*smiles through gritted teeth* Hi. *people turn around heading for the exit* Wait! Before you leave, just let me show you some Nathan Eovaldi stats from last year! *people stream out of the post, one guy throws a tomato at my head* Okay, I’m sorry! Geez, you people make like you’re the only ones who have been screwed by Nathan Eovaldi in the past. I have too. Multiple times! Hmm, what am I doing here? Nathan Eovaldi? Have I lost my mind? Don’t answer me; the “Nathan Eovaldi, 2021 Sleeper” title answers that. So, last year Eovaldi had a 9.7 K/9, 1.3 BB/9, 3.32 xFIP, 3.45 SIERA, 7.43 K/BB, which was 7th best in the majors, and a 3.72 ERA with a .336 BABIP, so a tad unlucky. Can you imagine what his numbers look like if his 98-MPH smoke show had any life? Noted Red Sox enthusiast, Podcaster Ralph says it’s all about his fastball release point. It’s easy to pick up, making it more of a contact pitch. I consulted PR because he’s had the most eyes on Eovaldi, and I wanted to make sure his sexy eh-eff peripherals weren’t sending me astray like a Pall Mall. Wait, that’s ashtray. Any hoo! You get the point, release and otherwise. I look at pitchers mostly by hiding their names, then I remove the blinders and see the starter’s name, whose numbers are exciting me, and I saw Nathan Eovaldi and nearly clawed my eyes out of my skull, while screaming, “You don’t deserve to see!” So, what can we expect from Nathan Eovaldi for 2021 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Psyche! Before we get into the Nathan Eovaldi sleeper, just wanted to announce all my rankings are currently available on Patreon for the price of a Starbucks coffee, if you get one of those extra grande frappuccino jobbers. Don’t wait for the rankings to come out over the next month, and get them all now. So II, the Nathan Eovaldi sleeper:

Last year, Nathan Eovaldi’s curve and split-finger were his best pitches, as they were in past seasons, but even more so. The fewer times he can throw his fastball, the better off he (and, by extension, us) will be. What I think we’re not seeing with Eovaldi, because of the previous years of baggage, is a guy who has an ever-increasing K-rate, who has always had pinpoint command (minus a fluky 2019). He now has four straight years of an increasing K-rate, and decreasing walk rate (again, minus 2019). Maybe he’s just a guy who took forever to find his pitch mix. We’ve seen a growing number of starters with this career trajectory. What is it about age that worries us? A pitcher loses velocity. Eovaldi losing velocity might be a good thing. He’ll stop trying to overpower people. It’s not like relying on velocity to overpower anyone has worked. If anything, the less he throws that garbage pitch that clocks in at 100 MPH on occasion, the better off he is.

This past year that saw Nathan Eovaldi do the best in his career, ratio-wise, also saw him throw fewer fastballs. Get the fastball usage down to 15%, you giant dummy, it sucks! Not sure why he’s throwing his cutter, which doesn’t really work either. My guess is he feels like he needs to set up the offspeed stuff with something. Fair enough. I would love him to become Lance McCullers Jr. Jr. and throw nothing but 100 curves per game, but that’s unlikely. Think the curve’s effectiveness can be directly attributed to his locating. He had a 47.7% Zone% on the curve, up from 41.7%, and a 3.4 BB% down from 7.7%. The cutter, and its lousiness, could be its own post. Its movement went up (actually, down) considerably, and it was such a terrible pitch for him. Opponents hit .378 off the cutter, and slugged .689, which is legit funny. Eovaldi out here making hitters into Trout with his cutter. On the bright side, he threw a total of 161 cutters, and with a 50% HR/FB% (HA!) it can rightfully be assumed he just had an unlucky small sampling of bad luck on the cutter.

Let’s not forget, the real attraction here is most people need to get paid off in sex to even draft Nathan Eovaldi. No one wants him. Remember how you felt when you saw the title of this post? That’s how most people feel about drafting him. I know, everyone wants a sleeper that gets you excited immediately, but if you’re excited immediately, then that sleeper is likely going to be overdrafted. No one is overdrafting Eovaldi. No one is even drafting him in most shallower leagues. I’m here to say that we might want to put aside our past biases, and dig back in on a guy who hasn’t been a sleeper without baggage since 2012. For 2021, I’ll give Nathan Eovaldi projections 9-12/3.77/1.18/167 in 161 IP with a chance for more.

 
  1. Sweatpants Nation says:
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    Wow. Crickets. I’m never on this site posting first. Maybe everyone is off drafting Eovaldi and will be on soon.
    Bold move.

    • NUX says:
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      Things will blow up once the rankings start to drop next week. But I’ve been digging through those already on Patreon and using them to dominate Grey in Bestball drafts

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      It’s a sleeper!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Though, people seem to want sleepers that everyone knows about and is overdrafting

        • Coolwhip says:
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          and thus, not a sleeper HA!

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Haha

  2. Phil says:
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    Grey, great stuff as always. I’ve been an avid reader of yours for a few years now, and I have to embarrassingly admit that I had no idea what Patreon is/was, and I finally decided to look into it the other day. Now that I fully understand its significance, I am happy to say that I am a proud patron of yours (the first, and one and only, so you don’t have to be jealous that I’m Patroning…is that a word?…others).

    I read through your ranks, and I swear I laughed out loud multiple, multiple times. You really are a funny dude, and very good at this fantasy ‘perting stuff. That’s why I keep coming back for more every day (despite Roughned Odor from a couple years back still stinging me like a punch to Bautista’s jaw).

    I do have a question that is seemingly ridiculous and may be difficult for you to answer, but I want to ask anyway, but I won’t be offended if you tell me that it’s impossible to answer. One of my leagues (12 teams) is a keeper league where we keep 4 players but have to pay draft picks to keep them. I am keeping deGrom, Yelich, Lindor and Juan Soto but have to give up my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 12th picks. In essence, my first pick will be in the 4th round, after 48 players have been kept and another 30 or so drafted in the first three rounds before I pick. Suffice it to say, there won’t be much available by that time, but I don’t want to draft a closer in the 4th or 5th rounds. Which position would you go with in the 4th round? Starting pitcher, OF, or an infielder? Last year I kept the same guys with the same draft picks, and drafted Matt Olson in the 4th round, just to give you an idea. Guys like Trevor Bauer, Yu Darvish, Ozuna, Jose Abreu, Bo Bichette were still available in the 4th.

    • Cram It says:
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      I’d probably take the best available bat, with an eye on a CI.

      • Phil says:
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        Word, thanks Cram It!

        Would you go bat again in the 5th, or starter?

        • Cram It says:
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          I’d wait on a 2nd starter. But I’d also wait until Grey’s rankings come out so you can see what tier of pitcher you can wait on for your #2.

    • NUX says:
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      Yea I’m with Cram here, look for a bat. You’ve already got your SP stud and there will be plenty more of them in the ensuing rounds. Good luck Phil!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Appreciate the kind words, Phil!

      You have an ace, and three top 15 bats, two OFs and a SS…You can draft whatever next, I’d prolly say a corner man

  3. Ante GALIC says:
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    Grey!!!

    Awesome fantasy sleeper report on Nate Eo!

    a. By the way for those wanting to look him up fast, just type in ‘Eo’ in the search. The only name that comes up is Eovaldi.

    b. No one is drafting him, absolutely no one!

    c. Have a nice weekend, psyche! Tomorrow is Friday so you need to show up tomorrow for me to wish you a nice weekend and we all know what happened the last time I didn’t wish you a nice weekend!

    d. MLB quote of the day for January 14, 2021

    1. Derrel Thomas, born January 14, 1951

    ‘(Derrel) Thomas, you see, has a reputation. And (Tom) Lasorda, manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, was the one who gave it national prominence. He did it with one statement: ‘Every manager should have to manage Derrel Thomas at least once in his career,’ Lasorda said after Thomas opted for free-agency after 1983. And that was that. The problems in LA, Thomas said, were with his use of the basket catch while playing the outfield. Even if Willie Mays used to do it, Lasorda didn’t want Thomas doing it. And when he kept doing it anyway, a reputation was born. ‘The basket catches,’ Thomas says now, shaking his head. ‘The fact that Lasorda asked me not to use the basket catch, and I continued to use it some, made people think that I was a player you can’t control.'”

    Sports Writer Rich Hofmann in The Philadelphia Daily News, (June 24, 1985, Thomas Promises He’s No Problem, Page 93)

    2. Terry Forster, born January 14, 1952

    ‘Though he was never an All-Star, never won any awards, Terry Forster had a pretty interesting big-league career. In addition to leading the American League in saves with the ’74 White Sox, winning a championship ring with the ’81 Dodgers, and making 614 appearances (most of them in relief) over the course of 16 years in the majors, the left-hander was also the last A.L. pitcher to steal a base in a regular-season game before the introduction of interleague play, and his .397 career batting average (31 hits in 78 at-bats) remains the highest of any player with 50 or more at-bats and/or at least 15 years of major-league experience. Not a bad legacy, especially for a player who people, er, largely remember today for being dubbed a ‘fat tub of goo’ by David Letterman.’

    Dan Epstein (Fox Sports, ‘Terry Forster’s Musical Feast,’ Source)

    3. Danny Boone, born January 14, 1954

    ‘Besides a below average fastball, (Danny) Boone throws a curve, slider, knuckler and screwball. The latter is one of his most effective pitches.’

    The Sporting News (June 13, 1981, Phil Collier)

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks!

      A. With Eo, it’s Eovaldi or “Did you mean Old MacDonald?”

      B. Haha, I think you might be right, which is why he’s good

      C. Have a good weekend (eventually)!

      D. Haha, fat tub of goo

      3. Daniel Boone?

      • Ante Galic says:
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        Grey!!

        Does that mean that you won’t be around tomorrow or are you pleading the 5th?

        Danny Boone, never heard of him.

        Any good TV series you can recommend? I went through a lot of trouble to get Baby God (the HBO doc about the doctor who used his own sperm instead of the husband’s when performing artificial insemination) and my wife said NO before we even started. She always asks me to tell her what it’s about, I did and then she says why do you look for stuff like that. Anyway, any ideas?

        Cheers
        Ante

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Who is Danny Boone? I’ll be here tomorrow — you can bet your bippy!

          Have you watched The French Village? Cougs and I are watching, we’re one season in (of 7) and it’s good so far

          • Ante Galic says:
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            Grey!!

            I’ll give it a shot, thanks.

            Cheers,
            Ante

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              No problem, it’s on MHz Choice, if you have that

  4. Nathan Ducharme says:
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    Sleeper more like Slump Buster.

    Nate “ Even I’d do her” Evoladi is the chick that gives you the look at 1am at the club before the lights go on. You give a double look and she’s at your face with shots. You wake up next morning and you still have 10fingers and 10 toes but there’s this underlying feeling you did something you will regret. He will wine and dine you for a couple of weeks and you get comfortable. Few Quality Starts, maybe even a 10k game and then just like the slump buster, tells you she’s got 3 kids , 2 babies daddies and her parole officer will be there at noon. Next time, stay calm, keep it in the car, and try out a young dumb prospect or a sexy Tristian “break like a triscuit” Mackenzie.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha

  5. NUX says:
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    Ugh, I saw in Zimm’s Mining the News that the Tigers are talking about a RF platoon for CStewart and VReyes. I hope that doesn’t play out for very long if they actually do that. On the damn contrary, Roster Resource has VReyes leading off (no platoon).

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Meh, I don’t think Stewart hurts Reyes

  6. florida jack says:
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    keeper help please–12 team H2H PTS, start 3 OFs, 2 util, no mi/ci. 162 game limit at every position, scoring is a little slanted to pitching keep 8

    keeping for sure
    acuna, tatis, soto, arenado

    4 more out of these
    lewis, bregman, swansov, gleybar, yordan, snell, flaherty, sonny gray, luzardo, woodruff

    thanks for the help

    • florida jack says:
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      sorry—***swanson***

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Hey, man, good to see you!

      Bregman, Snell, Flaherty, Woodruff…Wow, you have a lot of good names…I almost said Yordan or Gray too

      • florida jack says:
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        thanks, tough choices for me, can only hope the league increases the keepers by a few

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, or you need to stop getting so many great keepers

  7. Jeremy says:
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    Nate Eovoldi. I want to mock you in the worst way but youve been so good with these pitching sleepers im gonna have to draft this loser.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Get that loser!

      • DonnieB says:
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        I I just drafted this loser. Any interest in Cole Hamels if he signs? He was solid n 2019. Thanks!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I have no interest in Hamels

  8. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    Never drafted a Redsox in my life and never will. Anyway, you like any of these guys as a spot starter type. We start 14 pitchers and I am loaded, just want to add some depth, if you think any of these guy might be worth something in 2021. Id throw back Cron or Hilliard.
    Smyly
    Logan Webb
    Cueto
    Caleb Smith
    Mike Minor
    Disco
    Akin
    Dunn

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Those are streamers…Prolly most interested in Smith — Cron does nothing for me tho either

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
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        Thats what I meant, a bench Sp to stream, when matchups are good. So that would be Smith

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, worth a flyer

          • Malicious Phenoms says:
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            Ok thanks as always for your wisdom

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              No problem

  9. Coolwhip says:
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    Yeah was wondering if that’s what he did. That straight line FB is/was complete garbage.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      If that’s what he did? He? Eovaldi?

  10. The Great Knoche says:
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    When does wiser January Grey show up with the rankings? First one I haven’t agreed with or like.

    I can’t buy the pitch mix alone. Small samples size is key here for me. Walk rate dpwn below anytime in career and way above average LOB percentage. Hardhit% is still brutal. He’s a 3 run HR waiting to happen.

    Then again he had about the same numbers in 2018 so who knows. I won’t be buying shares of him most likely.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Monday starts rankings

  11. Sport says:
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    Do you see Patrick Corbin with any kind of bounce back? He is going 114 ADP in fantrax and I think 150/160 NFBC.

    Thank you for all your work!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I’d draft Corbin around his ADP spot for a chance for a bounce back

  12. William Hung says:
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    Mets signing Jose Martinez seems odd as they appear to already have a DH in Dominic Smith

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, not sure what that move is for, but it doesn’t bother me much…He’s not a good bet for more than a random 150 ABs

  13. Ben says:
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    He’s had great stretches, but he averages 125 innings a season. I guess for a $1 bid, we can just drop him when the injury hits.

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