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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: DREW SMYLY SP TAMPA BAY RAYS

There are some strategies when it comes to drafting your fantasy baseball squad each and every season that tend to be more consistent and cemented as a mode of attack.  We have spoken about waiting to draft catchers and closers in the middle rounds, while also being keen on post-hype sleepers made good.  However there is also a class of talented players who see their draft stocks fall in a given season despite possessing some big-time talent.  Most often this is due to injuries as nothing will get a fantasy baseball owner running for the hills on a player who rotted on the bench for you with one ailment after another.  However if this player can finally remain healthy, the natural talent could result in a tremendous breakout campaign.  Such a player who fits that mold for 2016 is Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Drew Smyly who came to the team as the main piece in the David Price deal with the Detroit Tigers.  A lefty who is only 26, Smyly has who pitched to ERA's of 2.37 (in bullpen for Detroit), 3.24, and 3.11 each of the last three seasons.  Who has compiled WHIP's of 1.04, 1.16, and 1.17 during that span as well?  With a fastball that touches the upper 90's and solid secondary stuff, why is Smyly virtually being ignored when it comes to 2016 fantasy baseball drafts?  The answer is injuries, injuries, and more injuries.

To say that Drew Smyly has been injury-prone in his career would be a big understatement.  The guy threw only 155 innings for the Tigers and Rays in 2014 as a starter and just 66.2 a year ago due to a persistent shoulder problem.  In between the numbers were stellar whose 10.4 K/9 rate in 2015 is the stuff of a fantasy baseball ace when combined with his 3.11 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.  Other then the injuries, Smyly can hurt you with his high home run rate but in a spacious park like Tampa Bay that is not as much of an issue as it would be in say Yankee Stadium.  The fact of the matter is that Smyly has the goods to be a high-level pitcher this season for a very affordable draft cost.  The value could be tremendous if he can log even 20 starts which means using a middle round pick is the easy call on the guy. 

2016 PROJECTION:  12-7 3.35 ERA 1.16 WHIP 159 K 


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