up homers, with an 11 HR/FB%, and therefore Lynn's stock has dropped.

And yet, part of the decline can be tied to Target Field and Yankee Stadium, but the move to Arlington will not ease owners' homer concerns. A full offseason to prepare, without the distraction of a late signing could be all that is needed to get Lynn back to a top-60 starter. The Ks were still good with close to one per inning, and the ground-ball rate was also up, limiting some damage. Lynn has the track record to return value, and a full-time gig is only good news.

 

Daniel Mengden, Oakland A's (450 ADP)

This might not be the typical “bust” profile, but Mendgen certainly was not a regular with the Athletics due to early season performance. Over 115.2 innings Mengden posted a 4.05 ERA, but when looking to his late-season move to the follower role, the numbers look much better. Throughout the second half, the ERA dropped to 3.21 with a 1.07 WHIP. Even with a jump in flyballs to 46% from the previous 37%, the Hr/F% fell to 9% from 14%.

n fact, after the recall, Mendgen earned owners auction value after the slow start. Again, not a bust, but a pitcher who underperformed what limited expectations he already had, and now looking to be a draftable option. If he starts the year in the rotation, owners should stay away. If he takes on a long relief role or returns to the follower, then there is a break-out to watch here.

* after writing this piece it was announced that Mengden would start the year at Triple-A. Expect him to be up early in the year, and while this might limit value, owners should still add him in leagues with deep benches. With the other news that Jesus Luzardo will start the year injured, there will be some flexibility in that rotation.

More Fantasy Baseball Analysis




More Recent Articles

 

Week 7 Disaster Recovery: Evan Engram

Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds. This isn't a place to find out why you should have sat a player for somebody else on your bench. Disaster Recovery is here to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about starting and to help you decide if you should... Read More


Week 8 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

This was a REALLY difficult week to rank, because there are so many usable DSTs this week. There are usable options all the way down to Tier 4 this week, and you're going to have something available to you on the waiver wire in even the deepest of leagues. Below are RotoBaller's Week 8 defense... Read More


How To Properly Look At Quarterbacks - NFL NextGen Stats

Okay, folks, I'm about to bring you bad news. If you're reading this it is because you're trying to get an edge over your league mates to beat them this weekend. That means you're here to get informed on what to do and how to tackle your week's most pressing decisions. The bad news: these... Read More


Plug 'Em In - Fantasy QB Replacements for Patrick Mahomes

There is no firm timetable on the possible return of the best quarterback in fantasy football. Patrick Mahomes may miss three weeks with a dislocated kneecap, but there have been reports indicating he could possibly be back sooner. The best way to approach the guesswork as a fantasy owner is to prepare as if he... Read More


Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Kenny Stills, Brandin Cooks, David Montgomery

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement.... Read More


The Tape Tells All - Chase Edmonds' Fantasy Analysis

Welcome to another edition of "The Tape Tells All," where I break down some film of an NFL's player performance and try to draw some fantasy football conclusions from that film. After a two-week absence because I was busy prepping RotoBaller for NBA season, I'm back to talk about football. This week, I'm looking at... Read More


NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 8) - Targets and Avoids

Disaster averted. The Bills found themselves trailing against the lowly Dolphins but pulled it out late. Had Buffalo lost, more than 50 percent of remaining entrants in survivor pools would have been knocked out. The 49ers did their part in the monsoon in D.C while the Patriots cruised against the Jets. All my picks to... Read More


Week 8 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

It's Chase Edmonds' world, we're just living in it. Wait, what? Hopefully you added him, as suggested in this column the past two weeks, because even if David Johnson is deemed healthy enough to actually play, it's likely Edmonds continues to see action. In QB news, by the halfway point of Thursday night, we already had... Read More


FAAB Bidding - Week 8 Waiver Wire Targets

Assisting our famous waiver wire pickups list, and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB). As a caveat, these prices do not by any means indicate how much these free agent players will... Read More


We Must Overreact Immediately! Week 7 Outliers

Week 7 seemed extremely fluky for fantasy football purposes. Devonta Freeman was ejected, and players like Will Fuller, Adam Thielen and Kerryon Johnson were both forced from their games very early on which hurt a lot of fantasy owners. The Rams wide receivers were supposed to light the world on fire against a Falcons secondary that... Read More


Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 8

We're past the halfway point of the regular fantasy football season, which means you'd better start making some serious moves if you have any weaknesses in your roster. Unfortunately, this is also the time of the year when the waiver wire is at its most desolate. But that's why I'm here. To navigate you through... Read More


The Cut List - Players on the Chopping Block (Week 8)

This is your weekly list of players to drop. I will do my best to limit this list to injured players and players you might consider holding. If you roster pure handcuffs or backups, obviously you can let them go at any time. The players on this list will, ideally, be guys that aren't clearly... Read More


Week 8 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Week 7 is over, and a few things have changed. The Los Angeles Rams learned how to play offense again, and the New York Jets came back to Earth, among other things. Week 7 was an especially quiet week for kickers across the NFL. A lot of kickers weren't able to get on the field... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 8

The regular season continues to advance at a relentless pace as we have now entered planning for Week 8. Some of you are ecstatic with the level of production that has been delivered by your running backs. But many of you have been contending with unwanted developments at this position including injuries, inconsistent usage, and... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 8

We're heading into Week 8 of the NFL season. By now, some of y'all are getting a good sense of where you're at fantasy-wise, if you're heading to the postseason or playing for fun or, in a dynasty league, building for the future. This look at wide receivers is for all of you. As we... Read More