This is the weekend edition of the late round pitcher articles. Today, we are profiling another four starting pitchers you can snag late in your drafts, at least as drafts are progressing right now. Things will undoubtedly change, especially as our faithful readers digest my analysis and see what gems are available in the late rounds and that their value far exceeds their draft position. Below, I must confess that the first SP I profile is someone I tend to queue up once we hit the middle rounds in drafts this month.
To spell out some guidelines, this series of articles is going to profile starting pitchers that have an ADP of 200 or better (meaning taken later than pick 200). In a 10 team league, those pitchers would be going in round 21 or later (it would be mid-way through round 16 in a 12 team league). By that point in your draft, you have more than likely filled out your starting offense and picked up an ace and closer, perhaps a couple more pitchers. Your mileage may vary depending on your actual league settings, but you get the general idea.
Please note that the projections for each of the pitchers below are my own, that I create after comparing various sources and adjusting for expected playing time, specifically, innings pitched for starting pitchers. As for the ADP numbers, I am looking at the ADP results our very own Howard Bender is compiling with his Mock Draft Army mocks.
Brandon McCarthy LAD ADP: 237.8
What I really like about McCarthy is that he seems to be a bright young man. He understands what he needs to do to improve, and has the wherewithal to accomplish his goals. In 2014, we saw what a change in venue did for him, as he was nearly unstoppable in Yankee pinstripes after struggling in the desert for the Diamondbacks. He has a superb BB/9 ration (1.59 in 2014) which leads to an exceptional K/BB ratio too, despite only putting up a 7.87 K/9 (good, not great). He is an extreme ground ball inducer (2.36 GB/FB in 2014), and has increased his fastball by two MPH between 2013 to 2014. Take him before his current late 19 round ADP in 12 teams leagues and enjoy his production as a SP4/5 with SP3 upside.
2015 Projections: 13 Wins/152 K/3.50ERA/1.21WHIP over 185 innings
Mike Minor ATL ADP: 241.6
Minor was expected to continue his strong development from 2012 and 2013, but shoulder issues kept him out until early May last season. He also saw a tremendous increase in home runs allowed (1.39 HR/9) and fared less than adequately against left-handed hitters, yielding a .357 BA in 2014 as opposed to an exceptional .217 in 2014. He looked bad across the board in 2014, but the earlier edition of this pitcher gives hope that if he can recover from his shoulder injuries, he could be a true value in 2015. It all hinges on what he does with increasing his control (jumping to a 2.72 BB/9 from 2.02 the previous year was a severe issue in 2014) and cutting down on the long balls. He could be a a steal, but watch his progress this spring.
2015 Projections: 11 Wins/155 K/3.98ERA/ 1.30 WHIP over 180 innings
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Kevin Gausman BAL ADP: 242.4
Gausman finished 2014 on a strong note, striking out 29 hitters in 31.1 innings in September. He profiles as the third starter in the Baltimore rotation behind Chris Tillman and Wei-Yen Chen as the third SP. To be a true value in 2015, he needs to improve both his control (3.02 BB/9 in 2014) and increase his strikeout rate, which despite a mid-90s fastball was below league average at 6.99 K/9 last season. Personally, I am not reaching for the Oriole righty, but as a late round option, he is on the radar, just as a dim blip.
2015 Projections: 11 Wins/155 K/3.55 ERA/1.26 WHIP over 175 innings
Derek Holland TEX ADP: 246.3
Holland had a wasted 2014, despite early predictions that he would return from micro-fracture surgery on his knee by mid-season. Those projections proved false, as he was only able to appear in six games for 37.0 innings at the end of the season. He did show great control, although his strikeout rate was significantly down from previous efforts (5.00K/BB and 6.08 K/9). Assuming his knee will hold up, then he is the No. 2 SP on the Ranger depth chart, slotting in just behind ace Yu Darvish. His strikeout rate should rebound to something around 7.5 K/9 but also expect his control to go back to normal levels, which will level out at around 2.5 BB/9 (good, not outstanding). The Rangers figure to be a better team this season, especially with Holland back in the rotation, and his value at this point is too great not to take a shot on him in the 20th round or later. Be warned, however, that this depressed ADP will undoubtedly rise as he shows his skills have returned this spring.
2015 Projections: 14 Wins/175 K/3.66 ERA/1.28 WHIP over 200 innings
Continue to peruse these articles as we try to uncover some late round gems for you to target in your drafts, and allow you to build a formidable starting rotation without sacrificing offense to do so. Also, if there is interest in later round middle relievers, I would be glad to include those pitchers in future articles as well. If you have any questions about starting pitching or fantasy baseball, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.