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For some fantasy baseball strategists, top-end pitching is the basic building block to any championship roster. Unfortunately, most arms at the top of a rotation aren't available in later rounds. And if you're still in need of depth at starting pitching in these rounds, quality arms will be hard to come by. However, there are a few high-upside pitchers that you should be able to snag in the later rounds of your fantasy baseball draft.
Here are the five biggest fantasy sleepers in starting pitching that could break out in a big way this upcoming season.
5. Collin McHugh, Houston Astros
Collin McHugh has been used mostly out of the bullpen over the past few seasons, but he has plenty of starting experience in his career and seemingly has the inside track to a spot in Houston's rotation now that Dallas Keuchel is gone. His 1.99 ERA from last season won't likely be sustainable throughout a full season, but his strikeout potential and supporting lineup give McHugh tremendous upside for the 2019 season.
4. Matt Strahm, San Diego Padres
Matt Strahm hasn't locked down a spot in San Diego's rotation just yet, but he's making it pretty hard for the club not to give him a shot at starting in 2019. The 26-year-old lefty recorded a 2.04 ERA and 0.97 WHIP across 61.1 innings last season. Strahm has also seemingly picked up where he left off this spring, striking out 15 batters across 12.0 innings pitched so far.
3. Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies
Widely regarded as one of best young arms in the league, Jon Gray took a serious step backward in 2018 with a 5.12 ERA. It's a concerning number, but judging by his 4.08 fielding independent pitching (FIP) last season, a lot of that can be attributed to some bad luck throughout the year. The 27-year-old righty still has tremendous strikeout potential and has been lights out this spring with a 2.55 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 17.2 innings pitched, which is encouraging for 2019.
2. Reynaldo Lopez, Chicago White Sox
Nothing really jumps off the page when you look at Reynaldo Lopez's final stats from last year, but his last two months of the 2018 season could be a sign of big things to come in 2019. The 25-year-old recorded a 2.70 ERA with 65 strikeouts, while holding batters to a .204 average over his last 11 starts of 2018. If he's capable of picking up where he left off in this upcoming season, drafting Lopez could pay huge dividends in fantasy.
1. Steven Matz, New York Mets
Matz hasn't lived up to his potential due to several injuries over the past three seasons, but 2019 could finally be the year he proves that he has what it takes. Matz finished the 2018 season in prime form after returning from the injured list in mid-August, holding batters to a .168 average with a 2.44 ERA over his final eight starts. If he can stay healthy, there's a good chance that Matz finally breaks out in 2019.
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Mike Esposito is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Esposito also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username espo6891. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.