11 Interesting Pitching Draft Prices in the #TooEarlyMocks

Justin is running his annual Too Early Mocks and the wonderful Smada has once again compiled the average draft data for our perusal.

The Top 3 SPs: Jacob deGrom, Shane Bieber, Gerrit Cole – deGrom went 1 in one league and Cole went 4 in another, but otherwise they averaged 7.7, 9.2, and 10.3, respectively. It’s not that I’m against the hitters going top 6 (Betts, Acuña, Tatis, Trout, Soto, and Turner), but I don’t understand how the mega aces aren’t more often in the top 3. I feel like the community at large is pushing pitching up (and not just the NFBC ecosystem), but the best of the best still don’t go high enough as far as I’m concerned.

Dinelson Lamet 53.7 ADP – He was unquestionably excellent as he flipped his pitch mix to throw the slider 53% of the time and his fastball was the best we’ve ever seen it, but he’s still at best a two-pitch guy and ended the season with a biceps injury that cost him the playoffs. That said, his slot as the 19th starter off the board matches where I put him in my initial rankings. Short of developing a third pitch, my biggest questions are whether or not the fastball can remain a plus offering and if he can continue to keep the ball in the yard – those are no doubt related as the fastball improvements played a big role his 8% HR/FB rate.

Corbin Burnes 65.7 – A brilliant 59.7-inning run has boosted Burnes’ price substantially and while it’s undoubtedly a small sample, it is backed by major changes. He added a tick of velocity up to 96 mph while also curbing his fastball usage quite a bit (-20 points to 37%) and funneling it into a spicy new 93 mph cutter (31%) and useful 89 mph changeup (11%). Not only did he drop his fastball usage, but he shifted it from four-seamers to sinkers and it was a plus offering. Honestly, this is probably just the beginning for Burnes as I expect his price to run even higher as the offseason move on.

Marco Gonzales 128.4 – These crafty lefties are usually available at a perfectly reasonable rate and I’m actually pretty surprised to see Gonzales carrying a 9th round price tag. It’s not even that I don’t think he’s worth it as I quite like him, I just didn’t expect the market to pony up and as I’m faced with this price, I’m learning that I like based on what I expected him to cost more than anything else.

Dustin May 128.6 – The GIF King could be one of the most over-drafted arms in the 2021 draft because while his raw stuff is truly nasty, it doesn’t quite generate the most fantasy-friendly results. He does have a fantastic 2.98 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in his 90.7 innings, but his 3.96 FIP puts a little damper on the ERA while his 21% K rate falls well short elite. He just doesn’t have a swing-and-miss offering yet. Well that’s not exactly true. The curveball is certainly developing into one, but he only throws it 13% of the time. This current draft price (40th SP) isn’t that bad, but given that it’s the starting point, I worry he’ll only go higher and considering I ranked him 51st, I’m out.

Ian Anderson 131.3 – If I asked which Ian would cost more for 2021 – Anderson or Happ – Happ would’ve been the unquestioned answer until sometime in mid-September and now three starts into the playoffs, it seems Anderson has flipped the script. He went 12 picks higher than Happ on average and 15.7 scoreless playoff innings will likely push them even further apart, especially since Happ finished the season with a .153/.247/.181 line in 81 PA.

Chris Bassitt 165.3 – After quietly putting up a 2.29 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 63 IP this year, Bassitt now has 254.7 IP of a 3.29 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 43 starts and 7 relief appearances. His 22% K rate doesn’t really jump off the page, but he’s shaved the walk rate down year-over-year since 2018 from 9% to 7%. He loves his home ballpark with a 2.31 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 128.7 in Oakland over this three year period while posting a passable 4.29/1.29 combo on the road. He should enter 2021 with a starting role and this seems like a pretty fair price.

Shohei Ohtani 167.9 – I was very dialed into Ohtani’s market price as he’s a massive wildcard entering 2021 for not only fantasy folks but the Angels, too. They will have a new GM who will have to decide if they will continue to deploy Ohtani as a two-way player, something he still very much wants. I was high on Ohtani given that I could always just use him as a hitter if pitching didn’t work out. The pitching failed spectacularly in 2020 and while he did have 7 HR and 7 SB, it came with a .190/.291/.366 line and he wasn’t in the lineup every day in September thanks to emergence of Jared Walsh so it’s safe to say I whiffed on him.

Josh Hader 91.9 – Despite finishing just 11th among relievers on Razzball’s Player Rater, he was still the top closer off the board, going a couple spots higher than Liam Hendriks (94.3). Hader didn’t give up a hit for his first 12 outings or a run in his first nine and led the National League in saves (13), but a second straight season of home run issues and a massive spike in walk rate (+6 points to 13%) led to a 3.79 ERA and 4.03 FIP. He had one outing with five walks and another four earned runs so it’s worth wondering if he would have gotten through it over the course of a six-month season. It seems the market thinks he would have and has him tabbed as the top closer still.

Nick Anderson 148.4 – Insanely good ratios (0.55 ERA, 0.49 WHIP) made him the 10th-best reliever in fantasy despite just six saves and 16.3 innings (196 relievers had more). He did manage 26 strikeouts in that time but it was definitely allowing just eight base runners and one run that slotted him above the likes of Hader, Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Pressly, and Mark Melancon, all of whom had nearly twice as many saves. He’s going as the 6th-highest reliever but it’s unlikely the Rays five him enough save opportunities to be one of the league’s best so he’ll need premium ratios again to remain a top reliever.

Devin Williams 168.4 – Williams didn’t get a single save, but he was 3rd among relievers on the Player Rater. His ratios were almost better than Anderson’s (0.33 ERA, 0.63 WHIP) and he pitched 27 innings, notching an obscene 53 strikeouts in that time along with a 4-1 record. If he and Hader are on the same team, there will only be so many saves to go around meaning his ratios will need to be off the charts again to justify his top 10 reliever draft slot. As much as I love watching Williams, I subscribe to the Scott Pianowski method with these types in that I’m far more interested in finding the next Devin Williams rather than overpaying for the established one, especially when the closer’s role doesn’t seem to be within reach at the moment.





Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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dukewinslow
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dukewinslow

As someone who profited immensely off of Anderson this year, he feels like someone who will do well the first 5 or so starts, then the league will catch up to him and he might slow down a bit.