ADP Talk: Late January, Pitchers
Yesterday I broke down just what Average Draft Position is, and then I took a spin around some of the ADP numbers for hitters that stood out in my mind. Today, I'm going to bookend that piece by breaking down some of the numbers for the men who climb the hill and chuck the pill at batters.
To see my thoughts on the hitters click on: ADP Talk: Late January.
One of the industry leaders in ADP data is Mock Draft Central. In what follows I will break down some of the early ADP numbers for 5x5 mixed leagues (there are 471 qualifying drafts under consideration here that took place from 1/12 to 1/26).
I've written it before, but the only difference last year between Justin Verlander (8.7) and Clayton Kershaw (15.3) was three wins. I don't see why there is such a split between the two in ADP. For that matter, I still have a hard time understanding why people would spend a first round pick on a hurler. Too much variability in performance, too much health risk, and further, starting pitchers only contribute in four of the five categories (no saves). Give me a hitter at the top of the draft every time.
The Phillies currently have three of the top-8 guys according to ADP: Roy Halladay (14.8), Cliff Lee (20.3) and Cole Hamels (31.6).
Zack Greinke at 51.1 is solid – he pitched much better last year than some of his numbers show. Still, it's surprising to me that he is being taken after teammate Yovani Gallardo (50.9). I also find it slightly odd that James Shields, who outperformed both those Brewers' arms last season, can he had way down at 66.8.
The top-15 is the land of lefties. Besides Kershaw, Lee and Hamels we also have CC Sabathia (30.9), David Price (39) and Jon Lester (51.1).
Stephen Strasburg will likely pitch no more than 160 or so innings this season as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. Still, he's going off the board inside the top-20 amongst starters with an ADP of 61.9. Matt Moore, who many view as the left-handed version of Strasburg, can be had much later down at 102.4. Strasburg's teammate, Jordan Zimmerman, came back from Tommy John surgery last year and barely eclipsed 160-innings as the Nats were very careful with him. This year he figures to be turned loose but he's still lasting until 120.2. Adam Wainwright, another Tommy John survivor, is going off the board at 103. I don't know about you, but I'm thinking 200-innings from Zimmerman is going to do me more good than 170 innings from Wainwright.
Jeremy Hellickson is going off the board at 126.8 slightly behind this years exciting newcomer Yu Darvish (126.6).
Why would anyone roster Johnny Cueto (114.2) over Jamie Garcia (178.7)? Garcia won four more games last year and struck out 52 more batters. I know that Cueto had a 2.31 ERA vs. the 3.56 mark of Garcia, but a look at xFIP shows those that those marks should have been much closer – Cueto 3.90, Garcia 3.31. Wait, Garcia was actually better in 2011? See what I'm saying about the ADP being backwards?
Ubaldo Jimenez (154.2) and Max Scherzer (154.2) are two huge arms that can be had outside the top-150 selections in drafts. Speaking of huge arms, give me some Brandon Morrow (185) who is going off the board after soft tossers like Doug Fister (176.6) and Trevor Cahill (177.9). That's just nuts to me.
Jordan Walden (159.5) had a nice season for the Angels with 32 saves, but did you realize he blew 10 chances? Also, his WHIP was 1.24, which is solid, but it certainly doesn't point to an elite performance. As for Rafael Betancourt (202.6), he's failed in the 9th before, but he was nails in the second half last year leading to the Rockies moving Huston Street to give the 9th to him outright this year. I wrote about Bentancourt back in March of last year in this Player Profile. As I wrote there, he has done something that no other pitcher – EVER – has been able to accomplish. He is the only pitcher to post a 9.50 K/9 and 4.35 K/BB rate in more than 500 career innings in the history of the game. Given me that guy.
Javy Guerra (230.1) converted 21 of 23 save chances last year. Still, nearly everyone is banking on the massive arm of Kenley Jansen (183.6) being the man for the Dodgers this year.
Francisco Rodriguez (222.2) is going to set up John Axford (91.3) in Milwaukee, an everyone knows it. K-Rod has nice skills, and has been good for a long time, but I still find it odd that in standard 5x5 leagues that he is being taken ahead of guys like Kyle Farnsworth (222.6), Frank Francisco (232.2), Jim Johnson (233.8) and Matt Capps (234) – all guys that appear likely to open the year as their teams closer. Speaking of late grabs, it's not a certainty, but Brandon Lyon could be the closer for the Astros (health permitting). His ADP is currently 279.2.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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