In a fantasy baseball draft, there will always be a crop of players who, for one reason or another, will never quite get the respect they deserve — whether it is because they are in a small market or less popular franchise, or they just never quite became household names due to good-but-not-great performances.
It can be incredibly beneficial for for fantasy GMs to identify those who fall into this category prior to drafting, and perhaps no SP is a better example of this as Baltimore Orioles starter Chris Tillman.
In 2013, Tillman made 33 starts for the Orioles, going 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA, which is quite the accomplishment in a rugged AL East division. He pitched a durable 206.1 innings and struck out 179 batters, good for a respectable 7.9 K/9 with a 1.22 WHIP.
Currently, Tillman is ranked as the 225th-best overall fantasy baseball option and the 60th pitcher according to the fantasypros.com charts. He carries an average draft position of 228.6, meaning he is being selected in just about the last round in standard 12-team drafts across many fantasy baseball sites.
It is borderline rude that Tillman is being so heavily underrated. While I understand the thinking that Los Angeles Dodgers starter Dan Haren (ADP 226.0) has had a longer career, he went 10-14 with a 4.67 ERA with the Washington Nationals last season in an offensively-challenged NL East.
Finding a pitcher who is likely to win 15 games in the last round of your draft is typically an impossible task, and you should give Tillman heavy consideration. The Orioles have what many in the industry believe is the best lineup in MLB, which will help Tillman rack up wins even when he does not have his best outing.