RotoGraphs Mock Draft Rds 6-10 – AL SP Results

This morning, we published the results from rounds 6-10 in the early RotoGraphs mock draft. Apparently, I was asleep at the wheel because I missed the request for drafters, which is why you don’t see my name as a participant. Though it is unfortunate to miss another chance at experiencing the best part of every fantasy season, at least I can remain an unbiased observer. As the resident American League starting pitcher analyst, let’s go through those pitchers who were selected at this point in the draft, including where they were picked in last year’s RG mock, of which I did participate.

Player Overall Last Year
CC Sabathia 65 64
Chris Sale 70 186
Jered Weaver 72 63
Matt Moore 77 52
Jake Peavy 107 N/A
Jarrod Parker 111 257

Not surprisingly, one of the most consistently good starting pitchers in baseball went at nearly the exact same pick in the two drafts. CC Sabathia is always good for a boatload of innings, around 200 strikeouts, a low-3.00 ERA, a WHIP between 1.10 and 1.20, and a strong win total thanks to the Yankees offense. However, the first red flags may be flying. In October, he underwent surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow and he also missed some time during the season due to a groin injury. The injury issues combined with a loss of over a mile per hour on his fastball suggest that he should cost less than he did in drafts last year. He could certainly be fine and have another vintage Sabathia season, but I think he’s riskier than he has been in a while.

Obviously, Chris Sale made a huge leap compared to last year’s mock. I was a huge Sale fan myself heading into last season, but I likely won’t end up owning him on any teams this year. I laid out my concerns last month and they are really all health related. If I knew he would make it through the season without a hitch, then this is a fine pick, as I do think that he is a legitimate ace. He just scares me.

Jered Weaver‘s draft slot dropped a bit, and rightly so. His strikeout rate declined for a second straight season, finishing at the second lowest mark of his career. That was supported by a drop in SwStk% and a very concerning decline in fastball velocity. He failed to average even 88 miles per hour, despite averaging around 89-90 miles per hour throughout his career. His SIERA also jumped back above 4.00, but we know that Weaver always outperforms those metrics. Still, it tells us that his skills were weaker last season. On the plus side, he will have a potentially elite offense backing him so he does have a decent shot to win 20 games again.

The highly hyped in 2011 Matt Moore was probably drafted too early back then and now looks like fair value at 77. I provided my thoughts on him a month ago and remain a big fan. If he could improve his control, which I think he will, and perhaps significantly, he will be a dark horse Cy Young candidate. In addition, I would be surprised if he didn’t get that strikeout rate well above a batter per inning.

One of last season’s big surprises was Jake Peavy. The condition of his shoulder was a legitimately huge concern. But, better BABIP and LOB% luck led to a a big rebound year, even though his peripherals were virtually identical to 2011 when he posted a 4.92 ERA. As long as more health issues don’t creep up, and that’s obviously no guarantee, then he shouldn’t see much performance regression and earn his draft spot.

In any other season, Jarrod Parker would have had a good shot at winning Rookie of the Year honors. Unfortunately, he picked a bad year to make his full-season debut. Though he benefited from such good fortune, he showed a nice foundation of skills in his first year. Digging deeper, we find that there is some upside as well, as his SwStk% suggests a better strikeout rate and his minor league batted ball rates give us hope for a higher ground ball percentage. However, I think this was too early for him. I prefer multiple guys who were taken later and would have liked Parker more in the early teen rounds, rather than in the 10th.

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Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. He also sells beautiful photos through his online gallery, Pod's Pics. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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That’s 3 years in a row for Weaver’s K rate falling – 25.8%, 21.4%, 19.2% – with swstr%, FB velocity falling as well. I’m not going anywhere near him.