At this point of the preseason, you know why you're here. Let's just jump into it!
Here are several sleeper targets at starting pitcher going outside the top 150 in NFBC drafts.
My Rank: 27
Expert Consensus Rank: 44
NFBC ADP: 177
200 innings pitched and 200 strikeouts going outside the top 40 at SP and top 175 overall is crazy. Mike Minor was a huge fantasy surprise in 2019 and he could repeat his success in 2020. He allowed hard contact on just 30.3% of his batted balls, which was 19th in baseball last year. He also had one of the best spin rates on his fastball. Over his two seasons with the Rangers, Minor has 60 starts resulting in a 3.81 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and an 8.2 K/9. In 2019, Minor had a 2.99 ERA and 1.11 WHIP on the road. This is important because the Rangers have a new home ballpark this year. The dimensions appear to lean towards a hitter-friendly venue. However, there is a retractable roof. This could neutralize the elements (read: the heat) that made Globe Life Park essentially the AL version of Coors Field.
My Rank: 38
Expert Consensus Rank: 45
NFBC ADP: 177
Kenta Maeda has been a great pitcher over his career and especially in the past two seasons as he has a K/9 of 10.4. The downside has been the Dodgers have moved him to the bullpen at the end of the year to preserve his innings. This won't be a problem now that Maeda is with the Twins. In 2019, he was top 10 in average exit velocity allowed at 85.4%. He was also 11th in baseball with a 28.8% hard hit rate against. With closer to 200 innings pitched expected in 2020, Maeda could be a top 20 starter.
Lance McCullers Jr.
My Rank: 57
Expert Consensus Rank: 55
NFBC ADP: 191
It's been a while since Lance McCullers Jr. was on fantasy owners' radars. He missed all of 2019 due to Tommy John but is ready to go this season. In 2018, McCullers Jr. had a 3.86 ERA with a 10.0 K/9 over 128 1⁄3 innings. McCullers Jr. has one of the best curveballs in baseball with a 90th percentile spin rate. He used the pitch 46% of the time in 2018. Hopefully he will pick the brain of Justin Verlander who owns a 90th percentile spin rate on his curveball as well. McCullers Jr. has always had trouble staying healthy but he has been a great fantasy option when healthy. His current ADP more than bakes in the injury risk.
My Rank: 61
Expert Consensus Rank: 88
NFBC ADP: 310
Pineda went under the radar in 2019 with a 4.01 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 146 innings. He'll start the season with a suspension but will be back in May. Over his final 11 starts in 2019, Pineda had a sparkling 2.76 ERA and a K/9 of 10.0. If he can keep that form in 2020, Pineda will he a steal on draft day going outside the top 300.
My Rank: 71
Expert Consensus Rank: 119
NFBC ADP: 514
Just a reminder, Matt Shoemaker was 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in five starts before going down with an ACL injury. He's virtually free with an ADP outside the top 500. It might amount to nothing, but rostering Shoemaker could give you a big return on investment.
And that’s it for sleepers at starting pitcher! Be sure to check out the rest of Starting Pitcher Week!