Each week of draft season I’ll take a look at some players that I think are overvalued and undervalued based on their current NFBC ADP. The projections next to the player names are an average of THE BAT, ATC, Steamer, and ZIPS projection systems found on Fangraphs. NFBC ADP data is from the date range 2/01/2019-03/18/2019. Let’s find some pitcher values!
Corey Kluber, CLE (ADP 25): 206 IP, 3.25 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 1.07 WHIP, 9.68 K/9, 1.81 BB/9, 16 W
Kluber has seen his fastball velocity decline in recent years, but an elite breaking ball has kept him as a top 10 pitcher. Still, I had enough concerns coming into 2019 that I’ve moved most of my Kluber dynasty shares. His swinging strike rate fell 3 points last season along with an 8% drop in K%. Those are scary signs for a pitcher going in to his age 33 season. While he’s still a good pitcher, Kluber is OVERVALUED in 2019 drafts because of diminishing skills and velocity.
Jack Flaherty, STL (ADP 63): 168 IP, 3.60 ERA, 3.77 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 10.08 K/9, 3.20 BB/9, 11 W
In his rookie year all Flaherty did was throw 151 innings of a 3.34 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 10.85 K/9. He has an amazing slider that he uses for punch outs after getting ahead with a plus four-seam fastball. He also mixes in a solid curveball and flirts with an OK changeup. If either of those last two pitches take a step forward, we’ll be looking at a frontline starting pitcher for years to come. The biggest issue for Flaherty is a lack of control (3.52 BB/9), causing him to be pulled early in games. This can be a problem for young pitchers, though, and he’s got time to work on it. Flaherty is dominating this spring (2.77 ERA, 19 K in 13 IP) and he’s shown improved velocity on his fastball. If improved secondary stuff and fastball velocity touching 97 is the new normal for Jack Flaherty, he’s extremely UNDERVALUED at his current ADP.
German Marquez, COL (ADP 80): 187 IP, 3.93 ERA, 3.73 FIP, 1.25 WHIP, 9.74 K/9, 2.63 BB/9, 13 W
The second half of Marquez’s 2018 was historic for a Rockies pitcher. He had a 2.61 ERA with 12.00 K/9 over 93 second half innings. It’d be foolish to expect Marquez’s second half numbers over a full season in Coors Field and while no one is doing that, he’s still being OVERVALUED in drafts this year. It’s notable that he cites finally developing a feel for his breaking balls in Coors Field as the reason behind his success. That’s a positive sign, but I’m of the belief that no pitcher can fully master Coors. He does have strikeout upside if you can stomach around a 4.00 ERA.
Yu Darvish, CHC (ADP 144): 136 IP, 3.83 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, 10.28 K/9, 3.26 BB/9, 9 W
Darvish has been one of the top strikeout options in baseball over the last 6 seasons. He missed the 2015 season with Tommy John surgery and most of last season with more arm trouble. He’s likely not going to pitch 200 innings again, but this is still a pitcher that has massive upside. He’s looked great this spring, ramping his fastball up to 97 MPH at times. Darvish said he feels great so I’m calling him UNDERVALUED for 2019. I don’t see a reason that he can’t post the same numbers as his 2017 season. Last year was a terrible start to a long term contact in Chicago, but he has time to get his career back on track.
Top Tier Relievers
My strategy for targeting relief pitchers in fantasy baseball rarely, if ever involves taking a reliever early in drafts. They’re far too fickle for me to invest draft capital when there are still good starters and hitters available. They can get injured, lose their role, underperform, or all of the above at an easier rate than other positions. I’ll have more later in the week on some relievers I’m targeting and some strategies.