SP Streamers Top 6 Sleepers
Updated: Jan 2
Since the 2019 season ended I did a few deep dives on some of my favorite sleepers coming into 2020. Below are my top six sleepers as well as a little blurb of them with a link to my deep dive articles.
1) Mitch Keller
Keller might have been the unluckiest pitcher in baseball. His ERA of 7.13 will make most fantasy players run away from him on draft day. Crazy enough, that ERA came with a 3.19 FIP, 3.47 xFIP, and 3.78 SIERA. It doesn’t stop there, Keller also had a .397 wOBA and a .307 xwOBA; while also posting a ridiculous .475 BABIP and 59.6 LOB%. Keller stayed up for good after his August 12th start. His stats from August 12th on were a 3.16 FIP (6th), 3.01 xFIP (6th), and 3.46 SIERA (11th). Keller also had one of the best sliders in the game, it is just a matter of the Pirates letting him throw it a ton.
2) Max Fried
Max Fried had a 1.14 HR/9 (8th), 4.4 Barrel% (top 7%) and a 53.6 GB% (5th). In the juiced ball era, keeping the ball inside the park and on the ground is great. Not only did he limit homers and hard contact, but his strikeout numbers were solid as well with a 24.6 K% (26th) to go with 173 strikeouts (17th in NL). An ERA of 4.02 is okay but it came with a fabulous 3.32 xFIP (8th), 3.72 FIP (22nd), and 3.83 SIERA (15th). Fried looks like a high floor pitcher who could easily outproduce his 2020 ADP.
3) Griffin Canning
Canning finished 2019 with a 5-6 record in 17 starts while posting a 9.56 K/9, 2.99 BB/9, 12.8 HR/FB%, 4.58 ERA, 4.37 FIP, 4.75 xFIP, and 4.33 SIERA. All these numbers are pretty average, but he did post a 17.2 K-BB% which would rank 28th over the likes of Jose Berrios. His K rate of 25.0% was higher than Syndergaard, Minor, and Berrios. His most impressive stat was his SwStr%. He finished the year at 13.8% which would have tied him with the one and only Jack Flaherty. This is what makes Canning so appealing, he has the repertoire to create swings and misses as most great pitchers can do.
4) Adrian Houser
Adrian Houser's two-seam fastball provided a Barrel% of 3.5 and a GB% of 67.8. That ground ball percentage is the third-highest of any pitch from every starter. Not only that but on the year it had a .280 wOBA with a .245 xwOBA. Showing that he actually got a little unlucky with this pitch.
Looking at splits for this pitch he basically dominates right-handed hitters with it. He produced a .220 xwOBA, 2.72 FIP, and 71.7 GB%. When it comes to left-handed pitchers though the xwOBA rises to .310, the FIP to 3.72 and the GB% dips to 59.1. If he can learn to handle left-handed hitters a little better we could be looking at a nice breakout.
Adrian Houser's four-seam fastball provided a 3.5 Barrel%, 40.8 GB%, .301 wOBA, and .274 xwOBA. The .274 xwOBA ranks 11th in the league (550 throw min.). Houser loves to throw his fastball high into the zone. He creates weak contact and reminds me of Brandon Woodruff minus the high strikeout rate.
5) Dylan Cease
Dylan Cease does have some bright spots from 2019. He had a 9.99 K/9 which ranked 20th in the league. His overall K% was ranked 24th and his SwStr% was 31st. Cease clearly has some great swing and miss stuff. He without a doubt has a high strikeout upside! Cease had a double-digit SwStr% in 11 of his 14 starts. All of his pitches were top half in RPM’s and he throws the ball hard. His 1.85 HR/9 should come down as he had a 0.53 HR/9 in AAA. Dylan's ERA by month was 6.86, 6.97, and 3.00. Not only that his xwOBA was .398, .324, and .274. So what did he do differently? In the last month, he upped his changeup usage and batters had a harder time guessing when the slider was coming. His slider went from an SwStr% of around 13% to a whopping 20.8%. With that came a large decrease in Barrel% as his barrel went from 10.3% to 7.9% and then to 2.1%!
6) Sandy Alcantara
Throughout the year, Sandy's sinker had a Barrel% of 5.0 which was ranked 3rd amongst starters (500 throws min.). At the same time, this pitch was ranked 1st among starters with a Weak% of 72.2 and GB% of 63.3. His sinker bested Dakota Hudson’s and Noah Syndergaard’s in each of those categories. Going back to those two awesome last months of baseball he had, his Barrel% for this pitch dipped to 4%. The best part came in August when Sandy upped his sinker usage. In August he used it 36.4% of the time and in September he used it at a 44.5% clip! Let's note his ERA in August was 3.03 and in September it was 2.59. This is a power sinker as he throws it around 95 mph and as long as he doesn’t leave it over the plate he should be successful.