SleepersApril 5, 2010


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Sleeper Watch - 7 comments

By Joe Budrow

In looking for a sleeper for a starting pitcher I looked at the projected No. 4 SPs around the league, using MLB.com’s depth charts. A number of pitchers stood out a bit, but they were guys who we all know as upcoming young guns. I was looking for someone with upside still to blossom and not really fitting the definition of a sleeper, that guy who does not have much expectation to shine and thus will be drafted low, if at all. My pick for an SP sleeper is Jason Hammel of the Colorado Rockies.

Colorado Rockies vs New York Mets at Citi Field in New York

Hammel is slotted behind Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge de la Rosa and Aaron Cook, and thus may be someone that opposing teams may think they can beat up on because Jason Hammel just sounds so “unspectacular.”

One thing is for sure, though, is that Hammel will not beat himself. His strikeout rate is not overly impressive as he had a K/9 rate of 6.78 in 2009, but that was up from 5.06 in 2008. He ended 2009 by striking out 26 batters in his last 26 innings, which tells me that this kid is improving. Also, Hammel simply does not walk batters. He walked just 42 guys in his 176.2 innings! I expect increased strikeouts this season to help improve his already impressive 3.17 K/BB ratio from 2009. And already this spring, Hammel has struck out 12 batters in 14 innings while walking nobody. Do you see where I’m going here?

The offensive-minded Rockies should help Hammel feel confident to win games. I believe that Hammel could get to 14 wins and come at a very low price. He very well may go undrafted in most leagues, so watch him. He will surprise many people looking for a steady back-end guy who produces. With Hammel on your team as your 5th or 6th starter you surely will not need to churn for pitching come September.

This right-hander turns 27 on April 11. This will be his fifth season, second with Colorado. During his four years in the bigs, both his ERA and WHIP have decreased each season. I believe he will better last season’s 4.33 ERA and at least match the 1.39 WHIP. If there has to be one concern, it just might be that jump in innings pitched from 78 1/3 to 176 2/3. But again, we’re talking back-end guy who could give you the value of a middle-round pick.

Jason Hammel will not jump out at anyone when the drafts drag on to the late rounds. If you want to gamble that he will make the waiver wire for a quick post-draft pick up, take a chance. But the guy who gets him at some point will have a gem. Watch him!

 
Joe Budrow is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Joe in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Ys Guy.
 
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7 Responses to “A Sleeper in Colorado”

  1. User avatar Ys Guy says:

    This is my first-ever Sleeper article. It was written in mid-March. I own him in both of my leagues.

    Three star average…not that shabby!

    ReplyReply
  2. Nice. I’m on the fence about Hammel. I had him, and then dropped him when Gregg got the closer job. I have SP depth and needed saves. If he’s around, I imagine I’ll be picking him up again for some nice matchups.

    ReplyReply
  3. User avatar AquaMan2342 says:

    I do not envy the scorn you will receive after tonight’s start! Nice article.

    ReplyReply
  4. User avatar Ys Guy says:

    Yeah, AquaMan…Jason was asleep that night!

    ReplyReply
  5. User avatar AquaMan2342 says:

    Haha….I didn’t drop him though, I think you are right on with him as a nice back end rotation option.

    ReplyReply
  6. User avatar Ys Guy says:

    Since his 15-Day DL stint Jason has been very decent…

    In 4 starts (today in June 4) he has pitched 25.2 innings and struck out 26 while walking 3. Woot!!! He has given up 26 hits, tho, but has a 2-1 record for a real good Rockies club.

    Still not bad as your fourth pitcher.

    ReplyReply
  7. User avatar Ys Guy says:

    Since my last update on June 3rd my first-ever Sleeper submission is 3-0. He has gone 22 2/3 innings and given up ZERO earned runs while posting an unexplainable and icky 13/8 K/BB ratio. His June ERA is 0.31 !!

    Gotta like the kid, folks.

    ReplyReply

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