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The Big Board: 5 Undervalued Pitchers For 2015

We recently went live here at “So-Called Fantasy Experts” with the Big Board, a draft assist program that calculates player values and rankings for 2015.

You haven’t seen anything like it!

It supports a TON of different custom league types, but to show off its awesomeness, we set up a standard 5×5 board and dove in to identify some of the most undervalued players heading into 2015 Fantasy Baseball draft season.

Player values here are calculated using an unadjusted 50/50 combo of the Steamer/ZiPs projection with ESPN standard lineups, and are compared against the ADPs for the three major sites.

To make your own rankings/$ values and find more players like these for your specific league, check out the Big Board!

5 Undervalued Pitchers

Check out this handful of players we think have a chance to bring more value than their current price suggests.

Brandon McCarthy

ADP:     ESPN – 232     Yahoo – 207     CBS – 244
Big Board’s 167th best player, $8
2014 Stats: 200 IP, 10 W, 175 K, 4.05 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
Projection: 172 IP, 11 W, 145 K, 3.64 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
    

The Yankees were wise to pick up McCarthy last season after he got unlucky in essentially every conceivable way in the 1st half (BABIP, HR/FB, strand rate…). Now with the Dodgers, the projections love McCarthy’s chances of repeating his strong 2014 second half, and so do I. Health will always be a slight concern with him, but for as late as he’s being drafted you can’t go wrong with a guy who should easily post a mid-3’s ERA and 20% K rate.

 

Matt Shoemaker

ADP:     ESPN – 222     Yahoo – 200     CBS – 198
Big Board’s 152nd best player, $8
2014 Stats: 136 IP, 13 W, 124 K, 3.04 ERA, 1.07 WHIP
Projection: 178 IP, 12 W, 144 K, 3.70 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
      

I guess everyone forgot about Matt Shoemaker’s 2014, because while he was essentially the Angels’ ace for the latter part of the season, he’s being drafted around the same place as broken down vets C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. But any time a guy puts up an 18 K-BB% over significant sample size in the majors, you’ve got to take notice. By that metric, Shoemaker was a top-25 starter last season. Shoemaker rode his splitter to a dominant run in the majors and I’m more than willing to buy the projected line. Heading into 2015, he’ll be pitching for a great team, has a for-sure rotation spot, and should put up great rate stats despite a low-ish K%.

 

Phil Hughes

ADP:     ESPN – 195     Yahoo – 146     CBS – 101
Big Board’s 108th best player, $12
2014 Stats: 209 IP, 16 W, 186 K, 3.52 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
Projection: 203 IP, 14 W, 174 K, 3.71 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
     

Phil Hughes did some historic things in 2014, as he essentially decided to pound the zone and force hitters to try to do something about it. His 11.6 K/BB ratio was an all-time record, walking only 16 batters all season. I don’t believe he’ll walk so few again this year, but I also think he’ll beat his elevated .324 BABIP from last year (career mark of .300)… so long as Danny Santana doesn’t torpedo him over at SS. Overall, he’s certainly a regression candidate, but drafters are not giving him enough credit for his very impressive 2014.

 

Drew Smyly

ADP:     ESPN – 169     Yahoo – 195     CBS – 202
Big Board’s 83rd best player, $13
2014 Stats: 153 IP, 9 W, 133 K, 3.24 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
Projection: 190 IP, 13 W, 176 K, 3.39 ERA, 1.17 WHIP

I was quite excited for Smyly, and his ADP had indeed been rising up until this past week when it was revealed he’ll likely miss a start or two at the beginning of the season. I’m fine with that because now we can definitely get a deal on draft day. Plus he’s still never pitched very many innings due to Detroit jerking him around in their swingman role, so we won’t have to worry as much about a late season shutdown now. Smyly was elite after the trade to TB last season, and while some credit of that goes to luck (BABIP, etc.), there was also a clear change in his pitch selection and location upon arrival in Tampa which has me believing there’s even some upside beyond his already-solid projections. Watch the injury progress as draft day approaches, but if Smyly is hanging around on your board due to that ugly “DL” tag next to his name, don’t be afraid to pounce.

 

Addison Reed

ADP:     ESPN – 212     Yahoo – 196     CBS – 219
Big Board’s 186th best player, $6
2014 Stats: 59 IP, 1 W, 69 K, 4.25 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 32 SV
Projection: 63 IP, 3 W, 66 K, 3.48 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 33 SV

Finally, a reliever. I tend to have problems finding truly undervalued relievers with this method, but Reed fits the bill after posting a largely meh-worthy 2014 line. But looking closer at the K-rate and BB-rate we see a guy that improved in 2014 and got a bit unlucky with balls clearing the outfield fence at inopportune times. I’ll buy the Reed projection, and even though the D’Backs will be bad this year he should still get 30 saves, easy.

Addison Reed Photo Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons

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