Skip to main content

Selecting a Deep Track (SPs)

For certain bands, there are times to play a hit, and there are times to play a rarity. Just as Pearl Jam or the Grateful Dead play their hits to excite their crowds, they also jam out a B-side or a rare track for true enthusiasts. Today, we will try to dig a little deeper into the player pool, but we may still fall short of a phenomenal live B-side. We will feature some pitching options that NFBC owners are drafting between picks 350-370. Depending on our deep picks turn out, we may have wished that we had grabbed another drink instead of sticking around for a B-side.

2016 Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitching Rankings

Possible Deep Tracks

The first player on the list is like the Dead's "Unbroken Chain." Just as the Dead busted out the song for one night in Philly, this player only has 48 MLB innings. He induced a 54% GB% last year, and he has many nights to perform a great song if he can keep up his 8.6 K/9. He threw strikes early at a 63% FpK during his 62 second-half IP, but he gave up too many homers with a 23% hr/f in the same time period. He could end up in the rotation this year after dominating 2 of his 4 starts in the big leagues. Just as the Dead had never played the song before, this player could be dangerous with his unknowns, especially with the contrast between a 3.56 MLB ERA last year and a 6.23 AAA ERA. He has bounced between the bullpen and the rotation, but he needs to reduce his 3.94 bb/9 to please the audience. Some scouts say that he could be a potential closer or a #3 SP. At this point, it is worth giving him a chance to play a version of his song to see if he can lower his walks and groove his 8.9 K/9 and 3.75 ERA that Steamer projects for him in 2016. 

Just as the Dead said that "practice makes perfect" before playing "Box of Rain" in 1986, we are hoping that the next SP can follow their lead. His 53% GB% in 2015 mirrors his three-year trend, and he dominated 53% of the weeks in 2015 for H2H owners. While he may not be perfect, see the 3.84 ERA and 6.7 K/9, he has more upside if he can continue to refine his change up, which he threw 19.6% of the time last season. Other owners may leave for another drink when you call this player's name, but a few true fans will hope that he practices enough to lower his 3.01 bb/9. On the brighter side, he keeps his pitches down to create weak contact, and he owned a 2.8 WARP last year. Even though it may not be the song we were hoping for in our rotations, Steamer projects double-digit wins and a 4.15 ERA, which could lead to some decent outings for a #4-5 SP, and he only costs us -2% of value as a #5 SP in points leagues. 

While some owners will say "No Way" when they hear the next player's name, others will wait with bated breath to see how this player sounds like one of the 11 live versions of Pearl Jam's song. Doubters will quote his low 5.4 k/9 last year, and believers will talk about his 8.0 k/9 in 2014. This SP threw 72% FpK's last year, but his 6% swinging strike rate hurt him, which was down from 9% the previous three years. RH Bats earned a .869 OPS against this SP, and he only dominated 36% of his starts for H2H owners, even though he dominated 66% of his starts in 2014. Daily gamers will want to start him at home, see his 3.87 home ERA versus his 5.10 road ERA, but other owners will think "no way" when they cite his career 3.97 road ERA against his career 4.67 home ERA. Those owners that draft this player will hope for a bump in k/9 back to 7.0-8.0 after his back injury last year, which may have correlated his average Fastball dropping to 90.7 MPH. At this late in the draft, we can hope for projections of double-digit wins in 2016 and a 4.10 ERA and 12% of value as a #5 SP in deep points leagues. 

The last SP reminds us of the only two times that Pearl Jam played "Last Soldier" in 2001 at Bridge School Benefit while this SP tries to soldier through his first healthy season at age 26. Like our "Box of Rain" SP, this player induces 53% GB%, and he earned a 6.0 k/9 last year. He threw 61% of his first pitches for strikes, and he dominated 50% of his 16 starts for H2H owners. Just like Pearl Jam has never played the song again, we also remind ourselves that we may never see this player pitch a full season of innings. He has had Tommy John surgery in the past, and he missed the second-half of last year with a flexor tendon injury. In the first-half of 2015, he put up a 3.35 ERA, which was good for a 1.6 WAR. Optimists predict 7.0 k/9, 8-10 wins, and a 3.70 ERA in 2016, and pessimists know that they may never hear this SP's song again due to injuries. If we draft him this late, we hope that he will be good enough to give us a 92 MPH fastball, 52% GB%, and a rare 130 IP.

Which OF Would You Rather Have? Part 1
Which OF Would You Rather Have? Part 2
Which SS Would You Rather Have?

Which song would you like to hear?