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“The Mad Professor” looking for Starting Pitcher gems and busts in the dollar bin 2019

With Opening Day upon us (on a different continent, but still…) and St. Patrick’s Day in the rearview mirror, your gentle scribe takes quill in hand once again to scour the ADP listings for gems…

I’ve covered a lot of this ground already.  Last week, I covered the top 25 SP in terms of the ADP and compared value relative to the price you’d pay for them as opposed to a higher-ranked SP.  This week, I’ll identify several SP who seem to be bargains or, at least, low-risk high-reward candidates based on their ADP and auction value.  As well, I stand by my regular mantra: compare what you’d pay for any of the top five SP to what you could get for that same price down below.  Scherzer’s the man.  But, for the same price, you can pick up three quality SP…

There are so many SP to cover and so little time.  So, let me highlight a couple of gems that are worth picking up and a couple of folks you might want to think twice about.

Yusei Kikuchi.  ADP—195.  He is the 55th SP off the board in this dataset.  Generally, I’ve seen no real consistency across drafts and analyses regarding Kikuchi.  He clearly has the skills and has shown that he can handle the workload (187 and 163 IP in the last two years).  Yet, I’ve seen him go for as little as $3 in the Tout Wars draft.  SOMEONE has to win games and pitch well in that dumpster fire know as the Mariners’ rotation…He could be this year’s Miles Mikolas—with a lot more K potential.  At $3 he is high reward, low risk.

Yu Darvish is the 39th SP off the board at ADP 149. He has hovered around $11.00 throughout the Spring and, last I checked, in the Tout Ward draft.  He has looked solid this Spring. For an $11 price tag, he is not a bad pickup.  But, will you sleep at night?   I think I would maybe go for Nick Pivetta a few spots later and a few bucks cheaper.

Rank Name ADP  Dollars IP W ERA K WHIP WAR
39 Darvish  Yu 149.2  $ 11.30 139 9.7 3.76 158 1.21 3.5
44 Pivetta  Nick 160.9  $   7.80 160 9.6 4.01 172 1.26 2.8

Pivetta is younger, has the skills and looks to deliver strikeouts.  Take Darvish by all means—but preferably for single digits and after thinking twice.

Speaking of single digits…Dylan Bundy is going to pitch for Baltimore as the staff ace.  He continues to fly under the radar (86th SP off the board at #295) and out of most drafts.  In Tout Wars, he came in for a buck.  Nonetheless, he does throw strikes.  Problem is, a nontrivial number of those strikes leave the ballpark.  If he can fix his gopheritis, he will pay dividends as the Rodney Dangerfield of your staff


Rank Name ADP  Dollars IP W ERA K WHIP WAR
86 Bundy  Dylan 286.5  $ (6.40) 183 9.2 4.87 174 1.33 1.8

Chris Archer continues to torment owners.  I’ve written about him numerous times.  He projects some solid numbers.  But, is this wishful thinking?  He’s been a traditional Jekyll and Hyde throughout his career.  From one inning to the next, he’s invincible or pitching bating practice.

Rank Name ADP  Dollars IP W ERA K WHIP WAR
34 Archer  Chris 128.3  $ 16.10 191 12.4 3.64 203 1.23 3.9

In light of his history, I think this is an optimistic set of predictions and a really high price to pay for him.  In Tout Wars, he went for $8.  If he can deliver 203K, that’s a bargain—so long as you can handle the damage to your WHIP and ERA.  We can give him a bit of love because he did change teams in the middle of 2018.  Nonetheless, he moved to Pittsburgh where he has the chance to strikeout pitchers.  He’s been solid this spring, so don’t overlook him.  But, at $16 he’s an expensive risk.  Nothing a little Pepto Bismol won’t handle.

In closing… Yeah, this is a short column.  Not too much to say that has not already been said at this point.  The principal takeaways from my analysis this year:

  1. Pay for hitting. Take a look at the SP and the bats left in the dollar bin.  Pay up for hitting.
  2. Pay for strikeouts. Crash Davis may say they are boring and fascist.  In the real world, they are more expensive than lazy fly balls or grounders.  But, in fantasy, they pay.
  3. Per item 3, don’t hesitate to pick up a couple of quality middle relievers that can deliver Ks, vulture wins and vulture saves. With more bullpen usage and the perennial meltdown of closers, dependable middle relievers are worth picking up.
  4. Pay for hitting.


Good luck and best wishes in your drafts and 2019 season.

The Prof abides…

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel live on Sunday March 10th, 2019 from 8-9:45pm EST for episode #144 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. You can listen live on blogtalk,, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. Our topic this week is the Outfield for fantasy purposes.

Our guests this week are Joe Iannone and Bilal Chaudry. Joe is a writer for and his articles publish every Sunday. Bilal is the 2-time defending MLFBC champion and a frequent radio guest.

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday March 17th, 2019 from 8-9:45pm EST for episode #145 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. You can listen live on blogtalk,, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. Our topic this week is Bullpens and Catchers.

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Unrepentant Red Sox fan and all things Boston. Deflategate was a joke. Boston Latin School is awesome. Harvard and Johns Hopkins alma maters... Besides that... Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law at Washington and Lee University. Wrote for Ron Shandler's Shandler Park for two summers and have been on board with MLFS since 2011. Been at Washington and Lee since 1990 with a brief hiatus (2010-2013) in the Middle East. Currently developing that last word in Fantasy Baseball analysis. Married to Flor, Dad to William and Alex, and adopted daughter Reem. Soon to be father and law to Meaghann. Alpha male to the world's super-pup, Humphrey. Life is not bad.

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