Last 2016 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers piece, I gave you a Pirates duo for 2016 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers. Both are late-round targets, possibly even undrafted in some leagues, but this week we’re hitting the top end. The two names on this week’s list are well known and should be on everyone’s radar. The question you need answered is just how good these two are. There is a point where sleepers become over-hyped and blow past their draft value. Be careful not to buy a player’s peak, thereby also buying all of the potential risk.
Steven Matz and Joey Gallo are this week’s pair, and while neither youngster is Corey Seager-esque, both can bring significant value in 2016.
Steven Matz, SP, NYM – The Mets could use some pitching, right? Especially some fireball-ing youngsters. Oh, yea, about that… well, add Matz to the trio because he (along with Zach Wheeler‘s midseason return) will make this the best pitching staff in history – no, not “best young pitching staff” in history, just the best.rotation.ever.
Matz is a lefty with a fastball sitting around 94 MPH with good movement. His curveball is solid if not terrific, but at least it’s stronger than his slider. His changeup has come a long way, and it looked as if it could become Matz’s second best pitch last year. If so, we’re talking top of the rotation ability, but even if not, Matz is a No. 3 starter at worse… health permitting.
That last point is the only concern with Matz. He got his Tommy John surgery out of the way a few years ago, but he missed some time last year (lat tear and stiffness). Matz has seen a few minor injuries over his career, which makes you take pause in a Scott Kazmir sense – Matz is a bit bigger though.
On the positive side of things, Matz had K% marks of 27.0 and 26.2 in Double and Triple-A. There is the potential for a nice SOBB in the 17-19 range, equaling around a strikeout per inning. Matz threw 141 innings last year, so ramping him up to 180 or so isn’t a worry. With a low-3.00 ERA, solid WHIP and 9.0 K/9 ability, Matz has Top 35 upside. In fact, in the Mixed League LABR Draft, Matz was the 36th starter off the board. Don’t draft him higher than that and absorb all of the risk involved, but that should tell you the potential Matz carries in 2016. As I said, we’ll be talking about this Mets rotation as the best ever if/when Matz puts it all together this season.
Joey Gallo, OF, TEX – You want power? Look no further. Gallo is a rare breed, boasting an 80 power potential rating. That’s as high as the scouting scale goes, and very few hitters rank 80 in any category. The problem with Gallo is his Adam Dunn-ness. Just like Dunn with his power, Gallo has the strikeouts to match. Since his move to Double-A in 2014, Gallo had K% marks of 39.5, 33.6, 39.5 and 46.3. That last – and jaw-dropping – number is from his time in the majors. As strikeout heavy as Dunn was, his worst season checked in at 35.7. Prior to that, when Dunn was mashing 40 HRs a year, he never topped 28.6. So you can see why Gallo carries some major risk.
Back to Gallo’s power, in the minors Gallo averaged 10.3, 9.0, 11.9, 13.4 and 14.3 ABs per home run, or 103 HRs in a three-year span of 319 games. For reference, Chris Davis led the league at 12.2 with boppers like Nelson Cruz at 13.4 and Nolan Arenado at 14.7. If Gallo can make enough contact, and that’s a big if, he can easily crush 40 home runs over a full season. Before that can happen though, he needs to also find a spot on the roster. Fortunately, only Mitch Moreland and a broken-down Josh Hamilton stand in his way for playing time. Take a flier on Gallo in deep mixed and all AL-only leagues. If everything breaks right, you’ll have a Chris Davis clone on your squad.