With the second month of baseball starting up, lets take a look at some of the quality pitchers you can grab who are still on your fantasy baseball free agent market.
*Denotes players currently on the DL
*All owned percentages are based on ESPN Leagues
Taijuan Walker (60.8%)
2017: 40.0 IP, 3.83 ERA, 3.35 ERA, 9.00 K/9, 2.70 BB/9, 0.90 HR/9
Walker is looking like he is starting to reach his full potential in 2017 with Arizona. The 24 year old has averaged a good BB/9 and K/9 over his career, but has been known to give up a couple more home runs than the usual pitcher. This year his HR/9 is half of what it was last year, and that is due to the amount of ground balls opposing batters are hitting against him. Walker is someone who can produce a good WHIP, K/9, and wins for fantasy team owners, and if his low HR/9 continues to stay down then he should also have a solid ERA this season too.
Kevin Gausman (57.5%)
2017: 31.0 IP, 7.55 ERA, 6.16 FIP, 5.81 K/9, 5.23 BB/9, 1.74 HR/9
Before everyone gets out their pitchforks and starts calling for my head let me explain why Gausman makes this list. First off, Gausman has pitched against some tough competition so far this season excluding the start he made against the Reds on April 18th. When you look past the ERA in the first three starts this season, Gausman was actually pretty good. He went the first 12.0 innings before giving up a home run, but the rise in walks this season has become very concerning. For a pitcher who has average a 2.70 BB/9 over his career, I do not think this trend will continue as we have seen his command be way better in the past. The reason for his low K/9 this season is due to the lack of balls opposing batters are swinging at outside the zone. I would like to mention Ron Shandler of ESPN, who wrote a very good article about early season struggles and I would highly recommend reading when you get the time.
Julio Urias (56.6%)
2017: 10.2 IP, 0.84 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 4.22 K/9, 6.75 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9
After having two very strong starts this season since getting called up, I am surprised to not see Urias more highly owned in ESPN leagues. He has only allowed 1 run this season, has limited hard contact on batted balls against him and has yet to give up a home run this year. His 4.22 K/9 is very low, but fantasy owners should expect it to jump up to at least 8 as he owns a 10.1% SwStr over his major league career. Fantasy owners that play in quality start leagues should be aware that Urias has been getting pulled early in games. I would expect this to continue as the Dodgers have a lot of pitching depth and will most likely continue to watch Urias’ pitch count very closely this season.
Aaron Nola* (46.8%)
2017: 16.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, 3.06 FIP, 8.44 K/9, 3.38 BB/9, 0.56 HR/9
Nola is set to make his first rehab start this week for the Phillies. He is one of the best young arms available, and has one the biggest ceilings out of any pitcher in the majors right now. He has shown great command ever since getting drafted 7th overall in 2014, but that is not the only thing he does well. He has an impressive 28.6% hard contact on batted balls against him over his career that complements his 1.87 ground ball to fly ball percentage very well. Because of his high ground ball rate and low hard contact rate, Nola is very good at limiting the amount of home runs hit against him. Over 16.0 innings this year, batters have only hit one home run against the young right-hander. Nola also has the ability to accumulate a high number of strikeouts. His career 9.5% swinging strike rate that opponents have against him would suggest that this trend should continue in 2017. As long as Nola stays healthy, he has the potential to easily be a top 25 arm in fantasy leagues.
Chris Tillman (32.2%)
2017: 5.0 IP, 00.0 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 7.20 K/9, 5.40 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9
Chris Tillman is back and looking better than ever. Hopefully you guys read my streamers list for May 7th and took advantage of the under-owned Baltimore ace. Out of everyone on this list, Tillman presents the least amount of risk, but he also has the lowest ceiling. Tillman has been very consistent for the Orioles in recent years. He will accumulate an ERA in the mid to high 3’s while averaging around 7 K/9. He also has good command followed by the ability to limit home runs hit by opposing batters. If you are looking for someone you can leave on your roster and not have to worry that much about, then Tillman is your man.
Other Notables: Jeremy Hellickson (62.5%), Sonny Gray (61.1%), Rich Hill* (60.8%), Kendall Graveman (39.4%), Matt Moore (38.7%), Patrick Corbin (37.8%), Sean Manaea* (34.8%), Alex Cobb (25.1%), Jharel Cotton (17.0%), Zach Davies (14.6%), Chad Kuhl (3.6%)
Who do you think will have the most fantasy impact in 2017
This poll is closed