Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Potential Busts

by Kevin Peters | Posted on Friday, March 24th, 2017
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MLB: Chicago Cubs at Colorado Rockies

The 2016 fantasy baseball season is days away from the first official pitch. One way to have a successful summer-long season is to pinpoint those sleepers. However, sleepers can help you win a crown, but drafting a bust can send you plummeting to the bottom of the standings by the All-Star break. Here’s a pair of potential ‘aces’ in the hole, plus two hurlers who could blow up your fantasy pitching staff.

Two Sleeper Aces

To qualify as a sleeper, they have to be someone who will fall to the back half of your draft. A sleeper isn’t going to be one of the top 100 arms in baseball that will all be absorbed in the early rounds. You must dig a little bit to earn one of these two potential sleeper aces.

Redbirds Always Find an Ace

St. Louis is one of the more pitcher-friendly parks in all of professional baseball. The cozy confines of pitcher-friendly dimensions are a nice place to go hunting for that sleeper ace. Can’t forget that baseball connoisseurs also understand how baseball is full of trends.

One baseball fashion statement from season to season is that the St. Louis Cardinals uncover a new ace for their staff. It’s just part of the Cardinal mystic. With all the information to digest, it’s hard to pass on a proven starter like Lance Lynn, even if he is fresh off Tommy John surgery. Early draft projections have Lynn actually falling from the draft board, so stealing him in a late round could put your competition to sleep.

Rocky Mountain High

Most baseball fundamentalists would raise an eyebrow when a Colorado Rockie pitcher is mentioned as a fantasy sleeper. Don’t let the mile high air cloud your judgment if you get a chance to snag Tyler Anderson.

One of the biggest advantages Anderson presents is that he is a notorious ground ball pitcher. He ranked 16th among starters in ground ball percentage, so blending a tendency to keep batted balls in the dirt with a strong strikeout rate and an aversion to walking anyone, and Anderson’s projected latter round availability may be something to not fall asleep on

A Pair of Potential Big Busts

Ace pitchers usually deemed a necessity to compete for a fantasy baseball league championship. The problem is, too many team owners blow an early to mid-round draft selection on a commodity that has a big chance to bust. With the depth of starting pitching in today’s game, you can compare the strategy of not jumping on a pitching to the quarterback situation in fantasy football. If you don’t land a top pitcher like Kershaw, Syndergaard, or Bumgarner, don’t reach for one right away. Like the quarterback position, you can get the same production out of someone in the 7th round and the 12th round. Here are two potential fantasy pitchers who could burst your 2017 balloon.

King Felix is Royalty No More

Anyone paying attention last season clearly realizes that something was wrong with Felix Hernandez. Once dubbed King Felix, Hernandez is no longer even the ace of the Mariner’s staff. You may think Hernandez is only 31 so he could be a prime for a resurrection type season and a steal with a mid-round selection.


His peripheral numbers skyrocketed over the last two seasons, so a 31-year old with 650 more logged innings than Adam Wainwright –  four years his senior – makes the thought of King Felix being King of the Hill any longer is wishful thinking. Even taking a late round flier on the former Seattle flamethrower has bust written all over it.

AL Rookie of the Year a Bust?

The second of our pair of potential bust starting pitchers is the AL rookie of the year Michael Fulmer. Sure, Fulmer dazzled with brilliance at times, but some of that bedazzlement was from professional hitters having never seen him before. As the season wore on, Fulmer’s dominance began to gradually wane, for some reason he seemed to able to do the one thing that ultimately grades a pitcher’s real-life success; record outs.

The problem is, Fulmer’s strikeout numbers plummeted towards season’s end to R.A. Dickey levels at about a half dozen per nine innings. When the hitters catch up to Fulmer’s deceptive movement, he may be exposed for what he is; a three pitch, back of the rotation starter, who is little more than a fantasy bust if part of a draft day queue.

Pitching staffs can make or break your fantasy baseball season. Everyone loves to dig up that perfect sleeper to build your staff around. Don’t sleep on these two potential aces, but also try to avoid going bust with an overrated arm.

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Kevin Peters
About the Author

Kevin hails from New York City where he is a marketing associate by day and blogger by night. He is a diehard Mets fan and once spent a summer attending games at 29 stadiums across the country (border patrol wouldn't let him into Montreal).

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