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Monday, February 15, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: JOE ROSS SP WASHINGTON NATIONALS

Time for yet another 2016 fantasy baseball draft sleeper and today we delve into the starting pitcher fraternity and visit with the Washington Nationals' Joe Ross who is set to be a full-time member of the team's rotation this season.  The younger brother of the San Diego Padres' Tyson, Joe Ross already has opened up quite a number of eyes based on a terrific 2015 debut.  As always let's delve in a bit further and see what Ross is capable of going forward.

First keep in mind that there was already some sizable hype attached to Ross' name and it had nothing to do with his brother.  That is what happens when you are a first round draft pick (25th overall) in 2011 by ironically the San Diego Padres.  Having been dealt to the Nats organization in 2014, Ross quickly went about making the big show early in the 2015 season by dominating both at Double-A (2.81 ERA) and Triple-A (2.18 ERA) to earn the promotion last June.  While Ross didn't light the world on fire, he still pitched very well for a 22-year-old rookie and wound up with the following numbers which got the excitement meter moving for 2016:

5-5
3.64 ERA
1.11 WHIP
69 K in 76.2 IP

Again at the age of 22 and with very little in the way of prep time in the minor leagues, Ross pitched as well as could be expected and with five or so years to go before he reaches his prime, has a ton of ceiling left to his name.  Now as far as digging further into the numbers is concerned, what becomes clear is that Joe Ross is a much different pitcher then brother Tyson.  While Tyson is your classic high-K hard-thrower, Joe is more of an overall pitcher who doesn't mind letting the defense do the work behind him.  Also Joe is vastly superior to his brother in control as well, with a BB/9 rate of 2.47 in 2015 that is a tremendous number for a young starter.  In addition, Joe can still hold his own in the strikeout department, with his 8.10 K/9 mark being above the league average and again having much more room for improvement.  Finally, Joe Ross has a four pitch repertoire that is very stingy when it comes to hits surrendered as he gave up just 64 in 76.2 innings last season.  All combined together, Joe Ross has some major sleeper appeal going forward.

So when it comes to 2016 fantasy baseball drafts, Joe Ross has to be on your sleeper list due to his sizable upside and tremendous home ballpark.  While he won't be the strikeout fiend his brother is, Joe Ross still looks poised to be another family member who is a high-end starter. 

2016 PROJECTION:  12-7 3.48 ERA 1.10 WHIP 162 K 

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