Joe Pisapia is the author of the #1 best selling Fantasy Baseball Black Book 2015 Edition on the Kindle Store andiTunes for Apple Devices . He is also host of the Fantasy Black Book on Sirius/XM Fantasy and the Dear Mr. Fantasy Podcast .
I recently had the opportunity to meet Joe Pisapia, an author of a best seller fantasy baseball book,The Fantasy Black Book. A few weeks ago, Joe invited me to be a guest on the fantasy baseball show he hosts, The Fantasy Black Book show, on SiriusXM Fantasy Radio on Friday and Saturday evenings from 10:00 pm - 12:00 am. is a co-host on the top rated Dear Mr. Fantasy Podcast with Chris McBrien.
Whether you are new to fantasy baseball or a veteran of many years like me, one must never stop seeking out and honing their fantasy baseball knowledge. The Fantasy Black Book offers fantasy players another way to value players, via the Relative Position Value (RPV). RPV breaks down the position scarcity equation, telling you how to value players at each position, and across positions, and can be applied to all types of leagues, whether you play in roto or points leagues. The Fantasy Black Book can be used to get a leg up on your competition and ensure you are prepared on draft day.
Below you will find an excerpt from the 2015 edition of the Fantasy Black Book for your reading pleasure.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE RETURNING TOMMY JOHN PITCHERS?
An epidemic. This was the best way to describe last season's rash of Tommy John surgeries. It was a death knell for many fantasy owners right out of the box when Jose Fernandez went down for the year. The list of pitchers needing the surgery last year is staggering:
1. Jarrod Parker, A's (2nd TJ)
2. Luke Hochevar, Royals
3. Bobby Parnell, Mets
4. Kris Medlen, Royals (2nd)
5. Cory Leubke, Padres (2nd)
6. Brandon Beachy
7. Matt Moore, Rays
8. David Hernandez, D'Backs
9. Patrick Corbin, D'Backs
10. Bruce Rondon, Tigers
11. Jameson Taillon, Pirates
12. Josh Johnson, Padres (2nd)
13. Ivan Nova, Yankees
14. Jose Fernandez, Marlins
15. Martin Perez, Rangers
There are additional minor leaguers who went under the knife in 2014 as well. Take note of several players who are having their second procedure. This is a reminder that not every pitcher is "fixed for good" after this surgery. Those players going on number two were not quite as effective after the first one. Parker of the A's never regained the full velocity on his fastball that made him a top prospect once upon a time. Josh Johnson was once a dominant hurler only to be a shell of his former self post-surgery. Adam Wainwright initially struggled with his command the year following surgery number two, though he eventually regained his status at the top. But he is in the minority.
Which leaves us to ponder the initial question: where should we value these arms on the comeback trail? And should we be considering them at all in single season leagues?
Matt Harvey (whose surgery took place in late 2013) is the furthest along the return track despite being slowed down by the cautious Mets. This was more than likely a wise decision, as Harvey is the franchise and the Mets were a non-contender yet again. You have to love his spunk, though. Harvey had every intention of pitching in September and is truly a ferocious competitor. This can be a double edged sword. The mindset that makes Harvey great could also be his undoing in his journey back. Will he listen to his body telling him it is not 100% this year and push beyond where he should? It's quite possible. Will the Mets do everything they can to baby him and potentially limit his innings like Stephen Strasburg was a few years ago? Yes. Of all of the guys on this list, only Harvey and Fernandez have the potential to be the best pitcher in baseball, and, for that reason, Harvey should warrant reasonable investment in all leagues and formats. He has too much upside to ignore. If Strasburg's 2012 season is any indication (15-6, 3.16 ERA, 11.1 K/9) when he returned from TJ, then Harvey should be a very productive #2 starter in most leagues. I would not be comfortable with him as a rotation anchor at this stage, however.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that those further removed from the surgery are safe investments, but they are still far from a sure thing. The same is true for the young guys with upside. Dylan Bundy seemed lost toiling in the minors last year after holding the #1 pitching prospect title heading into 2013. His control was spotty and velocity was inconsistent. Most TJ recoverees, experience better results in year two following the process. By that logic, none of these names on last year's list should be counted on for much in 2015.
In dynasty drafts, I would be seriously targeting a few of these guys because their value may never be lower. You may have to wait until 2016 to see substantial dividends, but there are some worth the risk. Obviously, Jose Fernandez is number one on that list, but Matt Moore is a close second in my eyes. Moore was a dominant lefty strikeout machine in his minor league career and had decent success in the majors as well. His walk rate is a bit higher that you may like, but, on raw ability, he has the potential to be an impact fantasy pitcher. The other interesting name is Ivan Nova. He really turned a corner in the second half of 2013 and it was unfortunate that his ‘14 season was cut short. The Yankees will always field a competitive team and Nova showed real growth and maturity on the mound. Some may like Patrick Corbin, but I see him as a one year wonder based on his minor league career peripherals and second half collapse in 2013.
As for the guys on surgery number two, I'll politely pass on all of them. Chances are you are wasting roster spots on them. There will be plenty of owners wasting draft picks in single season leagues hoping to stash them and catch lightning in a bottle in the second half. It's more likely that they will show inconsistent results (if any results at all), and you are better served using late round picks on HEALTHY young upside talent or building roster depth to cover your weaknesses. The owners that shy away from this list will be grateful that they aren't left holding the bag come July.