After outdoing myself last week, I figured I’d return my roots and write an article a little simpler, a little less theoretical, and more practical. Picking up from where I left off two weeks ago, today I will evaluate pitchers who have large discrepancies in their highest and lowest draft position. As Bud Light commercials say: “Here we go.”
Javier Vazquez | ADP: 61 | Earliest: 46 | Latest: 92 |
|Javy will try to forget about the last time he was in pinstripes, and try to make the fans forget too. (Icon/SMI)|
Pitchers who have renaissance years and then switch leagues make good candidates to be on a list such as this one, so it is no surprise to see Vazquez’s name here. Last season on the Braves he posted Cy Young-esque numbers of 15 wins with a 2.87 ERA and 238 strikeouts in 219 innings of work, vindicating Derek Carty on his man-crush of him last year.
As impressive as last year was, people are still wary of owning Vazquez because of his age (33), the mileage on his arm (2,500 career innings), his switch to the offensive powerhouse AL East, his terrible season in his last go-around with the Yankees back in 2004, and finally his flyball tendencies in the flyball haven that is the new Yankee Stadium. Whew! That is a lot to not like about a guy. On the flip side people like Vazquez for his durability, his high strikeout and low walk rates, because he is now backed by the scary-good Yankees offense, and well, because of how spectacular he was last year.
A generally unlucky pitcher, Vazquez was bestowed with a little bit of luck in 2009 as his 3.24 LIPS ERA indicates. Making adjustments from that LIPS ERA number based on the work Derek did last offseason on the impact of switching leagues we can expect his ERA to rise .40 points from the league switch and then a couple of tenths more due to the higher run environment of Yankee Stadium. With a strikeout rate regressed back into the high eights partially from the 0.6 penalty from the switch to the AL, Vazquez is looking at a season with an ERA from 3.75 to 4.00, around 200 strikeouts, and 16-20 wins.
Nothing makes that line stand out from the lines of the pitchers taken around him, though if you are going to take a pitcher around this point in a draft, Vazquez’s durability does make him a viable option.
Wandy Rodriguez | ADP: 125 | Earliest: 78 | Latest: 188 |
Like Javy, Wandy is coming off a tremendous 2009 season in which he finished with a 3.02 ERA and 193 strikeouts in 206 innings pitched. Despite his first name, Rodriguez is someone who has flown under many people’s radars the past two years, over which he has proven himself a quality starting pitcher. His LIPS ERA of 4.03 in 2009 reveals that luck buoyed him to his 2009 ERA and he is not ready to join the elite ranks of pitchers.
As was the case with Vazquez, there is little to distinguish Wandy from the other pitchers, such as Matt Garza and Chad Billingsley, who are taken around him, making it difficult to say whether it is worth the investment in him. With starting pitching a relatively deep position, avoiding elite pitchers and nabbing a few starters at this point in drafts is a solid strategy that can lead to powerful offenses with still-respectable pitching staffs and Wandy is a solid No. 2 or 3 on any fantasy team.
Jorge de la Rosa | ADP: 195 | Earliest: 132 | Latest: 245 |
DLR is an emerging fantasy pitcher with tons of potential given his ability to punch batters out. Last year was a breakout season for the late-blooming 28-year-old, throwing 185 innings, posting a 4.38 ERA, and racking up 193 K’s. Covered nicely in this Waiver Wire article, de la Rosa appears primed for an even more impressive season in 2010 with an ERA closer to his 2009 LIPS ERA of 4.03. Couple that ERA with 200 plus strikeouts and a healthy win total, and you are looking at a pitcher who is currently undervalued in drafts.
Especially considering the similarities between DLR and the pitcher we just covered, Rodriguez, de la Rosa emerges as another solid option to be that second or third starter on your fantasy team—except at a more palatable price.