All of Fantasy Baseball Land is looking for the next Corey Kluber, and rightfully so. Kluber came out of next-to-nowhere to win the Cy Young Award in 2014, and is now projected to be the anchor of the Tribe’s rotation and fantasy rotations alike in 2015.
The key to winning Fantasy Baseball is to pick up not only the next Corey Kluber in your draft, but also to fill out your rotation with those pitchers who will provide your team with solid numbers at a discount price. These are the pitchers you’re taking a flier on that less-educated league members will ignore in favor of a useless extra corner infielder or a starting pitcher with no upside.
Everyone in your league will be interested and engaged in April — and focused on waiver-wire pitchers who are hottest out of the gate. Why chance things with the waiver wire, though, when you can already have these pitchers on your roster? Just as importantly for those of you in keeper leagues, it’s the late-round pitchers to target that will help you to a title at season’s end.
12 Late-Round Pitchers to Target
With draft season upon us, let’s take a look at 12 starting pitchers you can get in the late rounds, who may win you a championship this season. We’ll discuss them in the order you are likely to have to draft them.
Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox
You know who top-20 Yoenis Cespedes is, right? The Tigers traded Porcello, 26, to the Red Sox to get him. Porcello went 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA for the Tigers last season and is projected to start the season at or near the top of the Red Sox rotation. In a contract year and out to prove something, Porcello is a strong candidate to outperform the slot you’ll get him on Draft Day.
Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals
Martinez, 23, is an elite pitching prospect in line for a rotation spot with the offseason trade of Shelby Miller to the Atlanta Braves. Martinez has a solid track record in the minors and has said publicly that he’s especially motivated this season by the untimely death of his fellow St. Louis Cardinal Oscar Taveras, whose number he will be wearing in 2015.
Jesse Hahn & Drew Pomeranz, Oakland Athletics
First of all, it’s never a mistake to bet on back-of-the-rotation Oakland A’s pitchers. (Just look at Scott Kazmir and how he could have helped your team with a late-round pick last year.)
Hahn, 25, is a former San Diego Padre who produced a 3.07 ERA in 73+ innings last year, and Pomeranz, 26, is a 2010 first-round pick who had a 2.58 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 50 strikeouts in 52 1/3 innings for Oakland in 2014.
Tony Cingrani, Cincinnati Reds
Cingrani, 25, was a hot pickup in last year’s draft who quickly fell out of favor with Fantasy owners due to ineffectiveness and injury. So what makes this year different? Aside from Cingrani’s improved health, he has seen two fellow Reds starters (Alfredo Simon and Mat Latos) traded in the offseason. Cingrani is in line to capitalize on this opportunity to make good on the potential he showed in the minors with a K/9 rate of well over 10.
Jeff Locke, Pittsburgh Pirates
Locke, 27, is a second-round pick of the Atlanta Braves who saw his control improve last year, with a strikeout-to-walk ratio that went from 1.49 in 2013 to 2.23 in 2014. An All-Star selection in 2013, Locke won’t get you a ton of strikeouts but is a solid pitcher on a playoff-caliber team.
Alfredo Simon & Shane Greene, Detroit Tigers
How many of you Tigers fans were excited to see Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello replaced by Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene in the offseason? Not a lot. Fantasy owners looking for Draft Day value should be excited, though.
Simon, 33, is the oldest pitcher on this list by far but is largely under the radar due to his only recent ascension o the starting pitcher ranks. Simon literally had an All-Star year in 2014 with 15 wins and a 3.44 ERA and will look to continue that success in Detroit.
Greene, 26, finished 2014 with a 5-4 record and 3.78 ERA for the New York Yankees. In his short career, Greene has notched 81 Ks in 78 2/3 innings, enough to give Detroit fans (and fantasy owners) hope that he’ll be a solid SP in 2015.
Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee Brewers
Nelson, 25, went 2-9 with a 4.93 ERA as a rookie in 2014. Yikes, right? Keep in mind, though, that the Brewers are invested in Nelson and that he dominated hitters at Triple-A last year (114 strikeouts and a 1.46 ERA in 111 innings). Nelson will be given every opportunity to prove himself this year and is well worth a late-round flier.
Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays
Bud Norris. John Danks. Dan Haren. Sure, you could take one of these guys with your late-round pick, but why not go with Matt Moore instead? Moore, 25, who tore his UCL in 2014, went 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 2013 after having been long considered a top prospect. Due for a June return, Moore could be a huge part of your championship run – in 2015 and especially in keeper leagues.
Brett Anderson, Los Angeles Dodgers
Some pitchers are injury-prone. And then there’s Brett Anderson, 27, who seems more cursed than simply injury-prone. A hugely talented player, Anderson is healthy and in line to assume the fifth starter spot on a Dodgers team ready to contend for an NL West title. Anderson was rock-solid in limited 2014 starts (2.91 ERA) and will look to build on those numbers in 2015.
Alex Meyer, Minnesota Twins
There’s not a lot to like about the Twins in 2015, but Alex Meyer should be a highlight. Meyer, 25, is one of Minnesota’s top prospects and has only to compete against the likes of Ricky Nolasco and Trevor May for an eventual spot in the rotation. Meyer is a 2011 first-round pick of the Washington Nationals who should make his mark on the Twins’ roster this year.
Matt Moore Photo Credit: Keith Allison
- 12 Late-Round Pitchers to Target in 2015 Fantasy Drafts - February 20, 2015
- 7 Fantasy Players to Target Late in AL-Only Formats - January 27, 2015