With pitchers and catchers reporting across Major League Baseball and spring training games beginning soon, it is a great time to look some of the best rookie pitchers to consider in fantasy baseball this season.
In last season’s 60-game sprint, we saw multiple rookie pitchers emerge as either standout relievers or potential quality arms in their respective teams’ starting rotation. In the National League, we saw relief pitcher Devin Williams win Rookie of the Year. He posted a ridiculous 0.33 ERA, to go along with a record of 4-1, and recorded 53 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched.
Surprisingly, he wasn’t the only rookie pitcher on the ballot as we also saw Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, Ian Anderson, Sixto Sanchez, Cristian Javier, James Karinchak, Jesus Luzardo, and Brady Singer receive votes.
Keep in mind that some of these names may sound familiar. But under the MLB’s new rule as long as they did not accumulated more than 45 days on a major league roster last season or before, these players still have rookie status.
Sixto Sanchez, Miami Marlins
It is only right that we start this with Sanchez, who took the majors by storm last season. He was one of the reasons why the Marlins got one of those wildcard spots and made it to the NLDS.
Last season, the 22-year-old posted a record of 3-2, to go along with an ERA of 3.46. He also had 33 strikeouts in only 39 innings pitched. Despite those numbers, Sanchez only finished seventh in the N.L. Rookie of the Year. Baseball’s 19th-best prospect will be able to move up the ladder this season as one of Miami’s best pitchers. Baseball Reference projects Sixto to have a record of 7-6 with an ERA of 4.10.
Ian Anderson, Atlanta Braves
Another NL East rookie pitcher that you should consider is Ian Anderson. The 22-year-old stepped up and was a blessing in disguise for struggling Braves’ rotation. Last season, he had a record of 3-2 with an impressive 1.95 ERA. The former first-round pick also produced 41 strikeouts in only 32.1 innings pitched.
Just like with Sanchez, Anderson also finished seventh in NL Rookie of the Year award. But he should be able to improve on his numbers this season with a full-season under his belt. Baseball Reference projects the young arm to have a record of 7-6 with an ERA of 3.76.
Casey Mize, Detroit Tigers
Unlike Sanchez and Anderson, who had solid stats last season, Casey Mize struggled in only three starts towards the end of the 2020 season. The former first overall pick from the 2018 MLB Amateur Draft had a record of 0-3 with an elevated ERA of 6.99 in seven games played.
He also recorded 26 strikeouts in 28.1 innings pitched, but at the same time, gave up seven home runs and 22 earned runs. The 23-year-old still has a chance to rebound this year in a Tigers’ rotation that leaves a lot to be desired behind current ace Matthew Boyd. Baseball Reference projects Mize to have a record of 5-7 and an ERA of 4.96,
Triston McKenzie, Cleveland Indians
McKenzie has electrifying stuff and should be high on your list of rookie pitchers to grab in your respective fantasy baseball draft. The 23-year-old pitcher had a record of 2-1 and 3.24 ERA in eight games last season for the Indians.
After trading away Francisco Lindor, all signs point to the Indians going towards a rebuild and having McKenzie apart of the pitching staff is a great start. He also had 42 strikeout in 33.1 innings pitched. He is currently listed as the 51st best prospect in the majors, which is not bad at all.
If he can pitch well and overcome the projections of a 6-5 record and 4.03 ERA, then he should find himself as a top candidate to be grabbed off waivers sometime this season.