With XN Sports’ “Sleepers by Position” series in the books, you may be wondering why certain players were selected, and what warrants them as “sleepers” for this season. Next up in the “Sleeper Series” is a late-round starting pitcher worth starting in your lineup. Ervin Santana.
Santana is a lock for the Braves rotation, and could see 32-34 starts should he remain healthy. With Kris Medlen out for the season and Brandon Beachy‘s health up in the air, Santana is quietly one of the best pitchers on one of the best teams in the National League.
The Braves just signed the 31-year-old Dominican native to a one-year deal worth just over $14 million. Santana can provide stability to an injury-plagued rotation as he has started over 30 games in each of the last four seasons. Santana is slated to be the third starter for the Braves in 2014, which will net him a very good opportunity to be one of the better starters in the NL East. Usually, pitchers perform better in the National League after pitching in the American League, simply because there are only eight hitters in the NL game, and there is more of a small-ball approach. This is just one of many factors that makes Ervin Santana a viable sleeper for the upcoming fantasy baseball season.
Currently, Santana’s average draft position is 220, as the 56th starting pitcher drafted. In his career against the National League he is 13-9 with a 3.82 ERA, but that includes inter-league games where the National League teams can use a DH. In National League East ballparks, Santana has allowed seven earned runs in 24 innings. A small sample size, but still shows that Santana has had better success in the National League, particularly in the NL East.
Last season, Santana was 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. Should he replicate those ERA and WHIP numbers in that Atlanta Braves lineup, 15 wins can be expected. Another thing to keep in mind is the strength of the Braves’ bullpen. When a Braves starting pitcher exits the game with a lead in the 6th inning or later, the Braves bullpen will be able to give them a win more often than not.
Expect Ervin Santana to start 32 games with 13-16 wins, a sub 3.5 ERA, and a sub 1.2 WHIP. For the 56th starting pitcher drafted, there is no better value that late in your fantasy drafts. Other pitchers at Santana’s ADP are Tim Lincecum and Yovani Gallardo. Both of which had an ERA of 4.2 or higher last season. Santana is one of many values that could be had, but don’t let your rivals get him.
ADP’s are based on data from FantasyPros.com
Stay tuned for the rest of the “Fantasy Baseball Sleepers Series”