Saturday, February 3, 2018


The starting pitching is now on tap as I share with you all those who I will most likely target in 2018 fantasy baseball drafts.  As always, be sure to avoid taking a pitcher too early as those who made that stupid mistake a year ago learned some harsh lessons (Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndegaard, Madison Bumgarner).  The depth is still very good here despite the explosion of the home run ball and so these are good names to target on that front.


Jacob DeGrom:  I invested in DeGrom in the Experts League last season as his ADP slipped and a good buying opportunity presented itself.  The result was a Cy Young-worth campaign where DeGrom posted career-bests everywhere.  While his price is surely going up, it may be possible for me to snag him in the Round 4 range which is the earliest I will ever look at a pitcher.

Chris Archer:  Yes him again.  I was all-in on Archer a year ago and remain bullish.  He is one of the most overpowering pitchers in baseball but his problems with home runs undermine his ratios.  Archer's XFIP and FIP ERA's always end up in the low-to-mid-3.00 range and that will be the case if he just curbs the homers a bit.

Carlos Carrasco:  Another longtime favorite of mine, Carrasco put it all together like DeGrom in 2017.  The hype is still not over-the-top here though as many are understandably leery of Carrasco's penchant for getting hurt but his stuff is as good as anyone in baseball.

Jose Quintana:  I am going to likely have Quintana on all of my teams as I love a full season of him in the NL with the Chicago Cubs.  All of Quintana's rates jumped once he moved from the White Sox to the Cubs a year ago and he could post ace-stuff in the much friendlier NL confines.

Aaron Nola:  I mean you had to think I would have Nola on this list right?  It feels like I am married to Nola because I have been through thick and thin with him but I kept the faith despite a lot of ridicule on here.  The end result was an ace-level performance a year ago and more is on tap for 2018.

James Paxton:  I am willing to roll the dice with injury-prone pitchers who don't cost a premium and that is the case with Paxton.  The talent is easy to see here as Paxton truly dominated when on the mound a year ago but he can't ever seen to toss more than 140 innings.  I can live with injuries on my staff since my leagues have innings caps and I can find some innings elsewhere to hold me over.

Jon Gray:  A lot of repeaters from 2017 on this list as there are remaining intrigue but some incoplete results like with Jon Gray.  Gray missed half the season with injury which muddled things but he once again posted a K/9 over the 9.00 mark which is very impressive.  Yes Coors Field is scary but Gray had a better ERA there last season then on the road.

Masahiro Tanaka:  Another example of how I will consider any player if the price is right.  I have been a huge critic of Tanaka over the years but for the first time since he arrived in the States, his price has dropped to the point I will consider him.  The 4.74 ERA was very ugly no doubt but this was due to a very fluky home run rate the first half of the year.  That should normalize this season to Tanaka's career norms and since he still strikes out a high amount of batters with impeccable control, SP 2 numbers are possible.

Alex Wood:  Basically you can call Alex Wood a cheaper James Paxton in terms of a very talented power arm who can't stay healthy.

Jameson Taillon:  Throw out 2017 for Jameson Taillon as he dealt with cancer and injury to completely cloud his performance.  The talent is high-end here however and so Taillon should be given a long look this spring.

Zack Godley:  It is tough to determine whether or not Godley was an outlier fluke a year ago when he sailed way past previous norms but the price should be cheap enough to find out.

Jeff Samardzjia:  The ERA's have been all over the map for Samardzija over the years but this is a 200-K arm with top-notch control which are traits you buy into.

Lance McCuller:  If McCullers could ever find even moderate health with his high-velocity stuff, the results could be insane.

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