Yahoo Fantasy baseball 2021: Pitchers one analyst likes more or less than ADP

For hitters I like more and less than ADP, go here.


Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay Rays (Yahoo ADP 59, SP16)

Glasnow may not reach the innings some others will, but he’s one of the favorites to win the Cy Young anyway. He would’ve led all starters in K rate (14.28) last season had he thrown a few more innings and qualified. Thanks to nearly a quarter of his fly balls going for homers (he had an 8.5% HR/FB rate the year before), Glasnow’s ERA was an inflated 4.08, which helps his 2021 ADP. Pitching in the AL East isn’t ideal, but the Rays fielded MLB’s best defense last season and play in one of the best pitching parks in baseball (Tropicana has been among the league-leaders in decreasing run scoring and batting average while increasing strikeouts over the last three years). Glasnow has arguably the best stuff in the game right now, and I’ve been happily taking him in the third round of fantasy drafts.

Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers (Yahoo ADP 67, SP18)

Burnes went from posting an 8.82 ERA and 1.84 WHIP in 2019 to video-game like numbers last season, when he recorded a 2.11 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with 88 strikeouts over 59.2 innings. I’m betting on more of the latter this year, and while he’s not going to throw 200+ innings, only a few pitchers are projected to reach that mark after the truncated season that saw none reach even 100 innings (including the playoffs).

Burnes threw his slider less and started throwing a cutter last season, and it resulted in baseball’s lowest FIP (2.04) by a starter (technically he finished 2.1 innings from qualifying).

He’ll benefit from a much-improved Brewers defense that added Kolten Wong and Jackie Bradley Jr. while also throwing to the league’s best pitch-framing catcher. If Burnes doesn’t often pitch deep into games (it can happen when racking up so many Ks), a terrific bullpen will help preserve wins. Milwaukee has also increased strikeouts by 10% over the last three seasons — the third-most in MLB. Burnes ranked second only to Trevor Bauer in fastball spin rate last season. I have him as a fourth-round fantasy pick.

Kevin Gausman, San Francisco Giants (Yahoo ADP 150, SP42)

Gausman is a former No. 4 pick with good stuff who’s started to finally flourish later in his career after getting outside of Baltimore. He pitched far better than his 3.62 ERA suggested during his first year with the Giants, when he did so while injured, facing a DH, somehow having to throw in Coors Field 20% of his starts and with Oracle Park suddenly transforming from one of the game’s best pitcher’s parks into one the best hitter’s parks. Gausman ranked top-15 in CSW last season and top-10 in K-BB% (directly behind Gerrit Cole and Yu Darvish) and bet on himself by accepting a big one-year deal during the offseason, which is hopefully a sign he’s feeling healthy. He’s a dark horse Cy Young candidate, and a Yahoo ADP of 150 is downright insulting.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Kevin Gausman #34 of the San Francisco Giants pitches in the top of the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on September 24, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Kevin Gausman has the upside to be a fantasy difference maker despite going at a point in drafts where you should be looking to take risks. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Charlie Morton, Atlanta Braves (Yahoo ADP 123, SP37)

Morton’s 4.74 ERA last season came with a 3.45 FIP, and he’s falling much further in drafts after being selected as a top-20 starter last year despite leaving the AL East and joining the NL without the DH and a Braves team that should offer a ton of run support (albeit much worse defense). Morton rediscovered his velocity at the end of last season, and it’s been there so far this spring. He’s a top-25 SP on my board.

Joe Musgrove, San Diego Padres (Yahoo ADP 132, SP39)

Musgrove is another pitcher whose velocity fluctuated last year, but is showing encouraging signs now and is also in an improved new situation. After returning from an IL stint, he posted a 2.16 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP with 38 strikeouts over 25.0 innings during the final month last season. Musgrove finished No. 4 in CSW, behind Shane Bieber, Yu Darvish and Jacob deGrom, to give you an idea of his upside. Musgrove has disappointed before, but he’s joining a terrific situation in San Diego. The Padres provide among MLB’s best defenses, bullpens and pitching parks, and the team is going to rack up wins. He’s a top-20 fantasy starter at an SP39 ADP

Lance McCullers, Houston Astros (ADP 130, SP38)

McCullers has yet to fully live up to the hype, but I remain a believer. The Astros need his innings more than ever, and I expect his dominant curveball to return in 2021. Houston remains a favorable place to pitch, including a home park that just decreased run scoring an AL-high 23% (and has helped pitchers for years now). McCullers posted a top-20 CSW last season, sandwiched between Clayton Kershaw, Lucas Giolito and Tyler Glasnow.

Others I like far more than ADP: Zach Eflin (ADP 195), Sean Manaea (231), Matthew Boyd (234), Freddy Peralta (242), Tejay Antone (242), Jake Odorizzi (245)

[Draft Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RP]


Zach Plesac, Cleveland Indians (Yahoo ADP 92, SP25)

He’s coming off an impressive year (57:6 K:BB ratio) but screams major regression in a few places. Plesac had modest strikeout numbers throughout the minors, and his walk rate went from 3.11 in 2019 to 0.98 during last year’s shortened season. That also came with a tough to sustain .224 BABIP that was the third-lowest in MLB, and this season’s schedule expands outside the Central. Plesac is solid, but he’s being over-drafted as a top-25 fantasy starter whom Steamer projects with a 4.72 ERA and 1.33 WHIP.

Dinelson Lamet, San Diego Padres (Yahoo ADP 99, SP28)

Lamet is legit and finished top-five in K-BB% last season, so realize this is purely a health concern. After slowly ramping up throwing this spring, it’s likely he opens the year on the IL, so even if all goes well he has a 120-140 innings ceiling. Lamet was shut down at the end of last year with a biceps/elbow injury that doctors said could’ve required Tommy John surgery had he continued pitching. He received a PRP injection during the offseason with hopes rest would cure it, and early signs this spring are positive. But I’m terrified Lamet goes down, and the injury risk (combined with the innings limit) makes his top-100 ADP too high. I’d draft Gausman ahead of him.

Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins (Yahoo ADP 162, SP45)

Alcantara throws hard, and his K rate improved last season, but he’s curiously been moving up fantasy draft boards at an awfully high pace for someone who just posted a 4.41 expected ERA. He’ll benefit from a great pitcher’s park (and the NL without a DH), but lack of run support and bullpen help could really limit wins. Alcantara still owns a career 3.99 BB rate in the majors, and the projection systems across the board predict an ugly WHIP. I’d prefer teammate Elieser Hernandez, and that’s before factoring in his much lower ADP (227).

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