2024 Fantasy Baseball Deep Sleepers – Pitchers

by Connor Thomure
2024 Fantasy Baseball Deep Sleepers - Pitchers

The season is about to kick off with the Dodgers and Padres facing off in Korea, but drafts are still happening. With that in mind, welcome to the 2024 Fantasy Baseball Deep Sleepers - Pitchers edition.

This article highlights seven pitchers with an ADP later than 300 (besides one). Fantasy managers are sleeping on these pitchers, but now it's time to wake them up. Each pitcher listed here has great upside that can bring the average Fantasy team from good to great. If you miss out on your guy earlier in the draft, do not worry; these sleepers are here to save the day.

Listed here are four relievers and three starters, all going for a discounted price compared to where they will finish the season ranked. Pick these guys in drafts before your opponents can.

We have two veteran relievers but this list is mostly comprised of up-and-coming pitchers. These pitchers have made a name for themselves this far in their career but are still relatively unknown and being drafted way below their value.

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2024 Fantasy Baseball Deep Sleepers - Pitchers

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Relievers

Robert Suarez, RP, San Diego Padres (ADP: 264)

Fantasy managers have slept on Suarez for a good reason, especially during this offseason and spring training. Suarez's ADP is this low because the Padres signed relievers Woo-Suk Go, Yuki Matsui, and Wandy Peralta in the offseason. Padres' manager Mike Shildt named Suarez the closer but said Matsui and Peralta would compete for save opportunities.

While Suarez has earned just one save in his two seasons of Major League Baseball, I believe he is the right man for the job. He throws a four-seamer with elite velocity (98 MPH), a changeup which batters recorded a minuscule .080 batting average against, and a sinker that boasts velocity (97 MPH) and the ability to miss bats (.086 BAA). Suarez also threw a slider and cutter in 2023 that combined for 5.6% of his pitches.

His solid pitch mix suggests that Suarez could be one of the best closers in the game in 2024. Hopefully, the team lets him run with it.

Will Smith, RP, Kansas City Royals (ADP: 303)

Three-time World Series champion Will Smith signed with the Kansas City Royals this offseason and is expected to handle closing duties. The Royals built a team that can win 85 games and compete for a spot in the playoffs. This should provide Smith with plenty of save opportunities to make himself valuable in Fantasy Baseball.

If the Royals fail to compete, they could deal Smith away at the trade deadline to a team that could use him. Smith recorded 22 saves for the Texas Rangers in 2023, and we may see him eclipse that number in 2024. If he's not getting opportunities with the Royals, he's getting them elsewhere.

Abner Uribe, RP, Milwaukee Brewers (ADP: 400)

With Devin Williams set to miss at least three months due to stress fractures in his back, the Milwaukee Brewers will turn to a mix of Trevor Megill, Joel Payamps, and Abner Uribe to close out games. Uribe is my favorite pick for the lead candidate, and his ADP indicates that he is a quality sleeper.

Uribe pitched 30.2 innings as a 23-year-old rookie. He recorded a win, one save, 11.45 strikeouts per nine, and a 1.76 ERA. During his rookie season, Uribe faced a problem: allowing too many bases on balls. He allowed 5.87 bases on balls in those 30.2 innings. This is a problem he has dealt with at every level.

While Uribe does struggle with the bases on balls, his stuff is filthy. According to Baseball Savant, his sinker averages 100 MPH and has 2.7 more inches of drop than the league average sinker. Uribe also throws a slider with 32.2 inches of drop and 8.6 inches of break, 0.6 inches and 4.7 inches greater than the league average. If he can continue refining these pitches, Uribe will be one of the game's top relief pitchers before we know it.

Griffin Jax, RP, Minnesota Twins (ADP: 549)

Griffin Jax is expected to fill in as the Twins' closer, while Jhoan Duran misses time with an oblique injury. Duran's injury is described as moderate, so he should be back soon. However, when that happens, Fantasy managers can drop Jax. Get what you can from Jax for now and drop him when Duran returns.

Starters

A.J. Puk, SP, Miami Marlins (ADP: 307)

Initially drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the sixth round of the 2016 MLB Draft, A.J. Puk emerged as a starting pitcher before transitioning into a reliever. The Marlins then acquired Puk before the 2023 season, and he turned in his best season yet. In 56.2 innings, he won seven games and lost five, earned 15 saves and two holds, and struck out 12.39 batters per nine.

Now, with a slew of injuries, Puk is taking a spot in the Marlins rotation. In three starts this spring, Puk has combined for 13.2 innings and 15.15 strikeouts per nine innings. He hasn't started a game since 2021, when he was with the Athletics Triple-A team, so there is some concern about workload. However, Puk has shown enough to be worthy of a late-round pick this season.

Louie Varland, SP, Minnesota Twins (ADP: 324)

Louie Varland is set to open the season in the Twins rotation, and Fantasy managers should draft him a handful of rounds earlier than his ADP. In 22 MLB games, Varland combined for 94 innings, 4.40 ERA, 8.81 strikeouts per nine, and 2.20 bases on balls per nine. The strikeout and walk rates are better than average and are a good sign for Varland.

The Twins have developed fellow pitchers Duran, Jax, Bailey Ober, and Joe Ryan well, and Varland is looking to keep the momentum going. The 26-year-old is ready to break out. It would not surprise me if he held down a rotation spot all season long.

JP Sears, SP, Oakland Athletics (ADP: 369)

A pitcher I drafted recently is JP Sears. This Spring I have been very high on Sears after he developed a sinker to add to his arsenal. This gives Sears a fifth pitch to combine with his changeup, four seamer, slider, and sweeper.

Sears has been ultra-impressive this spring. He's struck out 15 batters in 13 innings while allowing three earned runs off eight hits and one walk. The strikeout-to-walk ratio is my favorite part of Sears' game. The 28-year-old will not face any workload restrictions after he pitched 172.1 innings last season.

At his current ADP, Sears is basically free and needs to be seriously considered by Fantasy managers.


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