If we really wanted to, we could make our 2021 a list of 50 names. Check that – 150. There is no shortage of potential SP breakouts and values before draft day, and between the inevitable injuries, surprise prospect calls and the need for one-off starters, fantasy baseball owners will find themselves combing it out. starting pitcher. standings – both during the final rounds of the draft and on the waiver thread – more than a few times during the year.
Due to the baseball trend, strikeouts are easier to find than ever before, but no matter how hungry fantasy owners are for low ERAs and WHIPs and a high probability of getting wins or starts from quality, the most reliable statistic is still the easiest to find – Ks. This makes our job a little more difficult, but it just means that we have to focus even more on things that maybe aren’t fancy stats traditional, such as BB rate, FC rate, BABIP, FIP, etc. This can help us discern which ERAs and WHISKS will likely taste nice once the season begins.
As 2021 approaches, there’s another factor that could wreak havoc on rotations: round limits. No pitcher has had a “normal” workload last year, which could be particularly worrying for young pitchers. Pitchers like this compromise most of this list, so keep that in mind. Depth and flexibility will be key this year, as many pitchers who don’t start the year on the major league rosters impact the major leagues. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write them up, but if you have IL or minor league spots, be sure to take advantage of them.
Don’t be afraid to make moves early either. Our sleeper lists try to encompass potential “values” in all types of leagues, from 10 to 14 teams. Some of the players on this list may not be “sleepers” in your league; others might never be drafting day considerations. If a player on this list is not drafted, be sure to pay attention to their performance at the start of the season. If your favorite sleeper is struggling, you don’t necessarily have to keep it. After all, you’ll be making a lot of roster moves this season, so there’s no shame in starting early.
Fantasy Baseball SP Sleepers: escape throwers, end-of-round flights
Ian Anderson, Braves. Anderson isn’t sneaking up on any fantasy owner this season, not after posting a 1.95 / 1.08 line with an 11.4K / 9 ratio in six starts with the Braves last year. The 22-year-old right-hander won’t be releasing such ridiculous numbers this season, but an elite K-rate and weak peripherals aren’t out of the question. At this point you probably have to hit Anderson, so it’s hard to say that he really qualifies as a “sleeper,” but he certainly has breakout potential and could still top his draft position.
Cristian Javier, Astros. In 377 career minor league innings, Javier has averaged 2.22, 1.02 WHIP and a 12.2K / 9 ratio. In 12 appearances (10 starts) last year with the Astros, he posted a line of 3.48 / 0.99 with a ratio of 8.9K / 9. His advanced numbers suggest he was pretty lucky last season, but it’s clear the 24-year-old right-hander has elite stuff. Whatever his role, he will be of fantastic value and he could be a next level starter as early as this season.
Triston McKenzie, Indians. McKenzie has dominated every step of his professional career (2.68 / 1.00, 10.8 K / 9 in 329 career minor league innings; 3.24 / 0.90, 11.3 K / 9 in 33 , 1 major league innings last year), so there’s no reason to think he can’t excel this season. A slight frame is the biggest blow to the 23-year-old right-hander, but given the lineage of pitching at the club he plays for, we expect big things.
Kevin Gausman, Giants. At this point in his career, it’s not exciting to draft Gausman, but the ‘journeyman’ right-hander has seen a big jump in Ks over the past two seasons (ratio 10.0 K / 9 in 2019; 11.9 last year), and its peripherals actually matched its thing last year (3.62 / 1.11). The wins are a little worrisome, but given its original fleet and modest walk rate, Gausman is a relatively inexpensive source of production.
Framber Valdez, Astros. Valdez is dealing with a fractured left ring finger that could force him to start the season on the DL, but that only creates an even greater value opportunity in the drafts for the 27-year-old southpaw. Valdez showed significant progress last year, hitting a 3.57 / 1.12 line with a 9.7K / 9 ratio in 12 appearances (10 starts). More importantly, he lowered his BB rate to 2.0. If he can continue to keep it between 2.0 and 3.0, Valdez will hit enough hitters to produce solid full numbers. Keep an eye out for his injury, but if he’s ready to go before the end of April, it’s worth hiding.
Tony Gonsolin, Dodgers. Over the past two years, Gonsolin has posted a 2.60 / 0.92 line with an 8.6K / 9 ratio in 20 major league games (14 starts). Despite a low rate of ball on the ground (37.7%), Gonsolin does not give up many circuits (ratio of 0.62 HR / 9), which bodes well for his future prospects. His role is certainly on hold as we approach this season, but he will be valuable one way or another.
Sixto Sanchez, Marlins. Sanchez kept his promises in seven starts last year, posting a line of 3.46 / 1.21 with 33km in 39 innings. Perhaps surprisingly, the 22-year-old right-hander has never been a heavily crossed out guy in minors (7.9K / 9 ratio) despite an average fastball of 97.6 mph, so that’s is still something that could develop, but even as it is, Sanchez has major breakout potential this year.
Aaron Civale, Indians. Civale is yet another Indian pitcher with a low-BB, solid-K repertoire. He might not be a K guy per set, but the 25-year-old right-hander won’t be far from that threshold. His numbers from last year (4.74 / 1.32, 8.4K / 9) won’t jump on anyone, but Civale posted a line of 3.12 / 1.10 with a 7.5 K / 9 in 381.1 minor league innings, and he seems to develop more than a knack for strikeouts as he moves up the ranks. He wrote a late gem all over him.
Josh Lindblom, Brewers. In his first season returning from overseas throwing, Lindblom posted a 5.16 / 1.28 line with a 10.3K / 9 ratio in 12 appearances (10 starts). It doesn’t sound great, but it’s worth noting that he had a FIP of 3.88, and his K rate certainly suggests he has more benefits. His ground ball rate (26.9%) is a concern, but Lindblom is expected to be a stable, high-K back-end producer.
Tyler Mahle, reds. Most fancy owners have likely aired Mahle in favorable spots over the past couple of years, but the 26-year-old right-hander could be due to a full-blown escape. We hate his home park, but Mahle raised his K rate (11.3) to an elite level last year while drastically reducing FC (ratio of 1.13 HR / 9). Obviously last year’s numbers were limited (10 total, nine starts), so we’re taking those with a grain of salt, but Mahle has the hardware to be more consistent and show stable numbers at a price point. advantageous.
Dane Dunning, Rangers. Dunning mostly impressed in seven starts for the White Sox last year (3.97 / 1.12, 9.3K / 9 ratio), building on a successful climb in the minors (2.74 / 1, 13, 10.2 K / 9). The 26-year-old right-hander has an efficient four-pitch mix, and even in a worse pitching park he should be able to rack up Ks and limit baserunners.
Deivi Garcia, Yankees. Garcia has some electric stuff despite having a small frame, but he’s another young pitcher whose role is undefined as the season approaches. Regardless of when he throws, he’s going to hit the hitters. His career minor league line of 3.77 / 1.14 with a 12.7 K / 9 ratio is even more impressive when you realize that he is still only 21 years old.
Adbert Alzolay, little ones. Alzolay has had a top-down minor league career, but something seemed to click in 2019 when he increased his K / 9 ratio to 12.5 in 15 starts. Last year, in six major league games (four starts), he struck out 29 goals and gave up just one HR in 21.1 innings. The 26-year-old right-hander could play a variety of roles throughout the season, but he thinks he’s racking up Ks anyway. If he can keep his steps at a semi-reasonable level and continue to keep the ball in the court, he should settle in as a fantastic mid-rotation contributor.
Michael Kopech, White Sox. Between recovery from Tommy John’s surgery and disengagement last season, Kopech hasn’t pitched for two years. He should be used as a reliever this season, but we all know plans can change. At one point, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the 24-year-old right-hander start, but even as a go-between, Kopech has some intrigue. Prior to injuring himself, Kopech was a flamethrower with four efficient throws, as evidenced by his 11.7 K / 9 career in miners. Even though he thinks he’s on an innings limit this year, Kopech could have some legitimate fantastic value depending on his role.
Brady Singer, Royals. Singer was stable in his 12 starts last year, posting a line of 4.06 / 1.17 with a ratio of 8.5 K / 9, which was in line with his year in minors (2.85 / 1.19, ratio 8.4 K / 9). The 24-year-old right-hander is unlikely to be a top tier pitcher, at least this year, but he can be a solid back-of-the-rotation for fantasy owners, especially in favorable games.
Tarik Skubal, Tigers. Elite pitcher on withdrawal, Skubal posted a 13.2K / 9 ratio in 145 minor league innings. In his 32 innings in the majors last year, he recorded a solid 10.4. An extremely high HR rate (2.5) kept his ERA and FIP high (5.63, 5.75, respectively), but Skubal did not have this problem in minors (0.4 HR / 9) , so there are reasons to believe that the 24- year-old left-hander will adapt. Anyway, his K rate alone earned him an end-of-round choice.
Brent Honeywell, Rays. Honeywell hasn’t pitched since 2017 due to various arm injuries, so he’s definitely an injury risk, but the former top prospect is healthy now and on the verge of finally becoming the majors. He will start the season in the minors, and if he manages to dominate there as before his injuries (2.88 / 1.08, ratio 9.9 K / 9), he will get a chance in the rotation of the Rays. Yes, he’ll be on an innings limit, but the 25-year-old right-hander has a lot of advantages and should be at the top of your watch lists.