Fantasy Baseball StockWatch: Indians SP Zach McAllister
Super sleeper alert! How about a waiver-wire pickup or a final pick in your fantasy baseball draft who nobody is talking about?
I give you Zach McAllister. Everyone’s talking about Indians teammate T.J. House, who himself is a breakout candidate after posting a 3.10 xFIP last season in 18 second-half starts. But you don’t hear much buzz on McAllister.
It’s probably because his numbers haven’t been eye-catching enough in his career (4.20 career xFIP, 7.4 K/9, 3.0 BB/9). But many may not know that he’s increased the velocity on his fastball since working in the bullpen last September and was maintaining 97 mph during Saturday’s start (9 Ks in 5 IP). On the spring he’s totaled 24 Ks and just four walks in his 19 innings of work and will open the season as Cleveland’s fourth starter.
The walks are the key thing for him, becasue if he can approach 2012’s strikeout rate (7.9 K/9) while limiting the walks, he could provide fantasy baseball owners a nice return on a very small investment. We have moved him up to No. 93 in our starting pitcher rankings with his spring performance, projecting him in the same tier as Jimmy Nelson and Daniel Norris, among others.
That’s a nice place to be for a guy who will go undrafted in most leagues with an ADP of 526 on fantasypros.com.