Late and drafts and even on the waiver wire, buy lows with extremely high upside are available. In both position players and pitchers, there are oft-injured players who are also oft-productive that can be drafted late or picked up as free agents. Here are three pitchers that I think can be worth a roster spot at the start of the year.
Johan’s fantasy stock has risen with every healthy start, and he cannot be acquired for quite the same discount as earlier in the spring. Even so, his ADP of 216 shows that he can still be drafted relatively late. The days of 2006 Santana are gone, but he can still be very productive even with his lower velocity. In 2010 he still netted a 2.98 ERA, and in a healthy season I think an ERA somewhere near 3.30 would be attainable. That late in the draft, and the potential for him to put up even better numbers, makes him the type of player that is well worth the small risk.
With an ADP of 247, Bedard is my favorite pitcher on this list. Moving to the NL for the first time and pitching in a rather weak division, Bedard should see his fair share of good performances this year. He is always an injury risk, but that risk seems to be accounted for in his draft position. Netting ERAs of 3.67, 2.82, and 3.62 over the past three years, Bedard has almost always been an effective pitcher. If he gets hurt, a simple drop and add of a new pitcher would obviously be in order. Since you would be drafting him so late in your draft, losing him should not be detrimental to a team’s success.
Peavy has thrown between 101.2 and 111.2 innings in each of the past three seasons, so obviously injuries have been a serious concern with the White Sox right-hander. His 3.21 FIP from last season is certainly appealing though, and he is said to be healthy entering the year. While I most certainly do not expect a 200-inning season from Peavy, somewhere around 140 is attainable with a reasonable bill of health. His velocity, much like the other two aforementioned pitchers, is down. Even so, Peavy posted a career low walk rate last season and has turned into a stellar control pitcher as he has entered the post-peak of his career. His ballpark certainly doesn’t help, but his home run rate was one of the lowest marks of his career and his biggest issue last season was in his BABIP and LOB%. I could see both numbers remaining relatively poor, but not quite to the level of last year.
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