I've got some lists for you. I've got so many that I can't give 'em all to you today, but instead I'll be giving them to you all month. There will be lists that you're used to like the 10 Best Breakouts or the 10 Best Relievers Who Could Close or today's about Sleeper Hitters, but also ones a little more out there like 10 Guys Who Could 20-20 (Going Pick 150 or Later) or 10 Guys on the 40-Man Who Could Beat Better Prospects to the Majors. If you have an idea of a 10-man list you'd like to see covering a particular topic, let me know on Twitter (@sporer).
10 Sleeper Pitchers (Going Pick-150 or Later)
Yesterday, I brought you the hitters so you had to know today was going to bring the pitchers.
|Jake Odorizzi||TB||156||Showed a lot of good in both '14 and '15, if he combines the good from each then he'll become a star.|
|Taijuan Walker||SEA||171||F9 starts: 7.33 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, L20: 3.62 ERA, 0.98 WHIP; next step is chopping HRs to fully release the potential.|
|Wei-Yin Chen||MIA||214||Moving from the AL East to NL East is one of the best upgrades any SP can get; new park will help tame HRs.|
|Ian Kennedy||KC||247||He was admittedly uninspiring in SD, but I like the park/defense setup even more in KC; already has the Ks.|
|Matt Moore||TB||272||Demoted in early-Aug, L11 starts (incl. 5 AAA starts): 3.12 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 27% K% in 66.3 IP (fmr #1 prospect).|
|Vincent Velasquez||PHI||339||Talent is there & PHI has the space to let him pitch, but just 77 and 88 IP the last 2 yrs limits workload upside.|
|Kyle Gibson||MIN||340||Raised K% w/zero loss to GB%, but still needs a little more to really breakthrough; fewer fastballs will help.|
|Jon Niese||PIT||387||He's joining the Pittsburgh Pitching Machine in much better shape than previous reclamations.|
|Mat Latos||CWS||406||Unless the medicals are a total mess, this was a steal for CWS; skills still pointing to a sub-4.00 ERA, dirt-cheap|
|Adam Conley||MIA||416||Former semi-prospect had some injury issues, but then rebounded in a AAA repeat & MLB debut; love him.|
Highest Upside: Walker. He had the awful start with a 7.33 ERA through nine starts, but his final 20 starts started to tap into his enormous potential. His 3.62 ERA in that time doesn't jump off the page, but the 0.98 WHIP and 6.9 K:BB ratio certainly do. His .228 AVG was 16th-best and .646 OPS was 18th-best among the 74 starters who logged 20+ starts from May 29th on. The fastball-splitter combo offers strikeout upside.
Highest Floor: Chen. Look at the success he had in Baltimore and the AL East: 3.72 ERA in 706.7 IP. I'll grant that his component numbers didn't fully support that mark with a 4.14 ERA. Homers were his bugaboo and usually at the core of his struggles, but he's always had a great walk rate, maintained a solid strikeout rate, and induced plenty of weak contact. His new park (and division) are much more tailored to his skills and flaws. Miami Stadium has a 77/70 lefty/righty HR park factor compared to the 107/128 in Baltimore. In fact, Tampa Bay for righties and Boston for lefties were the only pitcher-friendly HR park factors in the division. In the NL East, Philly is the only place with hitter-friendly HR park factors for righties and lefties.
Longest Shot (at reaching top-100 status): Velasquez. As I mentioned in the comment, his workloads have been low the last two years and Philly has no incentive to give him 170+ innings so while I'm a huge fan of the overall talent, I do recognize the capped ceiling in 2016. That said, he can deliver enough in 140 or so innings to easily eclipse his ADP. And the move to Philly actually helps in the short-term even though they're worse than Houston because Philly can actually just put him in the rotation and not worry whereas the Astros can't really afford to let him develop on the job as contenders.