The great thing about fantasy baseball is everyone has an opinion. The culmination of those opinions at this time of year often boils down to player rankings and projections. If we all had the same expectations for players going into the season, it would sure make the draft and all the pre-draft prep a lot less interesting. Let’s all just Yahoo! auto-draft and be done with it.
Luckily, that isn’t the way it is, and why at DraftBuddy.com we have our very own set of detailed player projections, plus the Cheatsheet Compiler & Draft Buddy custom ranking and draft tools, loaded with those projections. Not that you can’t edit the projections or import other projections into the Compiler. You know, because you have your own opinion.
Right now we’re talking about the official DraftBuddy.com projections though, and why some players are projected higher or lower than consensus. Hey, everyone has an opinion, right? The important thing is the projector has his or her reasons for projecting these players a certain way.
That is what this article is about. Last time we identified and discussed some hitters of interest. Now let’s take a look at some pitchers who are projected outside the norm according to the majority of fantasy baseball players.
Did Josh Beckett really post a 5.78 ERA and only win six games in 2010? Yes he did. But don’t worry, he will be back. Injuries caused most of Beckett’s problems last year. He was largely ineffective down the stretch and his velocity was down a bit, leading one to wonder if he was completely healthy when he returned to the mound.
His peripherals suggest that it was more bad luck than bad pitching. Beckett is going in the twelfth round (14-team league) according to his Average Draft Position (ADP) at Mock Draft Central (MDC), so take advantage and grab him shortly before that. We all know how good this guy really is when healthy.
Jake Peavy is another pitcher who has battled injuries recently. Despite going to the American League and playing home games in one of the worst pitchers parks in baseball, Peavy is still a stud you can slot into your rotation and start with confidence most every week. Although he is still rehabbing from shoulder surgery that shut him down for the season last July, he is expected to return in the month of April if not Opening Day.
There’s no reason this guy should be going in the 23rd round at MDC, so grab him before someone else can reap those rewards. He’s not pitching at PetCo Park any longer, so the stats will take a bit of a hit as they did the first half of last season, but Peavy is definitely worth a mid-teen pick.
Daisuke Matsuzaka isn’t receiving the love he did in his first few seasons in the States. He was a much-ballyhooed Japanese hero who cost the Boston Red Sox $51 million just for the right to negotiate with him. Dice-K won 33 games in his first two seasons but hasn’t reached ten in either of the last two. What gives?
His peripherals are all over the place, but there doesn’t seem to be one thing that leads you to believe Dice-K has lost anything. His run support in the last few years has dropped off, leading to a worse record. Assuming the Red Sox’ offense can stay healthy this season, Matsuzaka should get plenty of runs to pick up a dozen or so wins again. Considering he is practically undrafted in many leagues (he isn’t in the top 350 of the latest ADP report), he should provide good ratios, strikeouts and wins. Consider him as an end-game flier, or an early season waiver wire add.
Brandon Webb was one of the most feared pitchers in baseball just a few years ago. He won at least 14 games for four straight seasons, culminating with 22 wins in 2008. But a shoulder injury derailed his 2009 and 2010 seasons and led to the Diamondbacks to show him the door. He signed in Texas, where the hot summer seems to make the ball jump out of the park. Webb does not have a history of giving up gopher balls though, so this shouldn’t be a problem. With a good offense backing him, Webb should be a great pickup well before his 21st round ADP.
Francisco Liriano is a player to be wary of. In his first two seasons with the Twins, he was dominant. His strikeout ratio was more than ten per game and his walk ratio was less than three. He missed all of 2007 and half of 2008 with an elbow injury and struggled for the next year and half with control. Though his strikeout ratio isn’t quite back to pre-injury level, the walks are down but overall, his dominance is also down. Is he back to a top starter level? Let someone else take that risk. Since he’s going in the sixth round at MDC, it would be smarter to go with a more sure thing.
Trevor Cahill had a great 2010. He went 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. But when we look a little closer, we see that he did it with a lot of smoke and mirrors. He had a completely unsustainable .236 BABIP and only strikes out 5.40 batters per nine innings. His walk rate was 2.88 per nine, but that is lower than his minor league levels, meaning he is unlikely to remain on that plane. He is still expected to have a solid season and 14 wins with a sub-4.00 ERA is projected, but I’d let someone else have him if he goes in the seventh round like his is doing on average at MDC.
Wandy Rodriguez is being drafted in the ninth round according to his ADP. Really? Why? No one knows. He is a nice pitcher for an abysmal team. He’ll probably pick up 185 strikeouts and put up an ERA around 3.33, but expecting double digit wins from him is asking a lot. The Astros offense is anemic and their bullpen is a powder keg waiting to blow. Picking up a guy on a solid team with a better chance at 15 wins is a better use of a draft pick needed to acquire Rodriguez.