Don't be shellfish...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Let me preface this post with the following: the next one will be much deeper. [Ed. Note -- That's what she said!] I’m talking 0% ownership. I’m talking Morgan Freeman’s deep voice in the movie Deep Impact. I’m talking real throaty [Ed. Note-- Darn, shoulda saved it for that one...], but for now… Here are starters approaching 50% ownership (as of 4/28) that I’d jump on if they’re still available: 

Danny Salazar
– with a dominating start this past weekend, he’s back above the 50% owned mark, so I won’t expand too much here. The swinging strike rate is down to a sustainable level and the youth/homerun propensity reminds us (me) why we (I) shouldn’t get too excited. Prior to the season I pointed to Salazar’s dominating repertoire here and here. As long as he stays healthy, I think he’ll continue to be Matt Harvey Jr. According to Baseball Prospectus’ Pitchf/x Leaderboard, he’s still got a top-15 Fastball velocity, but a -2 MPH difference and 12% less swinging strikes on the fastball relative to last year will now keep me rational. He’s got the unlucky smokescreen going i.e. an elevated HR/FB ratio, LOB% and hideous BABIP. Again, as long as he stays healthy, there is still a ton to like here with the high velocity + devastating repertoire. Pluck him off waivers or buy low sooner than later.

Garret Richards – If we exclude his 4/15 start, since his 4/9 start, he’s only given up 5 hits in 21 innings with 19K’s. He’ll give up his fair share of walks which will limit his value and furnish expected ERA’s closer to 4.00, but he’s in a swinging strike class with James Shields Matt Cain,Jon Lester,Sonny Gray, Jake Peavy and has a top-30 contact rate in between Julio Teheran, Lance Lynn, with Jesse Chavez Jason Hammel and even Justin Verlander nearby.

According to Baseball Prospectus’ Pitchf/x leaderboard, he’s also got the #2 Fastball Velocity this year after Yordano Ventura. His Sinker velocity is #1 (before Gerrit Cole) with the 10th best GB/FB ratio on the pitch (again 1 better than Gerrit Cole).

He’s also got the #1 Slider velocity with the 2nd best swing and miss rate after Max Scherzer. He’ll be 90% owned sooner than later. Pick his arse up.

Here are starters approaching less than 50% ownership that I wouldn’t hesitate swapping for anyone else in this post:

Clay Buchholz – the same trifecta of luck stats (HR/FB, LOB% and BABIP) that has killed Salazar so far this year is what made you all love Buchholz last year. However, he also showed more swing and miss in his game. This year, he actually has the best K/BB ratio of his career, but that’s more due to an elite BB-rate vs. a dominating K-rate. The fact is, he’s more of a 4.25 type of pitcher than the 6.66 is he is now or the 1.75 he was last year. I would actually stay away from Buchholz if you’re in a K/9 league, otherwise, he’s simply just serviceable. If you wanted to roster a non K/9 starter prior to the season, I would have steered you toward Kyle Lohse or Tim Hudson instead.

Not-so Big-Time Timmy-Jim Lincecum – I just dropped Tim Lincecum myself in my Razzball Commenter League. Harumph. He’ll rack up K’s for you, but he’s just too hittable. I would have kept him if his contact and swinging-strike rates weren’t at career lows (8.9% relative to his 11.0% career rate). It’s drop-time Timmy-Jim now.

I know – we’re not going deep enough yet. I’ll delve just a bit deeper now. First off, roster Jason Hammel and Dillon Gee as well. Hammels’ K-rate is back close to his 2012 level, he’s in the NL and he’s keeping the BB-rate down. The 10.7% swinging strike rate (18th best rate in baseball right now for SP’s that qualify) backs up the K-jump. Dillon Gee is closer to the 3.60ERA-1.28WHIP he put up last year, but what’s wrong with that as one of your last few starters? Just don’t expect big win totals.

Here are starters approaching 25% ownership worth making 50%:

Jenrry Mejia – #2 velocity Cutter with the #12 swinging strike rate and #11 GB/FB rate; above average Slider swinging strike rate with a top 10 GB/FB rate; gets enough grounders and misses on the Changeup as well. Oh yeah, he has a curve and (rarely uses the) sinker as well so the 54+% ground ball rate is backed up by almost every pitch. Mix in the 25% K-rate, and we would have an absolutely elite starter here if it wasn’t for the ugly BB-rate. As is, he could sustain a 3.50 ERA, but the sub 3.00 from last year is possible if he gains control. At only 24, if he can stay on the field, he is one to keep a very keen eye on. If you have googley eyes, then I’m sorry.

Nasty Nate Eovaldi – With the #3 Fastball velocity this year, he’s getting a little bit more swing and miss than last year. In conjunction with the BB-rate and big groundball jump, he’s turned into an excellent option so far this year with a sub 3.00 ERA and 30 K’s already, but I think there is some cause for concern. Primarily attending to his fastball and slider, if his velocity drops, his performance will drop-off and perhaps in a big way. Interestingly, his BABIP is somewhat high (.330) since only 11% of the balls in play hit off of him are line drives. In addition, runners have come around to score on him more than expected. With all of this said, I think he is a 3.45-1.3 type of pitcher. He’s Nasty Nate right now for a good reason, but a velocity drop makes him Nate Nasty.

Ian Kennedy – In San Diego with a K/BB rate above 4.00. Heck yeah, start him – even if it’s as a relatively consistent spot starter. Even as his B/BB drops back to a slightly below 3.00 level, he should be a 3.65ERA-1.25WHIP option with 170+ K’s.

Tyson Ross – The Slider is elite and his swinging strike rate has actually gone up from last year (11.1% to 12.1%), which is good for the 9th best rate in baseball thus far for those that qualify. He’s got the 7th best contact rate right after Felix Hernandez by the way. Yeah, pick him up.

Josh Beckett – along with Mejia, Eovaldi, Kennedy and Ross, Beckett is also in my pick-up section even with quite a bit of luck in the LOB% and BABIP departments, just expect a 3.75 ERA and not his 2.45 for the rest of the way.

Walker, Taijuan Mariner – don’t you forget about Taijuan Walker.

Corey Kluber – Up 4% because of the 9 IP 11:0 K/BB game against the Royals on 4/24. You should see more of this soon. From a Pitchf/x post I did on him prior to the season:

Changeup: Albeit a 10% usage, it was one of the more dominating Changeups in baseball from a balls in play perspective – whether you want to look at it by his ground ball to flyball ratio (GB/FB = 7.33 ratio which was the best in baseball*) or linedrive to ball in play ratio (LD/BIP = 18% which was 18th in baseball*). As or even more impressive, it had the 5th best* Whiff/Swing rate in baseball (43.36%) right after known buckling changeups from Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels and more devastating than Felix Hernandez’ and Anibal Sanchez’.

Cutter: 7th best velocity and the 4th best Whiff/Swing rate (and a GB/FB ratio beyond 2.00)…excellent.

Slider: below average velocity which is okay consider he has a 90 MPH Cutter and 94 MPH Sinker, but he still winds up 18th on the list for whiff/swing rate although when it does get hit, it gets hit 30% of the time for a line drive (+ a 1.55 GB/FB ratio).

Kluber himself is not dominating, but his pitch repertoire is impressive. He’ll get hit at times, but the K/BB will be elite all year.

Robbie Ross – His recent debacle will keep the ownership rate down but he still has a 3.00+ K/BB and a 2.5 GB/FB ratio. Along with expected ERA’s sub 4.00, he should still be owned in most formats.

Here are my overall rankings of these guys for the rest of this year – based on repertoire first, sustainability second and risk third.

1)      Danny Salazar

2)      Corey Kluber

3)      Garret Richards

4)      Tyson Ross

5)      Robbie Ross

6)      Jason Hammel

7)      Nate Eovaldi

8)      Ian Kennedy

9)      Josh Beckett

10)   Jenrry Mejia

11)   Dillon Gee

  1. Shawn of the Livid says:
    (link)

    Great read, very informative. Makes me feel better hanging on to Kluber and Salazar

    • Dano

      Dano says:
      (link)

      @Shawn of the Livid: i love them both so long as they’re healthy. hang out real tight.

  2. The Thumb says:
    (link)

    I think you’re a little too low on Eovaldi considering his awful division and the vast Crayola Canyon. Gotta love that high 90s heat.

  3. halliday says:
    (link)

    Where would you rank walker?

    • Dano

      Dano says:
      (link)

      @halliday: for year one, right after Eovaldi

      • halliday says:
        (link)

        @Dano:

        Thanks for the reply

  4. Buck Martinez's Wig says:
    (link)

    Is there reason to expect a drop in velocity from Nasty Nate?

    • Dano

      Dano says:
      (link)

      @Buck Martinez’s Wig: no, it’s just the heavy weight on that pitch alone …similar to how i thought about cingrani who now is experiencing a velocity drop along with performance degridation

  5. BenJ says:
    (link)

    Why can’t I be in one of the 75% of leagues where Eovaldi is available? He’s 95% owned in RCL. No, the best guy on the wire in my league is Kuechel, who really should be on this list somewhere.

  6. Scarecrow Greinke says:
    (link)

    12 Team, H2H, K/9, Quality Starts instead of Wins

    My expendable pitchers are Wily Peralta and Martin Perez.

    Lose either of those guys for Garrett Richards, Jenrry Meija, Josh Beckett, or Taijuan Walker?

    Also, depending on how Collin McHugh looks in his next start, I might pick him up.

    • Scarecrow Greinke says:
      (link)

      @Scarecrow Greinke: Also thanks for the article! Very helpful.

    • Dano

      dano says:
      (link)

      @Scarecrow Greinke: @BenJ: Martin Perez probably will hurt you more than he helps b/c o f the k/9. Id drop him for Richards.

  7. Wow, really interesting. Thanks. Looking forward to the next one!

    My question: were would you rate T. Walker on the top ten list? After watching Kluber’s last start I dropped him for Walker in a 14-team roto league. But he’s in an active roster spot (I’ve got Anibal in the DL slot already) … nobody picked Kluber up yet. Should I switch back?

    • Dano

      dano says:
      (link)

      @Enrique: see above. I like kluber. He’ll get hit at times but he can also go 10k/0bb. Love him in k/9 and bb/9 leagues. Is have him over walker on my roster. Walkers young and no lock to eat innings

      • @dano: Gotcha. Thanks for the advice.

  8. FrankX19 says:
    (link)

    Great article. I play in two deeper (11 and 12 team) NL only leagues and always looking for help with SP.

    I have to replace Josh Johnson in one of my leagues and looking at the following possibilities
    1) Jason Hammel
    2)Alfredo Simon (I don’t trust)
    3)Jordan Lyles
    4) Yovani Gallardo
    5) Aaron Harang
    6) Edinson Volquez

    who are the top few that you like for the rest of the season?

    • FrankX19 says:
      (link)

      @FrankX19: ..oh and it is a 4×4 league (so Ks don’t count)

      • Dano

        dano says:
        (link)

        @FrankX19: hmm no k’s? Would have said Gallardo then hamels but I duno bc of no k’s. Probably still one of these two.

  9. Where would you rank Cashner on this list?

      • Dano

        Dano says:
        (link)

        @baby daddy: i really like cashner. i’d put him all the way on top. his detroit game was glorious and i think we can see a lot more of that with continued command. archer i’d put above ross’es

  10. Fish says:
    (link)

    Which 3 pitchers would you prefer out of Peralta, Hammel, Chavez, Eovaldi, and Richards?

    • Dano

      Dano says:
      (link)

      @Fish: chavez, richards, eovaldi perhaps in that order…i like hammel better than eovaldi at the moment but you cant argue eovaldi’s potential and stadium and division – yes, eovaldi is where i dwelled the most. he could have been tied with richards on this list…just hate sticking with velocity only guys

  11. Peter Nincompoop says:
    (link)

    Excellent read Dano+. I agree with Salazar being the clear cut #1 guy going forward on this list. I’d swap Richards and Eovaldi ahead of Kluber, but agree with everything else. Thanks.

    • Dano

      dano says:
      (link)

      @Peter Nincompoop: yeah klubers tough…his individual stuff is so good ie induces swing and misses, but he’s just generally too hittable…kinda weird I know…he’s not overall dominating but each pitch is on a pitch level

      • goodfold2 says:
        (link)

        @dano: if his pitches are dominant, then it certainly stands to reason that it’s gomes (or other catcher’s) faults here, they call which pitch at which time. fix that and he’s a great pitcher.

  12. Berry berry says:
    (link)

    Trade check

    Just had to friends in a league make a trade

    Dozier 2b hot start but 19th ranked second baseman to start the year drafted in the 19th round

    For Zimmerman pitcher solid 2nd starter drafted in the 5 th round

    Not to mention leaves the Zimmerman team light on innings and he already has uetly at second this is a utility slot

    Thoughts

    16 team deep league

    • Dano

      Dano says:
      (link)

      @Berry berry: i honestly like brian dozier. even without the crazy ass counting stats start, i thought he was a 20/20 candidate. he pulls the heck outta the ball and puts the ball in the air a ton. he’s such an asset in my league which is obp & SLG + net SB and plate appearances…gotta be top 5-10. The flyballs will hurt the avg. but he should go 85-20-60-20-250 or better mengh.

  13. Todd says:
    (link)

    Now that I have machado back from dl would you trade arenado for Richards?

  14. Dano

    Dano says:
    (link)

    id trade machado for richards and something… no…i like arenado better in 5×5 leagues. by name, you can get more for machado and arenado is as good.

  15. Chris says:
    (link)

    Hello Dano,

    Because of some good keepers in offense and some trades, I managed to have 4 aces with the following SP: Yu, Lee, Shields, Verlander, Burnett, Tim Hudson, Gee, and Jesse Chavez. RP Rosenthal and Melancon.

    Would you consider trading Verlander for Matt Holliday and Corey Kluber? Good trade? I want to push for Lance Lynn instead of Kluber, but I must probably have to include Victorino or Hunter. Which of the two?

    My team currently is: Lucroy, Encarnacion, Pedroia, Andrus, Arenado, Cespedes, Stanton, Hunter, Napoli, Victorino (BN). 12 team, mix Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Dano

      Dano says:
      (link)

      @Chris: while verlander is still solid he’s not the same elite and your staff looks solid – i would definitely do that based on your offense. Ideally, the same team has both freeman and dozier and then you can trade enarnacion,pedroira,verlander for freeman and dozier – about a 4% chance that’s the case, but that’s sort of the deal i’d look for.

  16. Hisashi Bukakke says:
    (link)

    Well I hope you’re right. In my 15 teamer I have Tyson, Kluber, Salazar and Eovaldi. Paired w BUMgarner and Liriano needless to say my ratios suck like Hayden Winters.

    • Dano

      Dano says:
      (link)

      @Hisashi Bukakke: not sure who mr/mrs. winters is, but yeah – that’s a rough start with klubes, salz & tross. I would expect better things to come if it’s for pitchf/x.

  17. JJ says:
    (link)

    Hey Dano,

    how would you rank these starters in a 12 H2H 5X5 keeper league(we keep 10)
    G.RICHARDS
    M.GARZA
    R.PORCELLO
    N.EOVALDI
    C.KLUBER
    D.SMYLY
    J.MEJIA
    Thanks

    • Dano

      dano says:
      (link)

      @JJ: Richards,kluber,Garza,eovaldi,smyly,porcello,Mejia I’dgo with

      • JJ says:
        (link)

        @dano:
        thanks

  18. Joe says:
    (link)

    Dano danny Salazar or nate eovaldi?

    • Dano

      dano says:
      (link)

      @Joe: I’m still (perhaps too) high on Salazar…superior repertoire…I just hope he’s healthy

  19. BOBBY says:
    (link)

    Dan –

    I appreciate all your posts and I love your insight. However, your obsession with Hosmer and Salazar pre-season have butt raped my fantasy team.
    You suck (kinda)

    • Dano

      dano says:
      (link)

      @BOBBY: hosmer? That’s not me…I never liked hosmer…gb% will keep him from having a good hr total or babip…sorry about Salazar tho. Cue the Brittany spears music b/c…I still believe…

  20. Furies says:
    (link)

    Love Kluber, but he will get absolutely shelled at times. When his 2 seam tailing fastball is off, boy is it off (right over the middle of the plate)….and you will drop him like a bad habit.

    • Dano

      dano says:
      (link)

      @Furies: yeah agreed….each pitch is so good but he’s not dominating at all…command is Still there

  21. thorbs says:
    (link)

    Great writeup –

    Quick Q about Salazar: I love watching him pitch but I’ve been offered Alex Gordon for Salazar or Paxton in a 12-team dynasty league. I’m relatively deep in pitching and have a few other young arms (Holland, Skaggs, Minor, Ryu, Wood + Heaney/Shipley on my minors roster) to go with my anchors (Greinke, Hamels, Shields, Samardzjia).

    I’ve lost Avisail Garcia, and Braun/Choo are hobbled. Pull the trigger, or target another bat?

    • Dano

      dano says:
      (link)

      @thorbs: I’d target another bat & wait another few starts b/c they’ll be much better.

  22. Andre says:
    (link)

    Hey Dano,

    Great article. Where would you rank Wily Peralta and Pineda on this list. Both are on the WW in my league.

    • Dano

      dano says:
      (link)

      @Andre: pineda just above Mejia on similar scale to Kennedy….not many success stories from that surgery which is the worry..needs continued slider usage to be successful which is the pitch that induces the concern in the first place

    • Dano

      dano says:
      (link)

      @Andre: oh and on peralta…I’d pretty put him on the bottom.. k/bb should regress…this is the best bb% by too far…pretty lucky babip and lob% although the hr/fb is rational which offsets some of the luck. His 2+ era is a run less than it should be, but still solid. Doesnt k enough guys to be any higher on this list in a 5×5 league.

  23. Andre says:
    (link)

    Also, what about Henderson Alvarez?

    • Dano

      dano says:
      (link)

      @Andre: meh.@Andre: ugh h.alvarez’s ct%/swstr%/k-rate is so gross. The bb% and stadium provides his only value…Id have him only if you’re in a relatively deep 4×4 league without k’s

  24. AndrewM says:
    (link)

    Dano.. what do you think about the trade Cuddyer for Salazar? I would be getting Salazar.

    My OF in a 3 OF league with 2 UTIL is:

    Cespedes, Kemp, Torii Hunter, Jennings, Castellanos, Cuddyer

    I would be doing this trade and most likely be picking up Kole Calhoun soon.

    • Dano

      dano says:
      (link)

      @AndrewM: Calhoun+salazar makes sense to me for sure. Preseason that would have been a hell yeah

Comments are closed.