Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Five Undervalued Arms for 2015

It's all about value. The key to gaining an advantage over your fellow league mates is your ability to find quality talent in the latter stages of your fantasy draft. The owners that can do this consistently are able to overcome injuries on their roster easier and will have a distinct advantage over their peers as the long season rolls forward. Those who can't will find themselves behind, chasing hot streaks on the waiver wire. With the pitching pool as deep as it is in 2015, there are an abundance of late round arms that have a great chance of outperforming their draft status.

Here are FIVE UNDERVALUED ARMS that are currently showing an ADP of #150 or greater according to you should be targeting.

1) Zack Wheeler NYM ADP #150 
Harvey got all the publicity (even though he never threw a pitch last year) and deGrom garnered all the buzz in 2014 with his Rookie of the Year campaign. However, Zack Wheeler quietly made strides in becoming a front line starter. In the second half, he lowered his ERA from 3.90 to 3.04, dropped his WHIP from 1.35 to 1.29, and raised his strikeout rate from 8.7 to 9.6 K/9. Those are all strong signs of development in the right direction. He wore down a bit in September as his new innings threshold was reached (185 IP), which is typical. His road ERA (3.09) was far better than his home 4.30 mark. If he can learn to relax in from of the home crowd there is a good chance he will be the best value of the three young Mets hurlers. The team may still hold back his wins, but he has a chance to be a sneaky good selection for all fantasy rotations in 2015.
2) Jose Quintana CWS ADP #175
If Quintana pitched for a big market team then his buzz would be much greater. Alas, pitching for the South Siders has kept his profile relatively low. That’s a good thing for fantasy owners from a value stand point. He’s just 26 years-old and already has thrown back to back 200 inning seasons with a 3-1 K/BB ratio, a 1.24 WHIP, and a K/9 of 8. He handles left handed and right handed batters with ease. His ERA was 3.68 or better home and away and 3.44 or better in both halves. Outside of a poor August, Quintana was a stud all season long. There is another level in him and even if he doesn't reach it this season he's still a terrific keeper asset. Quintana is a great selection in all formats, and an improved offense in Chicago could help him finally reach the win totals he deserves.
3) Mike Fiers MIL ADP # 184
Fiers came out of nowhere in 2012 and just as quickly vanished in 2013. Instead of moping, Fiers got to work in 2014 at AAA and dominated (2.55 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 11.3 K/9, 1.5 BB/9). He deserved a second chance and he made the most of it with the Brewers and flourished with the big club (10 starts, 2.09 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 9.9 K/9). There is no way the Brew Crew can keep Fiers out of their rotation. He was lights out at home and on the road and, with that above average strikeout rate, he has sleeper written all over him. At 30, this is his prime and you should not be concerned with his poor 2013 season. Frankly, he did enough last year to shake those doubts and he should be on your radar in all formats. He has a very strong chance to well outperform his ADP.
4) Derek Holland TEX ADP #250
Did I miss something? I know Holland missed most of last season with a fluke non-arm related injury. However, his 2013 numbers were worthy of a #2 fantasy starter. So how does he now fall to #250 overall? Shortsightedness, that's how. He managed to salvage five starts in 2014 and pitched well, winning two of those starts with a sub 1.50 ERA. Texas is a team in transition, but two years ago Holland had clearly turned a corner showing he could be a workhorse (213 IP) with front end potential (8.0 K/9/1.28 WHIP). He will come at a significant discount in this year’s draft as most owners shy away from guys who missed the majority of a season. His arm is by all accounts healthy so it's just plain ridiculous to underrate Holland in 2015. He's also just entering his prime years (he turns 28 next season). Lefties like Holland usually peak around this time later in their careers and Holland is right there ripe for the taking.
5) Jesse Hahn OAK ADP #372
In his 12 starts with the Padres, Hahn went 7-3 with a 2.96 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 8.4 K/9 in 2014. He was really behind the 8-ball from a stamina standpoint last year and was never going to hold up as the season went on. He threw just 69 innings in 2013. If you look at his first 7 starts with his 10.4 K/9 and 1.06 WHIP, he was dominant. Now, you can attribute second half fades for young pitchers to the league catching up to them. However, with Hahn I believe it was more a stamina issue than the league really figuring him out. The 25 year-old has front line ability and, despite the A’s offense holding his win total back, Hahn has a bright future. Expect an innings limit in 2015 of around 160-180 if they really push him. In keeper leagues, he’s a definite target.

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