2018 Dudes & Don’ts Recap: The Pitchers
Like I mentioned in the Outfield recap, most of the preamble to this series can be found in Part One. Part One of my fantasy basbeall review is the Infield recap, Part Two is the Outfielders, and Part Three here is the Pitchers. For the first time, I even included Closers this year. The Dudes here were cheap during draft season as we searched for profit, while the Don’ts were being drafted too highly in my estimation. Let’s see how things turned out.
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2018 Fantasy Baseball Review
Lance McCullers, Jr., Houston Astros
Projection: 140 IP, 14 W, 165 K, 3.25 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Final Line: 128.1 IP, 10 W, 142 K’, 3.86 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
Analysis: I mentioned in his write-up that I’d draft him as my #3 behind two more stable options due to the injury concern, and if you did that you were certainly ok. I only gave him 140 innings because of his extreme durability concerns, but he couldn’t even get that far. Like we saw in Spring Training, his fastball and changeup posted the best results of his career. Weirdly, his curveball took a step back, and the control regressed as I had expected. All it will take for him to be hugely profitable is just to pitch 180 innings one year, but you have to buy him at a discount since that’s an unlikely outcome.
Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays
Projection: 180 IP, 13 W, 185 K, 3.40 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Final Line: 180.2 IP, 21 W, 221 K, 1.89 ERA, 0.97 WHIP
Analysis: I love when my optimistic projections wind up looking conservative. Snell was the 57th pitcher off the board! By identifying Snell’s improvements over the second half of 2017, I was able to find a very underrated pitcher during draft season. It’s almost impossible for anyone to post a sub-2.00 ERA and win 20 games, so this will probably go down as Snell’s career year. His ERA indicators all put him around a 3.00 ERA though, so it’s not like he did this with smoke and mirrors. He now has a curveball/slider/changeup combo to go with a 95 MPH heater from the left side, which pretty much describes the perfect pitcher. He’s a flat-out ace. Imagine if he pitched in the NL East and didn’t have to face the Yankees and Red Sox all the time!
Jordan Montgomery, New York Yankees
Projection: 180 IP, 15 W, 180 K, 4.00 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
Final Line: 27.1 IP, 2 W, 23 K, 3.62 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
Analysis: Montgomery made just six starts before missing the rest of the season due to Tommy John surgery. Such are the vagaries of pitching in the modern era.
Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks
Projection: 200 IP, 16 W, 190 K, 3.60 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
Final Line: 200 IP, 11 W, 246 K, 3.15 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
Analysis: I was so jacked about Corbin during the offseason that I wrote him up twice. It’s nice when a plan comes together like this! All Corbin did was finish fifth in MLB in strikeouts and garner NL Cy Young consideration as the 232nd overall pick this spring. Like I mentioned all offseason here on HQ and on the Nasty Cast, Corbin jacked up the use of his slider over the second half of 2017, and he flourished as a result. He even found a way to manipulate his slider to make it more of a curveball to switch things up as somewhat of a third pitch, and everything worked. He’s going to make a lot of money this offseason.
Deep League Dude: Tyler Mahle, Cincinnati Reds
Projection: 165 IP, 10 W, 140 K, 4.25 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
Final Line: 112 IP, 7 W, 110 K, 4.98 ERA, 1.59 WHIP
Analysis: Well, I went super deep to try to find a diamond in the rough at ADP 341. All I came back with here is some rough. Mahle was a control artist throughout the minors, but he’s shown poor control as a major leaguer. That probably speaks to his stuff – or lack thereof. I don’t see much here to get excited about in the future.
Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks
Projection: 170 IP, 13 W, 160 K, 3.75 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
Final Line: 207.2 IP, 15 W, 199 K, 3.21 ERA, 1.08 WHIP
Analysis: It’s not that I was saying Greinke would have a horrible season, but he had too many concerns for me in the preseason. His velocity was way down, and he was already dealing with injuries before the season began. Obviously he turned out to be just fine, but if I had to make the same decision based on the facts at hand at the moment, I’d avoid him again. His velocity remained down 1.5 MPH in 2018, but he managed to pitch effectively anyway. He’ll be 35 next year, his velo could take another hit, and I’ve probably drafted him for the last time already.
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels
Projection: 350 PA, 40 R, 14 HR, 50 RBI, 8 SB, .240 AVG / 140 IP, 10 W, 155 K, 3.50 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Final Line: 367 PA, 59 R, 22 HR, 61 RBI, 10 SB, .285 AVG / 51.2 IP, 4 W, 63 K, 3.31 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
Analysis: There is so much to say here, but I’ll keep it brief. I was avoiding Ohtani because of his ADP of 71 when I thought he would neither get enough at-bats nor innings to be an impact fantasy option. Essentially that was the way to go. It’s sad that he’ll need Tommy John and won’t pitch in 2019, but perhaps he’ll get enough at-bats to be a good fantasy hitter. He proved himself to be a better hitter than I had expected, so if he can DH 4-5 times a week next year, he’ll be a viable power/speed option in all mixed leagues.
Gio Gonzalez, Milwaukee Brewers
Projection: 170 IP, 13 W, 150 K, 4.15 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
Final Line: 171 IP, 10 W, 148 K, 4.21 ERA, 1.44 WHIP
Analysis: Gio was drafted as a top 40 starter, and the very notion of that shook me to my very core. Alright, so perhaps that’s a bit dramatic, but he was an easy avoid for me this year. He pitched a full run under his peripherals in 2017 with bad control, and those regression hens finally came home to roost in 2018. He’s a deep league streamer at this point in his career.
The Dude: Shane Greene, Detroit Tigers
Projection: 65 IP, 28 SV, 70 K, 3.55 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Final Line: 63.1 IP, 32 SV, 65 K, 5.12 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
Analysis: I’m laughing pretty hard as I write this. Shane Greene has to be the worst closer to have kept his job all year. Perhaps the only reason he wasn’t traded was that he was injured around the trade deadline. Or maybe because he’s not that good. In any case, he got you 32 saves, and as I like to say when you’re drafting cheap closers, “saves is saves”.
The Don’t: Jeurys Familia, Oaklans Athletics
Projection: 65 IP, 15 SV, 60 K, 4.00 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Final Line: 72 IP, 18 SV, 83 K, 3.13 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
Analysis: This was the risk-adverse part of me telling me to avoid Familia. His job wasn’t set in stone coming into the season, he was coming off surgery, and he wasn’t himself in 2017. As the 16th closer off the board, that was too much risk. He turned out to be fine physically and gave you great reliever numbers, but just 18 saves because he got traded to Oakland.
Deep League Dude: Nate Jones, Chicago White Sox
Projection: 65 IP, 30 SV, 75 K, 2.75 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Final Line: 30 IP, 5 SV, 32 K, 3.00 ERA, 1.43 WHIP
Analysis: Joakim Soria (who I debated putting here instead of Jones) wound up leading the Pale Hose in saves with 16. I mentioned hedging your bets here and drafting both, and if you took Soria you were in good shape. Jones wound up missing a chunk of the season due to injuries, unfortunately. Soria was a good option if you went with him, going 60.2 IP, 16 SV, 75 K, 3.12 ERA, 1.14 WHIP. I don’t know that there’s a huge takeaway here, because speculating on cheap saves is always risky business. Just look for talent and opportunity.
That will wrap up this look back at my 2018 Dudes & Don’ts. As always, hit me up @NathanDokken on Twitter or leave me a note in the comments with any input you have. Stay locked into FantraxHQ this offseason! It won’t be long before we’ll be pumping out rankings and profiles for 2019.
It’s never too early to get ready for the 2019 season. Start studying with Van Lee, Jeff Zimmerman, and Rob Silver on the Launch Angle Podcast.