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Fantasy Baseball Player Notes

2022 Fantasy Baseball Draft Notes

Justin Verlander Note
Justin Verlander photo 22. Justin Verlander
So far so good for Verlander, who has pitched just six innings over his last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery. His spring has gone as expected thus far, and he's on track for the start of the season, though he might miss the first turn as the Astros play it safe. Verlander is now 39 years old and has a ton of miles on his arm, and it's difficult to know exactly how his stuff will play after two years of not pitching competitively. But the bottom line is that the last fantasy managers saw of Verlander, he was as dominant as he has ever been, so there shouldn't be too many doubts about his performance. Given his age and his injury, it's likely the Astros will look to limit Verlander's innings a bit, but so long as he has no setbacks during the spring, draft him with confidence this year.
28 weeks ago
Framber Valdez Note
Framber Valdez photo 36. Framber Valdez
Valdez fractured his ring finger just before the start of the season and although there were rumors he could miss the entire season, he wound up making 22 starts and throwing 134 2/3 innings. He lost some of the gains he had made with his control, but he induced ground balls at a 70.3% clip, an absurd rate. Valdez has one great pitch - his curveball - and his value is highly dependent on the quality of his defense. So the chances of him taking a great leap are minimal. But what he provides is plenty good enough to be a mid-tier starter for your fantasy team.
28 weeks ago
Luis Garcia Note
Luis Garcia photo 44. Luis Garcia
Garcia had a fine 2021 season, as both his cutter (.175 BAA) and slider (.133 BAA) were dominant, at least until the end of the year and playoffs. His upside is capped just a bit because his fastball is so mediocre, so he really needs to lean in to both of those other pitches and have them both working to be effective. That's what we saw most of last year, so another season of a mid-3.00 ERA and a passable WHIP may certainly be in the cards. Let's just hope the mini-swoon we saw over the final month of the season (4.67 ERA) was a blip and not a sign of things to come.
27 weeks ago
Jose Urquidy Note
Jose Urquidy photo 53. Jose Urquidy
If Urquidy could avoid dealing with injuries every season, then he'd probably be drafted much earlier, but he's missed time in each of the past three seasons. When he does pitch, he's almost always solid, with a WHIP that hovers around 1.00 thanks to an elite walk rate (4.5%, top four percent of the league). His pure stuff is well above average, with a fastball, slider, and curveball that can all induce weak contact. But, at least as of now, he hasn't yet gotten his strikeout rate to where it needs to be in order to be a true impact starter. There's potential for growth in strikeouts if his slider improves, but draft Urquidy for his safety, not his ceiling, and build in some missed time.
28 weeks ago
Lance McCullers Jr. Note
Lance McCullers Jr. photo 80. Lance McCullers Jr.
There's no doubting McCullers's stuff at this point. Already armed with an elite curveball, he added an equally dominant slider to the mix last season (.150 BAA, .242 wOBA), and set a career-high in innings with 162.1. Unfortunately, he ended the year on the shelf with an elbow injury and is now delayed in the spring because of a flexor tendon strain.The fact that he is still dealing with an injury at this point is extremely worrisome, especially for a pitcher with a history of elbow trouble. Drop him way down your draft boards, and take him only if you have plenty of depth or you are in desperate need of upside.
28 weeks ago
Cristian Javier Note
Cristian Javier photo 89. Cristian Javier
Hunter Brown Note
Hunter Brown photo 211. Hunter Brown
Tyler Ivey Note
Tyler Ivey photo 259. Tyler Ivey
Forrest Whitley Note
Forrest Whitley photo 341. Forrest Whitley