Which 2014 Pitchers Should You Target In The Middle Rounds?

You can find valuable pitchers at any point in the draft if you look hard enough. Finding the Next Big Thing isn’t always the goal when it comes to your draft picks; sometimes just picking up a valuable player is all you want to do.

I previously described a new methodology for finding elite pitchers at later points in the 2014 draft but now I want to scale that back to the benchmarks I used in 2013 instead. The previous version of my methodology cast a wider net and it thus shined a light upon a lot of valuable pitchers in the middle rounds.

Those benchmarks are:

  • Swinging Strike % Above 8.5
  • Contact % Under 80%
  • Strikes/Balls Above 1.70
  • K-BB Diff Above 12.5%

For more information about what each of those statistics are, feel free to read through the previously linked article. I’ve found that pitchers who meet these benchmarks have a better chance of success because of their ability to create swinging strikes, avoid batter contact and throw lots more strikes than balls. What happens after a batter makes contact with the ball will often be up to the defense behind the pitcher but these are pitchers who will be able to control a strike zone regardless of that.

Within the entire fantasy draft pool, there are 169 starting pitchers that I have listed as being potentially drafted this year. Of those, only 24% meet the criteria above. As you may suspect, pitchers with this skill set are littered throughout the early rounds of drafts. There are players who meet these benchmarks at all points in the draft as well though.

1-75 ADP 76-125 ADP 126-225 ADP 226-300 ADP 300+ ADP
# SP Drafted
15 17 31 32 74
# Meeting MC Criteria
11 10 11 5 4
% Meeting MC Criteria
73% 59% 35% 16% 5%

Without further ado, here are the players in 2014 drafts that met the appropriate benchmarks and represent good pitchers to target this year:

76-125 ADP Range

  • Anibal Sanchez
  • Mike Minor
  • Hisashi Iwakuma
  • Mat Latos
  • Homer Bailey
  • Julio Teheran
  • Alex Cobb
  • Michael Wacha
  • Jered Weaver
  • Kris Medlen

126-225 ADP Range

  • Johnny Cueto
  • Danny Salazar
  • Lance Lynn
  • Patrick Corbin
  • Hiroki Kuroda
  • A.J. Burnett
  • Clay Buchholz
  • Marco Estrada
  • Matt Garza
  • Corey Kluber
  • Ervin Santana

226-300 ADP Range

  • Alex Wood
  • Scott Kazmir
  • John Lackey
  • Derek Holland
  • Ricky Nolasco

If you’re looking to start building your rotation after the top 15 pitchers go off the board, the players above represent good ones to target. In fact, depending on what sort of draft philosophy you subscribe to, you might be able to build your entire staff using the players within the lists above.

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  • Greg Baumler
    March 3, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Luke quick question. Do you have the list of guys 1-75 that meet it? From your list its only 11 out of the 15 so I'd be interested to know the guys who don't. Thanks man. Loving this site.

  • Hogtown's Heroes
    March 4, 2014 at 3:26 am

    Luke! Thanks again for the latest update. The only league I really care about drafted Saturday and it went swimmingly. We do a 6 keeper (7 if you have a rookie) straight points league and going in I managed to own Chris Sale, Mat Latos and Yu Darvish, along with Hyun Jin Ryu (rookie). My hitters are Choo, HanRam (I know, not your favourite) and Pedroia. I don't know if I drafted my hitters very well, but I did manage to snag Samardzija, Weaver and Rizzo within the first 4 rounds on draft day as well. Needless to say I think I am well positioned for the coming season, so long as the guy with Gomez, Gonzalez, Cabrera, Verlander and Fielder doesn't strike gold on his pitching picks. Did I mention it's a 14 team league too?