It’s crucial to maintain pitching depth on your fantasy baseball teams. Not only are there injuries, but pitchers also often go through lull periods throughout the season, so you want to roster streamers to optimize your staff. The goal with streamers is to have them stick on your roster over the long haul.
It’s a good idea to prepare by looking ahead at the schedule for the upcoming week. This is a great way to get ahead of your competitors and ensure that your pitching staff is ready to roll. Our intention here is to help players in both deep and shallow leagues.
With that in mind, let’s dive in to find the best fantasy sleeper pitchers available in your leagues for the upcoming week. Please note that all stats are current as of Friday, Sept. 16, at 12 p.m. ET.
Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Starting Pitchers This Week
Bailey Ober, Minnesota Twins
2 Starts: vs Chicago White Sox, @ Detroit Tigers
Since returning from injury on September 16th, Ober has combined for 10 innings, eight hits, and three runs with two walks and eight strikeouts. He was a popular sleeper coming into the season, renowned for his strong strikeout-to-walk ratio. So while the first matchup against the White Sox is challenging, the second one is a great spot. The Tigers have a 72 wRC+ (30th) vs righties this year.
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Matt Manning, Detroit Tigers
1 Start: vs Kansas City Royals
Manning now has a 3.43 ERA and 1.17 WHIP with 19 walks and 48 strikeouts in 63 innings. That includes his August 30th start, where he gave up seven runs in only 2.1 innings. That shows how impressive the young righty has been down the stretch. This will be the third meeting against the Royals in September. He’s allowed two four runs in 10.1 innings in the previous two.
Cole Irvin, Oakland Athletics
1 Start: @ Los Angeles Angels
Irvin has a 3.79 ERA and 1.10 WHIP with 33 walks and 114 strikeouts in 166.1 innings. This is despite the fact that he gave up a combined 14 runs in 10 innings in his two starts from August 30th to September 6th. In other words, his ratios would be much better if it weren’t for these two outings. Nevertheless, the crafty lefty has a good matchup against the Angels (24.2 K% vs LHP).
More Fantasy Streamers to Start
- Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh Pirates vs Cincinnati Reds
- Eduardo Rodriguez, Detroit Tigers vs Kansas City Royals
Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Hitters This Week
When searching for sleeper hitters to either slot into your starting lineup or scoop up from the waiver wire, you want to prioritize volume, matchup, and recent performance. So let’s look at my favorite sleeper hitters for the upcoming week.
- Find more starter-worthy fantasy players in our frequently updated Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire report.
Catcher: William Contreras, Atlanta Braves
Contreras is slashing .294/.344/.497 with eight homers since the All-Star Break. At the time of this article, he had been in the lineup for eight straight games, including three where he hit in the two or five hole. You have to love that volume in such a stacked Braves lineup.
- Consider Starting: Gary Sanchez, Minnesota Twins
First Base: Triston Casas, Boston Red Sox (also 3B)
Casas is amid a 3-for-38 stretch since being called up to the big leagues, but he showed a refined approach in Triple-A with a 14.5 percent walk rate and 21.5 percent strikeout rate. Casas has the pedigree to warrant the start for this week.
- Consider Starting: Joey Meneses, Washington Nationals (also OF)
Second Base: Tony Kemp, Oakland Athletics (also OF)
Kemp has been a fixture in the leadoff spot for the A’s. He carries a .322/.394/.559 slash with three homers and two steals in September. Kemp has been a nice average, power, and speed boost for your fantasy lineups. Ride the wave.
- Consider Starting: Dylan Moore, Seattle Mariners (also 3B/SS/OF)
Third Base: Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates
Hayes has had a disappointing season, but he’s gone 12-of-46 (.261) in his last 12 games. He’s been hitting in the leadoff or five spot, so he’s in a prime spot for run production. The Pirates have six games this week, giving Hayes enough volume to make an impact.
- Consider Starting: Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays (also 1B/2B/OF)
Shortstop: Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles (also SS)
Henderson has been highly impressive since coming to the big leagues, slashing .324/.375/.554 with three homers, nine doubles, and one steal in 20 games. He’s hit in the heart of the Orioles’ order in the three-hole in the last two games, which is excellent news for his outlook.
- Consider Starting: Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants
Outfield: Mike Yastrzemski, San Francisco Giants
Yastrzemski is hitting well lately, homering twice in his last three games. He gets to feast on Rockies and Diamondbacks pitching this week. We could see him keep it rolling with these exploitable matchups. You also have to like that he hits at the top of the order against righties.
- Consider Starting: Hunter Renfroe, Milwaukee Brewers; Anthony Santander, Baltimore Orioles; Seth Brown, Oakland Athletics
PREVIOUSLY: Fantasy Baseball Draft Sleepers 2022
Regardless of the league, you play in, one of the most critical parts of draft prep is identifying top fantasy sleepers to target. Picking undervalued players with breakout or rebound potential who outperform their average draft position (ADP) — especially in later rounds — is key to having a successful season.
With that in mind, here are The Game Day’s best fantasy baseball sleepers for the 2022 season. In addition to choosing our top sleeper at every position, we’ve also highlighted our best fantasy hitter sleeper and best fantasy pitcher sleeper below.
Fantasy Baseball Draft Sleepers 2022
|Frank Ammirante||Alejandro Kirk||Bobby Dalbec||Jean Segura||Matt Chapman||Oneil Cruz||A.J. Pollock||Drew Rasmussen||Robert Suarez|
|Mike Barner||Elias Diaz||Brandon Belt||Jonathan Schoop||Eduardo Escobar||Oneil Cruz||Andrew Vaughn||Ranger Suarez||Paul Sewald|
|Skyler Carlin||Elias Diaz||Brandon Belt||Jean Segura||Abraham Toro||Isiah Kiner-Falefa||Anthony Santander||Jon Gray||Dylan Floro|
|Scott Engel||Joey Bart||Spencer Torkelson||Jeff McNeil||Abraham Toro||Oneil Cruz||Jesus Sanchez||Tanner Houck||David Bednar|
|Tyler Maher||Mitch Garver||Yuli Gurriel||Jean Segura||Matt Chapman||J.P. Crawford||Myles Straw||Mike Clevinger||David Bednar|
|Kev Mahserejian||Mitch Garver||Luke Voit||Nick Solak||Matt Chapman||Ha-Seong Kim||Andrew Vaughn||Yusei Kikuchi||Josh Staumont|
|Daniel Preciado||Elias Diaz||Carlos Santana||Nick Solak||Alec Bohm||Jose Barrero||Steven Kwan||Tylor Megill||Anthony Bender|
|Jason Radowitz||Max Stassi||Frank Schwindel||Gleyber Torres||Ryan McMahon||Brandon Crawford||Lane Thomas||Eduardo Rodriguez||Paul Sewald|
|Nick Roberts||Adley Rutschman||Alex Kirilloff||Ryan McMahon||Jeimer Candelario||Gleyber Torres||Myles Straw||Huascar Ynoa||Will Smith|
|Josh Shepardson||Carson Kelly||Brandon Belt||Jean Segura||Evan Longoria||Brandon Crawford||Jorge Soler||Joe Ryan||Andew Kittredge|
|Mike Thomsen||Mitch Garver||Luke Voit||Kolten Wong||Josh Donaldson||Oneil Cruz||Bryan Reynolds||Aaron Ashby||Rowan Wick|
|Chris Wassel||Carson Kelly||Luke Voit||Cavan Biggio||Mike Moustakas||Nicky Lopez||Michael Conforto||Marcus Stroman||Giovanny Gallegos|
|Michael Waterloo||Alejandro Kirk||Rowdy Tellez||Cesar Prieto||Kevin Smith||Bryson Stott||Alex Kirilloff||Edward Cabrera||Art Warren|
Fantasy Draft Sleeper Picks: Hitters
Oneil Cruz, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates
Cruz flashed speed and power across 62 games at Double-A last season with 12 home runs and 18 steals. He also cut his strikeout rate to 23.4% and batted .292 before earning brief promotions to Triple-A (six games) and the majors (two games) at the end of the season.
The 23-year-old rookie is currently projected to be Pittsburgh’s starting shortstop. If he can hold onto that role, it wouldn’t be surprising for him to finish the season with at least 15 home runs and 15 steals. —Mike Barner
Cruz certainly doesn’t look like your prototypical shortstop, standing 6-foot-7 and cutting an imposing figure both in the field and at the plate. There’s a lot of power in that frame, though, which helped him launch his first MLB round-tripper during his brief cup of coffee last year.
If Cruz wins the Pirates’ starting shortstop job on Opening Day, he could deliver some helpful fantasy returns, especially in the power department. —Mike Thomsen
Mitch Garver, C, Minnesota Twins
Garver has been one of the best hitters in baseball over the past three seasons, slashing .254/.349/.546 with 46 home runs in 184 games. Per FanGraphs, his 135 wRC+ ranks 19th in MLB during that span among all players with at least 600 plate appearances, tied with superstars like Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
The main concern with Garver is injuries, as he’s yet to play more than 102 games in a season. If he can find a way to stay on the field, however, the 31-year-old slugger could finish as a top-5 fantasy backstop. —Tyler Maher
Alex Kirilloff, OF/1B, Minnesota Twins
Kirilloff was on his way to a productive rookie season last year before it was cut short by a wrist injury in July, leaving us all to wonder what might have been. Even so, he gave us a glimpse of his solid pop with 20 extra-base hits and 34 RBIs in just 59 games.
After undergoing wrist surgery, the former first-round draft choice will look to pick up where he left off. If he stays healthy, the 24-year-old could return top-100 numbers. —Michael Waterloo
Kirilloff is seemingly healthy after battling a lingering wrist issue and is ready to become one of those notorious “post-hype sleepers" you always hear about. He didn’t do much in his first action last year, but Kirilloff has 25-homer power and enough speed to get you 5-10 steals, possibly.
While he plays at two deep positions (1B/OF), depending on your league’s eligibility rules, you could find yourself with a steal if you’re willing to wait on him. —Nick Roberts
Alejandro Kirk, C, Toronto Blue Jays
Kirk has everything you want in a fantasy sleeper.
He hits the ball hard, ranking fourth in average exit velocity (92.3 MPH) among catchers with at least 150 plate appearances last year. He also has terrific plate discipline, evidenced by his 10.1% walk rate and 11.6% strikeout rate in 2021. Toronto’s lineup is also among the best in baseball, so there will be plenty of opportunities for runs and RBIs.
The only question mark for the 23-year-old is playing time, but that concern is overblown. Danny Jansen will retain a role due to his defensive skills, but Kirk should force his way into the lineup with his superior bat, which is capable of hitting .280 with 20+ homers. —Frank Ammirante
Steven Kwan, OF, Cleveland Guardians
Kwan is a lesser-known prospect despite an outstanding 2021 that saw him post a .934 OPS with 12 homers and 65 runs in 77 games split between Double-A and Triple-A. Thanks to his advanced approach at the plate and well-rounded skill set, the 24-year-old figures to open the season as a starter for the lowly Guardians.
Kwan has had multiple stops in the minors where he’s walked more than struck out — a good indicator of future success in the majors. He hasn’t shown a ton of power, but he should hit for a high average and steal some bases, making him a useful fantasy outfielder in deeper leagues. —Daniel Preciado
- See how many of these names are in our 2022 Fantasy Baseball Rankings Top 300.
Evan Longoria, 3B, San Francisco Giants
Despite his name recognition as an established star, Longoria is being grossly undervalued. His ADP at the hot corner is outside the top-35, but he’s my 22nd-ranked third baseman.
After four straight seasons of middling performance, the three-time All-Star bounced back last year with his best offensive campaign since 2016. His 12.0% walk rate was the second-highest of his career and his 94.1 MPH average exit velocity was his highest by far since the Statcast era began in 2015.
Before dismissing his 2021 resurgence as a fluke, consider that the Giants’ current coaching staff has had the Midas Touch with other seemingly declining veterans such as Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, and Buster Posey. Whatever San Francisco’s coaching staff has been teaching is producing results for Giants hitters. —Josh Shepardson
Mike Moustakas, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
With the designated hitter now in both leagues, the expectation is that Moustakas will be the primary DH for Cincinnati. While defense has never been his strong suit, he still has plenty of pop in his bat at age 33 and is capable of belting 20+ homers for the sixth time in his career.
With less wear and tear from playing the field, Moose should be able to play more games and will likely see his batting average increase as well, resulting in more fantasy points per game. —Chris Wassel
Jesus Sanchez, OF, Miami Marlins
Sanchez showcased his impressive power potential with 14 home runs and a .238 ISO in just 64 games as a rookie last year. His 31.8% strikeout rate at the major league level is a concern, but his minor league track record offers hope for adjustments with regular playing time over a full season.
If the 24-year-old can improve his plate discipline enough, he’ll be less of a batting average drain and could get you 30 homers. His average exit velocity of 90.2 MPH last year was just a taste of his upside. —Scott Engel
Anthony Santander, OF, Baltimore Orioles
Santander came around after a slow start last year, batting .266/.302/.515 with 12 home runs in 46 games from Aug. 1 on. While his strikeout rate did tick up to 23.1%, he still finished the season in the 75th percentile in average exit velocity, 87th percentile in max exit velocity, and 73rd percentile in expected batting average.
With playing time not being an issue on a lackluster Orioles squad, Santander should see 550-600 plate appearances in the heart of Baltimore’s batting order (barring injury), making him a massive value in drafts right now. —Skyler Carlin
Lane Thomas, OF, Washington Nationals
Thomas will need to adapt against right-handed pitching, but against lefties he’s one of the best hitters in the world. While his career batting line is just .184/.287/.367 against righties, it’s an eye-popping .354/.454/.585 versus southpaws.
Can the 26-year-old make the adjustment? If he does, he’ll be one of the biggest breakout hitters in all of baseball, batting right in front of a guy named Juan Soto. —Jason Radowitz
Andrew Vaughn, OF, Chicago White Sox
Vaughn is an extremely skilled hitter who arguably should have gone first overall in the 2019 MLB Draft. Despite being in and out of the lineup last year, he held his own as a rookie and will likely be even better this year with more consistent playing time.
After showing solid power and plate discipline last season, Vaughn should continue to grow in his age-24 season with a full year of MLB plate appearances under his belt. Bet on his upside past pick 200. —Kev Mahserejian
Fantasy Draft Sleeper Picks: Pitchers
Aaron Ashby, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
Ashby is my choice to become the next great Brewers starting pitcher, making him a great sleeper selection for your staff. The lefty struck out 39 batters in 31 and 2/3 innings in his first MLB season last year after posting an absurd 14.2 K/9 rate in Triple-A.
After racking up an 11.0 K/9 rate in the minors, Ashby has outstanding swing-and-miss stuff. He’s the top prospect on one of the best pitching staffs in the league, so go out and get this guy late in your draft. —Mike Thomsen
David Bednar, RP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Bednar is simply a terrific value based on where he’s currently being drafted. It’s hard for Pittsburgh closers to generate much buzz these days, but Bednar is going to do the job well and slam the door consistently in any tight Pirates wins.
Bednar excelled in his first full season last year, compiling a 2.23 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP, an 11.4 K/9 rate, and a 3.19 xFIP. He should be good for 25+ saves this season and is a great later pick to combine with your top closers.
The 27-year-old righty is not being taken as a top-20 reliever in many leagues and will certainly outperform his draft range. —Scott Engel
Edward Cabrera, SP, Miami Marlins
Cabrera’s rookie season was a disaster last year, as he couldn’t command his fastball and allowed a lot of loud contact. It’s not the first time we’ve seen a young player struggle, however, and it typically takes pitchers longer to find their footing in the majors. He also showed promise with 28 strikeouts in 26 and 1/3 innings.
Cabrera has an exciting combination of skills and pedigree. He’ll face competition for innings from Miami’s arsenal of young pitchers, but he has the talent to grab a rotation spot and never look back. —Michael Waterloo
Mike Clevinger, SP, San Diego Padres
After missing all of last season due to his second career Tommy John surgery, Clevinger will look to reclaim his ace status with the Padres this year. Prior to his injury, he went 41-20 with a 2.96 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP, and a 10.2 K/9 rate across 489 and 1/3 innings from 2017-20.
While much of that success came with Cleveland, Clevinger should benefit from making half of his starts in Petco Park, which has historically rated as one of the sport’s most pitching-friendly venues. The 31-year-old will likely see his innings capped to ease the strain on his right arm, but his track record suggests he’ll be a huge boon to fantasy rotations if he stays healthy. —Tyler Maher
Giovanny Gallegos, RP, St. Louis Cardinals
Gallegos endured a rough transition to the closer role last year, but finished the season strong and played a key role in the Cardinals’ 17-game winning streak in September. He overcame those early struggles to convert 13 of his final 14 save opportunities and finish with an impressive 0.88 WHIP and 95 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings.
The eight blown saves were a concern, but Gallego’s scintillating finish should give him confidence and job security heading into 2022. While he’s currently being drafted outside of the top 150, Gallegos has the stuff to finish in the top 125. —Chris Wassel
Jon Gray, SP, Texas Rangers
Sometimes a change of scenery is all a pitcher needs, especially when they pitch for the Colorado Rockies. Coors Field has long been a nightmare for pitchers, but Gray should have an easier time after signing with Texas during the offseason.
While Gray’s numbers fluctuated wildly with the Rockies, he’s always been one of the league’s better strikeout artists (career 9.2 K/9 rate) despite pitching half his games at altitude. If Gray can remain healthy in 2022, it’s hard not to envision his peripherals improving across the board in a slightly more pitching-friendly environment. —Skyler Carlin
Yusei Kikuchi, SP, Free Agent
Kikuchi has had a tumultuous start to his MLB career, but at least he’s trending in the right direction. His ERA and strikeout rate have both improved every year since he debuted with the Seattle Mariners in 2019.
While Kikuchi faded after a strong first half last year, he appears to be settling into the majors after a bumpy couple of years. He’s shown the ability to go deep into games and has compiled a solid 3.83 xFIP over his last 38 starts.
If Kikuchi keeps making strides, we could see him put it all together for a new team in 2022. —Kev Mahserejian
Tylor Megill, SP, New York Mets
Megill has tons of talent and an excellent repertoire for strikeouts, as evidenced by his 9.9 K/9 rate as a rookie last year. Despite an underwhelming 4.52 ERA last season (largely due to his fluky 18.8% HR/FB ratio), Megill’s 3.84 xERA points to better results this year, especially now that he has MLB experience under his belt.
Megill arrived in the majors with fewer than 150 professional innings, so he should only get better with time. The 26-year-old righty can be drafted past pick 300 in all formats and should be viewed as a strong value. —Daniel Preciado
Drew Rasmussen, SP, Tampa Bay Rays
It can be hard to keep up with all of Tampa Bay’s young pitching talent, but don’t sleep on Rasmussen. The main return in last year’s Willy Adames trade, Rasmussen notched a 2.44 ERA, a 2.86 FIP, and a 0.97 WHIP in 59 innings with the Rays after improving his walk rate from 6.4 BB/9 to 2.0 BB/9.
Tampa Bay knows how to develop pitchers, so it’s no surprise that Rasmussen is thriving there. The 26-year-old consistently posted monster strikeout rates in the minors and has a clear path to innings with Tyler Glasnow sidelined.
Take Rasmussen as a late-round flier to stabilize your rotation. —Frank Ammirante
Eduardo Rodriguez, SP, Detroit Tigers
Rodriguez had his ups and downs with the Red Sox, often frustrating fans with his inconsistency. While he never quite evolved into an ace, perhaps switching teams will do him some good.
Rodriguez won’t miss facing AL East opponents and should have more success in an easier division. He also stands to benefit from a much more pitching-friendly home park, especially for lefties.
With his numbers set to improve, E-Rod is a quality fantasy arm. —Jason Radowitz
Joe Ryan, SP, Minnesota Twins
I’m dumbfounded by the lack of love in the fantasy baseball community for Ryan. Despite his minor league success and strong debut season last year, he somehow has an ADP outside the top-60 starting pitchers — far below my ranking as the SP44.
After recording a 3.41 ERA, a 0.79 WHIP, and a jaw-dropping 12.5 K/9 rate in 66 innings at Triple-A last year, Ryan graduated to The Show and posted a 30:5 K/BB ratio with a 2.99 xERA and a 0.79 WHIP in 26 2/3 innings spanning five starts. Don’t be surprised when the 25-year-old rookie breaks out in 2022. —Josh Shepardson
Ranger Suarez, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
After shining in the bullpen last season, Suarez shifted to the starting rotation to close out the year. He was nothing short of spectacular there, registering a sparkling 1.51 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP and just under a strikeout per inning over his final 12 starts.
While it’s going to be hard for him to maintain those numbers over a full season, he clearly has the skills to be a starter based on his 2.72 FIP in 106 innings last year. The only downside here is that the 26-year-old will likely have his innings restricted, but that might not be a major issue depending on how long the lockout lasts. —Mike Barner
Huascar Ynoa, SP, Atlanta Braves
Ynoa had his struggles last season, but the 24-year-old has amazing stuff based on last year’s 9.9 K/9 rate and could be a league-winner that you can get at the end of your draft. While there’s a downside here in that he may not throw more than 125-150 innings, Ynoa should give your fantasy team a strikeout boost. —Nick Roberts