To continue our ADP series, I am going to take a look at another player who is being drafted far too late in drafts this spring. My colleague Chris Campanelli already made a great case for Ryan Ludwick, but I’m turning to the guys on the mound and will tell you why Jorge de la Rosa is a great value this season.
He is entering his seventh season in the majors and so far it has been a rough go as he has eclipsed 100 innings just three times and had an ERA under 4.50 just twice. You may be asking why should he even be on my radar with those types of numbers? Well I have just two words for you...keep reading.
Currently, de la Rosa is being drafted 172nd overall on ESPN, which makes him the 42nd pitcher off the board. This means in a 10-team mixed league he is considered a high-end fifth starter or a good fourth starter in 12-team mixed leagues. However, it is very possible that he will return a value that is much better than that.
For three years de la Rosa has been trending upward and he ended 2009 with 16 wins a 4.38 ERA and 193 strikeouts in 185 innings pitched. His downfall is that his walks too many batters (81 in 2009), but his WHIP has gone down from an awful 1.68 in 2007 to a workable 1.38 in 2009. However, it's not just his 2009 season that I would like to point to, but his performance after manager Clint Hurdle was fired on May 29th.
De la Rosa went 16-3 after May 29th and in the second half he posted an ERA of 3.46 while striking out 94 batters in 88 1/3 innings. However, the difference really showed in his WHIP, which was 1.45 in the first half and 1.30 in the second. This could be attributed to his increase in first-strike percentage (52.4 percent in 2008 to 55.9 percent in 2009) while making more batters miss at the plate 76.4 contact percentage in 2008 to 74.8 percent in 2009).
According to ESPN, A.J. Burnett is being selected 37 spots ahead of de la Rosa and considering they offer very similar statistics I would have to ask owners why they would draft Burnett so high when they could wait a couple rounds and take de la Rosa. Burnett's only advantage over de la Rosa was in ERA, which isn't worth 37 picks in my book.
It could be the fact that the Rockies pitcher spends half his season at Coors Field, but we have seen Ubaldo Jimenez put up ace-type numbers already so why not de la Rosa? If he can build on his post All-Star 2009 you can expect him to post an ERA around four with an mid-1.30's WHIP while striking out at least one batter per inning. Numbers that should warrant a pick where the Burnett's and Chad Billingsley's of the world are being drafted, not Scott Kazmir and J.A. Happ.
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