Dennis Wierzbicki / USA Today Sports

2017 Fantasy Baseball: Top 24 Starting Pitchers ADP Report

The 2017 Fantasy Baseball season is right around the corner so we're bringing you average draft position reports that touch upon what you need to know: rankings, studs, sleepers, values, busts and players to avoid.

Top 24 Starting Pitchers ADP Report

C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF1 | OF2 | OF3 | SP1 | SP2 | SP3 | CL

With the National Fantasy Baseball Championship coming up, I thought I would take some time to look at the current draft flow in March. I’ve put together the top 400 or so players drafted in 168 drafts in the NFBC to get help get a feel for each player’s value. Completed drafts are a great tool for Fantasy owners to get a feel for a player’s average draft position or ADP. By knowing the potential round a targeted player may go in, a Fantasy owner may be able to add a few more pieces to the puzzle with a good feel for drafts flow and timing.

The key is finding the drop-offs at each position plus knowing when there is a huge step down at a position if you miss a targeted player. Each owner at the draft table will have a different start to their roster leading to different paths to their team development.

To help get a feel for the player pool, I’ve highlighted some players at each position to show their possible value in 2017. Here is the table that shows what each color means:

Here is a list of the top 24 starting pitchers in 2017 based on ADPs in March from the NFBC:

The front of the pitching inventory has talent up front, but the depth doesn’t look as strong as it’s been in the previous couple of seasons. Max Scherzer will start the year on the DL leading to him being possibly discounted in drafts. He’s recovering from a knuckle injury that required surgery in January. I don’t think he’ll miss more than two or three starts. I’ve discounted David Price five starts already while waiting for his next update on his left elbow. Price has an ADP of 80 in March with a high of 45 and low of 163. The news on Carlos Carrasco doesn’t some good. I have Carlos on my avoid list until there’s a better update. Swelling in his right elbow can’t be a good sign. The Indians are painting a better picture of the injury.

I see what I would call eight foundation pitchers – Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Jake Arrieta, Chris Sale, Madison Bumgarner, Noah Syndergaard, Yu Darvish, and Corey Kluber. For any pitcher to offer an edge in 2017, he will need 15+ wins with a sub 3.00 ERA and 225+ Ks. Max Scherzer is the only pitcher with an injury that I still consider a stud.

Jon Lester, Johnny Cueto, and Justin Verlander fall into the steady category with each arm possibly offering repeated upside.

Stephen Strasburg has the skill set to be a foundation ace, but he continues to have injury risk. Chris Archer has high upside in Ks, and Fantasy owners are attracted to him this year. I’d much rather own him as an SP2 while I’m willing to gamble on Strasburg as an ace if I wait on starting pitching.

Jacob deGrom is a worthy gamble as an ace with favorable price point. He has a career 2.74 ERA the majors over 479.1 innings while striking out 492 batters.

Danny Duffy and Aaron Sanchez both make a nice step forward in 2016. Their path points to more upside in 2017.

At this point of spring training, I’m not in on Zack Greinke. The velocity of his fastball has been down in March. His high resume so Greinke could still be a nice value with better news later in the preseason games.

Kyle Hendricks pitched great in 2016. This season he’ll be drafted as high-value SP2. I know the Cubs will win many games, and his secondary stuff is exceptional, but I might not be able to pull the trigger on him in the 5th.

Carlos Martinez has the talent to have a further breakout, but he needs to lower his walk rate.

Overall, a Fantasy owner needs a pair of aces to be competitive on the pitching side in the high stakes Fantasy baseball market. The winning ERA and WHIP totals did fade in 2016, which increase the value of a player of Clayton Kershaw. A Fantasy owner can’t fall asleep when securing an ace as many teams will double down on the pitching side. The hitting inventory looks much stronger in 2017 leading to a change in draft flow for starting pitching.

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