Monday, March 27, 2017

2017 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - NL West

Although baseball season is still a few weeks away, fantasy baseball season is here as draft rooms are opening and people are spending fake auction dollars on their favorite players. Everybody knows about the Mike Trouts and Clayton Kershaws of the world, so what you need to do stand out is find those hidden gems on each roster to propel yourself to fantasy greatness. I am going to go through each MLB roster to find at least one underrated player who will have you looking like a genius at the end of the season.

Today, we finally make it to the end of the series and look at the National League West where we promise there are teams outside of the Dodgers.

Arizona Diamondbacks - Robbie Ray
Let's just get this out of the way: Robbie Ray is my fantasy baseball wet dream. He struck out 218 hitters in 174 innings. I literally need no other stats to tell me that I want this guy on my team. I will openly admit my whorishness towards strikeouts for pitchers and home runs for hitters. This guy fills the former in abundance, and that is more than enough for me. Still, he had an ERA of nearly five. Shockingly, his walk rate really wasn't that bad. Instead, he struggled in every other aspect that leads to pitchers giving up runs. He gave up a good amount of home runs, had a .352 BABIP against him (worst in the league by 13 points), and stranded just 68,7 of runners that reached base. The home runs probably aren't changing, but he's basically equal with Max Scherzer, so it's not like he can't be successful while giving up some extra long balls. The big improvement will be the last two categories. It's nearly impossible for his BABIP not to improve, and the stranded runners are likely to improve as well. I'd be shocked if his ERA didn't drop by at least a full run. Robbie Ray is my jam.

Colorado Rockies - Jon Gray
Gray is basically a slightly less sexy Robbie Ray. Like, if I couldn't get my dream girl, this would be a nice one to settle for, and let's be real, she'd still be out of my league. This is getting weird, isn't it? Well, the strikeouts aren't as abundant but neither are the home runs. His big issue was letting runners who reached base score, and I think that can be improved upon this year. I rarely will draft a Colorado pitcher, but this guy is worth the risk.

Los Angeles Dodgers - Julio Urias
Urias may no longer have his prospect status, but his upside is still tremendous. He struggled early, got demoted, got promoted again, and really found his groove down the stretch. The only real question is how much workload can he handle this year, and considering the Dodgers are going to be in the hunt, I think he puts up 160-180 innings this year, and I also think he ends up as the Dodgers second best pitcher (behind Rich Hill, obviously). Don't forget the hype around Urias, because the talent is very real.

San Diego Padres - Travis Jankowski
Hey, the guy will get you steals. And since there are no offensive players on the Padres, he's guaranteed playing time. He could get you 60 stolen bases. I know his average was only .245 last year, but I think he could increase that by 30-40 points. He hit well in the minor leagues, and his minor league strikeout rate doubled once he reached the majors. I think he can figure out how to make more contact, and if he makes contact, his speed will guarantee that he turns that contact into hits.

San Francisco Giants - Matt Moore
After teasing us with talent but never having the health to match, Matt Moore finally put together a full season last year. Unfortunately, even though he finally had the health, the talent wasn't quite shining like it did during his younger days. So why am I buying into him? Well, partially because he's moving to a full year in the National League in a pitcher's park, so that's nice. But also that he may still be getting his groove back after finally getting some health. I've been betting on Matt Moore for six years, and I'll probably keep betting on him for six more. I mean, this could be the year.

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