2.2 SP- Max Scherzer
I think this year pitching wise is awkward. The top of the top is clear in Kershaw. The next grouping of pitchers are those that have high k/9 + low ERA upside. It includes Bum, Max, Sale, Kluber, Thor, Arrieta, Price, Verlander, and Lester. These are the recent whos who of potentially elite pitchers (the next grouping involves things like Cueto, Archer, Darvish, Carrassco, Hill types that have a lot of potential but a lot of risk). So I start going through this group:
| ||14 fip||15 fip||16 fip|| ||14 k9||15 k9||16 k9|| ||14 AVG FB Vel||15 AFV||16 AFV|| ||14 IP||15 IP||16 IP|
|Bum||3.05||2.87||3.24|| ||9.07||9.65||9.97|| ||92||92.2||91|| ||217.1||218.1||226.2|
|Max||2.85||2.77||3.24|| ||10.29||10.86||11.19|| ||92.8||94.1||94.3|| ||220.1||228.2||228.1|
|Sale||2.57||2.74||3.46|| ||10.76||11.8||9.25|| ||93.7||94.5||93|| ||174||208.2||226.2|
|Kluber||2.35||2.94||3.26|| ||10.27||9.93||9.5|| ||93.2||92.6||92.1|| ||235.2||222||215|
|Thor|| ||3.25||2.9|| || ||9.96||10.68|| || ||96.5||97.9|| || ||150||183.2|
|Arrieta||2.53||1.77||3.1|| ||9.59||9.28||8.67|| ||93.4||94.4||93.6|| ||156.2||229||197.1|
|Price||2.78||2.78||3.6|| ||9.82||9.19||8.9|| ||93.3||94||92.9|| ||248.1||220.1||230|
|Verlander||3.74||3.49||3.48|| ||6.95||7.63||10.04|| ||93.1||93||93.7|| ||206||133.1||227.2|
|Lester||2.8||2.91||3.41|| ||9.01||9.09||8.75|| ||91.5||92||92|| ||219.2||205||202.2|
Three of them have FIPs increasing over the last 3 years: Sale, Kluber, and Lester.
Three have k9 decreasing each of the last 3 years: Kluber, Arrieta, Price.
Klubers velocity has also decreased each of the past 3 years.
Verlander is the only one with a FIP decreasing each year.
Three of them have k9 increasing each year: Bum, Max, Verlander.
I kept Thor from these for no 14, but his numbers looked positive from 15 to 16.
Various red flags for all of them
Sale: Increase in FIP last 3 years, Decrease in k9 last 3 years, switch from AL Central to AL East, Switch to Fenway.
Kluber: Increase in FIP last 3 years, Decrease in k9 last 3 years, decrease in velocity last 3 years.
Thor: Bone Spurs in his elbow last year, did not have surgery.
Arrieta: Decrease in k9 last 3 years.
Price: Largest increase in FIP from 15-16 of all eligible people (note also for Sale since it's the same move), Decrease in k9 last 3 years.
Verlander: His first half last year was so bad. FIP was 3.85 despite a BABIP of .279, hard hit % was 28.4%. He had a great 2nd half, but the BABIP was .229. In fact, the hard hit % was increased to 29.7% in the 2nd half. The first half was much more in line with 2015 (3.49 FIP, 267 BABIP) which was another bad year. Looks like the good 2nd half was a product of running insane on BABIP to me.
Lester: Increase in FIP last 3 years.
If you look at the chart and the various flags, the main issues with Bum and Max are concerns about effects of innings. The thing is, EVERYONE but Thor in this grouping has thrown a ****load of innings. Apart from these attempts to predict their arms falling off, they both have none of the long term trending concerns that others do. Sale, Kluber, Arrieta, Price, Verlander, and Lester all have major concerns numbers wise while Thor has the elbow discomfort that really concerns me. Should the spurs flare up again, surgery is 3 months.
After looking at all of these things in this grouping I have the belief that the only pitchers of the top 10 that I actually like for their position is Kershaw, Bum, and Scherzer. I don't want to touch Kluber with a 10 foot pole, and Sale/Verlander/Price aren't much better. Lester and Arrieta aren't great for me either to anchor my rotation given smaller scale declines and their park.
Then I did the same thing for the next few tiers and I realized that I felt this year was different than almost any I could remember. I don't feel like there's a pitcher after these 3 that I think is good value at their ADP until like round 7 or 8. I think there are a lot of potentially good pitching value in the middle/late rounds though. Finally, I think in the early mid to mid rounds theres a lot of value at hitting.
I know I'm taking Kershaw 1.1 this year. I also know that if Kershaw is gone and I'm in 1.2 -> 1.9 or 1.10 I'm likely just skipping pitching until late and going hitting for my first handful of picks. But I've been pondering taking BOTH of these guys at the wheel, building up hitting where I think theres a lot of value in the earlymid/mid rounds, and then cleaning up the middle/late rounds with pitching. And it seems like the best chance to test that is in this mock. Perhaps it ends poorly and I'll learn not to do that for real. But I think these two to the next grouping is the biggest gap in value of any position this year, and I want to see how it plays out.
SP - Scherzer