This article is part of our Baseball Draft Kit series.
I've been playing fantasy baseball since AOL was a thing, so I've seen my share of changes in how fantasy owners and so-called experts try and gain a competitive advantage in player valuation. We look at things like mechanics, but Matt Harvey seems to have excellent mechanics, and he has made just 46 starts over the last three years due to elbow/shoulder injuries. During that same three-year period, Chris Sale and his funky delivery totaled 89 starts. We have learned to look beyond counting stats such as wins and rate stats like ERA and WHIP, but even advanced metrics don't give us the complete picture.
Here are five primary things I consider in setting my starting pitching draft board:
1. Advanced Metrics
2. Youth and Upside Over Safety
3. How Players Finished the Previous Year
4. Pitchers Returning From Injury
5. Fastball Velocity
All else being equal, you're going to want to target pitchers who miss bats and avoid free passes. On occasion, however, perhaps due to factors outside their control (poor bullpen, bad luck on balls in play), some of those pitchers have high prior-year ERAs. FIP is a metric that incorporates strikeouts, walks and home runs while stripping out the randomness of balls in play. Targeting pitchers with ERAs significantly higher than their FIP could uncover sleepers. Here are the top-10 largest positive ERA/FIP spreads from 2016:
Wacha is an interesting case given his past performance, he seems likely to wind up in the bullpen for