Fantasy Articles

Everyone takes the definition of “Sleeper” and “Bust” differently. As a fantasy baseball owner, February and March are great months to find tons and tons of articles on the Internet telling you all about which guys are sleepers for this year, or which guys will be busts. But what really is a sleeper? Is it a guy that out-produces value based on where he is drafted? Is it a guy you grab really late in the draft that turns out to be a solid starter?

I think you can see the point. So rather than doing a more traditional sleeper and bust article, I have chosen to break out certain pitchers into different categories.

Pitchers whose peripheral stats from last year suggest they should have been a lot better than they were.

Dave Bush
Felix Hernandez
Javier Vazquez
Matt Garza
Ian Snell

Each of the guys listed above had a batting average on balls in play (BABIP) much higher than the league average, or had an ERA that was much higher than the peripherals suggest. I expect each one of these 5 to improve significantly in ERA and Wins in 2007.

And just a general point on evaluating pitchers: There are 4 main categories that predict success as a pitcher – BABIP, WHIP, K:BB and K/9. BABIP measures how lucky or unlucky a pitcher was on balls hit in play. Certainly defense does play a part, but generally most pitchers will have a BABIP of somewhere around .290. Strikeouts also play a big part in a pitcher’s success rate. After all, if a hitter does not make contact, he cannot do damage.

Pitchers who I think will have that "breakout season"

Scott Kazmir - I think he finally starts getting some Ws as he starts pitching deeper into games, and Tampa's pen is better than last year.
Cole Hamels - yeah, I said it. I think he stays healthy.
Ben Sheets - another guy I think finally stays healthy.
Matt Cain - he is the real deal.

Big impact rookie pitchers that will be called up mid-season, ala Jered Weaver last year.

Tim Lincecum - the size and arm worries are very exaggerated. In fact, I'll flat out say it is total nonsense. This guy reminds me a lot of Roy Oswalt. I think he turns out to be a better version of Oswalt.
Phillip Hughes - goes without saying, but his polish will play very well the first couple times around the league.
Yovani Gallardo - he's right there with the "cream of the crop" of prospects, but rarely gets mentioned as such.

Rookies that will flop their first time around the league.

Homer Bailey - he's a stud long-term, but I think his first year will look more like Matt Cain's.
Andrew Miller - reminds me a lot of Pelfrey in that he still needs to work on his secondary stuff.
Adam Miller - tough call, but my guess here is he gets knocked around a little before finding his groove in 2008.

Guys who you will pay too much for in an auction based on what they give you (or draft too high in a straight draft format).

Roy Halladay - he pitches to contact now, and I can see his ERA start to climb when some of those grounders find the holes in the Toronto infield. Remember that Toronto’s infield is not exactly stellar defensively.
Francisco Rodriguez - that herky-jerky motion will catch up to him at some point in the form of a major arm problem.
Jason Schmidt - getting old, neutral move from pitcher’s park to another pitchers park, and the declining K rate worries me.
Jered Weaver - flyball pitcher that was a bit lucky in his HR allowed rate last year. More gopher balls = ERA close to 4.00.
Bronson Arroyo - this one is a bit obvious, but I am guessing he does not come even close to last year's numbers. He's not worth starting in a 12 team mixed league.
Chris Young (peripherals suggest he was lucky in hits allowed - expect his WHIP to increase. His BABIP in 2006 was .235, which was good for the best in the majors.