This morning, I decided to look at my deepest NL-only league to see who the highest-ranked player who went undrafted was. It didn’t take long to find him: as of Tuesday morning, Anthony Senzatela was ranked as the eleventh most valuable pitcher in standard, mixed 5×5 fantasy baseball leagues. My NL–only league includes a fairly complex farm system as well, so it is beyond hard to find a diamond in the rough, since most minor league players with any decent prospect status at all were drafted years ago. It’s clear why Senzatela slipped through the cracks, though – he was a mid-level prospect at best, who entered spring training as a long shot to be part of a pitching rotation in the worst pitchers’ ballpark baseball has ever seen…

Will Senzatela still be the eleventh best pitcher in fantasy at the end of 2017? Uh, no. We’d have to expect some major bumps along the way even if half of his starts weren’t going to come at Coors Field. But he’s owned in just 20% of Yahoo leagues (21% of ESPN), which I think is too low. I am basing this almost entirely on the gut feeling I had while watching him pitch. In fantasy, upside can be overrated: just ask the Robert Stephenson owner in the league I mentioned above. Stephenson has been taking up a minor league spot on his owner’s roster for four years now. Even worse, now that he’s on the big club and his owner feels pot-committed to him, Stephenson and his 5.40 ERA are taking up a valuable active roster spot. There is no guarantee that even the highest-ranked prospects will even reach star status, either in real baseball or the fantasy variety. Taking a flyer on gut feeling won’t always work out either, and sometimes can be fairly disastrous, but it’s a risk that I think you need to take from time to time in a deep league. Otherwise, how will you ever find this year’s Junior Guerra — that guy whose past statistics make you absolutely sick to your stomach, but looks damn good on the mound every time you watch him pitch… and before you know it, has been a major contributor to the success of your single-league team.

Moving on to some other deeper-league names, starting with the AL…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Now that I’ve got your attention – I want to point out that it is indeed true that Noah Syndergaard is way worse than Scott Feldman. Now I hear everyone asking – in what stat or skill could Thor be worse than Scott Feldman? Well, the singular skill of preventing steals. Thor just happens to be the absolute worst at it in the game. Yes, worse than Jon Lester, who refuses to throw to first because it crushes his soul. In 333.2 innings, Thor has allowed a eye-opening 86% of runners to steal successfully (worst in the majors amongst pitchers who have thrown at least 300 innings since 2013). However, it’s not just the rate at which players steal on him, it’s also the volume – he allows a stolen base once every 5.3 innings. For someone who doesn’t allow that many base runners, that’s a staggering number – and it’s by far the worst in the majors – the next 3 worst are Tyson Ross, the aforementioned Scott Feldman, and Jimmy Nelson, who allow a stolen base once per 6.6, 6.7 and 6.9 innings, respectively. Looking at it another way, 21% of the runners who get on 1st base and aren’t blocked, steal – and like the other statistics mentioned, that is by far the worst in MLB. While this wart has done nothing to stop Thor’s dominance, ignoring it in DFS could hinder your dominance. Don’t be afraid to target basestealers against Thor – yes, they have to actually get on base, which is not easy, but if they do, that 3-point single suddenly becomes a 9-point single and stolen base. Also, Scott Feldman is pretty bad in his own right at this (13.7% of unblocked runners steal, only 4th worst.)

Picks are coming right after this stolen base vs Thor…

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Please, blog, may I have some more?