Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Starting Pitchers
We’re nearing the end of our off-season Fantasy Baseball Sleeper series. We’ll talk about starting pitchers today and before we hit the weekend, we’ll have a relief pitching edition out for you as well. If time allows before Opening Day, Nate will bring a designated hitter edition as well. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we’ll talk about starting pitchers today. Like outfielders, you roster and play a multitude of pitchers each day. Therefore, we will present you with five sleeper options. Before we get into this, you can find the previous editions of this series below.
Sleepers are players with low average-draft-positions who can be drafted late but will have productive seasons to help their respective fantasy managers. In this series, we will be giving you three sleepers for every position (C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF, SP & RP.)
Again, like the outfield, it’s important for you to draft a top tier starting pitcher early in your drafts and fill out the rest of your roster from there. This will also include sleepers, as one can roster anywhere from five to ten pitchers. Making sure you have a well rounding pitching staff in fantasy baseball is crucial. You can have the best hitters in the league but if your pitches can’t put up points or fill out the respective categories, you’re going nowhere in the standings except down.
Below, you will find the five starting pitchers currently being drafted at the average-draft-position of 192nd and later. They each rank outside of the top 50 in terms of ADPs among eligible starting pitchers in fantasy baseball. Each of these suggestions below offer value, upside and consistency. Without further ado, let’s get into this!
Also please note, the 2021 predictions found below are generated by Nate himself. Let’s get into this!
Zach Eflin (Philadelphia Phillies)
Position Rank: 59th
2020 Stats: 4-2, 3.97 ERA, 1.271 WHIP, 59 IP, 60 H, 26 ER, 8 HR, 70 SO & 15 BB
2021 Predictions: 12-7, 3.87 ERA, 1.209 WHIP, 148 IP, 153 H, 66 ER, 20 HR, 178 SO & 38 BB
Zach Eflin took a huge step in last year’s shortened season and has developed into a legitimate front-end rotation arm. He’ll pitch third behind the likes of Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler for the Philadelphia Phillies. Let’s not forget that Eflin is just 27 years-old and has made strides to improve his game, and that showed last season. Now put that into a full season and you have a steal here near the 200th pick in fantasy drafts. Don’t be afraid to make Eflin one of your starting pitchers on your fantasy squad.
Cristian Javier (Houston Astros)
Position Rank: 65th
2020 Stats: 5-2, 3.48 ERA, 0.994 WHIP, 54.1 IP, 36 H, 21 ER, 11 HR, 54 SO & 18 BB
2021 Stats: 12-5, 3.94 ERA, 1.134 WHIP, 126 IP, 84 H, 49 ER, 26 HR, 126 SO & 42 BB
Cristian Javier was a pitcher that I fell in love with last season and had him on multiple of my fantasy squads for the majority of the season. He had a below 1.000 WHIP last season in 54.1 inning pitched. That’s impressive. Additionally, in 377 minor league innings, Javier boosts a 2.22 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 12.2 K/9IP. Now, his impressive line from last season in ten starts won’t be reproduced this season, but there’s no doubt the 24 year-old has elite stuff.
Brady Singer (Kansas City Royals)
Position Rank: 80th
2020 Stats: 4-5, 4.06 ERA, 1.166 WHIP, 64.1 IP, 52 H, 29 ER, 8 HR, 61 SO & 23 BB
2021 Stats: 9-12, 4.16 ERA, 1.126 WHIP, 150 IP, 121 H, 68 ER, 19 HR, 142 SO & 54 BB
If you know what Singer did over his last four starts last season, you know why I have him listed here. He went 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA, .114 batting average against and had 25 strikeouts in 24 innings across his last four starts. He finished fourth among all qualifying starting pitchers last season with a 51.9-percent ground ball rate, largely in part to his elite sinker. Singer is just 24 years-old and is a former first round selection of the Royals. He’s a top level prospect with elite stuff and is ready to take on his first full season after playing last year in the COIVD-19 shortened season. Don’t leave your draft without this guy on your roster.
Drew Smyly (Atlanta Braves)
Position Rank: 100th
2020 Stats: 0-1, 3.42 ERA, 1.101 WHIP, 26.1 IP, 20 H, 10 ER, 2 HR, 42 SO & 9 BB
2021 Stats: 6-7, 4.63 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 104 IP, 100 H, 50 ER, 18 HR, 128 SO & 46 BB
This is a bit different than the suggestions we gave previously. The three players listed above are top prospects in their respective systems. Drew Smyly is a 31 year-old journeyman. In 26.1 innings with the Giants last season, Smyly struck out 42 hitters, while walking nine. That is an elite 4.7 K/BB that translated into an impressive 3.42 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. He’s also now set to be featured in the Braves’ rotation with one of the league’s best lineups hitting for him. This is some fantastic value that I’m okay swinging at this late in drafts.
Trevor Rogers (Miami Marlins)
Position Rank: 125th
2020 Stats: 1-2, 6.11 ERA, 1.607 WHIP, 28 IP, 32 H, 19 ER, 5 HR, 39 SO & 13 BB
2021 Predictions: 6-6, 4.28 ERA, 1.307 WHIP, 112 IP, 98 H, 56 ER, 16 HR, 116 SO & 42 BB
Rogers is getting overlooked due to names such as Sandy Alcantara and Sixto Sanchez being featured in the Marlins’ rotation above him. Rogers made his debut last season and struggled early on but also showed that he has fantastic upside. Rogers is a strikeout guy. Last season, he struck out 30-percent of the batters he faced. In category leagues, he can be a plug-in starter that can be had for no draft capital whatsoever. He’s still a young arm competing on this young, yet talented team. I have high hopes for Rogers this season.