The 2020 MLB season is going to happen! Maybe. And we could probably have baseball! So, that means it is time to take a look back at our draft prep from back in the pre-Covid era. What year was that?
Below I’ve got some interesting starting pitcher sleepers for the 60-game season. With a re-started, but shortened spring training, teams will likely handle pitchers with kid gloves to start the season. We could see many different ways to handle games to start, with starters likely not going deep into games. It will be interesting to see how things shake out.
Kenta Maeda, Minnesota Twins
Maeda ranks with the best in almost every category, as he was Top-10 in swinging strikes, Top-5 in weak contact and he has a Top-10 changeup and slider. And now he is set to see more work now that he is in Minnesota. He’s currently the 66th pitcher off the board and I would grab him much earlier than that this season.
Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Angels
Heaney underperformed according to metrics like xFIP, 4.18 and SIERA, 3.87 while his K-BB rate ranked 17th in the league last season. He’s a good pitcher who has had bad luck in injuries and BABIP. I’m betting on his excellent stuff in this shortened season.
Josh James, Houston Astros
James doesn’t have a starting spot secured but he is the frontrunner for the fifth spot. And if he gets a chance, we know he is going to get strikeouts. Last season as a reliever he had an amazing 100 Ks in 61.1 innings pitched. Even if he isn’t getting true starts early, he should be asked to pitch big chunks of innings while the Astros stretch out their starters. His stuff is just too good not to see work this season.
Marcus Stroman, New York Mets
Stroman’s K/9 went from 7.0 to 8.8 from the 1st half to the 2nd half last season, which coincided with a move to the Mets. With the Mets, he recorded 60 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings pitched. If he can keep that up, he’ll be a steal as the 192nd player and 78th pitcher taken off the board.
Garrett Richards, San Diego Padres
Richards will be two years removed from Tommy John surgery and will be in pitcher-friendly Petco Park. Richards will get you a strikeout per inning when healthy but health has been his biggest trouble. He’s boom or bust, but at a good price. In the shortened season, he shouldn’t need any innings limitations and as a veteran they likely won’t be quite as cautious with him.