I think I did too many fantasy baseball sleepers that were outfielders.  I should’ve braked earlier and did more starting pitcher sleeper posts.  On Monday, I start the rankings, so individual posts from moi will be on hold until I get out all the rankings.  This was a clumsy way of saying there’s more pitcher sleepers, but they’re gonna have to wait until I’ve finished the rankings.  Actually, that last part was clumsy too.  Any hoo!  Vince Velasquez, or as I call him, Vince Velasquez!  Does he have another name I don’t know about?  VV looks too much like a W, which is like how an inverted W is really just an M.  I think I just did a tangent from my tangent, if my trigonometry knowledge is ack-ewe-rah-teh, which is the pronunciation of accurate according to my bootleg copy of Rosetta Stone.  Ah, we had some good laughs, didn’t we?  Wait, we didn’t?  Aw, man.  Last year, Velasquez had a 10.4 K/9 with a 3.67 xFIP.  His ERA was 4.12 due to an inflated BABIP, a lower LOB% and giving up four-baggers like he was late-starting Catholic schoolgirl.  So, what can we  expect from Vince Velasquez for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

You know what gets my pulse beating like the Tell-Tale Heart in The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror?  A 24-year-old kid that can strike out all kinds of motherfrakkers.  His fastball velocity dipped a mile last year from the previous year, but it was still 94 MPH and it came with better control.  His walk rate was down to 3.1 from 3.4.  Control is always the last thing to come (which is true for urination too).  Some pitchers don’t control their stuff until they’re 26 or 27 years of age.  If Velasquez is already headed that way, imagine if he gets to a 2.7-ish BB/9 this year, then we’re talking about him in the same breath as Carrasco.  Yes, even your hot, halitosis breath.  Better command could also show itself in other ways:  less homers, more ground balls, more Ks.  He’s similar to Robbie Ray in that everything is working off the fastball.  His slider, curve and change feed the knockout fastball.  What was interesting (to me, your interest may vary), Velasquez allowed the fourth highest percentage of balls hit the opposite way for starters with 130+ IP.  Let’s just say, if hitters are hitting everything the opposite way, they’re not doing much damage.  Velasquez was tied with Scherzer, Kluber and Duffy.  If I could DeLorean you back for a second, Velasquez K’d 16 and walked none against the Padres last April.  That’s obviously not expected every start (though I wouldn’t kick it out of bed!), but that shows you what he’s capable of.  Velasquez doesn’t induce many swings on pitches in the strike zone.  That’s not necessarily a good or bad thing.  If someone is throwing hard, a hitter may not have time to react to a pitch.  The AL Cy Young was dead even with the number of swings he induced on pitches inside the strike zone, and, let me just say, Velasquez does everything else better than Porcello except command.   Where it matters, Velasquez really excels.  The percentage of times a batter makes contact with a pitch when swinging inside the strike zone?  Now remember I just told you not many swing at his strikes so they’re fooled.  Well, they’re so fooled only 83% of the time contact is made on swinging strikes.  That’s tenth best in the majors.  The top twenty is a who’s who of guys you want:  Scherzer, Kershaw, Duffy, Price, Jo-Fer (RIP), Verlander, Chris Sale, Syndergaard, Salazar, Bumgarner and Velasquez.  Seriously, can you think of a better barometer than “The ball is in the strike zone and I’m gonna swing and I’m gonna hit it and this is so awesome” and then the ball is swung at and missed 17% of the time.  For 2017, I’ll give Vince Velasquez the projections of 11-11/3.54/1.23/177 in 155 IP with a chance for even more.

138 Comments
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Mike
5 years ago

ah…Diorama-rama. My favorite school event next to Hearing Test Thursday.

Hometown Heroes
Hometown Heroes
5 years ago

My AL only 12 team keeper league trades so far this offseason. We were out of it last year and rebuilt and had a ton of assets this year to trade. Did we give up too much?

Traded
Tim Anderson $1
Hyun soo Kim $1
Carlos Rodon $1
Profar $10
Kyle Lewis ML
Frankie Montas ML
Mitch Moreland $1
Charlie Tilson $1
Alex Cobb $1

For

Devon Travis $1
Carlos Correa $16
Cole Hamels $14
Victor Martinez $20

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
5 years ago

Grey,

I have the 10th and 11th picks in my minor league draft. My choices are:

Nick Senzel, 3B, CIN
Jason Groome, LHP, BOS
Francisco Mejia, C, (CLE)

which two should I draft?

Scott Kimmel
Scott Kimmel
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

thanks

Frank
Frank
5 years ago

Currently dithering on an offer, I get arrieta give posey. In a keeper league where I have Sanchez at catcher. Cheers

Jon
Jon
5 years ago

I was offered Polanco + Marte for Arenado + Tapia in a dynasty league. Thoughts?

Tiny Timmie
Tiny Timmie
5 years ago

I was offered Rodon for T Walker in a dynasty league…. do I take it?

swaggerjackers
swaggerjackers
5 years ago

Alright Grey, here are my predictions for your top 10 on Monday:

Trout
Betts
Goldy
Bryant
Rizzo
Arenado
Machado
Altuve
Donaldson
Harper

Jimmy Bond
Jimmy Bond
5 years ago

Great stuff per usual Grey.
Where does ERod fit in this mix of sleepers – will see the SP rankings soon I know, but would you be flipping him for either Velasquez or Pineda, or hold?

Big Odio
Big Odio
5 years ago

Show idea number two. This is a cooking show. Each week they visit a farm and the contestants have to make a meal from an animal they slaughter. We’ll call it farm to table

Big Odio
Big Odio
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: the cooks kill, butcher, and cook live animals on a farm…farm to table

Big Odio
Big Odio
5 years ago

Did you ever check out those tiny house shows? I had an idea for a reality show where 4 to 6 people have to live together in those houses for as long as they can. The winner gets the house. We can call it little brother

Big Odio
Big Odio
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: book the meeting

Big Odio
Big Odio
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: that’s my show *said like Stan Gable*

Cram It
Cram It
5 years ago

I’m going to have a doozy of a keeper question for you before the season starts. My first keeper league. Inherited a shitty team and drafted/picked up rookie nookie all over the place. I ask that you spend much time thinking about your response, which will inevitably raise counterpoints and much debate by me anyway, leading you to conclude, “Whatever, just do whatever!”

Big Odio
Big Odio
Reply to  Cram It
5 years ago

@Cram It: as long as it doesnt lead to “just give me your login and password”

Cram It
Cram It
Reply to  Big Odio
5 years ago

@Big Odio: You can drop the mic with that if need be.

Big Odio
Big Odio
Reply to  Cram It
5 years ago

@Cram It: I honestly hope you do this as a parody. Art imitating comments?

Cram It
Cram It
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: You feel my game. It IS exciting. More for me, but I like the arguing.

Cram It
Cram It
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: C’mon, you’re talking to the guy that calls everyone out for doing that very thing. The question will be well-prepared!

Cram It
Cram It
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: Although it is one of those points leagues that tries to mimic “true” baseball value, so it might not work. I’ll probably just ask which young guys do you see having long terms sustainable studliness in general. Like Piscotty and Odor had the same point total for the year and I can’t figure out how,

Cram It
Cram It
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: Yeah it’s skewed towards obp stats without an obp cat. Pisc had a lot more walks so that was a factor. But this will all be covered in the question briefing ;)

Jason
Jason
5 years ago

In a 10-team, H2H keeper, I’m holding onto Trout, Betts, Arenado, Rizzo, and DeGrom. Who should my last 5 keepers be?

Polanco OF
Villar SS
A. Russell SS
K. Davis OF/DH
Kinsler 2B
Kepler OF
Rendon 3B
Duffy SP
Teheran SP

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Jason
Jason
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: No CI slot, but 2 utility slots.

Chris
Chris
5 years ago

hello Grey,

Hope all is well.
Here is DOm Rep enjoying some Winter Baseball. Got to see Hanley, Villar, Nelson, Rodney, among others!

Which of the below would you keep in a 7 player keeper league, 14 teams:

Wilson Ramos
Adrian Gonzalez
Robinson Cano
JD Martinez
Mark Trumbo
David Price
Chris Davis
Corey Kluber
Jose Quintana
Julio Teheran

Thanks!

Brian
Brian
5 years ago

Finished 4th in a 16 team dynasty last year. 6×6 that uses OPS. roster is:
C Derek Norris, WAS
1B Kendrys Morales, TOR
2B Scooter Gennett, MIL
3B Manny Machado, BAL
SS Xander Bogaerts, BOS
OF Gregory Polanco, PIT
OF Josh Reddick, HOU
OF Nomar Mazara, TEX
UTIL Carlos Gomez, TEX
UTIL Rajai Davis, OAK
BN David Wright, NYM
BN Alex Gordon, KC
BN Matt Adams, STL
BN Alex Dickerson, SD
DL Trevor Story, COL

SP Chris Sale, BOS
SP Drew Smyly, TB
SP Junior Guerra, MIL
RP Hector Neris, PHI
RP Nate Jones, CHW
P JA Happ, TOR
P Adam Wainwright, STL
P Danny Duffy, KC
BN Mike Fiers, HOU
BN Jim Johnson, ATL
BN Luis Cessa, NYY
BN Daniel Hudson, PIT
BN Chris Tillman, BAL
BN Jeremy Jeffress, TEX
DL Matt Harvey, NYM
DL Carter Capps, SD

Minors:
POSTION1: Domonic Smith, NYM
POSTION2: AJ Reed, HOU
POSTION3: Rafael Devers, BOS
POSTION4: Eddy Julio Martinez, CHC
POSTION5: Brendan Rodgers, COL
PITCHER1:
PITCHER2: Matt Strahm, KC
PITCHER3: Carson Fulmer, CHW
PITCHER4: Francis Martes, HOU
PITCHER5: Brock Stewart, LAD
FLEX1: Jeff Hoffman, COL
FLEX2: Trent Clark, MIL
FLEX3: Alec Asher, PHI
FLEX4: Kolby Allard, ATL
FLEX5: Isan Diaz, MIL

I have 2 picks each at the end of the 1st and 2nd rounds in our prospect draft. I’m looking for a MLB 2B and have been offered lemahieu for a 1st and 2nd. would you do it?

Brian
Brian
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: thanks grey. would you even do it for the 2 1sts? they’re the 13th and 16th picks of the round in a 16 team draft. would leave me with 2 2nds and a 3rd

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
5 years ago

Update! He’s on board with $30 Kershaw for $18 darvish and $25 Scherzer. Thanks, Grey!

As a moonshot I suggested my Kershaw for his $15 altuve, but he balked at Kershaw’s salary being $10 more than he’d like for a trade like that.

Do you take that Max/Darvish offer and be happy with it?

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: thank you kindly

M
M
5 years ago

Who is more valuable a $7 Velasquez or $2 J.Ross in a 6×6 roto k/9 league?

Juan
Juan
5 years ago

Grey,
Inserting column on Velazquez – i have him in my keeper league and im not to sure if ill keep him.
12 team H2H keeper league. We keep 10 players. Our draft starts in the 11th round (obviously)

I am trying to move todd fraizer for edwin encarnacion.
He wants fraizer my #1 pick round pick, and next years 1st pick.

should i make this trade?

Also, as of today here are my keepers (i have 11 dont know who to drop).

Frazier
Devon
M. Franco
Bregman
Moncada
Mazara
Cespedes
Trea Turner
Odubell Herrera
Matt Harvey
Vince Velazquez

Also,
i can get Cueto and Lester for picks.
If i do that what 2 players should i drop?

thanks!

Juan
Juan
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey:
that would leave me with 11 players.
would devon be the next drop?

kwoox
kwoox
5 years ago

Awesome!!! By far the best site/information out there.

Can’t wait to hear more about the “my guys team” the 2017 (Odor, Springer etc. type players)

Live by this, What GREY says GOES!!!!!

CMUTimmah
CMUTimmah
5 years ago

I feel like his knickname is easy… ViVe! ViVe LA VELASQUEZ!

Love Velasquez this year. I worry they continue to “kid gloves” him… but I think he should be allowed at least 175 innings this year. His BIGGEST concern is pitches per inning for me. If he can refine that, his ceiling is something I want. If he can trust that his 17% swinging strikes will continue, then he’s going to be the Hendricks of this year.

CMUTimmah
CMUTimmah
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: Sorry – I wasn’t saying that as a direct comp. He’ll also be missing a lot of wins in a direct comp sense…

I meant the guy that came out of nowhere to be a top pitcher.

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
5 years ago

The other offer that Villar guy just made was:

My $30 Kershaw, for

$18 Darvish $16 Maeda $5 Nunez $9 Justin Turner AND $19 Cruz (or $21 Joey Bats)

The wrinkle is that this is a keep 7 league, and my only borderline keepers are $6 Khris and $10 Dahl. So if I moved Kershaw and kept Darvish…would Maeda, Nunez, Cruz/Bats, or J Turner beat out Khris and/or Dahl?

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: thanks. If he’s willing to give that much, and doesn’t want to do Darvish/Villar, then maybe I could convince him to do Darvish/$25 Scherzer if he’s so willing to dump all those guys to me.

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
5 years ago

Very excited about V for Velazquez this year! Nice write up.

Anyway, in a keeper league with annual inflation, $30 Kershaw or $4 Villar (what a difference a year makes!).

Hoping to get more than $4 Villar for that Kershaw offer (likely a top 10 pitcher added ) but wanted to see if the 1:1 still did it.

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: thanks! Holding out for an $18 darvish or $25 scherzer to be added.

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: yea that’s who I’ve got my eye on too

ChiCitySox23
ChiCitySox23
5 years ago

Maddon talking about putting Schwarber in the leadoff spot. Change his projections much?

Joebobsays
Joebobsays
5 years ago

He’s up for trade in 10 team NL only keeper league but he’s at 14. Worth pursuing at that price?

Thanks.

Hawk
Hawk
5 years ago

Hey guys,

Keep forever, 6×6 with OBP and Holds being extra categroies
I have to protect 3 of these 4 pitchers (or all 4 and drop Nomar Mazara which I don’t want to do :) )

Jake Arrieta
Chris Archer
Aaron Sanchez
Carlos Carrasco

Please help!

Copperhead Road
Copperhead Road
Reply to  Hawk
5 years ago

@The Great Knoche: Not [email protected]Hawk: I’d drop Archer even though he should be better. Others seem safer. Wait a week and a half and pitchers will be ranked :)

Mookie
Mookie
5 years ago

Can keep 3 of these 4 SP. What would you do? I’m high on Gausman (and other things)

Vince Velasquez, Marcus Stroman, Jon Gray, Kevin Gausman

Thanks!

Cram It
Cram It
Reply to  Mookie
5 years ago

@Mookie: I’d take the first 3. But I’m not high on Gausman, mainly because he’s an Oriole.

The Great Knoche
The Great Knoche
Reply to  Cram It
5 years ago

@Cram It: Luckily Jon Gray plays 1/2 his games outside Coors in the NL West. Gausman has to visit AL East.

Copperhead Road
Copperhead Road
Reply to  The Great Knoche
5 years ago

@The Great Knoche: Not Stroman

Cram It
Cram It
Reply to  The Great Knoche
5 years ago

@The Great Knoche: Yup, I’d like Gausman on another team. And it’s not just that he pitches in Camden in the AL East. The Orioles have no idea how to develop a pitcher.

Warren
Warren
5 years ago

Pumped for Rankings to start Monday! Which 6 keepers from the below list? OBP 10 team League. The first 4 seem like locks for price/value reasons.

Harper $21
Donaldson $20
Rizzo $19
Correa $10
———–
Betts $37
Machado $40
T. Turner $2
Polanco $12
Syndergaard $15
Britton $14

Leaning Thor and Trea. Thoughts?

Cram It
Cram It
Reply to  Warren
5 years ago

@Warren: I’d go Betts and Machado for pure stats, but I don’t know how much of a $ hole that puts you in.. 10 teamer should have plenty of pitching available.

PEDs3
PEDs3
Reply to  Warren
5 years ago

@Warren: Go with Betts and Turner since you already have SS & 3B locked up. Turner could give you $30 value and would cost you nothing, way too cheap to pass up.

FANTHEAD
5 years ago

Thanks, Grey! V.V. is one of my faves for next year. But he’s on an enemy’s roster so I can only ogle V.V. from afar. Meanwhile, I’m trying to decide between the following SPs for my last roster spot & my most cunning choice is to ask you who I should choose: Jason Hammel, Jake Odorizzi, Ian Kennedy, Brandon Finnegan, Brandon McCarthy, & Nathan Karns. (Hammel’s arm issues concerns me. And Odorizzi seems like the safe but very boring choice. Am not against gambling with my last spot.) THANKS!!!

FANTHEAD
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: Thanks & Gesundheit!

JoeG414
JoeG414
5 years ago

Vinny V or Nola in a 6×6 mixed roto ?

JoeG414
JoeG414
Reply to  JoeG414
5 years ago

@JoeG414:
Also, add Matz as a choice to rank. Thanks.

Rudy
Rudy
5 years ago

I love when January Grey blesses us with his rankings!

The Great Knoche
The Great Knoche
5 years ago

Love Saint Vince. Can’t wait for Monday.

Count de Monetball
Count de Monetball
5 years ago

Nice wright G. Yeah, I hate to say it, but I agree with you about wanting more SP sleepers! That is generally what makes the biggest difference to me since I always draft offense early and start drafting pitchers around the 10th round. I need sleepers!!! Although between your rankings, the war room, and the “thank you’s/no thank you’s” it’s obvious who the best sleepers are!!! Thanks Man and looking forward to catcher Monday!!!

Count de Monetball
Count de Monetball
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

Best Week(s) of the Year! I can’t wait, have a great weekend!

Count de Monetball
Count de Monetball
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

HAHA, hey, what does it mean to be a “Fox Sports Engaged Network”?

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
Reply to  Count de Monetball
5 years ago

@Count de Monetball: Catcher monday can’t wait! Even the snooze-fest position sounds mildly interesting now!

Montezuma's Revenge...right now
Montezuma's Revenge...right now
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: i don’t think i remember you ever starting with catchers.

Pooponyaface
Pooponyaface
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: yay catcher Monday!

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
5 years ago

Great timing as I just traded for Vinnie V recently in a keeper league! Now have the choice of signing him to a 2 year contract ($6 a year) or 3 year ($8 a year). You sound like a big fan so would you giddy up and go the whole hog with the 3 years cowboy? Yee-ha VV!

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
Reply to  Grey
5 years ago

@Grey: That was Yee-Ha(VV) VV for Vince Velasquez in case you missed the pun. Gah maybe next time, thanks anyway.

Ante GALIC
Ante GALIC
5 years ago

Grey!

Great article and really nice one before the rankings!!

a. VV is also what The Volkswagen company uses for their logo!

b. Thanks for reminding me of Vinny! I was the only guy to have even heard of him in some of my H2H CBS leagues in 2016 (please don’t comment Cram!). He was great as a SP in the RP slot in H2H while he was starting. Hopefully he stays healthy in 2017.

Cheers,
Ante