For a different publication I have recently looked at the hitters that all three of Steamer, ZiPS, and Mike Podhorzer’s projections like more and like less than their current ADP. I like this little exercise as a tool to find value. It’s admittedly not a great way to identify sleepers in the sense of identifying breakout players. But it is a good way to identify sleepers in the sense of identifying guys who should give you good return on investment, even if the margins aren’t huge.
To do this little exercise, I simply ran the Pod and ZiPS projections through the old Zach Sanders z-score method, and I took the Steamer rankings from the Auction Calculator. I based the rankings on a 12-team mixed league with 25 roster slots (aka the standard ESPN setup). I then compared the rankings to the ESPN, Yahoo, and NFBC composite ADP from FantasyPros and found the 34 guys that all three projection systems like more than their ADP. Below I’ll discuss a few of the pitchers with the biggest gap between the rankings and ADP, and at the end of the post I’ll list all 34. On Wednesday I’ll look at the pitchers that all the rankings like less than their ADP.
Phil Hughes ⋅ SP ⋅ Minnesota Twins
It’s fair for drafters to assume that Hughes is due for some regression. If he can maintain a 1.9% walk rate for another full season, I’ll eat my foot. But for two years straight he’s been throwing a ton of first pitch strikes, and last year he started throwing a ton of strikes in all counts. Presumably this was a conscious decision and not something that’s likely to change all that much given how effective the strategy was for Hughes. That’s surely part of the reason that the projections like Hughes more than his ADP, which is 69 among pitchers (including relievers).
Steamer and Pod have him ranked about 20 spots higher than that, and ZiPS is exceedingly optimistic ranking him in the top 20 among pitchers. ZiPS has Hughes repeating his double digit K/BB ratio, which is more than I’m willing to hope for. But I have absolutely no problem taking him somewhere around the 40th starting pitcher off the board.
Brandon McCarthy ⋅ SP ⋅ Los Angeles Dodgers
McCarthy’s name came up when I did a similar exercise earlier in the offseason just using the Steamer projections. You can read more of my thought process on McCarthy in that post. Here I’ll just point out that with an ADP of 63 among starters, McCarthy is going late in mixed leagues and in the range of guys who will likely be dropped at some point and become streaming candidates. With rankings of 25 and 32 among starters, Steamer and Pod have him as more than just a streaming option and a guy to be owned at all times in mixed leagues. ZiPS has him more in stream territory with a ranking of 54. As mentioned in my previous post, McCarthy is one of those guys that has a fair amount of upside from the middle to which the systems project. For that reason, McCarthy is a good flier late in drafts as a guy who can potentially be a wire-to-wire member of your fantasy rotation.
Jake Peavy ⋅ SP ⋅ San Francisco Giants
Peavy is another guy I touched on recently when I wrote up the Giants rotation. The long and short of it is that Peavy should benefit from a full year of the NL and San Francisco’s home park after a rough stint in Boston early in 2014. One would imagine the effect that his time in Boston had on his overall numbers for the year are scaring drafters, but in the regular season with the Giants he had a 2.06 ERA in 12 starts. Not that you should be expecting anything like that, but a nice bounce back may be in order.
He’s going undrafted in most mixed leagues, but all three projection systems have him ranked as if he should be drafted in even ten-team mixed leagues. Steamer and ZiPS have him ranked high enough that he might be more than just a streaming candidate in mixed leagues. In any deeper format he’s definitely a guy you can draft and count on owning all year, but he probably ends up a streamer in mixed leagues.
Below are all 34 guys that all three projection systems like more than their ADP. I’m breaking them up into starters and relievers and listing them in order of their ADP.
Starters: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Marcus Stroman, Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes, Francisco Liriano, Collin McHugh, Brandon McCarthy, Danny Salazar, John Lackey, Drew Hutchinson, Yusmeiro Petit, Mike Leake, Mike Minor, Jason Hammel, Jake Peavy, Wei-Yin Chen, Dan Haren, Jason Vargas, Bartolo Colon, Chase Anderson, J.A. Happ, Kris Medlen