<
>
Insider

Will the fantasy pitching MVP remain elite in 2018?

Luis Severino went undrafted in standard ESPN fantasy baseball leagues, but many teams will win because of him. EPA/LARRY W. SMITH

Corey Kluber, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw are the top four starting pitchers on the ESPN Player Rater, and nobody should be surprised by this, since each of them was among the first six pitchers selected in ESPN average live drafts and each by the middle of Round 3. These guys did what they were supposed to, and while we wish Kershaw had done a bit more of it and Sale didn’t have yet another ordinary September, ask the Noah Syndergaard owners how they feel. He and Madison Bumgarner were the other pitchers in the top six. Noah pitched six times. Madison won four times.

Regardless, while the Cy Young Awards figure to come from the aforementioned crew, the truly subjective fantasy award for Most Valuable Pitcher cannot. Performance is but one key part of the thinking for MVP honors, and cost of acquisition is another, but again, perhaps we notice our top draft picks only when they don’t supply the numbers, but getting a top-10 hurler in the later rounds or off free agency is considerably more valuable.