April 4, 2016
The Buyer's Guide
At the back end of fantasy drafts, or on the waiver wire, we’re always trying to identify under-the-radar talents who could blossom into legitimate assets. We’ve often targeted guys like Jerad Eickhoff or Matt Shoemaker in recent years—guys with attractive stat lines who have traditionally been overlooked due to their lack of prospect pedigree. That’s the core precept of the sabermetric movement, too, right? Use numbers to identify diamonds in the rough, to cut through the narrative and profit.
In most fantasy leagues, I’ve come to believe the place to truly exploit the market isn’t by looking at FIP, BABIP, ISO, cFIP, average batted-ball velocity, or even DRA. That’s rather commonplace these days. The way to cut against the grain is to identify which players have a chance to breakout despite what the numbers show. In other words, savvy fantasy owners are willing to look past statistics (well, as much as one can) to see a useful skill set that could bring about improved results.
Martin Perez is an afterthought in most leagues. He was the 137th-overall starting pitcher drafted in the average fantasy draft. The lefty owns a career 15.3 percent strikeout rate and a 7.6 percent walk rate. He also has an unspectacular career 4.22 ERA. That’s pretty much what Jon Niese did a year ago, which isn’t a ringing endorsement despite the fact that Perez was going 31 pitchers after Niese in drafts this winter.