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Staff Post: Three Starting Pitchers to Avoid in 2018

Three of the guys give you some names to avoid in 2018, including Robbie Ray, Lance McCullers, and David Price.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today we offered up three names to target among all the hurlers. Now it’s time for the yang to that yin. The other side, the underbelly, the equal and opposite reaction—however you want to view it, here are three names to consider avoiding in 2018.

Staff Post: Starting Pitchers to Avoid in 2018

MLB: NLDS-Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Robbie Ray, Diamondbacks (Heath Capps)

ADP: 47.5

My main issue with Ray is his ADP. In my opinion he represents the first of the question marks at the pitching position. With a few guys ahead of him (namely Bumgarner and Syndergaard) our primary concerns are health-related. With Ray that conversation turns to skill set. Among qualified starters last year, Ray allowed the most hard contact (40.4%!) in the league. Hitters also had a .267 BABIP against him, which means only seven pitchers had better luck on balls in play in 2017. Lastly, Ray’s 10.7% walk rate was the worst among qualified starters last year. Oh, I nearly forgot—Ray’s 84.5% strand rate was the second-best in the MLB last year, too. The league average LOB% for starters in 2017 was 72.1%...and Ray’s two previous marks were 68.7% and 73.8% in 2015-2016. For me, I don’t want to draft a guy as my SP1 with those risky parts of his profile. I’d prefer to grab a pitcher earlier or wait for a similarly-risky strikeout guy like Chris Archer a round later. Or wait another round for Aaron Nola. Why do I need to add Ray’s risk to my fake team?

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

David Price, Red Sox (Punk is Dead)

ADP: 110.3

The David Price hype is a bit out of control. His current ADP on FantasyPros is 101 overall. That’s ahead of Zack Godley, Lance McCullers Jr., and Luke Weaver. Last season, Price posted a decent 3.38 ERA but only pitched 74.2 innings. His ERA was 3.82 over his 11 starts. He then missed close to two months before returning in September in a bullpen role. The Red Sox are going to be extremely cautious with Price in 2018. I think 150 innings is a stretch. I’m avoiding him at his current cost.

MLB: Spring Training-Minnesota Twins at Houston Astros Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Lance McCullers, Astros (Eddy Almaguer)

ADP: 143.9

Lance McCullers has some really good stuff. It’s a shame he’s not going to pitch as many innings as we want to make his 144 ADP worth it. After a hot start punctuated by a 0.99 ERA in May, McCullers’ consistent injury woes dragged him down. This time it was lower back discomfort that derailed his second half. Beginning in July, he gave up 30 ER in 31.1 innings to close out the regular season, finishing the fifth inning just twice in seven starts. The talent is there, but he’s way too risky of a pick. Given the Astros’ loaded bullpen, they aren’t going to push him, either.

That’s it for us and for avoids. Make sure to scope out the starting pitcher stream for all of this week’s chatter on pitchers so far. Happy bracket-busting weekend, and catch up with us next week for relief pitchers, bold predictions, MLB DFS coverage, prospect coverage, and more!