As we get closer your drafts I wanted to look at how we approach the drafting of Pitchers and Catchers. Depending on how your league is scored, most “experts” advise finding at least 600-700 strikeouts from your starting pitching to contend for a title. There is a great discussion going on in the industry about where, when, or even IF you should draft an ace.
I love pitching. I think it is the most fluid element of fantasy baseball. If you know your splits, ratios, batter vs. pitcher match-ups, and park impacts you can really work the waiver wire, find your K’s, and win your leagues.
Here are some stats that may help you:
Last season, 17 pitchers racked up 200 or more strikeouts, and only one pitcher hit 300 (Max Scherzer) – but 40 pitchers collected 150 or more strikeouts. That’s something to keep in mind.
If you do not grab a Scherzer or a Jacob DeGrom , Gerrit Cole, or Justin Verlander (the only pitchers to whiff more than 250 batters,) there is still plenty of opportunity to get your K’-s but you’ll need to roster more pitchers in order to do it .
That’s the issue for me. Do you carry an overload of 150-180 strikeout pitchers or do you target the usual suspects and fill in your roster with speed and power?
Depending on how your draft goes you could spend the first 5-10 rounds alternating between pitcher and hitter, and then fill out your needs in the later rounds, but I think if you watch your draft and you see that there is a run on aces then you should grab one of the 250+ K guys and keep your eye on 200+K guys and then fill out your rotation later on. There are options!
The 200+ guys from last season were : Patrick Corbin ( keep an eye out for an article on him coming up, I think he is a prime candidate for a DL stint) Chris Sale, Carlos Carrasco, German Marquez, Aaron Nola, Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Blake Snell, Luis Severino, James Paxton, Mike Clevinger, Mike Folty, Jose Berrios and Charlie Morton.
This season Razzball projects only 11 guys for 200 K’s or more and they are: Scherzer, DeGrom, Sale, Verlander, Cole, Snell, Bauer, Nola, Kluber, Carrasco and Severino . (Marquez, Corbin, Clevinger and Robbie Ray are at 190+ )
So, going into your draft you should have an idea as to how you would want to proceed. Do you want to grab some of these elite tier K pitchers early or do you want to build from a larger field in later rounds ? As for me and my house, we will most likely grab that ace in the first few rounds and then watch the board and see how it plays out, having confidence in the knowledge that I can build the strikeouts later on.
Now, on to the Catcher situation; This is really a scarce position and it all comes down to how your league’s scoring is set up.
If you are in a league that does not count batting average then you have a better field from which to choose. A guy like Mike Zunino will hit you 20+ home runs but he will also have a batting average that could compete for the WWE Crusierweight Title (The weight limit for that title is 205lbs.)
Some stats of interest: 6 catchers clubbed 20 or more HR’s last season: Sal Perez, Evan Gattis, Yas Grandal, J.T. Realmuto, Yadier Molina, and Mike Zunino . This year we might not even get that many. Last season, 11 catchers hit 20+ doubles, this year only 8 are projected to do so and they are : Realmuto, Buster Posey, Molina, Wilson Contreras, Sanchez, Jansen, Perez and Tucker Barnhart . The field is thin and if you’re looking to win your league at the Catcher position then you’re probably going to be severely disappointed.
There are some sneaky options that may allow you to maximize the position. Guys like Danny Jansen in Toronto are the type of options that I am looking at if I don’t take a top tier catcher. I think Jansen is a smart play at this position.
Of course, if a J.T Realmuto goes to a cozy park in a great lineup, his value climbs a tick or two but he is alrady a top tier player at this position. This isn’t really a category that you should lose much sleep over. Maybe you’re eyeing a Francisco Mejia ? Keep in mind that he may not get every day at bats due to his defense and the presence of Austin Hedges. What about Willians Astudillo ? Yes, I know he has “ stud” in his name but he also has a bit of traffic in front of him for playing time so I think he may be a risky guy to spend a draft pick on but I would monitor the situation throughout Spring Training.
As always, feel free to hit me up @Matt_Striker_ and keep an eye out for the podcast coming soon. I’m taking suggestions for the name, so feel free to chime in.
Okay, Good luck, be safe , gave fun and I’ll see you out there.