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Pitchers Under $10: Salary Cap League Draft Targets for Fantasy Baseball - Luis Severino, Ian Anderson, Camilo Doval, and more

ian anderson fantasy baseball rankings pitchers draft sleepers MLB injury news

We've already identified hitters under $10 to target in salary cap league drafts. For this exercise, we're targeting pitchers under $10. That rules out roughly the top-150 players in drafts. From this vantage point, some managers may look for high-risk, high-reward plays to strike big with a small investment. There are plenty of safer guys to acquire as well, to balance out a stars-and-scrubs draft approach.

It's a cliché to say that those managers who finally dip their toe into salary cap leagues never go back to snake drafts. Snake drafts have their own charm. There is simply more going on, and thus more fun to have when participating in a salary cap draft. There become no bounds on how one wants to build their roster.

Snake drafts require managers to keep their eye on specific targets to fill out their roster. In salary cap leagues, however, a manager can build their entire roster around multiple stars and then continually fill in with late-round values. The cheaper players are key; finding those that elevate and extend a roster.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Injury Returnees

Zac Gallen (SP, ARI) - $9; Mike Clevinger (SP, SD) - $9; Luis Severino (SP, NYY) - $8; Noah Syndergaard (SP, LAA) - $5

When it comes to drafting pitchers in the later rounds, most arms fall into sortable categories. One of the groups with the highest upside is that of the injury returnee. These are name-brand arms with oodles of past success who are coming off of various stages of injury.

Gallen had an injury-riddled and unsuccessful 2021. He is expected to miss the start of this season to boot. Clevinger hasn't pitched since 2020 thanks to Tommy John surgery but seems locked into a rotation spot now that Dinelson Lamet has become a relief pitcher. Severino and Syndergaard have pitched even less over the course of the past two years but are also guaranteed rotation spots if healthy thanks to the lack of other clear options on their respective teams.

Of this quartet, none is a safe option. The payoffs could be immense though. One final note to keep in mind is the fact that the Angels will likely stick with their six-man rotation, limiting Syndergaard's turns compared to his peers. It may not matter if none surpasses 30 starts anyway.

 

Young Upside

Ian Anderson (SP, ATL) - $8; Michael Kopech (P, CHW) - $8; Triston McKenzie (SP, CLE) - $4; Joe Ryan (SP, MIN) - $4

Your mileage may vary in this category of player. Some managers seek out high-end talent, occasionally resulting in overpays, just to get that ace upside. Others avoid them altogether until they've proven something. Let someone else pay the burden of balancing a roster spot with a long leash if results don't come immediately. I lean toward the latter, though it is admittedly fun to venture into this genre of player, at least a little. With all of these guys, one additional factor on top of everything else is how many innings they will be able to throw if never having approached a full workload in the past.

Anderson is the most proven of the bunch, and that's saying something. He was fantastic in the bit that was 2020 and much less fantastic last season. Can he get back to a 29.7 percent K-rate over a more extended time frame? He has never pitched more than 128.1 innings in any given season.

Kopech has seen time in the majors, but this will be his first, real chance at a rotation spot. His numbers as a reliever were stellar, as is his prospect pedigree. As we know, it is much harder to produce a 36.1 percent K-rate or .208 BAA when facing players multiple times through the order.

McKenzie is a more extreme version of Anderson. He was great in '20 and really terrible in '21. The walk rate skyrocketed; as did the hard-hit rate. He isn't guaranteed a rotation spot either, but he is only 24 and was known for good command in the minors. As for Ryan, he's a nearly blank slate, having only thrown 26.2 innings in the majors. Will he go the way of Anderson and McKenzie in his second stint or continue to build on his early success? $4 makes either scenario worth the gamble.

 

A Chance to Close

Scott Barlow (RP, KC) - $9; Camilo Doval (RP, SFG) - $8; David Bednar (RP, PIT) - $7; Gregory Soto (RP, DET) - $7

Relief pitchers cannot be forgotten. They too must be drafted in some capacity. I loathe overpaying for such arms since we all know how many closer jobs turn over each and every season. Filling a successful saves category in fantasy is about taking more shots than it is correctly nailing two or three guys for $15 each. I'd much rather use as many bench spots as I dare on players who could be in line for saves at a moment's notice, even if they aren't the clear, ninth-inning guy.

All of Barlow, Doval, Bednar, and Soto could be members of platoons in the early going. Don't be surprised if a few separate themselves from their teammates. Bednar and Soto are my favorites to do just that.

 

And also, Hyun Jin Ryu

Hyun Jin Ryu (SP, TOR) - $6

Not every pitcher fits into a perfect category. Ryu is someone worth targeting even if he can't be compartmentalized.

Strikeouts are not Ryu's strong suit, but if he bounces back even a little from last season, he should perform at an elite level in every other category. The calling card on the veteran is simple: pristine control while avoiding hard contact. The control remained pretty good in '21, at least in terms of free passes, but he allowed an 8.5 percent barrel rate and 41.6 percent hard-hit rate. Those figures were grossly out of whack with the pitcher he had become the previous four to five seasons.

Because of the pedestrian strikeout totals and low-ish innings totals, Ryu is not going to anchor a fantasy staff. At $6 on draft day, he hardly has to. He is being priced like someone even worse than the pitcher he was in '21, as if doomed for a downward trajectory for the rest of his career, entering his age-35 season. Maybe that is the truth; maybe the years have caught up to him, and from here on, things will only be worse. Or maybe you can draft your number two starter for just a couple bucks and make up the strikeout loss with other arms.



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