Today concludes the fantasy baseball sleepers‘ portion of our program. *nudges homeless woman sleeping on my couch that I tried to get Cougs to agree to a threesome with* No more sleepers, Francine. Meh, I’ll let her rest. Like the outfielders to target, this post is necessary. You need to target the right names at the end of the draft for starters. Last year’s starters to target post included Gausman, Paxton, Velasquez, Nola, McCullers and Rich Hill. All guys who this year are in my top 40 starters. This year…the world! Well, not the world, just some starters. As with other target posts, these guys are being drafted after the top 200 overall. Anyway, here’s some starters to target for 2017 fantasy baseball:
Lance McCullers (ESPN 233) If he stays healthy, he will be a top 15 starter. I’d say top 10 starter if I thought there was a chance he could stay healthy and pitch 220 IP, but even in the best case scenario healthy seasons, he won’t pitch that many innings. I’m all about McCullers this year. Or as Ice T calls him, McCullers-Cullers, Cullers-Cullers.
Aaron Nola (ESPN 239) Some undeniable injury risk with these first two starters, but if they’re healthy, you are gonna be so money drafting them that P. Diddy is going to remake It’s All About The Benjamins and replace Benjamins with your name.
Ivan Nova (ESPN 252, Yahoo 327) I should’ve wrote a sleeper post for Nova. He screams post-hype sleeper to me. Stuff that can produce a 8+ K/9 and mid-1 BB/9, had a 3.18 ERA in the 2nd half last year, now out of that godforsaken AL East, you’re about to get a breakout year, and Oxford comma.
Jon Gray (ESPN 284, Yahoo 204) If you’re drafting against players who are using Yahoo or ESPN’s pitcher rankings, you likely don’t need to draft a starter before the top 200. I’m not even joking. These first four names alone could be a decent enough pitching staff in a 12-team league or shallower. Isn’t it also crazy how these big box sites are the ones telling you to draft Kershaw and Scherzer in the first round while also telling you that pitchers like McCullers are 200th overall picks? ESPN puts out the absolute worst fantasy product and this is after getting rid of Snafu Berry! As for Gray, not excited about owning him for his home starts, but he was actually better at home last year. You say wow, I say zoinks, let’s call the whole thing off.
Joe Ross (ESPN 211) I will say that ESPN outdid itself with awful pitcher rankings this year. Yahoo may not be great, but when I don’t list Yahoo’s ranking number in the parenthesis, it means they ranked the player inside the top 200, sometimes a good hundred picks before ESPN ranked the player–Excuse me, who is playing that techno music while I talk about Joe Ross?
Julio Urias (ESPN 224) Let’s pray Urias is never kidnapped, because that whole “blink once if you’re trouble, blink twice if you’re not” thing could get very confusing.
Robbie Ray (ESPN 248, Yahoo 202) I already gave you my Robbie Ray sleeper. There I said, “Touches on Giancarlo…Jon Bon Jovi in Blaze of Glory…Jamie Foxx with lyrics by Bob Fosse…bit you in the ass…” Damn, I need to learn to pull better quotes.
Mike Foltynewicz (ESPN 262, Yahoo 297) There’s gonna be so many breakouts on my fantasy teams, I’m gonna name all of my fantasy teams, “Cameron Diaz’s Acne.” I will make an over-the-internet bet that I plan on welching on that says Faultywirewitz is going to be owned on every fantasy team by June.
Michael Pineda (ESPN 246, Yahoo 203) I was talking to Rudy the other day about Pineda and he was saying something that might have a bit of truth to it. He was saying how you look at Pineda’s peripherals and you get excited about owning him, but you only make that mistake once, because, after you own him once, you never want any part of him again. He just gives up too much hard contact when he misses. I will own him and I did write a Michael Pineda sleeper, but, I’ll be honest, I will draft him in some leagues, but I’m not putting all my eggs in the Pineda omelet.
Alex Wood (ESPN/Yahoo NR) I actually don’t have Wood ranked either, so, like when you’re in China and you smuggle a baby back to the states with you, we got a bonus baby! I love Wood almost as much as Jenna Jameson, but, damn, if his innings aren’t a huge question mark. The Dodgers have a legit five starters who could be their fifth starter. Two of them (Kazmir, Ryu) are guaranteed rotation spots if they’re healthy, and three (Stripling, Urias and Brock Stewart) could be as good as Wood. Am I taking a flyer on Wood? Does a bear defecate in the woods, then put it in an Easy Bake Oven and try to sell it at a bear bake sale? Though, I’m also not paying anything more than a last round price tag.