Today concludes the fantasy baseball sleepers‘ portion of our program. *nudges homeless woman sleeping on my couch that I tried to get Cougs to agree to a threesome with* No more sleepers, Francine. Meh, I’ll let her rest. Like the 2nd basemen to target or outfielders to target, this post is necessary. You need to target the right names at the end of the draft for starters. Last year’s starters to target post included Marcus Stroman, Chris Bassitt, Tyler Mahle, Kevin Gausman, John Means, and Nathan Eovaldi, who I apparently can never get enough of. They’ve moved way up ranks this year with one making the jump to my top 20 starters, and, well, can you believe ESPN ranked Gausman 272nd overall last year and left Eovaldi unranked? As I always say, starters are available later. As with other target posts, these guys are being drafted after the top 200 overall. Also, all Steamer hitter projections are updated just about every day (mostly small adjustments), and all 2022 fantasy baseball rankings are updated. Anyway, here’s some starters to target for 2022 fantasy baseball:
Jose Urquidy (NFBC 216) Bit of a broken record with this line of “whoa” but it always makes me surprised like Keanu in any movie when Yahoo is more correct with their ranking than the drafters at NFBC. The most obvious reason that is because NFBC leagues are by and large deeper, so drafters are more apt to draft a starter earlier. Urquidy is the epitome of a reason why you shouldn’t draft starters early. Every team needs five to six starters (depending on the league), and there’s about 60 starters I would draft. There’s other starters that others would draft. The sheer number of starters available mean there’s gonna be starters like Urquidy that fall through the cracks. Even if your league goes after starters aggressively, at a certain point, they’re going to start drafting hitters, and that’s how Urquidy, and others fall.
Anthony DeSclafani (NFBC 212) These first two guys have big “fell through the cracks” energy. Throw out 2020, as most people would like to do, and DeSclafani is a ~8.6 K/9, ~2.3 BB/9, ~3.60 ERA pitcher over the last ~320 IP. Lots of mustache symbols there because I’m lazy, and that is really the sexiest of symbols.
Noah Syndergaard (Yahoo 210, NFBC 213) Kinda a fell in the cracks too. It’s, brucely, been surprising how forgotten Syndergaard has been this preseason. If he threw a month last year, he would have an ADP around 120, but 80-100 spots later because he just didn’t return a few weeks earlier for a team that didn’t need him. He’s moving to a good park and a weak division. Rangers got better, but their park sucks; A’s lineup is the equivalent to the roll of quarters you get for looking at a timeshare; Seattle got no-hit two times a week every week last year, and Houston is good, but that’s one team.
Tony Gonsolin (Yahoo 269, NFBC 290) I’m old enough to remember when everyone wanted to draft Tony Gonsolin, which means I’m at least 13 months old. I know, you’re surprised I’m that old. It’s the gingko biloba! You’re prolly thinking, “Gonsolin did terrible last year, so people have soured on him. Sorry, Grey, some people can change their thoughts on a player!” Okay, no reason to snap at me, and Gonsolin had a 10.5 K/9 and 3.23 ERA last year. Now you might be thinking, “Sure, he was great…in middle relief!” ACKUALLY, he threw in 15 games, and 13 were starts. Now you might be thinking, “Why don’t more people like him?” That’s what I’m wondering!
Jordan Montgomery (Yahoo 262, NFBC 202) Ya know how Michael Jordan soared from the free throw line to dunk? Jordan Montgomery can do that from the pitcher’s mound. Only instead of jumping, he throws the ball. Impressive, right? Without looking at my Jordan Montgomery sleeper — though, you absolutely should — I’m just gonna look at his 9.3 K/9, under-3 BB/9, and say I don’t understand how he could be falling so far in drafts.
Ranger Suarez (Yahoo 251) Ya know what’s funny that’s not haha funny? Sometimes a guy will exceed expectations by so much that people back off them because they know they’ll never repeat the previous year. Think this is going on with Ranger Suarez. People know he’s not a 1.36 ERA pitcher, and don’t want anything to do with him because of that. He’s not a 1.36 ERA pitcher, but that doesn’t mean he’s not solid either. Also, gave you my Ranger Suarez sleeper. By the by, I write sleeper posts in November, and they’re still applicable. Give me my kudos!
Tanner Houck (Yahoo 233, NFBC 202) Just did a spit take when I saw he had a 11.4 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 2.58 FIP and an ADP after 200 anywhere. So, now I have to pick boba off my computer screen. With my tongue. Want one guy who is being wrongly projected by every single person except me? Tanner Houck! I honestly don’t know why Tanner Houck is being projected to lose two Ks per nine and have a 4.50+ ERA by some. Maybe ask them. Also, gave you my Tanner Houck sleeper.
Jon Gray (Yahoo 289, NFBC 233) Ya know Marvin Berry in Back to the Future when he’s on the phone with his cousin — his cousin! — Chuck Berry, and he tells him to listen to Johnny B. Goode? That fever-pitched excitement is gonna be Jon Gray on the phone with Rockies starters when he gets off the mound the first time he pitches in Texas. “This here is the stuff! You gotta get out of Colorado!”
Bailey Ober (Yahoo 280, NFBC 256) He has a 60-grade command of the strike zone and had a 1.9 BB/9 last year in 92 1/3 IP in the majors, i.e., what’s the worst thing that could happen? He gives up four solo homers every start? He’d still have an under 4 ERA, as long as he goes five innings. Also, gave you my Bailey Ober sleeper.
Cristian Javier (Yahoo 303, NFBC 297) Guys and five girl readers, there are so many pitchers to draft later on. Maybe I’m Mr. Confirmation Bias on the CB screaming after some trucker speed that there’s a ton of pitchers you can draft late because that’s my schtick, but, seriously, there’s so many pitchers late, right? It’s not just me, right? Is Cristian Javier your ace? No. He’s not even your number three. But later on as a guy who can give you 120-ish IP with a 11-ish K/9? Yes, please, all day with pickles. Of course, I want that! Also, and this doesn’t excuse Yahoo, but I can see why NFBC is around 300 on on him in their ADP. In deeper leagues, you need safer IP. In a league like a 12-teamer though? Give me all that upside goodness.
Joe Ryan (Yahoo 241, NFBC 212) Here’s one thing I think some of you are missing in your medulla oblongtas. If a pitcher has good command, they’re only going to be so bad. It’s hard to go wrong with a 1.7 BB/9, which is what Joe Ryan had last year. Sure, that was only in 26 2/3 IP in the majors, but he is a 1.7 BB/9 guy. He’s got 60-grade command. I joke around about the Twins being as economical with their checkbook as their pitchers are with their pitches, but that’s because it’s true. Also, gave you my Joe Ryan fantasy.
James Kaprielian (Yahoo 343, NFBC 370) The situation in Oakland-soon-to-be-Vegas feels perfect for James Kaprielian to throw 150 IP and have a 9+ K/9, 4.15 ERA with a record of 7-16. You want some of that smoke? Then poof poof, baby, poof poof!