One of the best things about fantasy baseball is the fact that the pitching categories are completely separate from the others, and it makes it that much harder to balance a roster with two parts. Starting pitchers are essential to fantasy success, but because there are so many it is almost required that the best ones be taken earlier than some would hope. But, that is what sleepers are for, we can find you these top pitchers late in the draft, rather than early. This is part one of our starting pitcher sleepers, as it is such a deep position. Here are some to keep an eye on in the top 200 of your draft. The second part will be next week on those after an ADP of 200.
Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox
In limited action last season, Buchholz was astonishing. He had 16 starts and was 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA. Unfortunately, injury ended what was sure to be a Cy Young type season. Buchholz’ ADP sits at 209.8 but he been taken as late as 273, so that number is skewed. He will be taken in the top 200 of your draft, so make sure you can get him. Buchholz can be a legit fantasy starter when healthy, and this could be the year.
Justin Masterson, Cleveland Indians
Masterson is the best pitcher on the Indians and should be the ace of that staff. Getting an ace at an ADP of 196.3 is a good value in itself, but think about what else you get with Masterson. He will start more games than most players at his ADP because he is slated to be the number one pitcher. In addition to that, he has a career 7.5 strikeout per nine innings, which is a great number for a starting pitcher and will add great fantasy value. Last year, Masterson had a 3.45 ERA with 195 strikeouts in under 200 innings. Expect him to go over 200 innings this year, and he will be amongst the best strikeout pitchers in fantasy baseball.
Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds
Once again, another ace in the mid to late rounds in Johnny Cueto. Cueto’s ADP sits at 165.8 at the moment, and is sure to rise so make sure to get him before someone else does. Last year, Cueto was injured and was only able to start 11 games, but in those 11 he was able to win five and put out a line of a 2.82 ERA and a 1.055 WHIP, which ranks among the best in baseball. Coming off an injury will scary fantasy owners away, but with the opportunity to be the ace for a team poised to win 90 games, Cueto is one of the better values on the market right now. Not to mention, Cueto has not allowed his ERA to go above a 3.00 since 2010. In his last 68 starts, he is 33-16 with just 126 earned runs in 434 innings. For those who are math-savvvy, that is a 2.61 ERA. 68 starts and a 2.61 ERA. Get Johnny Cueto on your team.
ADP’s are based on data from FantasyPros.com
Stay tuned for the rest of the “Fantasy Baseball Draft Advice: Sleepers by Position” series.