Fantasy Baseball

2018 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Super Sleepers: Over The Top


We aren’t talking just any type of sleepers here, fantasy friends and foes. No, we’re talking deep sleepers. Most of the players you’re about to read about will go undrafted in a 12-team format, maybe even a 14-team league. Many will start the season on the waiver wire but could be vital breadwinners in your championship run once their true value presents itself, whether through an injury or by earning an increased role during Spring Training.

As pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training, fantasy team owners and commissioners will gather shortly to achieve the same goal to win their respective leagues and to gain the respect of their fellow league members. Each fantasy owner scans the league to seek and find hidden gems that will outperform their draft ranking. Strategically drafting these players can be the difference between the basement and sending your team over the top.

Well, I am here to help you gain the advantage required to get you to the promise land. I came up with five pitchers with an ADP over 350 that can assist fantasy owners in getting there.

Also, please check out five hitters that can help you get over the top, click here 2018 Fantasy Baseball Hitting Super Sleepers.

2018 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Super Sleepers

Andrew Triggs, SP, Oakland A’s (Fantasy Pros ADP: 487)

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Andrew Triggs appears to be at full health heading into Spring Training following season-ending surgery in July of 2017. Triggs needed a procedure to repair a torn labrum, which caused him to make just 12 starts during the 2017 campaign. He had an extremely promising start to last season. Over his first eight starts, he had a 2.12 ERA for the A’s. However, over his last four starts, his ERA was a dreadful 9.64. Triggs finished with a 5-6 record with a 4.27 ERA along with a 1.33 WHIP and a 50:19 K: BB over 65.1 innings during the 2017 season.

He owns a career 2.37 BB/9, which is quite impressive. You combine that with an 8 K/9 and the ability to produce ground balls and reduce contact,  and the A’s are looking at Triggs to secure one of the three open spots in their rotation. His lifetime 50.3% ground ball rate and 26.8% hard contact rate are excellent, especially from someone who seems to be one of the most overlooked players entering the 2018 season.

Andrew Triggs, who will be 29 on Opening Day, is fighting to recapture the starting role he lost last June. He was among the game’s top starters last April and remained dominant until injuries impeded his season. The probability of doing so will come down almost entirely to his health, which he said is as close to 100 percent as it has been for his entire pro career.

Triggs will be a player that you can get very late in your fantasy draft, and I could see him being very productive. I believe Andrew Triggs will secure a spot in the A’s rotation and provide a very sneaky double-digit win total.

Trevor Williams, SP/RP, Pittsburgh Pirates (Fantasy Pros ADP:  438)

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Trevor Williams is coming off a great rookie season in 2017. He started the season in the bullpen before moving to the rotation in May and making 25 starts. In his 25 starts he allowed just 133 hits and 12 home runs in 138 2/3 innings pitched. His walk rate was just 2.92 BB/9, he struck out 6.94 batters per 9 innings pitched, and he owned a 3.96 ERA and a 3.91 FIP.

Due to his 2017 season, Trevor Williams has firmly planted himself in the Pirate rotation for 2018. At just 26 years old, he could develop that excellent command he showed in the minors, where he walked just 2.5 batters per nine innings. An improved command could also help his strikeout numbers, especially when paired with his fastball that can reach the upper 90s.

Trevor Williams may not get a second look at fantasy baseball drafts this year. But as a flier in the last round, he could prove to be key in your quest for the championship.

Jack Flaherty, SP, St. Louis Cardinals (Fantasy Pros ADP:  371)

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Jack Flaherty, the Cardinals’ minor league pitcher of the year, started the final game of the regular season last year. This year, he will start the first exhibition game this Spring Training. The 22-year-old Flaherty was 0-2 in six late-season appearances with a 6.33 ERA for the Cardinals after going a combined 14-4. He posted a 2.18 ERA, struck out 147 batters and walked 35 in 25 starts at Memphis and Class AA Springfield last year.

Flaherty was so good in 2017 that he expedited his MLB timetable. He blew away Double-A (1.42 in 63 innings, 62/11 K/BB) and succeeded against better competition in Triple-A (2.74, 85/25 in 85 innings). He jumped 15 spots, to 38 on the Major League Baseball Pipeline Top 100 MLB Prospects. The right-hander has dominated minor league hitters, posting a career .277 ERA in 400.1 innings. Furthermore, he has 398 strikeouts during that span.

While he did struggle a little bit during his call-up last season, besides Carlos Martinez, a competition in Spring Training may change the remaining Cardinals’ rotation order. Improved control and a jump in velocity from 91-95 instead of 89-93 exhibit his potential as a top-of-the-rotation type pitcher.

The Cardinals are taking the same approach with Flaherty that they took with Luke Weaver last season. Flaherty will probably start the season at Triple-A in Memphis, and eventually be the first starter called up. Jack Flaherty is a perfect pitcher to stash on your fantasy roster.

Jakob Junis, SP, Kansas City Royals (Fantasy Pros ADP:  365)

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Jake Junis appeared in 20 games (16 starts) with the Kansas City Royals in 2017. He averaged 5.8 innings per start, including pitching at least five innings in his final eight starts. He finished with a 4.30 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and a 7.3 K/9 over 98 innings. Over 10 starts during the last two months of 2017, he posted a 3.53 ERA, 23 K, and only nine walks.

Junis was brilliant in Triple-A Omaha in 2017 while almost forcing the Royals to call him up throughout the season. In Omaha, he appeared in 12 starts and had an ERA of 2.92. Additionally, his K/9 was a remarkable 10.90 and he walked just under two batters per nine innings. The 25-year-old dominated in the minor leagues and flashed immense potential.

Jake Junis showed flashes last season. His 9-3 record on the season indicates success, but we saw his K/9 dip to 7.32. I anticipate the strikeouts to approach and even surpass his minor league level, 8.0 K/9. He has amazing control as evidenced by his 2.29 BB/9 last season. He will continue to produce fine WHIP numbers. The right-hander is a good pitcher that will not require a huge investment on draft day, but his ratios will help fantasy owners. He will become a valuable streaming option that should help solidify your fantasy rotation.

Nate Jones, RP, Chicago White Sox (Fantasy Pros ADP:  358)

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The Chicago White Sox have countless relievers on their roster. None of them are able to lock down the closer role. Nate Jones has begun throwing and is expected to be ready by the start of spring training. That’s welcome news after Jones — the longest-tenured Sox player — made 11 appearances in 2017 before undergoing the second major surgery on his right elbow.

Jones was a key cog in the bullpen in 2016 when he posted a 2.29 ERA over 71 appearances. Opponents batted just .190 against him. Jones has been a valuable, high-leverage situation reliever — when healthy — since he burst onto the Sox’ scene with an 8-0 record and 2.39 ERA in his rookie season in 2012. But the 31-year-old has been sidelined periodically by an array of significant injuries.

Jones will be facing many options as the acquisitions of Joakim Soria and Luis Avilan join Juan Minaya to create a possible logjam in the bullpen. The issue with Jones is how healthy is that elbow? The return to full health of the right-hander with a career 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings becomes an important part of the bullpen. If Jones can show that he is healthy, look for the White Sox to deal Jones during the season. Teams love to add talent to the bullpen for the stretch run. There is no reason to think he couldn’t fetch the Sox some talented young players.

Nate Jones could be a really nice dart throw for fantasy owners late in their drafts and/or auctions. If he breaks out and sent to a contending team, he will pay maximum dividends. On the other hand, if he does return and falters, your loss is minimal. Owners can move on to hopefully the next best option off the waiver wire.

2018 Fantasy Baseball Position Previews
CatcherFirst BaseSecond BaseThird BaseShortstopOutfieldStarting PitcherRelief PItcher

Check out the rest of our great Fantasy Baseball content as the 2018 season approaches.

About Dennis Sosic

Dennis Sosic is from Cleveland, Ohio and a HUGE sports fan including NFL (GO BROWNS!) and college football (GO BUCKEYES!) MLB (GO TRIBE), NBA (GO CAVS!) and MMA. He has been called a Sports Geek by friends and foes alike and that fits him perfectly. He has been competing in fantasy sports, mainly fantasy football and baseball for over 20 years. Please do all of us a favor and follow Dennis @ CALL_ME_SOS.

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