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 Jameson Taillon, Blake Snell, Charlie Morton, Miles Mikolas, Trevor Williams and Patrick Corbin. All guys who this year are in the top 40 for starters, with two making the jump to my top 20 starters., and, one, well, can you believe ESPN ranked Snell 242nd overall last year? Also, on a side note, Fantasy Pros recently talked about ‘perts who had foresaw breakouts last year, and they didn’t mention Blake Snell (or Jo-Ram or Acuña), but mentioned Jose Urena, Jared Hughes and Wade LeBlanc by three writers from sites that help or support them. Not to get too aluminum-foil-hat-wearing here, but, if you don’t think they have an agenda with who they highlight, you’re not seeing the big picture. As with other target posts, these guys are being drafted after the top 200 overall. Anyway, here’s some starters to target for 2019 fantasy baseball:
Joey Lucchesi (206 NFBC, ESPN 212) Thus far I’ve drafted Lucchesi of the Fugetaboutit Crime Family in three of three drafts and I’m doing all I can to push his ADP up. Wearing a shirt right now, “Leave the gun, take the Lucchesi.” Here’s my Joey Lucchesi sleeper, i.e., Lucchesi sleeper with the fishes, I before E except in Lucchesi, don’t Fugetabouthim! Crime Family name aside, and all.
Kenta Maeda (221 NFBC) This is the weirdest one I’ve come across in all my positional sleepers. Usually NFBC ADP is way above Yahoo and ESPN, because, brucely, ESPN and Yahoo are dopey, but this one shows ESPN and Yahoo have ranked Maeda way above 200 overall, so what can we gather from that? ESPN and Yahoo are still dopey. What I think people at NFBC are thinking is, Roberts used Maeda as a reliever for parts of last year, and we know that means, once something gets in Roberts’s head, it’s hard to get it out of there. That’s also why Roberts still goes into Taco Bell and asks for a free taco, because he stole a bag in the postseason seven years ago. I have Maeda ranked around 205 overall, and that’s where he should be drafted, because he might be a long man during the year.
Joe Musgrove (224 NFBC, 208 ESPN, 254 Yahoo) This is funny (not funny). Rudy’s rankings love Musgrove; I know I like him; I saw someone at Fangraphs say they like him. Then, I looked at his stats from last year and I was like, “Damn, I was expecting to like him more.” He had a 7.8 K/9 last year and a 3.92 xFIP. Plus, we know Ray Searage loves to direct people to have his pitchers paint the corners with the Dutch Boy color, Wet Blanket (which is a shade of yellow).
Ross Stripling (226 NFBC, 258 ESPN) Look at these peripherals: 10 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 vs. 7.8 K/9, 1.8 BB/9. Clearly the better pitcher is the 1st one, right? Yeah, well, 1st one is Stripling and 2nd one is Musgrove. Stripling also threw more innings last year. So, why are people drafting Musgrove first? He’s locked into the rotation and Stripling needs Maeda, Kershaw or Ryu to go down, which, ya know, would never, ever, ever, ever happen. Oh, wait, it already has for Kershaw.
Tyler Skaggs (236 NFBC, 202 ESPN, 242 Yahoo) Skaggs reminds me of Pineda and, before him, Nolasco, though listed after him in this sentence. The promise of something great always seems to circle around Skaggs, and occasionally he shows it, but over the long haul, it’s just, sigh, promise. Today, he’s in the same shape as he’s been every other preseason. He could be a breakout, but, sigh, be nice to see it already. (Man, this is negative shizz I’m writing today; hey, Grey, you in a funk? C’mon, man, smile a little! Thanks, little voice in my head.) Also, you kinda know if you do luck into the great Skaggs year, we’re never going to see it again after this year. (Wow, very optimistic.)
Collin McHugh (240 NFBC, 222 ESPN, 222 Yahoo) For what it’s Werth, I didn’t bother mentioning Forrest Whitley or Jesus Luzardo. I’ve gone over both in the past, and in my rankings. I don’t hate them, by any means. Just think they’re actually a tad overrated for how many innings we’re going to see from either. This is even more pronounced for Luzardo now that he’s injured. Not pronounced by me, because I can’t pronounce anything — have you heard the podcast? Speaking of innings, I’m not entirely convinced McHugh might not be better served in middle relief and might resort to a 4.00 ERA and 8.5 K/9 as a starter. People might be quick to point out he added a slider as a middle reliever last year, but maybe he throws that in middle relief and not as a starter, since it puts more effort on his arm. Or I might just derisively roll my eyes. Like Altuve going for the cereal, I’ll prolly go for the latter.
Jimmy Nelson (249 NFBC, unranked ESPN, 286 Yahoo) We might be a year early on Nelson, or two years too early if he needs another Tommy John surgery. Would’ve loved to see some innings from him last year, but I’d still take the flyer to see if he can get back to even three-quarters of the pitcher he once was.
Steven Matz (254 NFBC, 241 ESPN, 245 Yahoo) Okay, like Lucchesi of the Rigatoni Crime Family, I’m unabashedly a fan of Matz. (Also, of Bieber, Eduardo Rodriguez, Pivetta, and Glasnow, but they’re being drafted before 200 overall.) Took me until March before realizing I had a full-on crush for Matz. Better late than never, right? In the 2nd half of last year, he had a 10.4 K/9, 3.81 xFIP and worked in his slider, which he ditched completely after arm problems earlier in his career. If Matz is throwing sliders again (and he is in the spring), then we can see a 9.2+ K/9 and 3.40-ish ERA again, like when he first came up. Feels like there’s writing on the wall that Matz is going to be a top 25 starter next preseason. Though, I’m writing this from a restroom stall and there’s a lot of limericks for me to get through before I read the Matz news written on the wall.
Kyle Gibson (279 NFBC, 242 ESPN, 269 Yahoo) Last year he broke out and this year he’s simply building on it. Or (no, not or; please no or) last year was a fluke. I don’t think it was; he made serious strides last year on the mound, literally and figuratively. Now if he cuts his walks to earlier career year numbers, he could be a number two. Bet on the Twins to win the World Series!
Marco Gonzales (281 NFBC, ESPN 210, unranked by Yahoo) His stats look similar to Musgrove. I will call them, Joeco Musgonzales. Or not. TBD.
Julio Urias (285 NFBC, unranked ESPN & Yahoo) Not trying to deflate every single starter, except Lucchesi and Matz, but if Urias throws more than 100 IP this year A) Roberts is crazy. B) Well…Roberts is crazy, but something else must’ve happened. C) There’s no C.
Corbin Burnes (293 NFBC, unranked by ESPN & Yahoo) I recently just added Burnes into top 100 starters and the pitchers pairing tool after it was announced he would be in the Brewers’ rotation. Only thing I will add to what I said in the rankings, if baseball announcers don’t call him, “Burnsie,” I don’t know anything. Even Eric Byrnes, aka Burnsie, will call him Burnsie.
Touki Toussaint (333 NFBC, unranked ESPN & Yahoo) Great pitching is on the come. Very few are Snells of 2018, but, if the Braves let Touki rack up 160 IP, then, well, there’s not a ton of guys being drafted after the top 300 that could have that kind of impact. Impactouki, even. Sorry, no, that’s just not right.
Chris Paddack (334 NFBC, 263 ESPN, 202 Yahoo) I didn’t list Matt Strahm, but consider this his mention, as well. Paddack and Strahm are headed for glory on the wings of every fantasy baseballer’s hopes and dreams or they will Icarus into a fiery cubby hole of Takis Fuego and unshaven shame.
Trevor Richards (381 NFBC, ESPN & Yahoo unranked) Just like I said above for Strahm, I could’ve also listed Urena, Pablo Lopez and Caleb Smith here, and just did. At some point during my 5th draft, I started to fall in love with Marlins starters. Richards only has one pitch, but it’s a doozy; Caleb Smith might have the highest upside that no one is talking about and Pablo Lopez appears to be a 3.60 ERA pitcher. I don’t want to say I told you so, because, brucely, I didn’t really tell you so until this moment, but I could see all of these guys being 12-team, mixed league relevant.
— Razzball (@Razzball) March 17, 2019
Brandon Woodruff (341 NFBC, unranked ESPN & Yahoo) Okay, I need to skeddaddle before I list every starter being drafted after the top 200 overall. This is your last major reminder that you do not have to draft a starter prior to the top 40 starters going off the board. I do, and this isn’t a do as I say do vs. do as I do do (hehe, you read do-do). It’s fine if you do grab a starter before the top 40, or even top 20 starters, are gone. You should. I’m merely saying you can wait late to draft starters or get a ton of starters wrong (with injuries or underperformance) and still do fine. As for Woodruff, I should’ve wrote a sleeper post for him. He recently was named to the Brewers’ rotation. He will be owned in 95% of leagues by May, assuming Klara Bell doesn’t draft 25,000 teams to try to fill his virtual trophy case. (By the by, Yahoo has Cueto ranked above Woodruff for a redraft league. Yeah, and somehow they rank in the top 5 overall on Fantasy Pros. Mmm-hmm, right. Someone needs to do some kind of Theranos-type exposé on Fantasy Pros.)