h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before It Starts: Gio Gonzalez

Gio Gonzalez – Current ADP 178th; 49th SP – My Rank: 49th Pitcher; 42nd SP

I was on the Gio bandwagon hard last year and don’t see any real reason to jump off now.

Sure he benefited from an impressive A’s bullpen (78% strand rate) and had a little luck on balls put into play (.274 BABip – he did lower his line drive rate to 15.4%), but his FIP* was only 3.78 and his xFIP* rested at 4.18.

*From Fangraphs, Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) measures what a player’s ERA should have looked like over a give time period, assuming that performance on balls in play and timing were league average. Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP) is a regressed version of FIP. It’s calculated exactly the same as FIP, except it replaces a pitcher’s homerun rate with the league-average rate (10.6% HR/FB) since pitcher homerun rates have been shown to be very unstable over time.

The real important thing about Gonzalez’s 2010 is that he posted a 7.4% HR/FB rate – something he had struggled to get into single digits throughout his professional career. The other surprising stat from his 2010: a 7.67 K/9 – a number much lower than most expected.

I think he will give up a handful more home runs, likely have his strand rate go down a tad (although the A’s bullpen again appears to be excellent) and post a BABip around .300. However, I think those will all be small regressions and he will get back to striking out a batter an inning.

Consequently, Gonzalez is a 4.00 ERA/1.35 WHIP guy with 200+ Ks. The more I think about it, the more he should be at least 10 spots higher and close in value to Jonathan Sanchez.

Sanchez, like Gonzalez, posted a banner 2010 year – Sanchez had a 9.54 K/9 rate, lowered his HR/FB rate to single digits and benefited from a fierce bullpen (79.5% strand rate) and a little luck on balls in play (.252 BABip). I see both guys putting up similar numbers – I do give the nod to Sanchez to post an ERA in the 3.75 range, but their WHIPs should be identical and both should hit around 210 Ks if they get to 200 IPs.

While I love Sanchez, I love Gonzalez and his price a little bit more.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

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Maximizing every drop of value in every pick is hugely important. Taking a player in the fifth round that you could just as easily have taken in the sixth round is a major mistake. To avoid this, you need to know all about Average Draft Position (ADP).

While no two drafts are identical, knowing where a player typically goes gives you a general idea of where he will go in your draft. That said, be sure to do homework on your league mates subjective tendencies. For example, if there are Red Sox fans, be sure to snag guys like Lester and Youkilis a bit earlier than you normally would. In addition, you should talk up your sleepers before the draft (discretely of course) to see if anyone is on to them. If you don’t, an opponent with an itchy trigger finger who hasn’t done his ADP homework might snag one of your sleepers a round before anyone else is typically taking him.

Now that you know WHY ADP is important, I want to show you HOW to exploit it by highlighting those players who are going too low compared to players with similar ADPs. You can grab an ADP report at Mock Draft Central.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

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