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ADP Analysis: Overrated Starting Pitchers

Every Friday during the pre-season I will be analyzing ADP-related issues using the most recent ADP information courtesy of Mock Draft Central and other sources. We start this week by looking at pitchers that are overrated in relation to their ADP positions (don't trade an "overrated" top tier starter appearing on this list for Chris Volstad, unless it is because you have a fanboy mancrush on Theo Epstein), and the upcoming schedule will be:

  • Friday, January 27 - Underrated starting pitchers.
  • Friday, February 3 - Overrated hitters.
  • Friday, February 10 - Underrated hitters.
  • Friday, February 17 - Comparing ADP variances from different sources or other requests from the comments.

Leave any other ADP-related requests in the comments, and I will try to add as many as possible to the pre-season schedule. Here we go with the overrated pitchers (unless stated otherwise, all stat references are for the 2011 season):

  • Any starter in the top 15 overall (Justin Verlander is at ADP 8, Clayton Kershaw at ADP 13 and Roy Halladay at ADP 15) - As I discussed here, I am in favor of drafting a starter in rounds 2 or 3 because a 200-inning starter will have about 13% of your total innings (assuming 1500 inning limit) and a 600 at-bat hitter will have about 7% of your at-bats. I want to lock in 13% of my innings with quality stats since I have flexibility to find cumulative hitting statistics elsewhere, including by streaming at-bats. However, taking a pitcher in the top 15 is too early in this newfound era of the pitcher. I am taking Joey Votto (ADP 10), Evan Longoria (ADP 12), or Prince Fielder (ADP 16) before a starter.
  • The First Five Closers Off The Board - Also as I discussed here, do not be the owner starting closer runs in your draft, you are only chasing one category (an elite set-up reliver can get you similar non-saves stats 50-150 picks later, or off the waiver wire). I do not care if the first five are Craig Kimbrel, Jonathan Papelbon, Ricky Vaughn (where can I buy the Dorn jersey shown in that link?), or the late great Rod Beck's Des Moines center field RV, resist the urge to take a top closer! This urge will grow if top closers begin falling in your draft, but since we are only chasing one category (saves totals, which are about as predicable as throwing darts against a spinning dart board while blindfolded) the value of closers is relative to where others are being drafted. Craig Kimbrel (current ADP 54) does not increase in value falling to the eighth or ninth round if no other closers are being drafted. Ignore ADP slots or draft sheets, and just try to target getting three out of the thirty closers wherever they are being drafted. I do not believe that any owner should punt saves, just saying getting any three is fine. We will see next week that the bottom tier closers are underrated - wait on drafting closers and then pounce in rounds 11 through 18 to make sure you get three.
  • Jeremy Hellickson (ADP 131) - Among qualified starters, he had the lowest BABIP in MLB last year (.223) and had the highest differential (1.83) between SIERA on the high end (4.78) and ERA on the low end (2.95). He also has a measly 1.63 K/BB rate. And he pitches in the AL East. I'd rather have Anibal Sanchez (ADP 132, 3.29 SIERA), Max Scherzer (ADP 147, 3.63 SIERA with a 3.11 K/BB), or Shaun Marcum (ADP 154, NL Central starter, 3.91 SIERA) or Brandon Morrow (185 ADP, 3.31 SIERA, 10.19 K/9 (!)).
  • Jered Weaver (ADP 31) - 2.41 ERA masked 3.67 SIERA and 3.80 xFIP. His hr/f dropped from 8% each year from 2008 through 2010 to 6% in 2011, and was carried by an insane 3% in the first half of 2011 (10% second half of 2011). Expect regression. Give me instead Zack Greinke (ADP 51, more on this stud sleeper to follow in later posts) or teammate Dan Haren (ADP 39, 3.34 SIERA). Does this mean that if Weaver and Zack Greinke are sitting on the board at 31 that you should take Zack Greinke? The answer is, as George Lucas would have Darth Vader say (or as George Lucas would stupidly remix years later over the audio of your draft), NOOOOOOOOOOOO! It means that you take a hitter, wait a round, and still get a superior pitcher in Zack Greinke to the one you were going to take at 31 in Jared Weaver.
  • Mark Buehrle (ADP 275) - 4.38 SIERA and 4.78 k/9. I prefer the upside of Jon Niese (ADP 279, 7.89 k/9, 3.42 SIERA) or Mike Minor (ADP 296, 3.76 SIERA) instead.
  • Ian Kennedy (ADP 70) - 3.44 SIERA, and the 21 wins will cause owners to overreach. Not saying just yet I would take Madison Bumgarner (ADP 74, 3.18 SIERA) or Daniel Hudson (ADP 78) over Kennedy, but I would rather wait on my No. 2 or a high-end No. 3 starter to get one of these two a round later.

As a bonus, like seeing the Avengers teaser at the end of the Captain America credits (yes, I was one of the five or so nerds in the theater opening weekend that knew it was coming and forced my girlfriend to sit through five minutes of credits), here is a guy that seems like he would be overrated but is being drafted at about his correct slot:

  • Stephen Strasburg (ADP 58) - He will put up sick numbers for 160 innings, and then you can round out the other forty innings or so with bantha fodder set-up men from the waiver wire. I love taking him before the next two starters on the ADP list (Matt Cain at 65 and James Shields at 66). Nab him in the fifth round if he is available, particularly if you have not drafted a starter yet.



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