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  • Michael Simione

Starting Pitchers That Are RP Eligible And Provide Draft Value

Credit: Ozone Billards/LA Times

In fantasy baseball, it can be extremely useful to have starting pitchers that are relief pitcher eligible. Below are starting pitchers that are relief pitcher eligible and ones that could be a useful fantasy asset. Below you will see the pitchers names as well as the website they are RP eligible in, I went to three websites which were Yahoo!, ESPN, and Fantrax.

Carlos Carrasco - Yahoo, ESPN

Carrasco was one of the better pitchers in the league before being diagnosed with cancer. He did come back at the end of 2019 to pitch a few innings, which made for a great comeback story. Now that he is healthy and seems to have a full season ahead of him Carrasco can be valuable at his current ADP. He loves to pound the zone with his four-seam and then uses a slider/changeup combo to create strikeouts. In 2018 Carrasco put up 192 innings with a 3.38 ERA and if you can get that from him this year, you are profiting tremendously.

Jesus Luzardo - Yahoo, ESPN

Luzardo is an exciting new young arm coming into 2020. He throws his fastballs as high as 98 MPH and has a lethal curveball to go with it. The worry here is the innings limit which will definitely cause some headaches. He could definitely hit 150 innings but if you want to go more on the conservative side, take a look at ATC’s projection for him: 137 innings pitched with a 3.81 ERA. If you have a solid low-risk rotation by the time Luzardo comes your way I would be willing to take a shot.

Julio Urias - Yahoo, ESPN

Just like Luzardo, Urias has an innings limit on the 2020 season and he could be a headache to own as well. Urias has really impressed with his four-seam/changeup combo and is a lot of fun to watch. Last year his four-seam put up a 15.3 pVAL with a 12.0 SwStr% and .193 batting average against, all very impressive. Urias should put up about 130 quality innings and if you can afford it, he would be a great grab.

Kenta Maeda - Yahoo, ESPN

Kenta Maeda has finally been freed from the Dodgers and heads over to the Twins for 2020. Maeda’s contracted has innings pitched incentives, something the Dodgers couldn’t afford but the Twins can. Maeda should stay in the rotation all year and he certainly is exciting. Last year he had two breaking pitches with a 19.0 SwStr% or higher as well as one of the highest overall SwStr% in the second half. Expect Maeda to outproduce his projections.

Carlos Martinez - Yahoo, ESPN

Martinez is an interesting pitcher coming into 2020, as no one knows if he will be in the rotation or the closer. What’s most interesting is if you draft him at his current ADP he actually should be useful either way. As a starter Martinez has a solid track record posting an ERA of 3.64 or less in the four years he was a full-time starter. Last year Martinez took on a closer role grabbing 24 saves in 48.1 innings with a 3.17 ERA. Whether it is the bullpen or the rotation Martinez could be a decent draft day grab.

A.J. Puk - Yahoo, Fantrax, ESPN

Another Oakland Athletic on this list and just like Luzardo we should see an innings limit here. He certainly will be limited more than Luzardo, more likely around the 120 innings pitched range. Puk relies on a very good fastball and slider to get through innings and if you watched him this spring he looks pretty good. Puk should be drafted at his ADP but you have to have the right rotation for it, a very reliable one.

UPDATE: Puk now has a mild shoulder strain and will be shut down.

Ryan Yarbrough - Yahoo, ESPN

Mr. Yarbrough was one of the better pitchers in the second half of 2019. He creates a lot of weak contact and relies on a solid cutter/changeup combo. The issue here is the Rays have Yarbrough, Chirinos, and McKay for two spots in the rotation. You can come to expect they will tamper with their innings or perhaps use an opener. If Yarbrough does stay a starter you can expect a low four ERA with a 1.20 WHIP.

Adrian Houser - Yahoo, ESPN, Fantrax

Houser has been a big sleeper name going around this offseason and rightfully so. He pitches a lot like Woodruff as he has two dominant fastballs that create a ton of weak contact. Houser should get at least five innings of work in every time he takes the mound and getting a discounted Woodruff-lite later in the draft is really awesome.

Nathan Eovaldi - Yahoo, ESPN

Eovaldi burned a lot of fantasy owners last year, but let’s remember his 2018 season where he pitched 111 innings with a 3.81 ERA. His pitches are straight-up nasty and have a ton of movement to them. He is making some buzz this offseason as he has been dominant when pitching. The price of free makes Eovaldi an enticing bounceback candidate.

Kevin Gausman - Yahoo, ESPN

Gausman gets to move to a pitchers ballpark in San Francisco this year and he could certainly reap the benefits. His splitter is by far his best pitch as it produces a 49.6 O-Swing% and 22.7 SwStr%. Gausman is a nice late-round flier that could give you value if he turns back time to 2018 where he put up 183 innings with a 3.92 ERA.

Elieser Hernandez - Yahoo, Fantrax

Elieser Hernandez is a young very raw pitch much like Alcantara was going into 2019. He is armed with a lethal slider that has an insane horizontal movement to it. His fastball was slightly unlucky last year but has some rise to it. While he may be a shot in the dark for 2020 just think, Alcantara was in the same boat coming into 2019.