Recent Starting Pitcher ADP Trends
Wait on starting pitching. That’s what they say. Standard leagues usually have 13 or 14 hitters who play almost every day compared to nine pitchers (usually six or seven starters) who contribute every five days. The pundits tell you to build your offense with early picks first in snake-style drafts and for auctions, they suggest that you split your budget 65/35 in favor of hitting. And in looking at the most recent ADP trends and rankings for starting pitchers, it would seem that, for the most part, people are listening.
Those who play in the NFBC are somewhat forced into a different game plan due to the fact that there is no trading allowed. It’s hard to begrudge high selections of top-flight starters in a 15-team mixed league where the only way to improve/alter your roster is through selections off the waiver wire. Still, in looking at their ADP trends, you can see that only 26-percent of the first 100 players taken are starters and if you remember last week’s piece on relievers and closers, only five-percent of the top 100 came from the bullpen. That obviously means that almost 70-percent of the first 100 players taken in the NFBC are still hitters and even though there’s a stronger presence of starters who go in the first few rounds, NFBC owners wait on the position as well. Maybe not to the extent of those on Mock Draft Central, but a substantial amount of waiting nonetheless.
Let’s take a look at some of the ADP trends within the position and see who can wait a little longer and who needs to be bumped up on your draft board.
|Rank||Player||Team||Current ADP||1 Week Ago||Trend||MDC ADP||%Diff|
Alex Cobb, TB (+3.05%) – Cobb is sporting a 2.33 ERA through 19.1 innings with a 23:2 K:BB this spring and has looked absolutely fantastic. His last outing was the first time he really got touched and even then, he gave up just three runs in 5.1 innings and he still managed five strikeouts to just one walk. The good thing is that he’s still, for the most part, flying under the radar and while he’s slowly climbing up the ranks, he’s still a late-round draft pick. There’s definitely no reason to rush him onto your roster, but as things start winding down in the later rounds, make sure he’s on your watch list.
Dillon Gee, NYM (+2.58%) – Gee is another pitcher that is quietly sneaking up the rankings. His numbers from last season are keeping him low on default rankings as shoulder surgery to remove a blood clot cut his season short. But prior to the surgery, he was pitching pretty darn well, posting a 7.96 K/9 with a 3.71 FIP and a 3.34 K:BB. He’s been struggling with his command this spring though, walking eight in nine innings, so you’re going to have to keep a close watch on how March finishes up for him. A late round pick….and I mean really late…isn’t a big investment, so when you’re looking for some arms to round out your bench, you may want to give him a look.
Hisashi Iwakuma, SEA (+2.23%) – Apparently it’s low-profile day here at MDC as we have another tasty late-round option. Iwakuma is off the radar for many thanks to the fact that he made only 16 starts last year after spending most of the first half of the season in the bullpen. And that bullpen time didn’t do such a nice job on his overall totals. But while his numbers were actually real nice, imagine what he could have done with a full year in the rotation. Through 16 starts, he posted a 2.65 ERA and a 1.23 whip with a 20-percent strikeout rate and the Mariners are hoping he can do more of that this season. He’s sporting a 2.70 ERA this spring through ten innings, and while he’s only got four strikeouts, he hasn’t walked a single batter.
Matt Garza, CHC (-6.27%) – Given the fact that the Cubs are likely to use Garza as mid-season trade bait once their spot outside the playoff picture is more set, it comes as no surprise that the team is taking a very slow approach in bringing the right-hander back from the lat issue from which he is suffering. He is not expected back until early May and that coupled with the uncertainty as to where he ultimately ends up continues to push him down draft boards everywhere. Given the depth at the position, unless you have a DL spot you can use immediately, it would seem best to leave Garza be. Sure, you can grab him and use up a bench spot, but have his numbers really been good enough to warrant that? He regularly battled injuries last year and is set to miss the first month this year. He’s put up an ERA below 3.90 just once in the last four seasons. You’re going to pin your hopes on that?
Doug Fister, DET (-3.42%) – There’s really not much movement here as Fister’s drop-off amounts to just a few picks. However, he’s not exactly having the best of springs and while spring numbers are to be taken with a grain of salt, it’s hard not to be concerned with an 8.18 ERA. Ten earned runs in 11 innings with five walks don’t exactly give you the warm fuzzies as an owner. Most of the pundits seem to like him and that obviously makes him a more popular pick, but while 2011 was strong, he did take a step back in 2012 and made fewer starts due to injury. His swinging strike percentage did increase which is why the writers love him so much, but is that enough to convince you to take him?
Phil Hughes, NYY (-3.14) – Though he remains penciled in as the Yankees’ fifth starter, Hughes has been slow to recover from his back issues and could miss the first two weeks of the season. That might not be too bad though as the Yankees schedule doesn’t call for a fifth starter until two weeks in anyway. But the fact that he hasn’t pitched at all this spring is definitely a concern and while people are still picking him up in drafts, he is slowly falling out of favor every week. He had a nice K:BB last season and managed to accrue 16 wins, but the Yankees may not be providing the same offense and the rest of his numbers certainly don’t stand well enough on their own.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.