At nearly 35 years old, he boasted a 15-8 record with a 3.36 ERA in 2017. He’s won a pitcher’s triple crown, an MVP Award, a Cy Young and Rookie of the Year. He’s also a member of the defending Champion Astros, who have bolstered their roster this offseason with another ace. As if that’s not enough, he’s married to Kate Upton. With all of these factors going in his favor, Justin Verlander should be going much higher in Dynasty League drafts.
This off-season marks the first year of a dynasty baseball league that I’m in with a plethora of my baseball fanatic friends. Our major league draft began on the first of the month, and picks have been flowing steadily. The one pick that shocked me was Justin Verlander, who I was able to select with the 101st pick in the draft. Not only was he not selected as a top-100 player, he was the fourth Astros starting pitcher selected. Due to his fall, I set out to slid why Verlander slid so far down in my dynasty draft. This drove me to try and discover why Verlander had fallen.
There is a wide variety of ideas on where Verlander should go in dynasty drafts. The highest ranking I saw when conducting my research was 38th, which was calculated by couchmanagers, a website designed specifically to run fantasy drafts. Tristan H. Crockett of ESPN put Verlander significantly father down on his lost. Verlander is ranked as the 163rd best dynasty player, according to Crockett. However, the majority of the sites that I examined had Verlander in the 7-the best player range.
The wide variety of opinions on Verlander’s status can be expected of an older player. Verlander has already played 14 years in the majors and isn’t likely to play another 10 seasons. Verlander’s fall, therefore, should not come as a huge surprise. However, the Astros pitcher has value to all teams, even those who end up in a rebuild.
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Value after the Draft
The managers who want to win now should see immediate value with Verlander. He offers a low ERA on a team stacked with All-Stars like Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. Verlander can easily get over 200 strikeouts in 2018 as well (he got 219 in 2017). This would provide a valuable asset to any team attempting to compete this year. Therefore, rebuilding teams can utilize Verlander for the same reasons.
Although teams undergoing a rebuild are not likely to use Verlander in their starting lineup, they can use him to bring in prospects to help in the future. After another big year and stellar performance in the World Series, Verlander’s value is currently higher than it was last offseason. Rebuilding teams can use this opportunity to trade Verlander in order to get the best prospect haul possible. Those who wait to trade Verlander until the trade deadline run a risk: Verlander may have a down year and have his trade value diminish. However, if he has a strong first half to 2018, Verlander could possibly bring a better prospect load, as teams will know for sure whether they will be competitive for the playoffs.
Justin Verlander provides a benefit to dynasty teams that want to contend and teams that want to rebuild in 2018. So if any dynasty player has Verlander on the board around the 70th pick, they should not be afraid to pull the trigger.