Of Note…Reliable Fantasy Pitchers?
In depth weekly Fantasy Baseball musings…
by Chuck Anderson
There is no longer such a thing as reliable fantasy pitchers – not in a traditional sense. Reliability is relative though in Fantasy Baseball. There has been a myriad of disappointments on the bump this season. Each tier has been hit with injuries and lackluster performance. Yet, in my search for durable, upside Starters, I found some players trending the right way with few warning signs moving forward…
Carlos Martinez (STL)- Very quietly, the Cardinals ace is 3rd in the NL in Innings Pitched. His K/9 (9.41) has risen considerably while his Walks are trending down. He still has over a 50% Groundball Rate. The bugaboo here is a soaring Home Run rate as Cmart has allowed 24 long balls. While this rate is concerning, it is better than Lester, Tanaka, Darvish and deGrom. The cherry on top is that Martinez is only 25 years old but has approached 30 Starts for 3 straight years. Perception is that Cmart isn’t an Ace. A closer look at the numbers tells a different story. Far riskier hurlers like Syndergaard, Carrasco and Darvish will wrongfully go ahead of Martinez. Swoop in and pick up the value.
Corey Kluber (CLE)- There may be no player as consistently underrated as Kluber. He is seen as a distant 4th amongst the Elite pitchers. Only Sale has a better fip than Klubot’s 2.55. His nearly 12 K/9 takes a backseat to no one in the game. Injury and scares have littered this season for Kershaw and Scherzer. Sale has not been himself lately. Kluber has consistently thrown well over 200 Innings in recent years. Why Klubot goes 15+ picks after these guys is mindboggling.
Jimmy Nelson (MIL)- How many people thought Nelson would outpace Darvish in strikeouts this year? And as if his 3.69 ERA isn’t astounding enough, take a gander at his fip being over a half run lower. Nelson’s usage points to consistent workloads of over 170 frames the last few years. But it’s not screaming overusage either. No deep playoff runs under his belt. His pedigree includes a stellar season in the PCL. There is more to like here than meets the eye. His astonishing ascension to a top 10 Strikeout guy comes with a higher floor than you’d first think. If people see his 2017 as a pure fluke, be ready to pounce when his price drops. Nelson is a viable number 2 with upside on display and built in.
Zack Greinke (AZ)- The ethereal one is the Joey Votto of Pitching. He can get it done a number of ways. His vacillating K numbers have miffed fantasy owners everywhere. Yet he’s topped 170 IP thru 9 different campaigns. He hasn’t thrown less than 150 frames since 2007. He will never kill you in Strikeouts; you’re just not guaranteed Elite Ks. But are there 7 pitchers in the game with a higher floor than Greinke? Greinke isn’t the sexy pick like Severino, Syndergaard or Bumgarner. But Greinke has durability, track record and the recent success that suggests he should go ahead of those guys. The beauty of it for your value in drafts this offseason is that he won’t go as high as his safety says he should.