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Crazy Eights (Eighth-round SPs)

In our leagues, we may choose to load up on bats, two SP's, and a closer in the first seven slots for our team. Owners are selecting three Starting Pitchers in the eighth round, and owners should pay $11-12 for each SP to have a chance to turn a profit in 2016.

Growth Stock

Carlos Martinez moves off the board at #108 in NFBC drafts, but Martinez's skills are growing. His k/9 jumped from 8.5 in 2014 to 9.2 k/9 in 2015, and he induced grounders 54% of the time last year. He also boosted his FpK from 58% in 2014 to 63% FpK last year, which helped him lower his bb/9 from 3.6 to 3.2. We want to note his elevated 78.8 LOB% and 3.28 xFIP last season to find the right place to draft him as our #3 SP, but he struck out 105 RHB's in 94 IP last year. While his strikeouts remain consistent at home and on the road, Martinez has pitched better on the road so far in his 297 IP. Martinez has a career 3.12 road ERA versus his 3.90 home ERA. His 2.54 road ERA in 2015 almost beats his 3.49 home ERA by a whole run largely due to his 1.14 road WHIP and 1.44 home WHIP. While some owners will shy away from his 3.73 second-half ERA, we should note Martinez's .358 BABIP and 3.33 second-half xFIP, but we should be aware of his career .355 second-half BABIP. Martinez lowered his bb/9 from 3.7 bb/9 in the first-half to 2.5 bb/9 in the second-half, which bodes well for this year if he can hold the control gains.

H2H owners should draft Martinez's ability to dominate 62% of his starts, and points-league owners will want to target him as a league-average #3 SP. Roto owners will buy Martinez for his K's, 11-13 wins, and hope that his home WHIP drops in 2016, which should be worth $11-13 depending on the league.

We Ranked Carlos Martinez 38th in our 2016 Fantasy Baseball SP Rankings

Health Risk

Fantasy Baseball 8th Round Pitchers
Keith Allison Flickr
Those owners that want to take risk on an $11 SP or an eighth round pick can turn to Yu Darvish, but we should not expect more than 145-150 IP from Darvish this year. When he is healthy, Darvish still owns an 11.3 k/9 from 2014 and a 11.9 k/9 from 2013. Darvish maintains the ability to dominate LHB and RHB. LHB have a career .226 BA against Darvish, and he has struck out 387 LHB's in 319 IP. RHB's fare even worse. RHB's hit .197 off Darvish with 293 K's in 227 IP. Darvish's .334 BABIP contributed to his 3.06 ERA in 2014, and his 62% FpK and 3.1 bb/9 shows promise if he can stay healthy in 2016. Several publications have Darvish throwing 145-150 IP with 10-12 wins and 175-185 K's. Roto owners should pay $10-12 for Darvish, but the risk-averse owners will want to bow out after $12-13. H2H owners can slide Darvish if he maintains his health, and they will know that he can dominate 65-70% of his starts this year with big strikeout numbers. Points-league owners will only lose -2.5% of value with Darvish as their #3 SP. Health issues loom in the short-tern for Darvish, but he could turn a profit if he can pitch 150 IP.

We Ranked Yu Darvish 40th in our 2016 Fantasy Baseball SP Rankings

Young Gun

Owners that want to bypass Darvish with their $11 and eighth round pick can spend their money and pick on Steven Matz. Matz's muscle injury cost him two months last year, but he showed promise in his 35 MLB IP. Matz earned an 8.58 k/9 with a 2.52 bb/9 and 46% GB. Owners investing in Matz will see the elevated 91.4 LOB% and 3.56 xFIP. Matz's ability to throw 62% FpK shows promise for consistent control, and he dominated 4 out of 6 MLB starts. Matz's elevated his average-FB velocity to 94.3 MPH last year compared to his change of speed pitches, an 84 MPH Change-up and 77 MPH Curveball. His ability to keep the ball on the ground, which is projected at 52% GB in 2016, will help his cause, and his 3.50-3.60 projected ERA should fall close to last year's xFIP. Because of Matz's limited MLB experience, roto owners will want to exit when the price reaches $12-13 on Matz. Matz is projected to provide 10-11 wins, 8.5 k/9, 1.15 WHIP, and 150 IP. Those projections give Matz -3% value as a #3 SP in points-leagues.

We Ranked Steven Matz 51st in our 2016 Fantasy Baseball SP Rankings


Keeper-league owners will turn to Carlos Martinez and then Matz, but risky one-year owners could target Darvish for more profit at the $11-12/eighth round price tag. A majority of owners will buy/draft Carlos Martinez as the best SP in this group for 2016.