Fantasy baseball owners go into every season and know that there will be monumental busts and lots of surprise outbursts at the start of the pitchers. Regardless of whether it is injuries, “bad luck / luck” or just a decrease / improvement, the rankings at the end of the season rarely resemble the rankings for the previous season. A long list of SP sleepers is a necessary tool for your 2020 fantasy baseball cheat sheet as it can help you identify value choices and worthwhile leaflets at the end of your design.
We tried to give you a decent variety with the potential sleepers below. Some have had mini-outbreaks or are known prospects, while others are overlooked, who are considered boring due to a ceiling that is perceived as low. Still others have as many red flags as positive attributes, but if things go right, they could really pay off. In any case, we all see it as potentially undervalued and have the ability to help your fantasy team in 2020.
DOMINATE YOUR DESIGN: Ultimate 2020 Fantasy Baseball Cheat Sheet
Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Pitchers 2020
Jesus Luzardo, A’s. Luzardo should have had a big impact last season, but a tense lat limited his time with the majors. The 22-year-old leftist still showed his impressive repertoire of things last season and achieved a ratio of 2.51 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 11.9 K / 9 in 43 innings on three levels of minors as well as a line of 1.50 / 0.67 with 16 Ks 12 innings of the Major League. Given his career in the minor league (2.53 / 1.04, 10.8 K / 9 ratio), he should be immediately successful and could easily pay off even more than expected.
2020 Fantasy Baseball Leaderboard:
Catcher | First | Second | Third party | Short | Outfield | Starter | Reliever | Top 300
Luke Weaver, Diamondbacks. Teammate Zac Gallen seems to be getting more hype, and while he’s impressed with his 15 starts last year, his advanced statistics and peripherals suggest that he’s not sure. Despite a 2018 decline in his resume, Weaver can use a 2.94 / 1.07 line with a 9.7 K / 9 ratio last year and a 3.88 / 1.26 line with a 10 ratio , 7 K / 9 as a rookie with a success story with the cardinals in ’17. To be fair, Weaver only made 12 starts last season due to an elbow injury, so health is an issue. However, if he can stay in one piece, the 26-year-old Righty has a fixed K rate thanks to an improved BB rate and a big advantage.
2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper:
Catcher | First | Second | Third party | Short | Outfielder | Every team
Dinelson Lamet, Padres. Lamet did well on his 14 starts last year after returning from surgery at Tommy John. He scored a line of 4.07 / 1.26 and a ratio of 13.0 K / 9. The 27-year-old Righty is still giving up a few too many homers, especially considering his home park, but that’s part of the territory for the fly ball pitcher. His BB rate dropped last year (3.7), and given his high K rate, he has a chance to be a big fantasy contributor, even if there is an occasional dud launch.
2020 Fantasy Baseball Tiers, Strategy Design:
Catcher | First | Second | Third party | Short | Outfield | Starter | Reliever
Adrian Houser, brewer. There are some obvious red flags at Houser, starting with his Starter / Reliever splits last year. In 30.2 relief innings he had an ERA of 1.47 and a whip of 0.95; in 80.2 innings as a starter, he posted a 4.57 / 1.35 line. The good news is that his K rate was roughly the same (9.7 as a reliever, 9.4 as a starter) and his BB rate as a starter actually decreased (2.9 vs. 3.2). Overall, peripherals are strong, from baseline (53.4 percent) to K / BB (3.2), and Houser should open the season as a starter. If he can settle in a constant rotation point, Houser should publish solid all-round statistics.
Carlos Martinez, Cardinals. Martinez is a former stud starter who transformed into a stud sewer last year after treating shoulder problems. On the way to 2020, he said he was 100 percent healthy and started the year in the St. Louis rotation. Assuming he’s healthy, we know how good Martinez can be in this role, and if he’s forced to pen again, you’ll still have useful fantasy goods because Martinez is likely to get closer as a cardinal. The big worry is injury, but give Martinez ‘ADP, he’s no greater risk of injury than practically any other similar pitcher.
Brendan McKay, rays. Most peripherals were good for McKay in his 49-inning MLB stint last year (10.3 K / 9 ratio, 2.9 BB / 9 ratio), but he gave up too many Homer (8) and ended with mediocre standard statistics (5.14) ERA, 1.41 whip). Given his lineage (1.78 / 0.84, 11.8 K / 9 ratio in 172 innings in the minor league), the 24-year-old left has a big advantage as soon as he gets into Tampa’s rotation. It could be on the opening day, but given Tampa’s starter organizational philosophy, McKay could start the season in Triple-A. In any case, he probably won’t stay there long.
A.J. Puk, A’s. Puk missed all of 2018 and a large part of 19 due to an operation by Tommy John, but the big 24-year-old left is fighting for a rotation point. Puk’s standard minor league numbers weren’t out, but his sky-high K-rate (12.9) was always a constant and he wasn’t overwhelmed by his first taste of the majors (3.18 / 1.32 in 11.1 Innings last year)). Consistency could be a problem, but Puk has what it takes to be a dominant pitcher once he’s settled into a solid role.
Fantasy baseball draft strategies: Auction | Keeper / Dynasty Points
Mitch Keller, pirates. Keller had one of the biggest differences in his ERA (7.13) and FIP (3.19) last year. His ratio of 12.2 K / 9, 3.0 BB / 9 and 1.13 HR / 9 in 48 innings was solid for a rookie starter, but he was clearly hit by a .475 BABIP that will regress. The 23-year-old Righty has a solid track record in the minor league (3.12 / 1.16, 9.4K / 9 ratio) and plays in a cheap pitcher park. Even if the K rate inevitably drops, Keller should still be effective.
Aaron Civale, Indian. Cleveland continues to produce solid young pitchers, and Civale fits in with the recent outbreaks: he doesn’t give up many walks or Homer and knocks out a reasonable number of thugs. The K rate (7.2 in the majors last year, 7.5 in the minors) is probably a little too low to delight most fantasy owners, but if Civale can keep the Homer down and go down, he can continue to outperform his advanced stats and post something similar to his 2.34 / 1.04 line in last season’s majors. Chances are that the 24-year-old Righty is not quite as good, but there is also a chance that he may increase his K-rate and have a greater impact on the imagination overall.
Zach Plesac, Indian. Plesac is another low-walk-low-homer pitcher by the Indian organization, although his 21-start stint with the majors didn’t fully reflect this last year (3.1 BB / 9 ratio, 1.5 HR / 9 ratio ). Plesac’s underage career brands (2.1 BB / 9, 0.5 HR / 9) are likely closer to what you can expect this year. His K / 9 ratio will likely be in the 8.0 to 9.0 range, and he should have a decent ERA and a very solid whip. The main concern for Plesac (and Civale) is a consistent starter, but both should be in Cleveland’s rotation early on.
2020 Fantasy Baseball: Auction Values Mock Draft Simulator
Jose Urquidy, Astros. Urquidy is not guaranteed a place in Houston’s loaded rotation, but the High-K and Low-BB Righty has a big advantage in every role he fulfills. In 41 major league innings last year, he hit 40 and only went seven. He gave up a few too many HRs (6), which was also a problem with Triple-A, but Urquidy has what it takes to keep the ball in the yard and produce it at a high level.
Griffin Canning, angel. Canning threw 90.1 innings in the majors last year, scoring a line of 4.58 / 1.22 with a ratio of 9.6 K / 9. It is worth noting that Canning’s career in the minor league was only 129, 1 innings (ratio 3.27 / 1.22, 9.9 K / 9), so in his professional career he just started scratching the surface. It should continue to improve and that could mean an outbreak in 2020.
Justus Sheffield, Mariners. Of all the players on this list, Sheffield may be the “boom or bust,” but the 23-year-old left-hander is worth seeing, at least at the beginning of the season. In 36 innings with the big club last year, Sheffield hit 37, but he also allowed 18 walks and five homers. Command was a problem for him throughout his professional career, but it wasn’t until he joined Triple-A last year that Homer became an important issue. If he can’t keep the ball in the yard, he’s back in the minor before you know it, but if he can put it all together, he can set up teams as a starter for the imagination behind the spin of the role.
Tyler Mahle, Reds. Mahle has a big bugaboo: HRs. In the last two seasons he has allowed 1.8 or 1.7 HR / 9 ratios, which has brought his ERA around the 5.00 mark in both seasons. Homer will continue to be a concern, especially in Cincinnati’s tiny home park, but Mahle has improved in an important area last year: he has lowered his BB / 9 ratio from 4.3 to 2.4. With a K / 9 ratio of 9.0 and a significantly improved ground ball ratio (47 versus 38.7 in 2018), the 25-year-old Righty is making significant progress. Maybe he will never overcome the Homer problems when playing in Cincinnati, but there is evidence of an outbreak.
Josh Lindblom, brewer. Lindblom has been represented in Korea for the past two and a half years and has achieved a record 40 to 10, an ERA of 2.85 and a ratio of 8.7 K / 9. Back in the majors, he is a starter with medium rotation, the produce a strikeout per inning and keep his whip relatively low. It’s easy to miss someone like Lindblom, but like Miles Mikolas a few years ago, there are benefits here.
Kevin Gausman, giant. Gausman has been in and outside of fantasy teams since 2013, but he saw a higher upward trend last year (10.0 K / 9 ratio) and advanced statistics (3.98 FIP) that matched his standard numbers (5.72 ERA) far exceeded. Those numbers were juiced up by an impressive 14-game stint as a relief for Cincinnati, but Gausman was just better overall last season. Now in a great San Francisco pitcher park that should help him narrow down Homer, Gausman has a late fantasy appeal if you can bear to make a “boring” choice.