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.

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.)

 
  1. Aardvark says:
    (link)

    Who do you like more: Gibson, woodruff, Corbin burnes?

    • Aardvark says:
      (link)

      Or Matz

      • Aardvark says:
        (link)

        Or Ryu?

        Sorry I keep realizing these guys are available.

  2. LenFuego says:
    (link)

    12 team 2 catcher standard 5×5 weekly roto with up to 7 regular keepers and up to 5 supplemental keepers (only players acquired in the post-auction draft who never see their way into the starting lineup are eligible), each team drafts 18 supplemental players after filling their 23 active roster spots – prices go up for keepers in their third year, you cannot keep a guy longer than five years. We drafted last Friday.

    SP – Trevor Bauer ($13 regular keeper)
    SP – James Paxton ($10 regular keeper)
    SP – Shane Bieber ($16)
    SP – Robbie Ray ($12)
    SP – Eduardo Rodriguez ($9)
    SP – Joey Lucchesi ($4)
    RP – Aroldis Chapman ($19)
    RP – Corey Knebel ($9)
    RP – Arodys Vizcaino ($5)

    Bench: NPivetta (supp keeper), Wacha, KGibson, KWright, SAlcantara, HStrickland, Seranthony

    Knebel’s UCL injury obviously sucks, but I feel awfully good about getting Strickland in the 4th round of the draft — I already lead the league by 2 saves!

    I was criticized by another owner who knows what he is doing for not going after a true ace in the auction (Scherzer 52, Kluber 40, Kershaw 30, Strasburg 29, Greinke 28 and Syndergaard 27 were the top SP not kept), but I felt like I was pretty covered with Bauer and Paxton as ace or ace-ish keepers, and did not want to spend that much budget on any of those guys.

    Should I have gone after one of those aces? Where do you think this pitching staff finishes?

    • Daniel Moran says:
      (link)

      You good home slice! But knebel though…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      You have two and a half aces — Bauer and Paxton aren’t aces but Strasburg, Greinke or Noah are?

  3. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
    (link)

    This list makes me all sorts of jelly. I feel like there’s more starters I want than roster spots here!

    In a redraft league where tons of rps are always kept (similar to the old RCL format but due to a fairly tight IP cap as opposed to start cap)….

    What do you think about the strategy of only grabbing like 1 top 20 SP (Bauer prob given his yahoo ranking) and a couple elite closers (sagnof but also there’s like 10 closers with guaranteed jobs) in the first 12 rounds, then going HAM on the back end when everyone else is looking to round out their OF and MI etc….? maybe I’m crazy but if I had Bauer Lucchesi Strahm Paddack Maeda Woodruff Burnes Stripling CSmith Gibson (with say, Treinen kimbrel Alvarado or Strickland), I’d be pretty pumped about that let alone the hitting advantage that would be enjoyed there…..

    I tried a 12 team mock, drafting normally on yahoo and ended up with Bauer (4th) Treinen end of 6th clev 8th Kershaw 11th Bieber 12th …. that’s pretty cool, but feels like I could have been taking more hitters (despite starting with Yelich Goldy Soto Mondesi )

    • Ozzie Smith says:
      (link)

      This is pretty much exactly what I did in a 10 team h2h redraft a couple nights ago and I’m pretty happy with the results. I’m not spending early picks on SP anymore just to have them shut down/ broken down/ rested etc. when I need them the most in the playoffs.
      I ended up with…
      SP- kikuchi
      SP-Freeland
      RP- Yates
      RP- Robertson
      P- Wade Davis
      P- Knebel
      P- Hader
      P- Andrew Miller
      BN-Jon Gray
      BN- Wacha
      BN- Musgrove
      BN- Gibson
      BN- Alex Reyes
      These are some of the guys still on the wire…
      Strahm
      Woodruff
      Pineda
      Odoozzi
      Teheran
      Etc. plenty of streaming options

      Going his route I ended up with
      C- Contreras
      1B- Rizzo
      2- Albies
      3- Rendon
      SS- Profar
      Of- Acuna
      OF- Judge
      OF- Soto
      MI- Shaw
      CI- Chapman
      Util- Puig
      Bench- Moncada

      • Ozzie Smith says:
        (link)

        Forgot to mention Domingo Santana also on the bench with my last draft pick.

    • Cram It says:
      (link)

      You know that’s the general strategy around here! I mean, if you use the Pitcher Pairings tool, starting with Bauer, you get basically the staff you just described.

      • ozzie smith says:
        (link)

        Yes it’s a great tool! Very handy.
        The guys in the Bauer tier still went way too early for me to get any of them, the round I was set to take Bauer Shaw was still sitting there and I still needed a Corner and Middle infielder so I went with Shaw.
        20 picks later that next best SP available was a significant drop off from Bauer with Kikuchi but I still think it was the right move.

    • Cram It says:
      (link)

      Like in your mock, after Bauer, skip Clev and Kershaw and go Bieber in the 12th, Luccessi, Maeda, etc.

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
        (link)

        Thanks – great point

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Agreed, and these are just guys after 200 overall… I think grabbing one SP in the top 20 is fine — Bauer, Lucchesi, etc looks solid, maybe one more safer guy like a Ryu

  4. Bas Larsen says:
    (link)

    I’m in on Pineda again in spite of things like common sense. I just can’t help myself.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Sigh, me too

  5. Bob says:
    (link)

    Quick one for Grey and the commenters: Nimmo, Domingo Santana, or McMahon?

    • clemsoncrushers says:
      (link)

      Domingo and not close.

    • Cram It says:
      (link)

      Dominsanity.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Domingo!

      • Sweatpants Nation says:
        (link)

        Cue Doors music:
        Domingo risin’, Domingo risin’
        Domingo risin, Domingo risin’
        Gotta keep on risin’

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          Gotta keep on risin’!

          • Sweatpants Nation says:
            (link)

            Risin’, risin’

            • Grey

              Grey says:
              (link)

              Can we get the remaining Doors members to sing this for Razzball pod?

              • Sweatpants Nation says:
                (link)

                That would be awesome. Use your LA connections and make it happen!

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
                  (link)

                  Done and done

                  • Sweatpants Nation says:
                    (link)

                    Maybe this is a job for Weird Al. haha

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
                      (link)

                      Haha

  6. peacecoast says:
    (link)

    Here is my FCL RCL team. I know parts of it are anti-grey but I think I like it. What do you think?

    C Realmuto, J.T. – PHI 4/46
    1B Voit, Luke – NYY 14/166
    2B Murphy, Daniel – COL 6/70
    3B Ramírez, José – CLE 1/3
    SS Mondesi, Adalberto – KC 3/27
    CI Turner, Justin – LAD 10/118
    MI Shaw, Travis – MIL 7/75
    OF Bauers, Jake – CLE 19/219
    OF Braun, Ryan – MIL 16/190
    OF Blackmon, Charlie – COL 2/22
    OF Haniger, Mitch – SEA 9/99
    OF Piscotty, Stephen – OAK 15/171
    UT Kiermaier, Kevin – TB 20/238

    reserve: UT Lowe, Brandon (R) – TB 24/286
    OF Hernández, Teoscar – TOR 22/262

    P Carrasco, Carlos – CLE 5/51
    P Darvish, Yu – CHC 12/142
    P Maeda, Kenta – LAD 23/267
    P Ray, Robbie – ARI 11/123
    P Ryu, Hyun-Jin – LAD 18/214
    P Allen, Cody – LAA 13/147
    P Kimbrel, Craig – (N/A) 8/94
    P Steckenrider, Drew – MIA 21/243
    P Stripling, Ross – LAD 17/195
    P Smith, Caleb – MIA 25/291

    • frankgrimes says:
      (link)

      It stinks! Voit is my boo not yours. Haha.

      • peacecoast says:
        (link)

        what’s your team name again grimey?

        • Old School Brother says:
          (link)

          Team Old School Brother

          • frankgrimes says:
            (link)

            Haha

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      You’ve insulted my entire family with that draft… Murphy, Turner, Braun, Darvish? Ray? Why did you defame me?

      • peacecoast says:
        (link)

        hahaha it was a draft room full of greysciples I had to go a little anti-grey. I do like darvish tho. Not thrilled about ray the fucking timer stressed me out. I had a stiff drink too around round 10 and the rest was fuzzy.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          I’m sorry, but your team stresses *me* out!

          • Old School Brother says:
            (link)

            Peace proclaimed “suck it grey!” After he drafted Murphy in the 6th

            • Grey

              Grey says:
              (link)

              Wow! What’s that all about?

              • Old School Brother says:
                (link)

                Here’s my team, no grey stress

                C Alfaro
                1b Rizzo
                2b Odor
                3b Muncy
                ss Treat
                CI Encarnacion
                MI Elvis (ok this isn’t a grey pick)
                OF Soto
                OF Dahl
                OF Ozuna
                OF Mazara
                OF Domingo
                Util Jose Martines

                SP Corbin
                SP Wheeler
                SP Archer
                SP Eovaldi
                SP Lester
                SP Eduardo Rodriguez
                SP Gausman
                SP Newcomb

                RP Strop
                RP Kelvin Herrera
                RP Blake Parker

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
                  (link)

                  Thank you, OSB. I will even overlook Elvis Andrus… And those backend Braves SPs

                  • Old School Brother says:
                    (link)

                    Have you seen Sean Newcombs smile tho? How can you not draft him

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
                      (link)

                      He does have a certain magnetism

              • peacecoast says:
                (link)

                I so did not!

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
                  (link)

                  Peacecoast, I’m listening to sad songs, looking at your team and weeping

  7. ozzie smith says:
    (link)

    Great post, I want all of these guys!

    Quick question, I don’t like that I ended up with Profar at SS in a h2h redraft but he will get a chance for a bit.
    I do have 2 empty DL slots, would you add Gregorious now to insert later or take up an active roster spot by adding Tatis JR?
    I hate to give up the streaming spot but if it’s worth it, I could do it.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      I’d stash Didi

  8. Kcc26 says:
    (link)

    Draft tomorrow! Keeper league where we keep 6. Going into the draft I have 3 OF (Acuna, Benintendi and Robles), plus Albies and Muncy (and a SP). Our league goes C/1B/2B/3B/SS/INF/4 OF/Util

    Given the players I’m already holding, how would you rank these players in terms of who you would take in round 1 if they are available?

    Stanton, Goldschmidt, Altuve, Blackmon, Rizzo

    Thanks!!!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Stanton or Goldy

  9. Prettay, Prettay, Prettaaaay, Prettay good! says:
    (link)

    Fantasy Master Lothario,

    I’m a few days late on my bold prediction, but here it goes.

    Tyler O’Neill will be the most valuable outfielder on the Cardinals for fantasy. It is a long shot, which is why it is bold, but, he has 30+ homer power, stole 10+ bags in AAA in 2017, plays all three outfield positions. Ozuna has injury concerns and Fowler is Fowler. For some reason the Cards don’t seem to trust Bader to play everyday. Pretty soon O’Neill plays 5 of 6 games per week.

    Since you are the only expert I trust (and probably the only one who will respond to my comments) I’d love your thoughts on my team in a 14 team mixed 5×5 H2H categories.

    C Meija $1
    1B Gallo $16 (keeper)
    2B Schoop $6
    SS Bregman $50
    3B Rendon $28 (keeper)
    OF E. Rosario $12 (Keeper)
    OF J. Upton $26
    OF H. Bader $5
    UT R. Laureano $7
    UT T. Anderson $1 (keeper)

    Reserve: T. O’Neill $1
    Reserve: A. Meadows $4

    P Degrom $31
    P Bieber $1 (Keeper)
    P E. Rodriguez $13
    P Ryu $7
    P Matz $7
    P Gibson $3
    P Gausman $4
    Reserve C Anderson $1
    Reserve Whitley $2

    Closer: Davis $15
    Closer: Viscaino $10

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      That is bold! I think your hitting is decent, but low on speed, which is ok for H2H… Your pitching is stacked, prolly better than you need, though I can’t own Gausman, and Anderson is droppable

  10. Ellis says:
    (link)

    How about Wade Miley, I think he is a sleeper especially since he’s on the Astros, what do you think? thank you!

    • peacecoast says:
      (link)

      late round pick up not a bad idea in 12+ teamer