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Late-Round Starting Pitchers - Fantasy Baseball Draft Values and Targets

Edward Cabrera - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

Welcome officially to the 2023 fantasy baseball season! Late-round picks in fantasy baseball can often be the difference between a mediocre team and a championship contender. While it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of selecting big-name players early in the draft, finding those hidden gems in the later rounds is equally essential. As a fantasy manager, it's crucial to do your due diligence and research these overlooked players' statistics, injury history, and current team situation. While taking a chance on a player based on a hunch or a cool name may seem appealing, making informed decisions that increase your chances of success is the wiser strategy. With careful consideration and some luck, these late-round picks could be the key to unlocking your team's full potential.

Today, we're looking at some late-round starting pitchers for you to consider drafting in your season-long leagues this season. Are their ADPs undervalued? Will they make significant fantasy contributions and become a priority late-round draft target? Read on to see our take.

Our editors have hand-picked these specific MLB players for your draft prep enjoyment. Usually only available to Premium subscribers, the five outlooks below are meant to give you a taste of the in-depth analysis you receive with our industry-leading 2023 Draft Kit. Be sure to subscribe today to start reading all of our in-depth 2023 player outlooks and many other premium articles and tools including Team Sync, the Live Draft Sync assistant, Custom Rankings Service, and so much more – available exclusively in our 2023 Draft Kit.

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Edward Cabrera, Miami Marlins

Among all pitchers in Major League Baseball in 2022, only Miami Marlins right-hander Edward Cabrera had three pitches with Stuff+ rankings over 100 that were used at least 10% of the time. Cabrera offers a five-pitch mix and uses a dominant changeup more than any other pitch, featuring it 32% of the time, though with a 32% whiff rate on the pitch, it's undoubtedly effective.

In fact, of his five pitches, only one had a batting average against above .200 last season, and only one had a slugging percentage over .400 against it last season, so he limits damage. The issues for Cabrera have been three-fold. First, the Miami Marlins have consistently had a rotation so full of arms that he has struggled to find a place. That is no longer the case after the trade of Pablo Lopez this winter.

The other two issues are Cabrera's to rectify - his own health and keeping the ball in the zone. He could only locate 42% of his pitches in the zone in 2022, which means he didn't actually walk more batters with that many pitches out of the zone. Keeping the ball in the zone and keeping himself off the injured list will allow Cabrera to show his impressive stuff and return significant value, as the Marlins right-hander is currently going between pitcher 85 and 90 off the board. ATC projections are board with assessment, projecting Cabrera with a 4.04 ERA, 4.09 FIP, and 9.35 K:9 across 118 innings in 2023.

-- Rick Lucks - RotoBaller


Andrew Heaney, Texas Rangers

Things looked pretty grim for Texas Rangers left-hander Andrew Heaney during a 2021 season that saw him work to a 5.83 ERA in 30 outings between the Angels and Yankees. However, the southpaw rewarded the Dodgers with 16 outings (14 starts) of 3.10 ERA ball alongside a monstrous 35.5% K% in what marked a career year, parlaying it into a two-year deal with the Rangers this winter.

Heaney dealt with shoulder issues last season and was once again bitten by the long ball, ranking in the 4th percentile in barrel rate and 2nd percentile in average exit velocity along the way.

However, he also ranked in the 96th percentile in both whiff rate and chase rate, while his 6.1% BB% was good enough for the 78th percentile. Even factoring in his poor 2021 campaign, the Oklahoma State product's 23% K-BB% over the last two seasons ranks 10th among pitchers with a minimum of 200 innings pitched. Heaney is RotoBaller's 59th-ranked starting pitcher, with an ADP trending around 225.

With Steamer projecting 26 starts of 3.57 ERA ball, a sterling 21.5% K-BB%, and a reduction in long balls to 1.23 HR/9, Heaney could be a rewarding investment worth considering before his ADP.

-- Brenton Kemp - RotoBaller


Brayan Bello, Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Brayan Bello figures to be a key piece of the club's rotation in 2023. Bello made his big-league debut last season, going 2-6 with a 2.94 FIP, 8.63 K/9, and 4.24 BB/9 through 13 games (11 starts). He did a great job keeping the ball on the ground, as evidenced by his 55.7 GB% and 0.16 HR/9. His fastball averaged an impressive 97 mph and topped out at triple-digits.

After a rocky start in the majors, Bello had a strong end to his season, allowing just one earned run over his final 23 1/3 innings of work. Boston said goodbye to Nathan Eovaldi in free agency and is expected to lose Michael Wacha, too, meaning that Bello should have a key rotation role as early as Opening Day. At his ADP of 201.0, Bello is worth drafting in fantasy leagues thanks to his established role, blazing fastball, and ability to keep the ball on the ground.

-- Anderson Pickard - RotoBaller


Nathan Eovaldi, Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi looks set for a quality debut season with the club, at least where fantasy baseball is concerned. The veteran signed with the Rangers following a four-and-a-half-year stint with the Boston Red Sox. Most recently, the veteran pitched to a 3.87 ERA and a 4.30 FIP in 109.1 innings for the Red Sox last year. He made 20 starts in 2022 while logging 103 strikeouts compared to just 20 walks allowed. All told, the starter posted a 4.3% walk rate, which finished in the 95th percentile league-wide.

The lack of walks is always a good thing for fantasy purposes, but it's especially ideal for a pitcher like Eovaldi who has a history of solid ERA numbers. The 32-year-old has posted an ERA south of 4.00 in each of his last three seasons and in four of the last five seasons overall.

Now pitching on a much-improved Rangers team, he has a real chance to reach double-digit pitcher wins for the second time in three seasons. For fantasy managers looking for rotation options later in drafts, Eovaldi makes for a solid option.

-- Ben Rosener - RotoBaller


Reid Detmers, Los Angeles Angels

Los Angeles Angels starter Reid Detmers came into 2022 on the heels of posting a 7.40 ERA during his rookie season. He improved his numbers exponentially, producing a 3.77 ERA with seven wins and a 1.21 WHIP over 25 starts. Detmers' 3.79 FIP supports his gains after improving his strikeout rate (18.8% to 22.6%) and walk rate (10.9% to 8.5%).

The 23-year-old owned an excellent 29.1% chase rate, and after feeble whiff rates before July, he got whiffs at a 26% clip over the final three months. Considering Detmers' minor league strikeout rate of 43.7%, he should keep progressing in that department. The lefty's arsenal contains four pitches; four-seamer, slider, curveball, and changeup. Detmers kept using his slider more and more this season, reaching a usage rate of 33% in September, and it posted a .204 xBA and 28.7% whiff rate. His most used pitch, the fastball, got better as the year went on, generating more whiffs, especially in July (31.0%) and August (29.9%).

It's hard to ignore Detmers' release point change that might be responsible for his growth. In 2021, his average horizontal release point was 2.26 feet, and it kept declining throughout '22, reaching 1.64 feet by the season's end. It's been difficult for Detmers to avoid hard contact, and his 0.91 HR/9 and .231 batting average this year didn't match his 36th-percentile barrel rate and 28th-percentile average exit velocity.

However, his potential strikeout numbers and high ceiling outweigh a possibly inflated ERA and WHIP. Fantasy managers should be confident drafting Detmers at his ADP of 221 and hope he can deliver similar numbers to his second half; 3.36 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, and 25.3% strikeout rate.

-- Spencer Seguin - RotoBaller

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