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The Most Overvalued Pitchers: A Review

I continue my quest at taking a look back at my pre-season predictions and claims by checking in on who I believed to be the most overvalued starting pitchers. Pitcher valuations are easier and there should be less controversy (well, none at all!) over position eligibility. I’ll use Yahoo again, but any obvious relief pitchers who happen to have SP eligibility on the site will not be included in the rankings.

Ricky Romero
ADP- 23
My Rank- 46
Yahoo Rank- Major negative value, ranked 1,489 overall, not going to count among SPs!

The argument for Romero being overvalued all came down to his fortunate 2011 ERA. His SIERA was identical in 2010 and 2011, yet his ERA dropped about .80 points due to a flukey .242 BABIP. So, obviously fantasy owners drafted him like he was suddenly a top pitcher and ignored his underlying peripherals. While I did still like Romero and was intrigued by his skill set, I just thought he became too pricey. Of course, even I didn’t expect the epic collpase he experienced this year. While his strong ground ball rate remained, his strikeout rate fell and he threw fewer first pitches strikes, which led to his walk rate skyrocketing. I’d still take a chance on him cheaply in an AL-Only league and would not give up on him in mixed leagues either. 1 for 1

Daniel Hudson
ADP- 22
My Rank- 38
Yahoo Rank- Ranked 975 overall

Hudson was limited to just 45.1 innings before going down with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. Though his peripherals were pretty much in line with previous seasons, insanely poor marks in all three “luck” metrics inflated his ERA to 7.35. Whether that was because he was pitching injured, we cannot be sure. He is apparently on track to return next midseason, but odds of him earning positive value if he actually does is low. 2 for 2

Ian Kennedy
ADP- 18
My Rank- 31
Yahoo Rank- 54

Not surprisingly, Kennedy’s luck ran out as his BABIP jumped back to league average (actually above it) and his ability to prevent home runs on fly balls at a lower than league average rate could not be repeated. His skills were very close to what he posted in 2011, so it really came down to the difference in the luck metrics. Given his disappointing season, fantasy owners will likely view 2011 now as a fluke and he could very well be undervalued now in next year’s drafts. 3 for 3

C.J. Wilson
ADP- 21
My Rank- 32
Yahoo Rank- 70

As I predicted, Wilson’s walk rate jumped as his F-Strike% remained below league average. In addition, he was unable to sustain a a strikeout rate over 8.0 as his SwStk% simply isn’t high enough. He’ll need to continue enjoying low BABIP marks in order to keep earning strong value in mixed leagues, and that’s never something I want to bet on. This is espectially true for a ground ball pitcher, since those go for hits more frequently than fly balls, and one who doesn’t induce many pop-ups or give up a low percentage of line drives. He may actually be fairly valued for a change next season. 4 for 4

Stephen Strasburg
ADP- 16
My Rank- 24
Yahoo Rank- 15

Look, I loved(d) Strasburg, who doesn’t? I projected a 3.01 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, which was actually better than what he finished with. I was right on with the innings pitched, but a little low on the wins and strikeouts. Amazingly, when I change my wins and strikeout projections to what he actually posted, he gains about $8 of value. So that basically makes up the entire difference between what he earned and what I projected him to earn. If there’s one nitpick, it’s that I would have liked to see a higher ground ball rate like what he flashed in the minors. This is the only player on this list where it was simple math that landed him here as opposed to projected performance that differed from the crowd. It’s also the most satisfying player to have my only loss with. 4 for 5