Who doesn't love free stuff? I know I do. Especially when it comes to your Fantasy baseball rosters.
True, deep sleepers are relatively rare in football, but dozens of undrafted gems come along every year in baseball. Especially with pitching, thanks to the yearly variability of the position. Reliable veterans turn into duds, and unknowns suddenly add 3 mph to their fastballs and become stars. And we see it every year.
beyond the aces — and you shouldn't — what you want to do is make sure you've got as many chances as possible to find reliable pitchers. That means throwing as many darts as you can, preferably with as little cost as possible.
Here are 20 targets to throw those darts at, who are all being drafted in the reserve rounds or later in FantasyPros.com's ADP, ranked by how much I like drafting them.
Brad Peacock, Astros — 348.5 ADP
The last time we saw Peacock as a starter, he reeled off a 21-start stretch with a 3.27 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 115.2 innings of work. He's been incredibly effective out of the bullpen since, but with Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers out of the picture and Josh James dealing with an injury, Peacock might just be the frontrunner in the competition for the fifth starter job. There might be a low innings ceiling, but Peacock deserves to be a top-200 pick — maybe even higher.
Julio Urias, Dodgers — 331.0 ADP
Urias made his major-league debut three years ago, and he's still just 22. Now, with a fastball that he has been pumping into the 97-98 mph range in spring training, Urias has a real chance at a rotation spot. As with Peacock, innings will be a concern — he threw just 22 last season in coming back from injury — but there is still front-line starter potential here.
Luke Weaver, Diamondbacks — 341.8 ADP
Everyone's favorite breakout candidate at this time last year busted, but the potential for a plus starter is still here. He spent the offseason refining his curveball and cutter, and already rated out in the 81st percentile in our ACES metric.
Zach Eflin, Phillies — 343.5 ADP
Another ACES standout, Eflin got up to the 93rd percentile, essentially tied with teammate Aaron Nola, with both his slider and changeup rating out as above-average pitches. He was finally healthy last year and saw his velocity jump, making him the hidden sleeper on a Phillies' staff full of interesting arms.
Reynaldo Lopez, White Sox —279.8 ADP
Lopez remains a real work in progress, but he started to show some signs of maturing late last season. Blessed with a big fastball, Lopez has struggled to generate the kind of whiffs and strikeouts you would think from such a live arm, but he started increasing his changeup usage while throwing it harder over the final few months of 2018, in what could be a key for his development. The downside is risky, but at this price, you're not getting much risk.
Jimmy Nelson, Brewers — 290.3 ADP
Nelson may never be the same after the shoulder injury that ended his 2017 season and kept him out all of 2018, but he hasn't reported any issues so far in spring with that injury. In case you forgot, Nelson had a 3.49 ERA in 2017, backed up by a 3.05 FIP. He made a leap. If he can sustain it after the injury, he's a steal here.
Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays — 328.0 ADP
2018 was a season from hell for Stroman, who dealt with a shoulder issue early and a blister late, both of which clearly affected him. However, his peripherals weren't much worse than previous seasons, and he had previously established himself as basically a Dallas Keuchel clone. The upside isn't huge, but it's worth this kind of cost.
Sonny Gray, Reds — 294.0 ADP
It seemed like the Yankees were a bad fit for Sonny Gray, and he confirmed that in a pretty open and honest way recently, acknowledging the Yankees' approach to pitch usage just didn't mesh with what he does best. With an offseason spent focusing on what he does best — emphasizing his curveball and using his slider to get whiffs — it's not asking too much to think he can get back to a mid-3.00s ERA, on what should be a pretty good Reds' team.
Vince Velasquez, Phillies — 352.0 ADP
Velasquez has four above-average pitches according to ACES, but it's never been a question of physical ability with him. He could stand to switch up his pitch mix (is he too fastball dependent?), but for the most part, it's all there. He's just had trouble finishing out innings, and he tends to unravel when things go poorly. He's been working with a mental skills coach, in the hopes of avoiding that issues. If he can figure it out, we've already seen flashes of his tremendous upside before.
Jonathan Loaisiga, Yankees — N/A/Domingo German, Yankees — 477.0 ADP
Both German and Loaisiga rate out very well in terms of stuff per ACES, and both have performed very well in the minors. That success hasn't followed them in their limited time in the majors, but with Luis Severino dealing with a shoulder injury and CC Sabathia set to open the season on the IL, take whichever one is available at the end of your draft and hope they figure it out.
Brent Honeywell, Rays —403.5 ADP
Honeywell is the first ofto break this list, because the path to a rotation spot clearest — eventually. Of course, he's also not pitching yet as he recovers from Tommy John, so you'll need to be patient. However, if you have an IL or minors spot to use, Honeywell has significant upside; he had a 3.49 ERA and 11.3 K/9 in 2017 between Double-A and Triple-A, and could be in the Rays rotation by the summer.
Forrest Whitley, Astros — 279.3 ADP
Whitley is the better prospect than Honeywell and he isn't currently injured, it's just hard to see where he fits into the Astros' rotation. As I said on Thursday's Fantasy Baseball Today podcast, "life finds a way" when it comes to rotation spots, with Peacock, Framber Valdez, and Josh James all likely ahead of him in the hierarchy at this point. Whitley also only threw 26.1 innings last season, so the path forward is tough to see. However, we'll expect a Walker Buehler-esque impact whenever he is up.
Touki Toussaint, Braves — 338.0 ADP
Toussaint isn't lacking for talent, but consistency has been his bugaboo going back to his days in the Diamondbacks' organization. He started to sort that out last season, but didn't have enough command when he was in the majors. If he can refine that, Toussaint could strengthen the back half of the Braves' rotation, with more than a strikeout per inning and a mid-3.00s ERA.
Sandy Alcantara, Marlins — 444.3 ADP
He might just be the next Daniel Cabrera, but Alcantara has a special arm. He can throw in the high-90s with sink and run, and both his slider and changeup can be wipe out pitches. Of course, Alcantara doesn't often seem to know where the ball is going, and he has been shockingly hittable as a professional pitcher. However, if he figures it out, you'll want to be there when he does, and the price is low enough to make it worth finding out.
Trevor Richards, Marlins —390.0 ADP/Caleb Smith, Marlins — 621.5
These names might be a bit of a letdown after the big prospect pedigree of the prior four, but don't overlook them. The Marlins are quietly putting together a potentially interesting rotation, and Smith and Richards are a big part of why it's "quiet". Richards' changeup is a real weapon, and if he can add something to his heater, there's a jump to be made. And Smith might be even more intriguing, as he struck out 27.0 percent of opposing batters and sported a 3.96 FIP. He rated out in the 73rd percentile by ACES, so the upside isn't hard to see, especially as a lefty.
Justus Sheffield, Mariners — 398.8 ADP
There has been surprisingly little interest in Sheffield this season, despite the fact that he has a legitimate chance to open the season in the rotation. There might be a bit of prospect fatigue with the former Yankee, who has been on top prospects lists for four years now, but he's coming off a 2.56 ERA with a 23.1 percent strikeout rate in Triple-A in 2018. The Mariners won't get him many wins, but it's a good park, and there he's off to a good start in spring. If it looks like he's expected to be in the rotation early, his stock should rise. Take advantage if you're drafting now.
Yonny Chirinos, Rays —438.3 ADP
The Rays may only have three true starters — Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, and Charlie Morton — but those aren't the only interesting pitchers we'll see in Tampa. Chirinos impressed in 2018, with a 3.51 ERA over 89.2 innings, thanks to a heavy sinker and his plus splitter. If he pitches well enough, it's not out of the question Chrinos can emerge as the team's true fourth starter, a role he forced his way into last season until a forearm injury derailed him.
Michael Pineda, Twins — 366.0 ADP
Pineda is back from Tommy John surgery and should be ready to go by the start of the season. His career has been defined by frustration, as it always seems like Pineda should get better results than he has. However, that frustration is a lot easier to bear when you can start him off on your bench and see if he's figured anything out post-injury. If nothing else, he's already throwing in the mid-90s in the spring.
So which Fantasy Baseball sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which undervalued pitchers can help you win a championship? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Baseball rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Scooter Gennett's huge breakout last season, and find out.