Early ADP Trends: Starting Pitchers

Mike Ehrmann

Ray takes a look at the early NFBC ADP trends for starting pitchers and wonders if some of the younger starting pitchers are being drafted too early right now.

Starting pitchers are becoming more and more dominant over the past few seasons, with run scoring and home runs down, and strikeouts in an up trend. Is it time to start drafting starting pitchers earlier in drafts? Like first round early? I think it might be time to do so.

Mock fantasy drafts are starting as well as some real fantasy drafts, so it's time to analyze what the early draft data is telling us, if anything. The ADP data tells us what the early draft tendencies are of fantasy owners, some experts, in the early drafts that have already completed. The ADP data changes as more drafts occur, and could change drastically once spring training begins and we start hearing about injuries and who wins positions that are up for grabs this season.

The NFBC drafts have already begun and today I bring you what the early ADPs look like for starting pitching. But before I do so, here is sone data from Baseball HQ, on the the ERA, WHIP and K/9 trend for the top 30 starting pitchers over the last ten years:

Year

ERA

WHIP

K/9

2004

3.30

1.20

7.50

2005

3.18

1.19

6.70

2006

3.54

1.24

6.90

2007

3.38

1.22

7.60

2008

3.19

1.19

7.70

2009

3.10

1.18

7.90

2010

2.96

1.16

7.90

2011

2.90

1.12

7.60

2012

3.10

1.14

7.80

2013

2.92

1.11

8.40

It is becoming pretty obvious that the top starting pitchers in baseball are providing much more value to fantasy owners over the last 3-4 years, and fantasy owners are starting to take notice.  Here is the early NFBC ADP data for the top 40 starting pitchers is as follows, courtesy of NESN.com:

Rank

Player

Team

Pos

Avg Pick

Min Pick

Max

1

Clayton Kershaw

LAD

SP

5.47

4

8

2

Yu Darvish

Tex

SP

16.26

7

25

3

Max Scherzer

Det

SP

27.05

12

40

4

Jose Fernandez

Mia

SP

29.42

22

41

5

Adam Wainwright

StL

SP

32.21

19

40

6

Stephen Strasburg

Was

SP

34.53

24

49

7

Felix Hernandez

Sea

SP

43.21

33

53

8

Justin Verlander

Det

SP

43.21

35

55

9

Cliff Lee

Phi

SP

44.79

23

61

10

Madison Bumgarner

SF

SP

47.74

34

60

11

Chris Sale

CWS

SP

50.63

41

58

12

David Price

TB

SP

54.74

40

69 ]

13

Zack Greinke

LAD

SP

61.42

50

79

14

Cole Hamels

Phi

SP

62.89

46

74

15

Anibal Sanchez

Det

SP

73.63

60

97

16

Jordan Zimmermann

Was

SP

80.68

62

99

17

Michael Wacha

StL

SP

82.84

68

100

18

Hisashi Iwakuma

Sea

SP

86.53

63

100

19

Gerrit Cole

Pit

SP

91.68

73

117

20

James Shields

KC

SP

92.26

73

114

21

Gio Gonzalez

Was

SP

96.32

70

122

22

Mat Latos

Cin

SP

100.47

84

130

23

Matt Cain

SF

SP

101.26

72

119

24

Mike Minor

Atl

SP

101.63

79

138

25

Homer Bailey

Cin

SP

110.74

69

148

26

Shelby Miller

StL

SP

113.11

56

146

27

Matt Moore

TB

SP

113.37

62

148

28

Alex Cobb

TB

SP

115.95

84

147

29

Julio Teheran

Atl

SP

123.16

65

152

30

Kris Medlen

Atl

SP

123.32

80

160

31

Jered Weaver

LAA

SP

130.26

85

176

32

Danny Salazar

Cle

SP

146.16

106

196

33

Tony Cingrani

Cin

SP

149.74

106

190

34

Hyun-jin Ryu

LAD

SP

151.42

115

201

35

Francisco Liriano

Pit

SP

153.68

106

206

36

Andrew Cashner

SD

SP

155.32

106

185

37

Jon Lester

Bos

SP

170.68

132

212

38

C.J. Wilson

LAA

SP

172.00

135

230

39

Patrick Corbin

Ari

SP

173.16

118

218

40

Jeff Samardzija

ChC

SP

174.89

141

217

The NFBC leagues are 15 team mixed leagues, and the early NFBC ADP data shows that there are 10 starting pitchers being drafted in the first three rounds, give or take a pick. Compare this to the 15 team Tout Wars draft I participated in last season, and the 10th starter was taken with the fifth pick in the 4th round, or pick 50.

In addition, the first starting pitcher wasn't taken until pick 20 in the Tout Wars draft last season, while the NFBC data shows that Clayton Kershaw is being selected very early in drafts thus far, with an ADP of 5.47. Rangers ace Yu Darvish has an ADP of 16.26, so he is being drafted right outside the first round, on average.

Marlins ace Jose Fernandez is getting quite a bit of love this offseason, as he is now the fourth starting pitcher off NFBC draft boards currently, ahead of aces Felix Hernandez, Stephen Strasburg, Cliff Lee, Adam Wainwright and others. Fernandez was very dominating in his first full season in the big leagues, but I find it hard to draft him ahead of these aces at this point.

A few other young starters, Michael Wacha, Gerrit Cole, Danny Salazar and Tony CIngrani are also getting plenty of love by NFBC drafters right now, as they are being drafted at #17, #19, #32 and #33 respectively. Wacha is being drafted in the first half of the fifth round, while Cole is going early in the sixth round. Cingrani and Salazar are coming off the board in the latter half of the ninth round.

In summary, the young starters, and possible future aces, are coming off the board very early in the early NFBC drafts that have completed to date. Which starting pitcher stands out for you?

Is Jose Fernandez getting too much love this offseason, or is it deserving? Let's hear your thoughts and opinions in the poll and comments section below.

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