2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

2021 Fantasy Baseball: This Year’s Zach Plesac


In this article, we will be looking at which young starting pitchers could break out and be this year’s Fantasy Baseball version of Zach Plesac. Some of these pitchers project to have a good floor while others have SP2 ceilings.

All of these pitchers currently have an ADP outside the top 300. Last year, Zach Plesac broke out along with Corbin Burnes and Tyler Mahle.

Although there are multiple factors to help predict breakout pitchers, some of my favorite factors to look at are spin rates, SwStr%, command, and a good mix of pitches. Plesac, Burnes, and Mahle checked these four boxes and were nice late-round steals for redraft and dynasty leagues last year.

Some of the top second-year pitchers include Sixto Sanchez, Ian Anderson, Nate Pearson, and Triston McKenzie but they have ADP’s in the top 300. Let’s examine some pitchers with an ADP over 300 that could be this year’s breakout star.

2021 Fantasy Baseball: This Year’s Zach Plesac

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Spencer Howard, Philadelphia Phillies

Spencer Howard, like Plesac, is a cerebral pitcher. Howard likely projects as a front of the rotation pitcher and is currently one of the best pitchers in the Phillies organization.

Howard has good command and also possesses a good pitch mix with good spin rates, but he was unlucky last year. Based on FIP and xERA, Howard could have a good year this upcoming season.

Howard had good stats in the minors and his pedigree suggests he could put it together in the majors very soon. I believe it will translate to the MLB and that he was just unlucky last year. Howard’s biggest knock is his SwStr%, so he may not get the miss rate that the majority of aces and SP2’s have.

Tarik Skubal, Detroit Tigers

Tarik Skubal is a southpaw in the Tigers organization. Skubal is one of the best pitchers the Tigers organization and also have top-end potential if he is able to build on a shaky MLB debut in 2020.

Skubal has good stuff to go with good spin rates and good command. Last year, he was considered one of the top left-handed pitching prospects in baseball. He has a solid SwStr% of 12.5 and his solid performance at every level of the minor shows that he has the stuff to put it together at the major-league level.

Skubal is probably the safest player to pick out of all the guys on this list. His SwStr% is similar to that of Sixto Sanchez so keep an eye out for this potential stud falling out of a top 300 ADP.

Brady Singer, Kansas City Royals

Brady Singer is one of the top pitchers in the Royals organization and, like Howard and Skubal, should be a mid to front of the rotation pitcher. Asa Lacy is likely the Royals’ future ace but Singer is no slouch, showing a good mix of pitches with decent spin and good command.

Singer should be able to go deep into games and give quality starts for a long time. He has a good floor, but the Royals may struggle to put up consistent run support.

David Peterson, New York Mets

David Peterson is an underrated pitcher in the Mets organization. He has a good floor and should be a reliable pitcher for quality starts. Peterson has one of the longest arm extensions in the modern statcast era. In the minors, Peterson consistently had a good K/BB ratio which is no surprise since he has been doing that since college.

Peterson doesn’t have the best spin rates but he locates his pitches very well. As he gets older, he may add some spin to his pitches. If he does, Peterson could be a valuable pitcher for a long time.

Currently, Peterson’s biggest issue is his lack of swing and miss stuff. He still has a good floor though and should give consistent quality starts.

Edward Cabrera, Miami Marlins

Edward Cabrera likely gets called up either in April or May. He has very good stuff including a devastating changeup. At times Cabrera can hit 97 mph but his fastball typically stays around 95 mph.

Cabrera could compete with Sanchez and Max Meyer to be the Marlins future ace. The main question with Cabrera is his health. If Cabrera can stay healthy, he will be a reliable starting pitcher in 2021 and beyond.

Cabrera is likely the riskiest player on this list due to injury risk. If he can stay healthy, keep an eye out.

Tejay Antone, Cincinnati Reds

Tejay Antone has great spin rates and a great baseball savant page. If he can get better control, he could either become a dominant starter or the Reds future closer.

Antone has great stuff but the control is in question. He is someone to keep an eye on in dynasty leagues and could have a valuable future if he gets the opportunity.

Besides the control being in question, Antone also has questions in what his role will be. No matter what his role is, he will be a valuable pitcher in my opinion.

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About Jason Croft

I am currently a college student that loves to analyze and project baseball prospects. I am a die hard Houston sports fan. Been through the ups and downs of the Astros, Texans, and Rockets but always stay loyal.

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