Your turn is coming up late in your draft and you are scrambling to find THAT guy! You are utilizing your customized tiered cheat sheet to search for the player(s) that will push your team into the playoffs.
A player, The Super Sleeper, that has an Average Draft Position of over 300 that will propel you into fantasy owner stardom.
To ease your fantasy anxiety, I came up with four starting pitchers that you should look to pick at the end of your draft.
Also be sure to check out my Hitting Super-Sleepers.
2017 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Super-Sleepers
Mike Foltynewicz, Atlanta Braves (Fantasy Pros ADP: 375)
Even with the additions of three veteran starting pitchers-Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia and R.A. Dickey-, Foltynewicz is projected to be in the rotation (5th starter) for the improved Braves.
Mike Foltynewicz made 22 starts last year. He recorded nine wins and five losses with a 4.31 ERA in 123 1/3 innings. The 24-year-old struck out 111 batters and walked just 35.
Foltynewicz advanced on multiple fronts in 2016, posting improved K/9 (8.1), BB/9 (2.6), H/9 (9.1) and HR/9 (1.3) rates relative to his ’15 rookie campaign.
He has the repertoire: a mid-90s fastball, a piercing slider, a devastating curve, and an emerging changeup, to take a step forward and get the strikeout rate to climb over a batter per inning.
The next step in his arsenal will be his ability to develop a consistent offspeed pitch. His changeup usage rate climbed as the season progressed and its 25% whiff rates in July and August were promising.
Fantasy owners should be paying attention to Foltynewicz because of the high upside arm, raw stuff and the improved pitching approach. He has the mouth-watering arm talent and the hidden ace level potential that owners covet in the late rounds.
My 2017 Projections: 12 Wins, 8 Losses, 3.85 ERA, 165 IP, 155 K
Robert Gsellman, New York Mets (Fantasy Pros ADP: 311)
The Mets’ rotation was decimated by injuries last season, but Robert Gsellman stepped up huge while making his major league debut.
He was instrumental in the Mets’ postseason push. He posted a 2.63 ERA across seven stretch-run starts. In total, he made eight appearances and held is own with a 2.42 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and a 42:15 K:BB ratio.
There is a lot to like here with Gsellman. He looks like a very useful fantasy starter. He has potential upside for more with further developments.
Given the injury concerns surrounding the Mets’ rotation, Gsellman could find his way to close to a full season’s workload, and the draft day price tag offers room to profit.
My 2017 Projections: 11 wins, 7 losses, 3.65 ERA, 165 IP, 155 K
Zach Davies, Milwaukee Brewers (Fantasy Pros ADP 318)
Zach Davies quietly delivered a solid rookie campaign in 2016, posting a respectable 7.4 K/9 rate and showing outstanding control with a 2.1 BB/9 rate.
The right-hander finished with a 3.97 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in 163 1/3 innings overall. Despite lacking overwhelming velocity, the 24-year-old is a consistent pitcher. Davies limits base runners and home runs, 38 walks, and 20 home runs.
Additionally, his command and control are excellent. He posted a great 2.09 BB/9 ratios over his 28 starts in 2016. He induces a ton of groundballs, putting up a very good 1.67 GB/FB rate last season.
Davies is going to scare some people off due to his 3.97 ERA last season. His reputation is as more of a command pitcher than a velocity guy.
He is slotted as the No.2 starter in the Brewers rotation. He should see an uptick in innings pitched in 2017, an increase to 200 innings is obtainable. This increase will also provide an improvement in the K-numbers for fantasy owners.
If he is still available in the latter portion of your draft, draft him as a deeply discounted version of Kyle Hendricks.
My 2017 Projections: 13 W, 9 L, 3.69 ERA, 199 IP, 170 K
Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox (Fantasy Pros ADP: 347)
His spot to be in the starting rotation to start this season is mostly tied into the David Price’s elbow injury and subsequent rehab.
David Price will start the season on the disabled list. This will provide the perfect opportunity to show that Rodriguez’s impressive spring will carry over into the regular season.
While Rodriguez struggled in the first half of last season, he came back after the all-star break and posted nice numbers.
In 14 second-half starts, he posted a solid 3.24 ERA, 79/28 K/BB ratio, and a 1.13 WHIP. He also struck out 9.15 batters per nine innings.
Rodriguez has the stuff to be great. The final pieces of his development are consistent health and executing pitches with the precision that is needed to be one of the best.
“He’s got probably as good a stuff as anybody in our rotation,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “The potential is clearly there. He has shown flashes of it and stretches of that type of performance. Our job, including Eddie’s, is for him to gain some consistency. He can be as big a winner as any other guy in our rotation.”
After a solid rookie season in 2015 (10-6, 3.85 ERA), it went bad from the start last Spring Training for Rodriguez. He sustained a subluxation of his right knee in the early portion of camp and wasn’t himself until July.
Eduardo Rodriguez has been a more confident pitcher this spring, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports. “It feels really good, and my confidence is really good,” Rodriguez said after allowing two runs in three innings Tuesday. “My pitches are going right where I want them, and my position to throw the ball is really good. My mechanics are really good.” (Source: Providence Journal)
His stuff is filthy. With his continued development and fellow left-handers Chris Sale and David Price taking Rodriguez under their wings, he will a great option as a super-sleeper to select as your starter in your upcoming drafts.
My 2017 Projection: 12 Wins, 180 IP, 3.79 ERA, 175 K
Be sure to check out our Rankings, Position Preview and much more in the 2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit.