Friday, February 24, 2017


Last but not least we have the starting pitching in terms of those fantasy baseball players we will target in drafts.  As always I continue to stress not to draft pitching early and so let the Clayton Kershaw's and Max Scherzer's of the world go on by.  The depth here remains as extreme as it gets so target these more affordable and very quality pitchers.

Carlos Carrasco:  Yes he has battled a bunch of injuries lately but Carrasco has ace-level stuff that can accumulate 200 strikeouts in no time.  His WHIP has been 1.07 and 1.15 the last two years, while the ERA has come in at 3.63 and 3,32.  Ascending.

Chris Archer:  Ignore the 4.02 ERA last year and focus on the 252 and 233 strikeouts each of the last two years.  This is another ace-level pitcher who can be had in the fifth round (ADP 61.0)

Danny Duffy:  Count me as a Duffy converted fan as he has finally smoothed out his previously awful control which has allowed his potent strikeout stuff to take off.  He just needs to keep the high home run number from last season more under control.

Matt Harvey:  Yes it was beyond ugly last season for Harvey who was hammered all year to the tune of a 4,86 ERA and then he underwent the scary thoracic outlet surgery that has ended a few careers prematurely.  Still despite all that, Harvey has looked crisp and confident in spring training and his fastball has life back on it according to all involved.  Remember Harvey was a fantasy baseball ace going into 2016 and the price won't ever get cheaper.

Jose Quintana:  Of course the ultra reliable, underrated, and longtime favorite of yours truly is on this list.  He continued to get better in 2016 as Quintana posted a career-best in ERA (3.20), WHIP (1.16), and strikeouts (181).

Marcus Stroman:  Yeah I hate the division but talk up the 4.37 growing pain ERA last season and get fully on board this six-pitch future ace.  With uncanny control for a young starter, Stroman is the real deal.

Jon Gray:  I am hot shying away from this Coors Field pitcher one bit as Gray is set to become one of the next great power arms in the game.  His 4.61 ERA last season was ugly but it should have been a full run lower due to some brutal BABIP luck and 185 whiffs in just 168 innings show how potent the stuff is.  Along with this next guy, Gray is right there at the top of my sleeper pitcher list.

Aaron Nola:  Was pitching like an ace and had the numbers to back that up midway through May before injury struck in the form of a scary elbow issue.  Nola got hammered before being shut down for good but all of his advanced numbers and analytics show at worst an SP 2-type pitcher.  Go get him.

James Paxton:  Has pitched to 3.90 and 3.79 ERA the last two years, operates in spacious Safeco Field, and Paxton upped his K/9 rate sharply last season to all point to well above-average stuff.

Steven Matz:  Was going to pass on the talented but always hurt Matz until I saw his 147 ADP.  That is a very cheap price for a guy who is yet another ace-type pitcher.  When he has been healthy, Matz has averaged a K/IP and is hinting at around a 3.00 arm.

Sean Manaea:  Had a 2.44 ERA and 0.99 WHIP his last 13 starts of his 2016 rookie campaign and the ballpark is always nice to pitch in.  The screen in Oakland is allowing a ridiculous 175 ADP as well.

Matt Shoemaker:  The power righty has been quite good in two of the last three seasons and he finally cut into his always sky-high home run rate a year ago before disaster stuck in the form of a comeback that fractured his skull.  While we have to worry about some emotional scars, Shoemaker has 180-K ability to go with an expected mid-3.00 ERA.

Jerad Eickhoff:  This is a classic SP 5 guy who is very affordable and who won't hurt you in any way.  While Eickhoff doesn't have overpowering stuff, his four-pitch arsenal keeps hitters off balance to the tune of a mid-3.00 ERA and solid WHIP with some remaining upside.

Robbie Ray:  It is not often you see a pitcher pick up 218 strikeouts but post a 4.90 ERA and 1.47 WHIP.  Clearly Ray is not a finished product but we always have a spot for an 11.25 K/9 starter.

Carlos Rodon:  I won't chase Rodon given the AL Central locale and his offensive home ballpark but there is no doubt that the fireballer began to shore up the rough edges last season.  True 200-K potential.

Lance Lynn:  Coming off of Tommy John surgery, Lynn is a forgotten man in fantasy baseball which means you should strike on a guy who was in the Cy Young running as recently as 2014.

Blake Snell:  I have been gushing over Snell's potential for months now and that hasn't changed one bit.  He struck out 98 batters in just 89 innings as a rookie but Snell has to smooth out his control issues to be even more of an impact starter.


  1. Matt Shoemaker is right-handed.

    1. Had Scott kazmir on the brain when I wrote that.

  2. Love the list! I'll be targeting Nola, Gray, Rodon, Paxton, Snell, Lynn for sure.


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