Well, it’s been another tough week to be a baseball fan, Razzball friends, as instead of watching pitchers and catchers report to spring training, we’re left with radio silence when it comes to good news on the labor negations front. I understand the reaction some fans of both real and fake baseball are having: choosing to ignore it entirely for the time being, until and unless there are positive developments on the lockout front, but I hope you’ll join me in taking the opposite approach. While I too have felt like just sitting in a corner and sobbing at the thought of another year of losing baseball games that count, I’m pressing forward and instead, trying to take advantage of the extra draft prep time with no outside noise, ‘best shape of his life’ reports, or trade rumors. Yes, I’ll need to change my rankings and perceptions of player value significantly once I have more injury news, free agent signings happen, and we start to figure out what rotations and starting lineups will really look like. But because once things do move forward, we can expect a mind-blowing amount of information in a short amount of time, I want to have a good idea of how I feel about players now so that I can adjust my thoughts based on all of said new information once it arrives.  I don’t want to overreact to every snippet of news or put too much stock in a few at bats or pitches thrown once we finally have some exhibition games to watch. Since Grey has finished all of his rankings, why not enjoy taking your time perusing them and figuring out how to turn them into your best possible fantasy baseball team, while others are sitting around unprepared, just waiting for tidbits of news that may not come for a while.

This week we’ll look at some deep league starting pitchers, and I’ve decided to include only players that I’ve already drafted on at least one team this year. How are we qualifying them as deep league?  Well, all four currently have an overall NFBC ADP of between 300 and 400, and all appeared on Grey’s recently released final SP rankings post, which means they are ranked outside his top 80 starters. Of course, the value of anyone on this list could either jump or fall quickly depending on what aforementioned injury/trade/rotation news emerges in the coming weeks, but I’m banking on at least one or two of them ultimately delivering solid value at their current prices.

Adbert Alzolay: #81 on Grey’s rankings; #346 NFBC ADP (note: this list is in order of Mr. Albright’s rankings, not ADP). I’m torn on Alzolay, but I guess I’m not that torn because I’ve already drafted him in two draft and hold leagues. For one thing, he’s got a nice K rate, which I appreciate when selecting a starting pitcher this late. Also, I can’t imagine him not having a rotation spot unless he has a disastrous spring, given that even after signing Marcus Stroman and claiming Wade Miley, the only other rotation lock the Cubs have is whatever is left of the once-really-good Kyle Hendricks. My problem with Alzolay is his inability to regularly and effectively use a pitch other than his 4-seamer. He goes to the sinker, which is pretty meh, too often, and it’s hard to tell if he’ll take a step forward, or if he might actually go backwards from his 1.16 WHIP and 128 Ks in 125 innings last year. I remember a few months ago the Cubs saying something about having “versatile roles” for several of their pitchers in 2022, which is never what the fantasy owner wants to hear. Alzolay may be a guy who is better off not being put in the position of facing lineups for a third time in a game, though, so while I’m not counting on him becoming relevant in shallow leagues, I’m more than willing to find a spot for him on a few of my deeper rosters as we see what his role is and how he develops in 2022.

Elieser Hernandez: #84 for Grey; 335 ADP. Even this low in the rankings, the rest of the fantasy world seems to be a little higher on Elieser than I am, but I just grabbed him for the first time right around his current ADP so I now have a rooting interest. He’s got a great slider, but he gives up too many homers and I’m not sure the fastball will ever get to where it needs to be for him to take things to the next level. I’m not targeting him let alone reaching for him, but I’m intrigued enough by the Marlins’ success at making decent pitchers into really good ones that I’m happy to give him a try in at least one deep league.

Nestor Cortes: #103 for Grey; 360 ADP. Cortes doesn’t necessarily have a locked-down rotation spot waiting for him, but as far as I’m concerned, once you’re this deep in the starting pitcher pool, there is still value to be had even without one. Even in a 15-team mixed league I find that a solid bulk reliever type comes in handy from time to time (and even more often if you use bi-weekly or daily transactions, of course). And if Cortes looks good in the preseason and does find himself in the starting rotation, he’ll suddenly be getting a lot more attention (and I’m still a little surprised to find a Yankee this far under the radar in the first place). After being impressed by Cortes’s  93 excellent innings pitched in 2021, I started drafting him in November and already have three shares — and I don’t plan to stop now given that, as long as I’m not counting on him as a locked in member of a fantasy rotation, there is really no risk at this price. I was happy to see that Coolwhip is also on board the Nestor Train: check out his great deep dive on Cortes which (appropriately) includes lots of ultra Cool things, like heat maps and videos!

James Kaprielian: #104 for Grey; 342 ADP. Kaprielian has ‘streamer at best’ written all over him, but if you have to take a chance on a guy to start more often than you’d really like to, there are a lot of pitchers being drafted ahead of him that are much scarier in my opinion. The mere fact that, like Alzolay, Kaprielian has a solid K rate (24.5% last year) is enough to get my attention this late. One would think he also has a very secure rotation spot, given that he looks like the A’s number five even before any post-lockout wheeling and dealing. Also, he throws five different pitches, and I’ve recently developed an as yet untested theory that I should be paying more attention to pitch mix when analyzing fantasy starters. Of course, the downsides are there as well, like his less than perfect health record, including missing time with a shoulder impingement last year.  All I’m saying is if you’re looking for a starter around pick #350 and outside of Grey’s top 100, this may be about as good as it gets!


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5 months ago

fwiw, you might have some takers for a high stakes RCL, see comments:


5 months ago

Hey Laura, I always appreciate your work. We play in a limited dynasty of sorts with a 39 man roster, daily lineups. Streaming city.

If you win a player at auction you are tied to his salary for at least two years, but for FA pickups, you are able to go year-by-year. So players you write about are very applicable to our league. They can be kept for cheap, and they are disposable if they don’t pan out. They also help save money for the big bats available at auction.

My pool of guys I may keep going into this season includes Kaprielian. I don’t think he’s about to break out and do something special, but I think he can repeat last year, which has value. Others I’m considering are Ober, Megill, Howard, Lynch, Zach Thompson, and both Kellers. Are any of these guys that you are completely out on? We’re effectively talking about picks in the 350+ range. Thanks

5 months ago

Great work Laura and thanks for the shoutout! I also have an eye on these others pitchers, Kap for sure since the A’s will likely trade at least one of their top 3: Montas, Bassitt, Manaea

5 months ago

$6 Ynoa or $1 Alzolay NL only?

5 months ago

I like the alzolay call in deeper formats. He had a huge hr problem last year despite a solid k/bb rate. His hr/9 and hr/fb were off the chart bad. Hoping it was more of an anomaly / bad luck and he can make adjustments and grow as a pitcher. There is a quite a variance in his adp on fantrax. I like the ~350 number much better.

Last edited 5 months ago by toolshed
Ace of Spades
Ace of Spades
5 months ago


Using your Marlin’s pitcher theory, what are your thoughts this year on Jesus Luzardo?
Also, who is the better late dart throw, Luzardo or Carlos Carrasco

Thanks in advance for the insight.