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 McCullers, Nola, Robbie Ray and Alex Wood. All guys who this year are in the top 26 for starters, with two making the jump to my top 20 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 2018 fantasy baseball:
Jon Gray (ESPN 203) I almost wrote his name Jong Ray, then I laughed for 15 minutes, snorting and shizz. However, maybe there’s some truth in that typo. Could Jong Ray be related to Robbie Ray? Both play in stadiums with humidors, both strike out more than one guy per inning, both are 26 years old and throw 94+ MPH, but Jong Ray’s walk rate is better, his fastball is harder and throws more ground balls. One of these years we’re going to see the best Rockies starter since Ubaldo, and Jong Ray’s as good a bet as any.
Kevin Gausman (Yahoo 205) I already gave you my Kevin Gausman sleeper. I’ve stared Gausman down in a few leagues, unable to pull the trigger. It’s not him, it’s me! I still like him, but I’ve always found my teams already sporting an AL pitcher pick, and the thought of benching someone vs. the Red Sox and Yankees, gave me cold feet. Though, maybe that’s because it’s 50 degrees in my house, and getting colder with the windows, because Cougs is having hot flashes!
Rick Porcello (ESPN 222; Yahoo 231) Speaking of AL East starters, I never thought I’d be back in on Porcello. Not only in on him, but I’ve drafted him. Granted, only once, and I didn’t love how I felt after it, but there’s reason to be optimistic. Last year, his control went a little sideways (literally) and that caused his ERA to balloon. There’s little room for error — his ‘bad’ walk rate was still only 2.1 — but he feels much closer to a low-4 ERA pitcher. Yes, in today’s game, that’s good. By the by, I love how MLB is pushing a pace of game issue with things like a pitch clock, when the real reason for long games is due to teams using a Superball. Remove the 10-7 games and pace of play would speed up. Okay, could someone help me down from my soapbox? I’m getting vertigo.
Alex Reyes (ESPN 233; Yahoo 289) Everyone has a DL spot, right? So, draft Reyes and stash him on your DL, then grab another guy. You’d wanna grab someone from waivers before the 1st week of the season ends anyway. The only drawback to the ol’ DL Draft-and-Stash gambit is you have to wait until the Cards officially DL Reyes, which might not happen until Opening Day.
Jameson Taillon (ESPN 237) He lost his command a bit last year, but if he can shave a ball or two off–*winces, crosses legs* Damn, I walked right into that. Taillon still feels a year away from a huge break out, but, at his price, I’d pay to find out.
Blake Snell (ESPN 242) I already gave you a Blake Snell sleeper. I’ve run into similar problems with Snell as I have with Gausman. *Staring at Snell, wanting to draft him, thinks of Red Sox and Yankees, gets shook and drafts Michael Wacha* Still I would draft Snell (in theory).
Charlie Morton (ESPN 244) There’s no starters to draft late? Charlie Morton’s in my top 40 starters! I will say without a lack of modesty, the one place the big box sites really lack compared to my rankings is their starter rankings. How is Morton ranked 244th overall? Does that make any sense? What if I told you Cole Hamels is ranked 60 spots higher? Still making sense? Ya sure? The person who ranked Charlie Morton this late is a Charlie Moron.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (ESPN 255; Yahoo unranked) Seriously, you don’t have to draft any starters before the top 200 if you’re playing in a friendly game of fantasy baseball at ESPN or Yahoo.
Michael Wacha (ESPN 265, Yahoo 232) The real bummer in ESPN or Yahoo’s rankings is if you’re in a league with decent fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!), they’re drafting all of these starters way before they’re ranked. I mean, is anyone seriously drafting Joe Mauer before Wacha like at ESPN? I know, apples/oranges, but c’mon. Also, I gave you a Michael Wacha sleeper.
Miles Mikolas (ESPN 267; Yahoo 346) You know what’s funny (not funny)? You either draft a guy and feel awful about it, or you draft a guy and feel good about it. (I told you hilarious!) Mikolas is one of those guys that I drafted and felt really good about it. Honestly, not 100% sure why. He’s likely going to be a mess of a 6-7 K/9, 4.25-75 ERA, but I’m liking him for no reason whatsoever (okay, there’s reasons; check my fantasy baseball rankings for them).
Jordan Montgomery (ESPN 274; Yahoo 292) I should’ve done a tier of starters that I love that are in the AL East, which means I’ll hem and/or haw and not draft them. I love this guy, but no JoMo.
Dinelson Lamet (ESPN 315; Yahoo 201) I’m fairly certain that ESPN doesn’t rank guys as much as they just throw darts at a board. “Lamet is in the 300’s? Sounds good!” “Actually, that dart just hit Buster Olney.” “Same diff.” By the way, all sportswriters at ESPN are now going by their middle name, “Soon To Be Of The Athletic.”
Trevor Williams (ESPN 516) I already gave you a Trevor Williams sleeper. It won two awards. First award was for the “Number One Post Pirates Fans Want To Believe.” Second award was for, “Number One Post No One Else Cares About.”
Patrick Corbin (ESPN 342; Yahoo 247) I already gave you a Patrick Corbin sleeper. By the by, it’s crazy how shook people are over the humidor when it comes to Diamondbacks hitters, right? Nutso, but not that delicious, all-natural nut butter. Nutso as in everyone thinks the Diamondbacks hitters will become Daniel Descalso with the humidor. What is even crazier to me, everyone is preaching bye-bye on Diamondbacks hitters, however, Diamondbacks pitchers are not getting the reverse positive vibes. If you really believe someone like Goldschmidt will now be in trouble, wouldn’t you also believe in Corbin? Not the case anywhere. I haven’t seen one person move Goldschmidt down in their rankings and move Corbin up.