The still-to-be-determined start of the 2020 MLB season has added an interesting wrinkle to fantasy baseball draft prep. We at SI Fantasy want to provide you with the best possible information heading into your drafts in these unprecedented times.
Our "Draft or Pass" video series takes a closer look at a fantasy player that will be debated often leading up to fantasy drafts, in many cases, because of the delayed start to the season. Are our hosts targeting this player specifically? Are they avoiding him entirely?
Today's video focuses on San Diego Padres starting pitcher Dinelson Lamet.
Draft or Pass at current ADP: 123.2 (SP43)?
Lamet is now two years removed from Tommy John surgery and his time to shine is now. He may only get a prorated equivalent of 140-150 innings of work, but he could very well exceed 1.3 strikeouts per inning. Plus, other starts may not be going as deep into games this season, so Lamet hanging around 5-6 innings per start isn't as detrimental as it would be under normal circumstances. Plus, a shortened season also means he might not have a strict innings limit.
His 3.91 FIP and 3.44 xFIP from 2019 portend positive ERA regression in 2020. In 2019 he racked up strikeouts at a K/9 rate of 12.95. He had a robust 24% K-BB% and saw a 1 MPH uptick in his fastball velocity compared to his 2017 season (96.1 MPH vs. 95.1MPH). His swinging-strike rate also jumped more than 2%, up to 14% from 11.8% in 2017—all very positive trends.
I had Lamet ranked as my SP29 and No. 121 overall in the preseason with the projection of 10 wins, a 3.80 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 204 strikeouts over 161 innings pitched. I'll happily take him right around that range again when MLB starts its season. It'll be interesting to see if the preseason hype in the fantasy community carries over to the new Opening Day.
READ MORE: 2020 San Diego Padres Team Preview