We are closing out Fake Teams Starting Pitcher Week with some sleepers you may want to target late in your drafts in a few months. I will profile a few National League starters who could provide some upside value on draft day, including two NL West starters, one of which is coming off Tommy John surgery, one young NL Central starter and one NL East starter who could be the best of the four in 2013.
Wily Peralta, MIL
Peralta made five starts with the Brewers last season, going 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 3.56 xFIP, and a 1.21 WHIP in just over 29 innings of work. He gave up one run or less in three of his five starts, and gave up 3 runs in the other two starts. He kept the ball on the ground (55%) in his cup of coffee last season, striking out 7.14 batters per nine innings and walking 3.41 per nine. At AAA, he made 28 starts, going 7-11 with a 4.66 ERA, and 1.58 WHIP in 146+ innings of work. The ERA and WHIP should not alarm you, as he was pitching in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League last season. He will struggle at times in 2013, but should provide solid strikeout totals for those of you in 5 x 5 leagues.
Cory Luebke, SD
Luebke is coming off Tommy John surgery, but may not be ready for Opening Day. That's a good thing, as he should be ready by May or June, and calls Petco Park home, so make sure you grab him late in your drafts in a few months. Luebke has good control and can strike out a batter per inning when healthy. If he can maintain the 48% ground ball rate from his small sample of innings last season, he could move into the Top 20-15 starting pitcher range by the end of the 2013 season.
Hyun-jin Ryu, LAD
I admit, I don't have a lot of info on Ryu, but here is what ESPN's Keith Law wrote about him in his 2013 Top 50 free agent article back in November:
He is a thick-bodied lefty who has been a starter in Korea, working with a drop-and-drive delivery but with very late elbow pronation, and in the rotation his fastball is just average at 88-91. He does have a plus changeup with good arm speed and a fringy curveball in the upper 70s, which is a better left-on-left option right now than his slider.
Ryu struck out about a batter per inning in Korea, and I expect him to come close to that this season. The Dodgers seem to get lucky with Asian starters, going back to Hideo Nomo, Kaz Ishii and Hiroki Kuroda.
Zack Wheeler, NYM
Jason profiled Wheeler on Wednesday here, and I urge you to check out his article on Wheeler. Wheeler will start the season at AAA Las Vegas, and will more than likely not stay there for too long, as the PCL is tough on young pitching prospects. I think we will see Wheeler as soon as early June and he could provide a nice bump in your team ERA, WHIP and strikeouts. Wheeler has been compared to Clayton Kershaw by some, so he has tremendous upside. He made 19 starts at AA Binghamton last season, going 10-6 with a 3.26 ERA, 2.80 FIP and struck out a batter per inning. He was promoted to AAA Buffalo late in the season, making 6 starts, going 2-2 with a 3.27 ERA and 3.65 FIP.