2023 Fantasy Baseball: Eight sleeper pitchers to consider drafting
Your definition of fantasy baseball sleeper might vary, but the following list of pitchers contains undervalued options when compared to ADP.
For even more overlooked players, check out his sleeper hitters.
Baltimore Orioles: Kyle Bradish
It’s certainly not ideal pitching for Baltimore and in the AL East, but at least Camden Yards started to decrease homers dramatically after moving in its fences last year. Bradish experienced success after changing his pitch mix post-All-Star-break last season and has seen increased velocity this spring. He's a breakout candidate in 2023.
Houston Astros: Forrest Whitley
Hunter Brown no longer qualifies as a sleeper now that he’s likely to open the season in Houston’s rotation, but Lance McCullers Jr.’s arm injury also potentially opens the door for a deeper fantasy sleeper in Whitley. He has suffered a litany of injuries and walked everyone during his brief return to action last season, but Whitley is a former first-round pick with SP1 stuff. He has struck out 334 batters in 237.0 career minor-league innings and is finally fully healthy.
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Whitley is just one more injury to Houston's current rotation away from a promotion, which usually results in a bunch of wins.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Brandon Pfaadt
Pfaadt might begin the season in the minors but could easily end it as the Diamondbacks’ second-best starter. He’s a legit prospect who posted a 2.63 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP with a 10.8 K/9 rate in the hitter-friendly PCL last season. Pfaadt should be a real fantasy asset the moment Arizona gives him a chance.
Miami Marlins: Edward Cabrera
Cabrera is being completely overlooked with 65 starters going before him in Yahoo drafts. He’s an injury risk but has truly electric stuff and is healthy now. Sandy Alcantara will beat him in volume, but there’s a real chance that Cabrera is better than his teammate in every rate stat this season.
San Francisco Giants: Kyle Harrison
Harrison is baseball’s best left-handed pitching prospect who’s ready to contribute sooner rather than later. The Giants’ rotation looks deep on paper, but it’s not a group strong enough to hold back a prospect who just struck out 186 batters over 113.0 innings as a 20-year-old. Harrison won’t pitch deep into games, but ZiPS is projecting a 10.6 K rate that would’ve been sixth-best among starters last season. San Francisco also made a point of improving its defense over the winter and still has a climate that prevents baseballs from traveling far (unless you’re the GOAT).
Minnesota Twins: Kenta Maeda
Maeda enters the season fully healthy and without restrictions 18 months removed from Tommy John surgery. He has impressed already this spring, including two scoreless innings against hitters who knew what pitches were coming. It wasn’t that long ago that Maeda’s peripherals put him among the truly elite starters in baseball. He’ll also benefit from Minnesota’s strong defense.
New York Mets: Tylor Megill
Megill had a 2.43 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP with a 9.7 K/9 rate in his first six starts last year before an implosion and injuries ruined the rest of his season. He’ll likely begin 2023 in the minors but is being stretched out to start and will almost certainly get a chance in New York sooner rather than later, given the age/injury risks in the team’s rotation (Carlos Carrasco is also a trade candidate).
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Megill lost 15 pounds in the offseason (BSOHL alert!) and is a real fantasy sleeper while playing in arguably baseball’s best pitcher’s park. He also has a real chance to open the season in the Mets rotation now that Jose Quintana has been shut down for three months.
New York Yankees: Clarke Schmidt
Schmidt is a former first-round pick who should get a chance in New York’s rotation this season with Frankie Montas sidelined. Domingo Germán is another fantasy sleeper who might open the season as a starter, but Schmidt is going to get an opportunity soon after impressing this spring with a new cutter that has produced incredible early results. Schmidt had a 26.6 K-BB% in Triple-A last season that would’ve led all starters in MLB, and he’ll likely rack up wins pitching for the Yankees.
Go here for Dalton's one fantasy sleeper for every MLB team!