Here are our Week 4 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: 2-Start Pitchers, Spot Starters, & Hitter Picks. Follow along with our full fantasy baseball tips page all MLB season.
Week 4 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers
Week 4 Fantasy Baseball 2-Start Pitchers To Add From Waiver Wire
Taijuan Walker, New York Mets (36% rostered on Yahoo!)
- Start 1: @ Chicago Cubs
- Start 2: vs. Washington Nationals
Taijuan Walker’s 2020 campaign provided signs of life after pitching only 14.1 innings in 2018 and 2019 combined. Tommy John surgery and a capsule sprain in his shoulder were the low innings pitched output culprits. Simply staying healthy for 11 starts spanning 53.1 innings was a huge hurdle he cleared last year, but his 2.70 ERA overstated his caliber of play, as he amassed only a 4.60 SIERA, per FanGraphs.
The righty’s fastball averaged 93.2 mph, and he backed it with a slider, curveball, and split-fingered fastball. This year, he’s kicked the velocity up for his heater to 94.8 mph, and he’s still utilizing his three secondary offerings. FanGraphs also credits him with throwing a cutter. However, that could be a classification issue since he also throws a slider.
Through two starts, he has rattled off a 2.61 ERA. Although, unlike last year, this is more legitimate with a 3.95 SIERA. Walker’s strikeouts have surged from 22.2% to 29.3%, and his plate discipline numbers are encouraging for continuing to strike batters out at a higher clip this year than last.
Waker has two great matchups this week. The Chicago Cubs rank 29th in wRC+ (64) and sport a 28.4 K% against righties this year, and the Washington Nationals rank tied for 21st in wRC+ (84). Walker’s my favorite two-start pitcher this week by a wide margin.
Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers (7%)
- Start 1: vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
- Start 2: vs. Kansas City Royals
This weekend, I touted Michael Fulmer as a waiver-wire sleeper pickup. Even if you’re less bullish on his rest-of-season outlook than I am, he’s a top-notch streamer with two starts on tap in non-threatening matchups this week.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are tied for 12th in wRC+ (95) against righties this year and have struck out at a 23.8% clip. The Kansas City Royals rank 17th in wRC+ (87) against righties this year while going down via strike-three at a 27.7% clip.
Like Walker, Fulmer has a Tommy John surgery on his resume within the last few years, and he didn’t immediately return to pre-surgery form. Fulmer was pulverized for an 8.78 ERA in 10 starts totaling 27.2 innings last year while throwing his fastball at an average of 93.1 mph.
This year, the heater’s cooking at a blistering 95.4 mph, and he’s cut back on its usage in favor of his slider and changeup while sprinkling in his curveball. The results have been excellent. He’s sitting on a 3.00 ERA, 2.74 SIERA, 0.67 WHIP, 2.3 BB%, 27.3 K%, and 12.0 SwStr% in two starts totaling 12.0 innings. Add him and start him in leagues as shallow as 12-team mixers this week.
Week 4 Fantasy Baseball Spot Starters
Anthony DeSclafani, San Francisco Giants @ Philadelphia Phillies (36%)
The San Francisco Giants and Anthony DeSclafani agreed to a one-year, make-good deal this offseason, and the marriage has been blissful thus far. He’s dazzled with a 1.06 ERA, 3.70 SIERA, 1.06 WHIP, 5.7 BB%, 22.9 K%, and 53.1 GB%.
The ground-ball percentage is somewhat noteworthy for this week’s matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies because, according to FantasyPros, Citizens Bank Park has the third-highest park factor for homers (1.202). His ability to induce grounders at a high rate should mitigate the long-ball risks in his start this week.
The matchup checks out as favorable. The Phillies rank tied for 21st in wRC+ (84) against righties and have struck out at a 26.6% rate. Further, six players from their projected lineup bat right-handed, which plays into DeSclafani’s hands. He’s held the 684 righties he’s faced since 2018 to a .278 wOBA.
DeSclafani is a viable streamer in 12-team mixers and deeper formats.
Week 4 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Hitters
Brandon Belt, 1B/OF, San Francisco Giants ( 9%)
Alex Dickerson, OF, San Francisco Giants (16%)
- 3 Games @ Philadelphia Phillies
- 4 Games vs. Miami Marlins
The Giants have a full seven-game week on the schedule this week, and they’ll face right-handed probable starters in six contests. The first three games — all against righties — are at the aforementioned homer-friendly Citizens Bank Park. The homer-amplifying nature of that ballpark provides a shot in the arm to the fantasy value of lefties Brandon Belt and Alex Dickerson.
Belt has done a masterful job of tapping into his power in road tilts against righties, smacking 20 homers with a .205 ISO in 500 plate appearances in that split since 2018. He also made the most of the ballpark renovations before the 2020 season at Oracle Park, bashing righties over the skull with a .464/.571/.839 slash and five homers in 70 plate appearances.
Dickerson is a platoon outfielder who’s made the most of his playing time against righties in recent years. In 360 plate appearances against righties since 2018, he has recorded a .281/.347/.525 line with 17 homers and a .244 ISO in 360 plate appearances.