2020 Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Targets For Now: Starting Pitchers
We’ve had a look at some hitters who are good trade targets in Dynasty for a bounce-back year in 2020, which means it only makes sense to look at some pitchers. If you missed the hitters’ article, go back and have a read.
It’s the same premise for the pitchers; Major League ready players who lost some of their shine in 2019 but should return to form next year so will make for ideal trade targets in dynasty leagues before the trade deadline coming soon, and should come at a pretty reasonable price in return.
Pitchers like Chris Sale and Blake Snell will likely still be too valued and either kept in dynasty or chucked back into the free agency pool and then command a large price at the auction again. But it’s the lesser pitchers, outside the top 20 or so where we can find the best value.
After a 2018 season with 183 innings pitched with a 2.85 ERA (and 202 strikeouts), it was easy to understand why the Atlanta pitchers was considered an SP3 heading into drafts. Some regression was obviously expected, but what happened next took everyone by surprise.
Foltynewicz was eventually demoted in June with a 6.37 ERA in 59.1 IP. Strikeouts were down (7.58 K/9) and homers were up (16 total home runs, 20.5% HR/FB). After a 10-start stint in Triple-A, Folty seemed to be getting back to his best, compiling a 3.86 ERA (3.23 FIP).
Since his recall to the Braves, Folty has been nearer his 2018 version that the first half of 2019. He’s had a 3.90 ERA, which may not sound impressive but is certainly an improvement. He’s allowed just four homers in his 27.2 innings across six starts with a 13.3% HR/FB ratio and probably most importantly, he’s got a 9.43 K/9 rate since his return.
It’s likely his last six starts are a truer reflection that his first half and while I don’t believe he’ll get back to a sub-3.00 ERA, as long as his strikeouts remain up, he’s someone I’d be buying into for next year.
Darvish had an auspicious start to his life as a Cub, managing just 40 IP, with a 4.95 ERA and worrying 4.73 BB/9 rate. There were hopes for a bounce-back this year, which soon disappeared. By the end of April, Darvish had a 5.02 ERA and the walks had jumped to 6.91 BB/9. His first half pretty much stayed that way, ending with a 5.01 ERA and 4.55 BB/9 rate over 97 IP.
His second half couldn’t have gone much better to date, with a miserly 0.49 BB/9 helping him to a 2.93 ERA over 55.1 IP. That’s 3 walks and 72 strikeouts in 55.1 IP.
Whilst that’s not going to sustain into 2020, Darvish has given us a reminder of how good he was in his Texas Rangers days. He’s also got the option to opt-out of his existing contract this Winter so there’s some potential uncertainty of where he’ll call home next season. Probably the most difficult one to prise away from his current team, but Darvish should be someone to target now and rostered with faith in 2020.
The curse of Coors Field for pitchers certainly burst Kyle Freeland’s hype bubble and hasn’t exactly aided German Marquez’s season numbers. That’s to be expected but also helps in getting Marquez to your roster for a cheaper price.
The fact his road ERA sits at 3.67 whilst his Coors ERA is 6.26. Now in dynasty leagues such as Ottoneu (where standard rosters have 40 players), you can easily sit Marquez when he’s at home and then start him in road games.
If you did that, you can get yourself a starting pitcher with a sub 3.80 ERA and almost a 9 K/9 rate over 100 IP. That’s nothing to be sniffed at and if you construct your roster well enough, Marquez can be a difference maker in 2020. His season’s ERA of 4.76 likely won’t tempt his current team’s owner to keep him if he got something decent in return right now.
Unlike Darvish, Wheeler definitely will be a free agent this Winter and his landing spot will likely have an impact on his 2020 value. But his current value is probably as low as it’ll get (unless he signs with the Rockies), while he sports a 4.46 ERA.
The 156 strikeouts in 155.1 IP is preventing his value from dropping too low, but if we focus on that ERA, Wheeler is one of the unluckiest pitchers with a FIP of just 3.71. Among qualified starters, only Chris Sale and Lance Lynn have an unluckier difference between their ERA and FIP. By the way, fourth on that list is German Marquez.
With back-to-back seasons of good health (182.1 IP in 2018 and 155.2 so far in 2019), there’s reason to be optimistic that Wheeler can get back to around a 3.50 ERA and 180 strikeouts over 180 IP. With a good landing spot this offseason, Wheeler could top his career high in wins of 12 and has the potential to be an SP2 next season, all while he’s still be very reasonably priced right now.