Rotisserie rotation

Rotisserie drafts are about to start in earnest and preceding these drafts are all sorts of analysis about who to draft and why. I’ve already finished two drafts and will be finishing up a 3rd this week.

I peruse Rotowire, BaseballHQ, and Fangraphs to help me get a leg up or at least stay relevant. It is not easy staying on top of every player on every roster and all the prospects who might have some production value in 2017 but this is the part of baseball that I love.

Everyone has an opinion and as new baseball statistics enter the fray each year, how these stats are used in conjunction with old fashioned scouting is always something I’m looking at.

With that in mind, over at rotowire Doug Thorburn has a new piece up about his top 30 fantasy pitchers. Doug also writes for Baseball Prospectus. Rotowire is behind a paywall but if you have a subscription here is the link. This is a three part series.

I’ll post for you the Dodger-centric information. Of the top 30 pitchers, he has four Dodgers listed which is the best by far.

  • Kershaw is of course number one.
  • Hill is 26
  • Kenta is 27
  • Urias is 29

Three of the Dodgers check in from 26 – 29 so while they have four of the top thirty, the final three just make the cut.

Here are some excerpts about why they made the top 30:

Rich Hill
DT Rank: 26
If looking just at the rate stats, Hill potentially belongs in top-15 territory, given his exceptional ERA, WHIP and strikeout numbers over the past two seasons. The issue is that he has only pitched a total of 139.1 innings at the highest level over that time. This is an older player (age-37 season in ‘17) who has only pitched more than 111 innings once in his career, and that was back in 2007. He looked like waiver-bait at the start of the 2016 season with Oakland but quickly turned things around, and all of a sudden he’s a hot commodity despite languishing on the Dodgers bench for over a month after he was traded due to blisters on his pitching hand. Hill is an extreme case of great-ratios over a small sample, and employing his services means that fantasy managers run the risk that his numbers don’t hold up over a larger sample and/or that sample will never come to fruition. He ranks high on this list, but drafting Hill requires that another starter be picked up post-haste in order to cover for the innings.

The caveat for Hill is the same everywhere. How many innings will Rich Hill pitch in 2017? I have not drafted Rich Hill in any league so far, I love the Rich Hill story but not enough to invest in him unless he’s available at a point that makes sense for me. So far in my three NFBC drafts, Rich Hill has gone in the 9th round each time.

Julio Urias
DT Rank: 29

It seems there is no limit to Urias’ potential, but the Dodgers have shown such restraint that there’s no telling whether the young southpaw will be allowed to pitch 150 frames at the big league level this season (he threw 122.0 innings between the bigs and Triple-A last season), and whether they temper his workload on a per-game basis as they did in 2016. If they shorten his leash on a per-game basis, then that “2” in wins becomes a “1,” but that’s a small price to pay for a pitcher who might have the most upside in the game. I have seen him gain 5 mph on his fastball in the span of a year, I’ve seen him morph his delivery no less than twice over the last two years with excellent results and he might already have the best left-hand quick pick-off move in the game. Did I mention that it’s his age-20 season?

Much like Hill, the caveat is innings, though I feel the innings that Urias pitches in 2017 will be better than Hill. I have been unable to secure Urias in any draft. He has gone in the 13th, 11th, and 15th rounds so far.

Kenta Maeda
DT Rank: 27

Maeda joins a cadre of southpaws pitching in the Dodgers rotation this season, removing a bit of the novelty when pitching in the third game of a series, but his ability to take the ball for six innings every fifth day is critical for a team that has the volatile inning-counts of players like Rich Hill and Julio Urias, two other lefties who could be out of action at any given time. Maeda’s strikeout rate in his first season of MLB was higher than anything that the 28-year-old had ever posted in Japan, leaving one to wonder if his K rate is bound to take a step back as opposing batters get another look at what he brings to the table. If he continues to strike out more than a batter per inning then he will justify his ranking.

Kenta is going off the board just before Rich Hill in my drafts. He has been drafted in the 7th, 8th, and 9th rounds.

I do have Kershaw because I used my number one pick (number 4 overall) to snag him.

Once my 3rd draft is complete in a few days I’ll review my teams and the Dodgers that I drafted.


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