Buy or Sell Pitching Candidates for Dynasty Baseball

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Buy or Sell Pitching Candidates for Dynasty Baseball

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Buy or Sell Pitching Candidates for Dynasty Baseball

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Most of you are likely unaware, but I am a huge baseball stat nerd. In my house (as it should be everywhere), nerd is a term of endearment. I live for statistics and finding patterns, success rates, and upside. For this piece, I’m searching for the diamonds in the rough, the needles in the haystacks, the hidden gems. You get the point. 

If you’re a dynasty baseball player like myself, these names should be on your radar. If you aren’t participating, what are you waiting for? Dynasty baseball in my mind is exponentially better and more fun than a season-long. That said, to each their own! These are the targets I have my eyes set upon in each of my dynasty leagues. I’ll also highlight a few I’m avoiding at all costs. 

Jeffrey Springs, Tampa Bay Rays

Not only does Springs have one of the best names in baseball (my son is named Jeffrey…I’m a little biased), but he has quietly been fantastic. The Rays have a propensity for developing arms, and Springs is their latest gem. His 2022 season was hardly short of spectacular, as he posted the following:

9.58 K/9

2.06 BB/9

0.93 HR/9

2.46 ERA

3.29 xFIP

It was no small sample size either, as Springs pitched 135.1 innings in 2022 in his first year as primarily a starter. In fact, he had started just two games prior to 2022. Many don’t like to invest in pitchers who aren’t young (Springs is 30), but I completely disagree. He has thrown just 264 total innings in the bigs since being drafted in 2015. There is plenty left in the tank, and I’m a believer in a big way. The Rays will likely tread lightly with his pitch count still in 2023, so the QS (quality start) upside is small. However, he should once again be a huge part of improving your counting stats and ratios. 

Verdict: BUY!

 

Justin Steele, Chicago Cubs

I swear I’m not just picking players because they have awesome first names. Regardless of him having an ELITE first name, Steele himself was borderline elite in 2022. The Cubs have been in desperate need of young talent to blossom, and Steele answered the call last season. Check this out:

9.78 K/9

3.78 BB/9

0.61 HR/9

3.18 ERA

3.48 xFIP

These numbers scream consistency, and in my mind it looks like the ceiling is just now being tapped with the young Cub. Walks remain a concern, and that is generally a red flag for me. However, many of his other stats were just fantastic. Among pitchers with at least 80 IP in 2022, only 10 pitchers had a lower HR/9 than Steele. 

Steele ended the season on the IL, but check out these splits. He was nothing short of elite across the second half of the season. 

1st Half: 82.1 IP, 4.15 ERA, 79 K/ 37 BB, .248 BAA…not bad, right? Watch this.

2nd Half: 36.2 IP, 0.98 ERA, 47K/ 13 BB, ..235 BAA

Verdict: BUY!

 

Michael Kopech, Chicago White Sox

Even within the last 12 months we have seen the absolute dominance that Kopech can have. What we have also seen is that his overall body of work in 2022 was ultimately much worse than expected. Across 25 starts, Kopech had just a 7.92 K/9 (66th out of 116 pitchers with at least 110 IP) and a brutal 4.3 BB/9. 

Without the strikeout upside he showed the world in 2021 (13.37 K/9), his command is too much of an issue for me. At his current asking price, he is a poor buy in dynasty leagues given his current form. 

He still had a 3.54 ERA in 2022, but that number doesn’t tell the whole story, or even most of it. He had a 4.83 xFIP (113th of 116), and even more alarmingly he had the 2nd-lowest BABIP at .223. 

Barring a big change, Kopech is in line for even more negative regression in 2023. He could still very well have a fine season, but I’m not paying this price for him right now. 

Verdict: Sell!

 

 Josiah Gray, Washington Nationals

I stand with my beliefs on this one. Josiah Gray certainly has an immense amount of talent. What he hasn’t shown in his young career is consistency or control. His 2.3 HR/9 in 2022 was one of the highest in MLB history for a starter. Among all pitchers who have thrown at least 500 innings in their career, the HIGHEST ever is Ken Jarvis at 1.72. In 219 IP at the big league level, Gray is sitting at 2.34 HR/9. This is beyond concerning. 

His career ground ball rate is just 32.2%. His BB/9 is also poor, hovering around 4.0. His strikeout upside is nice, but still just 34th out of 159 pitchers who threw at least 80 IP in 2022. That isn’t enough to mask the unprecedented home run service that is delivered by his right arm. 

His dynasty value fluctuates by league of course, but he is in the price range of the likes of Nick Lodolo, Jesus Luzardo, Edward Cabrera, Christian Javier, and others. That is insane price tag for me. Truth be told, he is more of a liability than an asset. 

Verdict: SELL!

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