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The Most Undervalued Pitchers: A Review

On Wednesday, I took a look back at who I calculated to be the most overvalued pitchers versus their pre-season average draft position (ADP). Today, I will review the pitchers I identified as the most undervalued. I had excluded the reliever turned starter group, but since I was very bullish on Chris Sale, I would guess he would have appeared had I not excluded them.

Mike Minor
ADP Rank: 87
My Rank: 49
Yahoo Rank: 48

Although he posted a worse ERA than I projected, he was pretty close to my other projected numbers and offset the weaker ERA with a stronger WHIP. Over the first three months of the season, he looked like a huge bust, as an insane 9.95 May ERA kept his ERA at an ugly 6.20 at the end of June. Although his xFIP suggests he wasn’t exactly pitching well, he wasn’t nearly that bad, and his luck and skills improved over the final three months. In that time, he posted a fantastic 2.21 ERA, including an 0.87 mark in September. He’s a fly ball pitcher who threw fewer first pitch strikes than average and generated a mediocre swinging strike rate. So, despite the second half surge, I’m unlikely to be hyping him this off-season. However, given that big second half, he’ll probably get a lot of sleeper love, just not from me. 1 for 1

Ted Lilly
ADP Rank: 64
My Rank: 34
Yahoo Rank: Not good enough (327 overall)

Lilly was limited to just 48.2 innings before going down with a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery. His results were good, though his skills weren’t, but that was probably at least partially due to pitching injured. These injuries have wreaked havoc with the review posts! Another loss chalked up to injury. 1 for 2

Colby Lewis
ADP Rank: 56
My Rank: 33
Yahoo Rank: 51

Lewis pitched just 105 innings before his season was cut short by a forearm injury. He was still slightly undervalued even pitching just a bit more than half the innings he threw last season. His control jumped into elite territory, which was supported by a F-Strike% that would have ranked second in baseball. Fly balls will always be problematic, especially calling The Ballpark in Arlington home, but with his combination of excellent control and above average strikeout ability, he should consistently post ERAs in the high-3.00 range. 2 for 3

Brandon Morrow
ADP Rank: 51
My Rank: 31
Yahoo Rank: 29

Ahh, injuries! Three in a row now. This time, an oblique injury cost Morrow a couple of months and limited him to just 124.2 innings. Yet, he still was severely undervalued. And surprise, surprise, his luck did a complete 180! Remember the Morrow who used to stink with runners on base and everyone wanted to come up with some sort of justification for those struggles and high overall ERA, despite excellent SIERA marks? I guess he learned overnight, as his LOB% suddenly jumped to 77.3%, well above the league average, and he had none of the BABIP or HR/FB problems he has sometimes endured in the past. Funny thing is his skills actually took a nosedive, yet his ERA dropped nearly two runs. His control took another step forward, though this was not supported by an increased F-Strike%, but his strikeout rate went into freefall, supported by a drop of two and a half percentage points in SwStk%. I don’t know what happened to the strikeouts, so it will be interesting to see how much he recovers next year. 3 for 4

Scott Baker
ADP Rank: 59
My Rank: 41
Yahoo Rank: N/A

Really? That’s 4 of the 5 pitchers on this list who were injured this season! Baker’s season ended before it even began after succumbing to elbow surgery and he ended up throwing a whopping 0.1 innings all season…at Single-A. I guess technically this one’s a loss. At least elbow surgery isn’t as scary as shoulder surgery, so Baker does have a decent shot of coming back healthy and once again contributing to fantasy teams. 3 for 5