2019 Sleepers and Busts - Starting Pitcher
Jesus Luzardo, Oakland Athletics
The A’s have a history of producing fine, young, talented pitchers, and it certainly seems that JesusLuzardo is the next one in line. The 21 year old is a consensus top 15 prospect in all of baseball across any list that holds any water whatsoever. Luzardo went from A all the way to AAA just in 2018, and although that last level didn’t serve him well, he dominated the lower levels. He is having a great Spring with an ERA under 1.00 in his 9.2 innings. He is missing bats at an awesome rate with 15 Ks in those innings. He may start the season in the Minors, but he is absolutely someone worth holding on to even if that is the case. Luzardo is going around the 70th starting pitcher off the board, and even if he is on a slight innings limit this year, he will absolutely be worth more than where he is being drafted.
Matt Strahm, San Diego Padres
This one is going a little deeper and as of right now, Matt Strahm isn't even guaranteed a spot in the Padres rotation. However, if he gets one of those coveted spots, he could be really good. I love pitchers that feature an array of pitches and he has really good velocity on a nasty fastball, a really good slider, and a changeup and curveball that are both decent pitches. He only had five starts last year, but in those starts he sported a 1.75 ERA and averaged over a strikeout per inning. Nothing is guaranteed, but if he earns a spot in the rotation, I think he has the potential to be a very good fantasy pitcher. With an average draft position of 333 in the NFBC, he's a risk well worth taking in my opinion.
Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins
I really like the upside that Jose Berrios provides, but he honestly scares me a little bit. The dude was lights out at times last year, but then he went through stretches of being ice cold. He was really good at home sporting an ERA of 3.03, yet on the road he only had a 4.85 ERA. His curve ball is one of the most fun pitches to watch in Major League Baseball (see above GIF), yet it lost some of it's effectiveness as its P Value of that pitch dropped from 2017 to 2018. While I still think he will be good, I do worry that he wont be able to live up to his rising draft stock where he is currently going in the first 70 picks in the NFBC.
Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
Stephen Strasburg has a ton of talent, but he has never quite lived up to the enormous hype, and also has an incredible knack for getting injured. He hasn’t made 30 starts in the last four years, and only once in those four did he even make 25 (normal season for a starting pitcher is 32-35 starts). I will say that his win/loss record is always strong, but he’s only had an ERA under 3.45 once in those last four years. The Nationals should take a step back as a team, so if Strasburg isn’t able to make near 30 starts I think he is going to have a hard time winning 15 games. He does have great strikeout potential, but he is being drafted about the end of the 5th round in 12 team leagues and I don’t think he has a chance to live up to that price tag.