Fantasy baseball 2014 draft strategy: Underrated pitching sleepers, American League (GIFs)

Brian Flood
By Brian Flood @briansflood
on Mar 06, 2014 12:56 PM EST
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 Martin Perez
Martin Perez already had one of the game’s best changeups in his arsenal, and now he’s spending the spring working on a cutter. (Photo : Reuters)

Need a sleeper in the late rounds of your fantasy baseball draft? Looking for this season’s Jose Fernandez? Below you will find some of my favorite pitchers in the American League who are being undervalued in 2014 drafts. The average draft position (ADP) is courtesy of fantasy drafts that have occurred this season on CBS Sports.

Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians (ADP 123) – Salazar flashed the potential of a fantasy stud in 2013, posting a 3.12 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with a 65/15 K/BB ratio over 52 innings in the majors. He has an extremely night future and should be selected within the Top 100 picks on Draft Day.

Phil Hughes, Minnesota Twins (ADP 204) - Leaving New York should be the best thing for Hughes’ once-promising career. He has a chance to post career-best numbers in 2014 after signing a three-year, $24 million contract with the Twins. He surrenders too many fly balls, but hopefully fewer of them will go over the wall in his new home.

Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays (ADP 158) - The 25-year-old sophomore is old for his status, but that’s why he’s falling to the Round 12 on Draft Day. If a 20-year-old rookie posted a 3.22 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with a 101/38 K/BB ratio… they’d be touted as a future star. He’s significantly better than his ADP indicates.

Ivan Nova, New York Yankees (ADP 176) – Don’t laugh, but there is a legitimate chance Nova will emerge as the Yankees’ best pitcher in 2014. He posted a 3.10 ERA and 1.28 WHIP over 139.1 innings but got better as the season went on. Nova held opponents to a .255 batting average with a 2.87 ERA after the All-Star break. He’s slipping too far for fantasy purposes.

Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners (ADP 151) - Walker would be my favorite young pitcher entering the season, but his shoulder issues scare me. Actually, they petrify me. He’s behind in terms of conditioning and is already doubtful for the start of the season. If he doesn’t turn into the next Michael Pineda, he could very well be the next Felix Hernandez.

Martin Perez, Texas Rangers (ADP 190) - Perez already had one of the game’s best changeups in his arsenal, and now he’s spending the spring working on a cutter. With another “power pitch” in his back pocket, the 22-year-old lefty could emerge as the Rangers best starter outside of Yu Darvish.

All of the Oakland Athletics - Jarrod Parker (ADP 191) could be ready to emerge as an ace and Sonny Gray (ADP 93) could be even better than Parker. Meanwhile, Scott Kazmir (ADP 186) is a perfect fit for Oakland and Billy Beane obviously agrees. The lefty inked a two-year, $22 million contract this offseason. A.J. Griffin (ADP 162) is among my favorite late-round flyers and even Drew Pomeranz, Dan Straily and Tommy Milone would be valuable if given the opportunity to make 25-plus starts. When in doubt, draft a pitcher from Oakland.

Questions? Hit me up on Twitter @briansflood 

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