2017 Fantasy Baseball Late-Round Pitchers: Matt Shoemaker
Ivar Anderson tells you why Matt Shoemaker is a viable option in the late rounds of fantasy baseball drafts.
If anybody is counting, this is the sixth article in this series. If you are late to the party, you can always see the first three installments on the site. There was some useful information in those early article opening paragraphs, at least in my opinion, but I tend to get bored publishing the same old, same old twice a week. Even so, I tried to distill some advice about drafting starting pitching in those first three articles.
To recap what these articles are about, I will be discussing starting pitchers that are being drafted in the 15th round or later based on their current ADPs. Note that I am assuming a 12 team league when determining which players are going after the 14th round, and thus if you play in a smaller or larger sized league, you will need to adjust the round accordingly. The ADP of 169 is a baseline, however, denoting where in any draft the player is being taken.
I will be profiling one (or at most two) later round options in the starting pitching realm on a twice-weekly basis, just as I did last season. If you have questions about any pitchers and their viability as a “sleeper” pick, hit me up at email@example.com and I will do my best to provide some insight. Also, I am always available to answer starting pitching (or other fantasy baseball) questions all season long.
Matt Shoemaker– RHP – Los Angeles Angels
2016 Stats: 160.0 IP, 3.88 ERA, 143 K, 1.23 WHIP
Mock Draft Army ADP: 218.35 (based on current ADPs generated by Howard Bender’s Mock Draft Army results)
National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC): 225.50
FSTA Draft on January 23rd, 2017: Drafted 17th round (215th overall)
He may be going a bit later in drafts than is warranted, due to the fact that he suffered a skull fracture late in 2016. He looked good in his third outing this spring, tossing four innings of shutout ball against the Royals, after struggling through his first two outings. His availability in the late 17th/early 18th rounds makes him a prime late round target for the savvy drafter.
He was pitching extremely well prior to taking a line drive off his head in early September. He did struggle initially in April, but posted an excellent 3.10 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 127:20 K/BB ratio after the first five starts to open the season. His strikeout rate is good (8.04 K/9 over his 160 innings in 2016), but it is his control that sets him apart from other mid to late round SPs: 1.69 BB/9. That control and command of the strike zone led to a superb 4.77 K/BB ratio over his 27 starts. His 3.57 FIP when compared to his 3.88 ERA last season shows that he was a tad unlucky, as is also indicated by an elevated .324 BABIP and 71.3% strand rate. I would anticipate some positive regression this season which should result in a very useful 3.75 ERA and sub 1.20 WHIP for the coming season.
His fastball only registers in the low 90 MPH range, and he is just a moderate groundball inducer on the mound (1.21 GB/FB rate in 2016). As denoted above, though, his 2016 results hint at a bit of streak of unluckiness that could continue, but which I am not counting on that to happen. I do not see many downsides to Shoemaker, except that he will not provide his owners with a K per inning.
I profiled Shoemaker last season (a little over one year ago, you can go back and check the archives if you doubt me), and will confess that I drafted him in numerous redraft leagues, or picked him up off the waiver wire after his disappointing April. I will again give him my stamp of approval, especially if he continues to dwell in the same draft range he is currently mired in this season. Yeah, I know his team is not expected to compete for the division title in the AL West, but it is a team that can provide offensive support sufficient to provide a competent SP with enough cushion to pick up perhaps 10-12 victories with an extremely useful set of ratio stats and decent if not great K numbers. He is a potential SP3/4 depending on how you run your drafts. He is projected as the No. 2 starter for the Angels this season, and I expect him to toss 185-190 innings which is something you want from your late round SP selections.