With drafts beginning to ramp up, it is important to monitor where players are being drafted on a regular basis. Throughout draft season, I will be doing that work for you with regular updates on the Average Draft Position on NFBC up until Opening Day. You can find all the pieces in this series here.
Top 100 Players Rising
Top 100 Players Falling
Luis Castillo (-9.52)- It is a bit surprising to see Castillo drop considering how strong his season finished in 2021. Castillo was atrocious to start the year, but posted a 3.18 ERA in the second half with 96 strikeouts in 85 innings. However, I worry about Castillo as a top tier pitcher. Even in his strong second half, he posted a 1.31 WHIP and the defense behind him is still pretty bad with the Reds needing to find a defensive spot for Suarez and Moustakas. If he were to be moved to a better park, I would become more interested, but until that happens, I am going to continue to fade Castillo.
Yu Darvish (-12.29)- Darvish had a tale of two halves which is likely the cause of his slipping ADP. While he started out strong, from the beginning of July he struggled to keep the ball in the yard or strand runners. One would have to wonder how much the crackdown on sticky stuff had an effect. It is hard to believe that Darvish is just done at this point in his career, but considering how deep starting pitching is this season, I would prefer to not pay a top 100 price on him and go with safer options.
Top 200 Players Rising
Justin Verlander (+45.4)- Verlander is rising after the news of him signing a big one year deal to return to the Astros. While people are getting excited, I am not ready to jump on the bandwagon. Verlander had Tommy John surgery in late September of 2020, so he has had plenty of time to heal, but until I see him on the mound in Spring, I will not be near where he is going in ADP.
Eduardo Rodriguez (+17.62)- E-Rod is rising after signing a long term deal in Detroit. I love this fit for him. It is a good park to play in and a great division in terms of opponents. Hopefully the addition of Baez will help some of the infield defense as well. I think the price is fair and may even drop a little as drafts go on, which makes him an interesting mid round target in most formats.
Top 200 Players Falling
Luis Severino– (-22.42)- I am surprised to see Severino falling in early drafts. Unlike Tommy John returnees like Verlander and Clevinger, he pitched innings down the stretch in 2021 and even pitched in the postseason. My guess is the drop has to do with Steamers projections on him, but I don’t love their numbers for him. They project him to have a home run rate of 1.32 hr/9 when his home run rate hasn’t been that in a season since 2016. I am not a big fan of drafting guys in their first season back from Tommy John surgery, but if I were to draft one this season, it’s Severino.
Ranger Suárez (-20.31)- Suarez’s fall likely has to do with the lack of track record as a starter. However, his work as a starter was extremely impressive. He was able to continue to keep the ball on the ground and with the same kind of strikeouts while impressively going deep into games by the end of the season. There will be regression, but this reminds so much of Carlos Carraso’s transition from the bullpen into the rotation and the price is pretty good and dropping.
Clayton Kershaw (-19.12)- Kershaw is dropping because he is not signed and ended the year injured. This drop is warranted and honestly, it isn’t enough for me. The talent isn’t in question, but there are serious questions about his health heading into 2022 and there has even been rumors he could retire. There is absolutely no way I can draft him this season until I see him on a mound in spring training.
José Urquidy (-23.72)- I am a bit surprised to see Urquidy dropping, but it may have to do with his poor playoff performance. There is also the lack of strikeouts, good BABIP luck, and homer issues that may be hurting him. Urquidy is a tough one for me to rank because I like his stuff when I watch him pitch, but it doesn’t get him enough strikeouts and the depth of the position this year makes him pretty unsexy considering later options.
Top 300 Players Rising
Anthony DeSclafani (+31.8), Alex Wood (+22.69), Alex Cobb (+67.64)- I lump these three together because they are all getting a bump after their signings with the Giants. Considering the Giants track record recently with pitchers and the home park it is easy to see why people are getting excited. I have some hesitations with Wood and Cobb given their health track records, but I think all offer decent values at their ADPs.
Steven Matz (+66.95)- Matz’s jump has everything to do with leaving New York for St. Louis. He is moving to a great park with a fantastic defense behind him. Add in the fact he is moving to one of the best divisions in baseball to pitch in and I actually think he still represents pretty good value where he is going.
Bailey Ober (+27.16)- Ober is an interesting guy that is getting a lot of sleeper buzz from some pretty smart people in the industry early in draft season. I like the potential he has as a guy that can get strikeouts and doesn’t walk many, but his flyball tendency leads to too many home runs which is concerning. We also don’t know if he can go deep into games regularly. If he continues to rise, I don’t think I will be able to pay the price.
Top 300 Players Falling
John Means (-21.26)- Means’ fall likely has to do with his struggles in the second half and his ERA indicators not lining up with his season line. He really struggled with homers in the second half, but part of that was a really bad start in the last game of the season. There is talk that he will be traded out of Baltimore which would help his value a lot. I am buying on Means because at worst he stays in Baltimore, but if he got to a different park, I think we could see a huge return in value.
Huascar Ynoa (-22.53)- The drop for Ynoa is likely due to health after being taken off the Braves roster in the playoff due to a shoulder issue. I love the talent Ynoa has, but there is a ton of risk here if he is not healthy. I have already taken the gamble on him once this offseason, but I would need his price to stay low in order to do so.
Cal Quantrill (-33.07)- It is a bit strange to see Quantrill drop in drafts as he was a popular late sleeper heading into 2021 and all he did was put up a fantastic season as a reliever and then a starter. His ability to go deep into games with great command and good control makes him very enticing in spite of lackluster strikeouts. There is concern that he could end up like teammate Zach Plesac, but I like the low investment play on Quantrill as long as the price stays low.
Aaron Civale (-23.07)- Civale’s drop likely has a lot to do with his struggles when he returned from injury. I don’t worry as much about that as I do about the lack of strikeouts with the command issues that have popped up the last two seasons. The price is fair, so he isn’t off my draft board, but he is not a top priority.
Drew Rasmussen (-20.46)- Why is Rasmussen dropping? I don’t get it personally. My guess is it has to do with the lack of track record between the Majors and Minors, but he was very impressive in his stretch with the Rays last season. He does a great job at limiting home runs and a very good WHIP and while the swinging strike rate is mediocre, he gets a lot of called strikes. I think he is likely in the Rays rotation out of the gate and is a good gamble especially if the price continues to drop.
Marco Gonzales (-21.07)- Gonzales had an atrocious start for the season, but really came on strong in the second half. His drop likely has to do with the lack of strikeouts and his ERA indicators not lining up well with his surface stats. That being said, he has always outperformed those indicators and is a nice innings eater in a great park on a team that should be getting better and better.
Pitcher ADP Market Report: 12/31/21
Positional eligibility and ADP are based on NFBC Draft Champions leagues.