With just over a month to go until Opening Day, all of our baseball withdrawals will soon be cured. It is also a perfect time to perform ADP analysis and see where a few opportunities exist for the upcoming Fantasy Baseball grind.
In our everyday lives, we are constantly trying to get a deal. Whether it is at the grocery store, at the mall, or even online shopping at Amazon, we love getting a deal. Anytime we can get something for less than what we deem to be value, we are happy.
The parallels to Fantasy Baseball are quite obvious. If you are able to achieve a similar (or even identical) statistical result from a pair of players, then you should without a doubt take the player that will be available a few rounds later.
Over the past few days our ADP analysis journey has taken a look at infielders and outfielders. Today, we will explore the men on the hill. We will identify four pairs of pitchers, three pairs of starters and one pair of relievers that are mispriced given their recent performance and expected 2017 production.
2017 Fantasy Baseball ADP Analysis
Batted Ball Battle
Aaron Sanchez, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
Tanner Roark, SP, Washington Nationals
Both of these starters-turned-relievers-turned-starters are similar in a variety of ways. They both spent the majority of their time in the bullpen in 2015 and then flourished as starters last year. When you look at their stats over the past two years, you can see that the net result is about the same, but they do it in different ways.
Sanchez relies on his stellar groundball rate, which ranked as the fifth best among qualified starters in 2016. Roark was excellent last year at limiting hard contact (lowest hard hit rate among qualified starters) and enticing soft contact (third best soft hit rate among qualified starters). Other than their approach and their age, where Sanchez is 24 and Roark is 30, these hurlers look the same.
The projection systems give Sanchez a slight advantage, but it is hardly enough to justify the 40-point ADP gap. Fantasy owners should take the free money by saying “See ya” to the Jay and “Hola” to the Nat.
Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle Mariners
J.A. Happ, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
Name value and memories of his previous reign as royalty continue to inflate King Felix’s draft day price. Over the past two years, Happ has a better ERA, FIP, WHIP, K/BB, and has thrown more innings. They are all close, but there is a clear number one and two in this comparison and according to ADP, they priced the wrong way.
Felix is still dealing with his much talked about velocity decline. Last year, he recorded a career low 90.5 MPH on his fastball, which compares to a career mark of 93.4 MPH. He also posted his worst hard hit rate allowed since 2013, his lowest ground ball rate since 2012, his highest line drive rate allowed since 2012, and a career worst walk rate. Thanks to a near 4.0 BB/9, Hernandez notched an unimpressive 8.7-percent K-BB%, which ranked 67th out of 80 starters who threw at least 150 IP.
Happ may have been a tad on the lucky side last year, as he recorded a .268 BABIP and 79.7-percent LOB%. Even if you account for some regression and the unlikely event of another 20 win campaign, Happ’s numbers should still look awfully similar to those of Hernandez this year and the projection systems tend to agree. Thanks to a near 50-point ADP gap, when it comes time to look for a mid-tier starting pitcher, the easy decision is to bypass the King and grab Happ.
Young Arms Race
Carlos Martinez, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
Jose Quintana, SP, Chicago White Sox
When you look at recent history between these two starters, you see a near identical stat line across the board. Quintana holds the edge in K/BB, WHIP and FIP, while Martinez holds the advantage in ERA and wins. A potential trade of Quintana by the rebuilding White Sox to a contender could result in a pickup in wins and also provide a slight boost due to park factors.
Quintana has been a workhorse throughout his career as he has thrown for at least 200 innings for four consecutive years. Martinez is potentially a slightly greater injury risk when compared to Quintana given the shoulder issues he experienced in late 2015, which ended his season prematurely. The projection systems also seem to be on board with the idea that there is a minimal difference between these two stud starters.
The consensus has consistently and incorrectly picked Martinez nearly 40 slots ahead of Quintana. Swim against the current by ignoring the Red Bird from the Show-Me State and swoop in and catch the pitcher from the south side of the Windy City.
A.J. Ramos, RP, Miami Marlins
Shawn Kelley, RP, Washington Nationals
Ramos looks like he will open the 2017 season as the closer for the Marlins, but I highly doubt that he will be able to maintain that role for the entire campaign. There also seems to be a lack of confidence by management as last year they traded for established closer Fernando Rodney and this offseason they signed former closer Brad Ziegler. The Marlins also have the hard throwing Kyle Barraclough in their pen.
Last year, Ramos had the worst WHIP (1.36) of his career thanks to new career worsts in both line drive rate and hard hit rate along with his ongoing control issues. In fact, he had the second highest WHIP of any closer with at least 25 saves.
Kelley looks to be front-runner for the vacant closer position in Washington. There has been constant speculation that David Robertson will be acquired from the White Sox and that is definitely a risk to Kelley assuming the closer role. When you see Kelley’s stats compared to Ramos’ stats over the past two years, it is clear to see that in the scenario where they are both not a closer, Kelley can still be a huge help to your Fantasy pitching staff.
Even with all of the uncertainty regarding roles, the projection systems have both relievers with very similar numbers. With almost 100 picks separating Ramos and Kelley, do the smart thing by being patient and forget about the former and snag the latter.
ADP analysis allows you to see what everyone else is looking at. Anytime you can get an idea of when certain players will be picked, it helps you build your team in the most efficient manner. This concludes our ADP analysis and Mispriced Pairs series. Don’t forget to stay up to date with SCFE and all our fantastic Fantasy Baseball content.
Data courtesy of www.fangraphs.com
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