Last week we chatted about deep league starting pitchers outside the top 300 ADP that we might consider taking a flier on, and this week we’ll get even crazier and bump it down to a few pitchers outside the current top 400 NFBC ADP. Obviously, you’re not going to want to put too much faith in anyone at this point in a draft in even the deepest leagues, but it doesn’t take too much production for picks this late to be worthwhile, and of course, there is little risk given that you’re not passing much up to get them.

Domingo German (NFBC ADP #401). I drafted German late in a Draft and Hold league recently; it wasn’t really a “fun” experience, but drafting pitching outside the top 400 rarely is. Not surprisingly, German has dropped off the fantasy radar after his 2020 suspension and a shoulder-related IL stint last year. The sore shoulder alone is a red flag of course — I suppose we should be encouraged by the fact that he did make one appearance at the end of the year suggesting he was back to full health, and not worry too much about the fact that he pitched rather horribly during said appearance. His 2021 stat line is weird: positives include exactly a K per inning and a more than solid 1.18 WHIP, with a decent 27 BBs/98 Ks. Negatives include the way-too-many homers he gave up, which lead to an ugly 4.58 ERA, and the fact that four of his last seven appearances were out of the bullpen. Steamer and the other systems all project him for a K/9 of 9 or better, which at this point in a draft is enough of a starting point for me to start giving a pitcher a little consideration. I suspect we’ll see him in a hybrid role next year, depending on who the Yankees add and the health/workload of their rotation. German may ultimately prove to be a better real-life weapon in relief, so I’m planning accordingly in terms of where he might fit in on a deep-league fantasy roster.

Dane Dunning (#408). I own Dunning in an AL-only keeper league, so I watched more of his starts last year than I probably should have. You know how sometimes you watch a starter you own in fantasy who looks amazing and locked-in for a couple of innings, and then you go grab a beverage and maybe give your dog a little treat from the dog cookie jar (not to be confused with the actual cookie jar; you should never give your dog actual cookies!), and then you get back to the game and your pitcher somehow has given up 2 runs and has another 2 guys on base and has only gotten one out in the inning and is already 3-1 on the current batter? Stuff like that seemed to happen to Dunning and me a lot last year. He doesn’t have any one spectacular pitch, and his fastball got hit and hit hard last year, but he’s getting some deep sleeper heat in the fantasy community. I don’t think any of us is buying into a particularly high ceiling, but I think we’re hopeful that the Rangers can continue to develop him and that he can take a decent step forward. I really don’t ever see him as a guy who will go deep into games regularly, but if he can improve his pitch selection and find a way to keep ahead of hitters, and then improve his pitch selection again, he could be a decent option at the end of a deep-league fantasy rotation.

Roansy Contreras (#480). Contreras has been more prominent on my deep-league radar since he was drafted in one of my leagues a few months ago by an owner who closely follows the Arizona Fall League, where Contreras was ‘pitcher of the week’ back in the first week of November. You may know him as the guy that came over to the Pirates from the Yankees in the Jamison Taillon trade… the Bucs have to be on the good side of a high profile trade eventually, right? Contreras had a stellar year in double A in 2021, and despite a mid-season forearm strain was able to return to pitch a few innings in triple A as well as grab a 3-inning cup of coffee in the majors. He’s got an excellent fastball and a slider that misses bats, and one would assume that if the Pirates promoted him to the big club at the end of 2021, they’re planning on giving him more time in the show in 2022. Yes, we know what can happen when we make assumptions that the folks running the Pirates are going to make logical decisions, but I am more than happy to take a chance on Contreras at his current bargain-basement cost. There may be bumps in the road and he may prove to need significantly more minor league seasoning, but there’s enough upside to make him a plenty interesting pick near the end of a deep-league draft.

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Richard D
Richard D
5 months ago

Prospects draft is coming up in NL only league (deep league expert that you are). Have 2nd pick Available would be options: Jordan Walker, Kahil Watson, Jordan Lawlar , Diego Cartaya and Bryson Stott How would you rank them based on fantasy production
Thanks

paledave
paledave
5 months ago

Thank you for your writing, Laura. I had German and Dunning last year. German was a real rollercoaster last year, impossible to use logic. Pitched a beauty against the hard-hitting Bosox, and weaker teams creamed him.

Dunning often fell prey to having one awful inning in several of his starts. Three or four great innings, and a killer one, often early in the game. Live and learn.

Stl Squat Cobblers
Stl Squat Cobblers
5 months ago

Good stuff Laura. Appreciate these deep-league perspectives.

In DC Draft-and-Holds, roughly how many SPs do you like to have PRIOR to snagging the types above?

Also, what is your preferred approach to closers in these no waiver leagues as well?

Thanks a lot!

Stl Squat Cobblers
Stl Squat Cobblers
Reply to  Laura Holt
5 months ago

“…there’s always just way too many hitters I can’t pass on once we’re 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through a draft.” This is me to a tee! Cuz while I usually end up 28/22 (or 27/23) Hitters/Pitchers, I too often find myself 19/7/4rp or even 20/6/4rp..thru 30 and by then, I’m way behind on SP arms and have to load up on complete darts. Some of whom may never even see time in the majors.

Thanks for the heads up on closers as well. I need help as my approach last year cost me bigtime. Waited too long and thought that I could figure out a team’s closer …when even the team’s manager doesn’t know! Given your sage advice, I’ll reach earlier than my comfort level and go for a #1…just not sure I can pull the trigger on the Big 3 as early as they are going.

Appreciate your help and best of luck in all of your leagues this year.