Short and sweet, here are five extreme fantasy sleeper pitchers for NL only Leagues. I won’t waste your time with big names or super prospects, but here are some names you might not be thinking about going into your draft, most of whom can be drafted for under ten dollars in most leagues.
- Alex Wood – with the Braves staff decimated by injuries, the young left-hander will be a number three or four for the staff of one of the best defensive teams out there. With a relatively weak schedule and funky delivery, Alex Wood will be a hot commodity by the end of May. Grab him in the draft over Doug Fister or Bartolo Colon – especially in keeper leagues. Reality Check? He is likely to have an innings cap later in the year.
- Wandy Rodriguez – nearly forgotten among the other starters for the Pirates, Wandy is a real competitor who long played for a bad Astros team and who has to be disappointed over last year’s aborted second half. While he is no ace, he could get 12 to 14 wins with the Pirates bullpen closing down outings. His upside isn’t that great, but his floor is high. Reality Check? He is an injury risk.
- Ross Detwiler – supposedly a fifth or sixth starter on a strong Nationals staff, I see Ross winning around ten games and coming in with an ERA under 4.00 in 2014. Part of this is the realization that Detwiler seems to be having that he can’t throw one pitch all game long. In truth, he’s already imposing on the mound, but the addition of a solid curve will have batters buckling at the knees a little more often. Reality Check? His leash won’t be that long. Should he struggle, he’s back to the bullpen.
- Carlos Martinez – he has the best pure stuff on the Cardinals staff and is a future ace in the making. While he may have an innings limit in 2014, his peripherals will be so good he can help any team, even in mixed leagues. He has all the potential of Jose Fernandez and Garret Cole. In keeper leagues, he’s a must grab now. Reality Check? He could be needed in the Cardinal bullpen for some of this season.
- Jenrry Mejia – post-hype guy who seems more injury prone than he really is. The Mets have babied him a bit, along with the nagging injuries, but in reality this is a relatively healthy 24 year old with phenomenal potential. The Mets are slightly improved, but they will need more starting pitching as the season were on and they will turn to Jenrry Mejia at some point. I simply don’t like the odds of Niese, Colon, Gee, and DiceK staying in the rotation all year. When a couple of them go down, Mejia will grab spot for the next few years. Grab him now. Reality Check? The Mets front office makes some whacky decisions.
There were plenty of other guys I could have talked about, but to me a real pitching sleeper has to be both cheap and not likely to really hurt you in WHIP or ERA. I hope you will target these players as later round flyers. And remember, don’t over reach, unless an extra buck or two for Carlos Martinez . . .