This article is part of our Baseball Draft Kit series.
Another year, another Dodgers World Series loss, and another year of emerging and declining starting pitchers. Jacob deGrom was the best pitcher in the game, Aaron Nola became an ace and Blake Snell took his swinging-strike rate from 10.8% to an elite 15.1% and won the AL Cy Young Award. Each year it seemingly gets more difficult to say anything new in terms of pitcher valuation, but in fantasy leagues, it remains critical to be able to look at more than the end-of-year statistics on the back of a baseball card. Fortunately, we now realize that win/loss record is a team-dependent statistic that provides no real predictive value for pitchers. If you've picked up this magazine, there's a high likelihood that you are familiar with FIP, K/9, HR/FB rate, and BABIP. In this piece, I'll share what I do to put together my starting pitching rankings.
Here are five things I consider in setting my starting pitching draft board:
1 ADVANCED METRICS
2 YOUTH AND UPSIDE
3 PREVIOUS YEAR FINISH
4 PITCHERS RETURNING FROM INJURY
5 FASTBALL VELOCITY
All else being equal, you're going to want to target pitchers who miss bats and avoid free passes. On occasion, however, perhaps due to factors outside their control (poor bullpen, bad luck on balls in play), some of those pitchers have high prior-year ERAs. FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) incorporates strikeouts, walks and home runs while stripping out the randomness of balls in play. Targeting pitchers with ERAs significantly higher than