Ya know when people really love the starters I love? About a year after I love them. I’m happy for Kenta Maeda, Max Fried, Yu Darvish, Brandon Woodruff, Zac Gallen, Dinelson Lamet, Zach Plesac and Sonny Gray. Really, I am. And I might own some of them this year. Happy to pay the price. Know when I told you to draft them when their price was still dirt cheap? Last year around this time. I drafted Yu Darvish, Kenta Maeda, Sonny Gray, Woodruff and Lamet on a bunch of teams last year for half of their price or less, and, when I did, people were like, “Wow, you have a handsome face, but obviously you’re dumb as balls.” Who’s having the last laugh now? Me, a soft chuckle that builds into a loud, wildly obnoxious cackle. I don’t just happen to state my bona fides in this post for s’s and g’s. I think I need to lay out my case for why I’m not crazy to want to draft Tyler Mahle. Prior to this year, T. Mahle was best known for “Tuesday’s special that give you indigestion.” So, what can we expect from Tyler Mahle for 2021 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Psyche! Before we get into the Tyler Mahle sleeper, just wanted to announce all my rankings are currently available on Patreon for the price of a Starbucks coffee, if you get one of those extra grande frappuccino jobbers. Don’t wait for the rankings to come out over the next month, and get them all now. So II, the Tyler Mahle sleeper:

Going on assumption that many people don’t know Tyler Mahle as well as they should, so let’s do this:

And this:

And finally:

Last year, Tyler Mahle’s stats we can concern ourselves with: 11.3 K/9, 4 BB/9, 4.59 xFIP, average 94 MPH on fastball (can hit 97, obviously as pictured in movement above), and lots of movement on his pitches. The walks jump off the page as a reason why my Kevin Gausman sleeper was a slam dunk, and this sleeper is more like a buzzer-beating three-pointer (Grey knows basketball — news at 11!). To better familiarize myself with Mahle, I consulted with Doug Dennis of Baseball HQ. He’s had George Foster sideburns since 1976, and slides head first into his Trans-Am screaming, “Move it, Ray Fosse!” So, we’re talking a big, big Reds fan. I gave Doug a multiple choice question, “Is Tyler Mahle on the brink of becoming an ace: True or false?” Maybe that’s not a multiple choice, but more of a true or false. Any hoo! Doug said no, he’s not on the brink of being an ace, and deflated my enthusiasm like when I found out Meredith Baxter Birney was no longer interested in men, and 40 years older than me. Life’s not fair! On the plus side, I can soldier on with the best of them.

Doug’s major issue with Tyler Mahle was his inability to go through a lineup for a third time. I did a google, and Doug’s right. It gets ugly fast in the later innings. Dot dot dot. In 2019. 1st to 3rd time through in 2019: 3.59 ERA, 3.58 ERA, 12.88 ERA. Eek, indeed. This past year, he didn’t have many opportunities to see a lineup three times, but, in 9 1/3 IP, his ERA was 1.93 the third time through. He only saw 17 2/3 IP one time (3.57 ERA) and 17 1/3 IP two times (3.63). So, yeah, I don’t know if his third time through troubles are fixed. The small sample makes declaration of ‘Mahle is headed for aces’ impossible. He did abandon a curve this year, which was a negative pitch, and focused his attention where it belongs, on his fastball, splitter and slider. His curve was especially problematic for home runs, which he cut down.

His biggest issue takes us back to about 600 words ago. He needs to command his fastball. His Zone% on the fastball went from 58.6% to 52.3%, and his command overall went 2.4 BB/9 to 4. He’s still only 26 years old, and previously graded out as a prospect on command at a 60. This past year seems like his four-seamer was moving a lot more on him. Maybe he was just learning how to get it jumping out of the grip. His velocity did go up. Again, this isn’t a slam dunk, but for his price (roughly 175 ADP), I love the flyer for a guy who could be a 11 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 3.30 xFIP ace. For 2021, I’ll give Tyler Mahle projections of 9-11/3.89/1.27/174 in 151 IP with a chance for more.

 
  1. WRDSMTH says:
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    I like. I like. Just hoping this post proves to be more Maeda-ish than Yarbrough-ish.

    Speaking of those who shall not be listed, what are ypur current thoughts on the Yar?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I like Yar still, I would draft him

  2. Ante GALIC says:
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    Grey!!!

    Great, awesome, fantastic fantasy sleeper report on Mahle!

    a. Happy New Year, lots of success, good health and good luck in ’21.

    b. Lovin’ Mahle and all these fantasy sleeper reports!!! Love, love, lovin’ just like going from good, better, the best!! [or gut, besser, am besten for our German fans!] Keep ’em comin’!

    c. MLB quote of the day for January 4, 2021

    1. Kevin Pillar, born January 4, 1989

    ‘There [was] definitely a chip on my shoulder to prove that they may have got it wrong at the draft, that the system may not be perfect, that there’s an imperfection to the draft system the way that scouts evaluate players, the way they may discredit things that guys do in smaller schools.’

    Kevin Pillar in The National Post (John Lott, 08/14/2013, ‘Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar ends a day of ‘wow moments’ with win over Red Sox’, Source)

    2. Tito Fuentes, born January 4, 1944

    ‘They shouldn’t throw at me. I’m the father of five or six kids.’

    Tito Fuentes in Dim Wit: The Stupidest Quotes of All Time (Rosemarie Jarski, Ulysses Press, 11/17/2009, Page 178)

    3. Charlie Manuel, born January 4, 1944

    ‘You know what they call that? Baseball. I’ve been in baseball for 40-some years and I haven’t been able to figure this game out. That’s what makes you stay up late at night. That’s what makes you care. That’s what makes you come back the next day and try harder. It’s hard to explain this game. It’s amazing.’

    Charlie Manuel on ThinkExist.com

    4. Stu Miller, died January 4, 2015

    ‘I faced a lot of tough pitchers in my career, but Stu Miller gave me more trouble than anyone else because of his great motion. The ball never seemed to get to home plate; it was as if it was on a string and he was pulling it back. I believe I only had two hits off him in my career (one a home run). If I’d had to face him every day I’d have been back in Payette, Idaho real fast.’

    Harmon Killebrew in Baseball Digest (Associate Director of the Baseball Hall of Fame William J. Guilfoile, August 1992, ‘Hall of Famers Name Their Toughest Diamond Foes’)

    5. Billy Sullivan, died January 4, 1994

    ‘It had been said that if you could combine the father’s fielding prowess with the son’s hitting ability, you’d have had one of the better catchers of the early 20th Century. When Billy Jr. played in the 1940 World Series with the Tigers, he cemented the Sullivans as the first father-son duo to appear in a Fall Classic, following Billy Sr.’s 1906 appearance with the White Sox.’

    Sportswriter Dan Cichalski on UniWatchBlog.com (02/04/2011, ‘A Trove of Interesting Paperwork’, Source)

    6. John David Milner, died January 4, 2000 [died in his hometown East Point, Georgia of cancer, took on his hero’s nickname ‘The Hammer’ from ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ Aaron. He wasn’t great but really got lost in the drug situation that was really prevalent in Pittsburgh near the end of his career. His stats from his two best seasons from The Baseball Cube follow.]

    ‘Nailed by The Hammer.’

    Random (and the best John Milner quote I could find) fan poster at a Mets game.

    1976 with the Mets

    GP 127, AB 443, R 56, H 120, 2B 25, 3B 4, HR 15, RBI 78, BB 65, K 53, SLASH LINE .271/.362/.447, TB 198, XBH 44, secondaryA .307, ISO .176, BABIP .278, BB% 12.72, K% 10.37

    1979 with the Pirates

    GP 128, AB 326, R 52, H 90, 2B 9, 3B 4, HR 16, RBI 60, BB 53, K 37, SLASH LINE .276/.373/.475, TB 155, XBH 29, secondaryA .356, ISO .199, BABIP .265, BB% 13.73, K% 9.59

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      A. Thanks, Ante! You too!

      B. Appreciate it!

      C. Was just thinking of Pillar, I can’t believe the Rockies haven’t signed him yet, he is such a stereotypical guy who prospblocks

    • VinWins

      VinWins says:
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      Always look for your quotes, Ante. Thanks! Like, ” I’m the father of five or six kids.”

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Haha

    • LenFuego says:
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      Love the reference to John Milner, Ante! If the foul poles were about five feet wider, he might have been a Hall-of-Famer. I cannot tell you the number of times he hit a 430 foot shot down the line, just foul, and then struck out on the next pitch. To this day, several of my Mets fans friends and I refer to a long upper deck foul as a “Milnerian Blast”.

  3. Tyler Mahle quietly goes out and does his thing (3.59/1.15) and yet is still overlooked. Another example of the SP depth available in the later rounds that can round out a staff nicely. He’s a solid citizen and could be a difference maker. Like him

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, agreed!

  4. Rakeman says:
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    Great stuff! Do your rankings on Patreon also have projected stats?

    • NUX says:
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      Yep, can confirm this for you. Its very worth it. Go get them!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yup, what Nux said…Except most free agents

  5. NUX says:
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    I walk around late at night in bad neighborhoods. And a guy in a trench coat opens it. And he shows me power/speed… and I’m like “Yea man, let’s do it! I’m interested in tryin!”

    I enjoyed finishing off the 2020 podcasts with a chuckle like that.

    Anyways, we’re filling that NFBC BB $10 Top 3 ( 75 / 20 / 10 ) league. Knoche is already in. All our welcome!! But safe a spot for Grey please.

    https://bestball10s.shgn.com/signup/baseball?for=0;728,82,6787,7200&private_code=9daefi

    Password: “ Bobby ”

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha, nice! Should I sign up now?

      • NUX says:
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        Yep, sign up now. It starts when it fills, I wish I could change that, but is what it is. You should get an email when it fills and is about to start.

        Right now its just Knoche and I in there, so we’ll have to see how long it takes to fill.

        Loving the ranks by the way, already working on my tiers sheet, which is gonna give me a nice leg up in drafts. And earlier than ever. Love that you decided to do this.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Awesome! Appreciate it!

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Cool, I’m in — Anyone reading this, come join — 12 team league — costs $10

  6. Will says:
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    Hmmm, this is a bold one Grey. You’re betting he’s figured it out when 2018/2019’s 240 innings says he’s a 5.00 ERA / 1.40 WHIP pitcher. I see the large increase in K rate and swinging strike rate in 2020 but I’m not convinced. But going around 190th in drafts perhaps that’s priced right. I’ll look forward to your SP rankings and writeups coming out.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, it’s not a slam dunk as said in the post, but I like the upside

  7. The Great Knoche says:
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    Me thinks this one will be a pass for me. More like Tyler “Meh”le. Small sample size last year, and nothing in pitch usage change screams anything is different. Would likely take Soroka, Javier, Gonsolin, Bassitt before him in that range.

    Where’s January Grey?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Hey, here I am!

  8. Brian says:
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    One more Betts trade question for you. In an OBP/BA dynasty league, I was offered Jose Abreu, Randy Arozarena, and Eddie Rosario for my Mookie Betts. It upgrades 1B from Josh Bell, and I like both Arozarena and Rosario, but I don’t know if it’s enough for a top three player. Thoughts?

    Thanks in advance for all your help.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Sounds fair, but I want Betts

  9. Llango12 says:
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    Grey, in a 12 team H2H keeper league.
    We keep 10

    I was offered Julio Rodriguez and a #2 pick in 2022
    For JD martinez.

    Is this a deal you would do?

  10. Llango12 says:
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    Grey, 12 team H2H keeper league.
    We keep 10

    Was offered julio Rodriguez and a #2 2022 pick for JD Martinez.

    Thoughts?

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