In the last of our Sleeper and Deeper Sleepers to consider, we tackle Starting Pitchers and Relievers. There are some gems, if you wait for the last few rounds of your draft, to snatch up and possibly end up gaining an edge in your league. You don’t have to go with the more well-known named pitchers out there like Ervin Santana or R.A. Dickey who are overrated and apt to disappoint.
SLEEPER: SP-Danny Salazar-Indians- A late season post All-Star call-up, this 23 year old had a Seaver-like debut in the majors striking out 17 batters in 13 2/3 innings his first two starts; both wins. In the 52 innings he pitched last season the rookie struck out 65 (a strikeout rate of 30.8%). His ERA was an impressive 3.12. Salazar’s WHIP was 1.13 and his BA was a miniscule .226. If the Indians give him some decent run support, we are predicting that Salazar could end up in the top 15 of all MLB pitchers.
DEEPER SLEEPER: SP-Ian Kennedy-Padres- This former first-round pick and hot prospect of the N.Y. Yankees in 2006, had an unimpressive year with the Diamondbacks in 2013 finishing with a 7-10 record and and a high 4.91 ERA. However he will now pitch in a much more ‘spacious’ Petco Park as a member of the Padres so if you want a low risk/high reward late rounder, you could do worse than Kennedy, just 29 years old, who brings his 163 strikeouts from last season with him to San Diego.
HOT PROSPECT: SP-Noah Syndergaard-Mets- If you are in deeper leagues or you have bench room, do not let this phenom-to-be pass you by on draft day. His stuff is wicked! He can throw 97 MPH and has the nastiest curve ball you will ever see. And, as an additional bonus, he will play in one of the more pitcher-friendly parks in the major leagues; Citifield. There is a possibility that Sndergaard will not be called up until around June but we think it will be earlier, and he will be well worth the wait!
SLEEPER: RP-Cody Allen-Indians- Assuming that Allen will secure the closing duties in Cleveland now that RP Chris Perez is no longer with the club, the youngster has all the makings of a quality closer for years to come. In 77 relief appearances last season, Allen struck out 88 batters while walking just 26 and his ERA/WHIP slash line of 2.43/1.25 certainly qualifies him to close. His only weak point is the long ball, which last season was about the league average. Hard to believe this future closer was the 698th pick in the 2011 draft!
DEEPER SLEEPER: A.J. Ramos-RP-Marlins- Strictly for much deeper leagues and formats, Ramos will only be viable to fantasy owners in the event that closer Steve Cishek finds himself traded by July should the Marlins have another poor showing to start the season. Ramos was serviceable enough in the second half of last season, posting a 2.51 ERA to go along with 38 strikeouts in 32 innings.