STARTERS: 2020 End-gamers

The end game is where you can earn the most profit from your starting rotation, since those are the guys you pick up at the end of your drafts or for a token $1 bid.

Managing the end game isn't easy though. Not all guys are worth a $1 bid. Some have too much downside. Others don't have enough upside to justify having them on your roster.

An end-gamer in one league can be a sleeper or breakout target in another, so we'll provide you with a deep cross-section of players to focus on. For your reference, see the following articles for a complete list of SP to target in your drafts:

As a reminder, check out our scouting coverage for info on SP prospects worth targeting late in your drafts.

Here were the most skilled SP in 2019 among those who earned $5 or less:

75+ BPV, 5x5 <$5, 2019*

Name            Lg  Ctl  Dom   HR/9  GB%  H%   S%   SwK%  FpK%  5x5$  BPV
==============  ==  ===  ====  ====  ===  ===  ===  ====  ====  ====  ===
Carrasco, C     AL  1.8  10.8   2.0  41%  36%  68%   15%   65%    $0  165
Keller, M       NL  3.0  12.2   1.1  39%  48%  61%   12%   63%  -$14  155
Hill, R         AL  2.8  11.0   1.5  50%  29%  89%   11%   65%    $5  152
Lamet, D        NL  3.7  12.9   1.5  36%  33%  74%   14%   60%    $1  147
Stripling, R    NL  2.0   9.2   1.1  50%  31%  74%   11%   68%    $5  141
Weaver, L       NL  2.0   9.7   0.8  41%  30%  76%   12%   62%    $5  140
Price, D        AL  2.7  10.7   1.3  41%  35%  71%   12%   68%    $5  140
Heaney, A       AL  2.8  11.1   1.9  34%  33%  69%   15%   63%    $1  136
Urquidy, J      AL  1.5   8.8   1.3  37%  30%  69%   12%   63%    $0  132
Alexander, T    AL  1.2   7.9   1.5  36%  36%  70%    9%   65%   -$4  124
Mahle, T        NL  2.4   9.0   1.7  47%  32%  66%   10%   69%   -$4  122
Gausman, K      NL  2.8  10.0   1.3  38%  36%  62%   15%   64%   -$8  120
Houser, A       NL  3.0   9.5   1.1  53%  31%  74%   10%   61%    $5  120
McKay, B        AL  2.9  10.3   1.5  35%  35%  67%   11%   58%   -$4  119
Sims, L         NL  4.0  11.9   1.7  25%  26%  67%   16%   66%   -$2  110
Canning, G      AL  3.0   9.6   1.4  38%  29%  67%   14%   58%    $3  107
Gibson, K       AL  3.2   9.0   1.3  51%  34%  70%   13%   64%    $4  106
Lopez, P        NL  2.2   7.7   1.2  48%  30%  61%   11%   56%   -$2  105
Voth, A         NL  2.7   9.1   1.0  35%  26%  73%   13%   61%    $0  104
Lester, J       NL  2.7   8.7   1.4  43%  36%  74%    9%   59%    $1  103
Hernandez, E    NL  2.8   9.3   2.2  34%  28%  68%   12%   65%   -$3  103
Velasquez, V    NL  3.3  10.0   2.0  34%  32%  72%   12%   59%   -$2  102
Gallen, Z       NL  4.1  10.8   0.9  39%  29%  81%   13%   67%    $5  102
Pruitt, A       AL  2.3   7.5   1.3  52%  30%  69%   11%   74%   -$1  102
Matz, S         NL  2.9   8.6   1.5  47%  31%  74%   10%   56%    $5  101
Milone, T       AL  1.9   7.6   1.9  37%  26%  65%   10%   72%    $3  101
Quintana, J     NL  2.4   8.0   1.1  44%  34%  68%    9%   62%    $2  101
Chen, W         NL  2.4   8.3   2.0  37%  36%  61%   10%   59%  -$13  100
Norris, D       AL  2.4   7.8   1.6  43%  31%  72%   11%   64%    $1   97
Quantrill, C    NL  2.4   7.8   1.3  44%  31%  63%   10%   57%   -$3   96
Archer, C       NL  4.1  10.8   1.9  36%  31%  69%   13%   61%   -$5   96
Weber, R        AL  1.8   6.4   1.1  49%  33%  65%    6%   66%   -$4   95
Name            Lg  Ctl  Dom   HR/9  GB%  H%   S%   SwK%  FpK%  5x5$  BPV
==============  ==  ===  ====  ====  ===  ===  ===  ====  ====  ====  ===
Bundy, D        AL  3.2   9.0   1.6  41%  31%  70%   13%   62%    $3   94
Hamels, C       NL  3.6   9.1   1.1  47%  33%  76%   13%   57%    $4   92
Junis, J        AL  3.0   8.4   1.6  42%  33%  68%   10%   62%    $0   91
Turnbull, S     AL  3.6   8.9   0.8  48%  34%  69%   11%   59%   -$1   89
Cease, D        AL  4.3  10.0   1.8  46%  34%  67%   11%   59%   -$5   87
Porcello, R     NL  2.3   7.4   1.6  38%  32%  64%    8%   67%   -$3   86
Wood, H         AL  2.4   7.7   1.4  32%  31%  84%   13%   59%    $0   85
Young, A        NL  2.9   7.7   1.5  48%  26%  78%   13%   60%    $5   85
Keuchel, D      AL  3.1   7.3   1.3  60%  30%  78%    9%   56%    $3   85
Lauer, E        NL  3.1   8.3   1.2  40%  33%  71%    9%   64%    $0   85
Cessa, L        NL  3.4   8.3   1.6  49%  28%  75%   13%   58%    $1   84
Foltynewicz, M  NL  2.8   8.1   1.8  37%  28%  71%   11%   60%    $2   84
Lopez, J        AL  3.1   7.9   2.0  46%  32%  61%    9%   59%   -$8   84
Zimmermann, J   AL  2.0   6.6   1.5  42%  35%  56%    9%   64%  -$13   84
Smeltzer, D     AL  2.2   7.0   1.5  39%  30%  76%   10%   65%   -$1   83
Wojciehowski, A AL  3.1   8.7   1.9  30%  29%  69%   12%   56%   -$1   83
Beede, T        NL  3.5   8.7   1.7  44%  33%  71%   12%   66%   -$6   83
Bard, L         AL  2.4   7.3   1.5  35%  25%  61%   12%   63%   -$1   81
Wainwright, A   NL  3.4   8.0   1.2  49%  32%  74%    8%   59%    $4   81
Eickhoff, J     NL  2.8   7.9   2.8  36%  26%  67%   11%   64%   -$6   81
Civale, A       AL  2.5   7.2   0.6  40%  26%  80%    9%   62%    $5   80
Eflin, Z        NL  2.6   7.1   1.5  45%  30%  76%    9%   68%    $4   80
Barria, J       AL  2.9   8.2   2.6  34%  30%  63%   10%   58%   -$7   80
Gonsolin, T     NL  3.4   8.3   0.9  42%  22%  76%   12%   60%    $2   79
Sampson, A      AL  2.6   7.3   2.1  40%  33%  67%   10%   60%    $0   79
LeBlanc, W      AL  2.3   6.8   2.1  40%  32%  67%   10%   67%   -$5   79
Cortes, N       AL  3.8   9.3   2.2  34%  33%  70%   11%   63%   -$5   78
Lopez, R        AL  3.2   8.3   1.7  35%  32%  68%   12%   60%   -$1   76
VerHagen, D     AL  3.6   7.9   1.4  51%  35%  65%   10%   62%   -$6   75
*min 40 IP

Here are a bunch of SP in each league who could be worth a look in the end game of your drafts, particularly if you play in a deep league.
 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Tyler Alexander (LHP, DET) posted an ugly 4.86 ERA and 1.40 WHIP during his MLB debut with DET in 2019. However, his skills were much better than those stats: 7.9 Dom, 1.2 Ctl, 36% GB%, 124 BPV. He didn't miss many bats (8.6% SwK%), so we can't expect an uptick in strikeouts until he changes that. But he did throw strikes early (65% FpK%) and often (32% ball%), marks that give support to his pinpoint control. A 36% H% was to blame for his inflated stats. He doesn't have a high ceiling and likely won't start the season in the DET rotation, but he's someone that could help the back of your rotation later in the season if you play in a really deep league.

Luke Bard (RHP, LAA) also struggled on the surface in 2019 (4.78 ERA in 49 IP). Most of those appearances came in relief, but he did make three starts. Bard generated an 81 BPV for the year, a below-average level of skills. That said, he did own a solid collection of two command sub-indicators: 12.3% SwK% and 63% FpK%. His overall 36% ball% profiles him as an arm with average control, so his 2.4 Ctl from 2019 probably won't stick. But he misses bats and throws in the mid-90s, attributes that could give him a path to value in 2020.

Dylan Cease (RHP, CHW) remains one of the better SP investments in keeper leagues. His skills were marginal in 2019 (87 BPV), but they were better than his rough 5.79 ERA and 1.55 WHIP indicated. Still, he struggled to throw the ball over the plate (40% ball%), and he's still looking for a pitch mix that helps convert his great raw stuff into better results. He's a high-risk play for 2020 and is being overvalued at his 283 ADP, but if he falls into your lap and you have a bench, his upside is worthy of speculation.

Luis Cessa (RHP, NYY) had a great spring training in 2019 but never got a shot at the NYY rotation during the season. That might change in 2020 given the injuries faced by NYY SP. Cessa consistently posts high swinging strike rates but struggles to keep the ball in the park. However, he does know how to keep the ball on the ground (52% GB% in 2H of 2019), so there's hope he can improve there. He's having another big spring (13/1 K/BB in 9 IP). Cessa makes for a good end-game selection again in 2020.

Randy Dobnak (RHP, MIN) showed pinpoint control in the minors, then got a shot with MIN late in 2019. He missed more bats than expected (14% SwK%), and he has one of the better curveballs in the AL too. Even if he doesn't start the season in the MIN rotation, he's an overlooked arm that has the combination of stuff and control to allow him to stick in the MIN rotation at some point. He's a great speculation at his 590 ADP.

Jonathan Loaisiga (LHP, NYY) is another NYY hurler that could provide some additional value early in the season due to the injuries in the NYY rotation. Loaisiga has struggled a lot with injuries, but when he's healthy, he has shown skills that profile him as a potential mid-rotation arm. He has posted a 14/1 K/BB in 10 IP this spring. He's a worthy dart throw if you can stomach his poor durability.

Daniel Norris (LHP, DET) is being forgotten about in most 2020 drafts (672 ADP). That's what happens when you haven't been able to deliver on your prospect pedigree and posted mediocre stats in 2019 (4.49 ERA, 1.33 WHIP). Before you dismiss him again, note that he posted a 100+ BPV in four separate months in 2019. His best skills came in September, albeit in a small sample size (14/2 K/BB, 18% SwK% in 15 IP). And he started to address his issues with gopheritis late in the season; he had a 47%+ GB% in three of the season's final four months. Norris also is overlooked due to the new wave of starting pitching heading to DET. He's worthy of your end-rotation speculation.

Austin Pruitt (RHP, HOU) could get an early-season look in the HOU rotation due to the injury of Justin Verlander (RHP, HOU). Pruitt got ahead of hitters quicker than nearly any SP in 2019 (74% FpK%). He also threw a high volume of strikes (33% ball%). And his stuff was above par (11.0% SwK%). It's a profile that suggests he could surprise in 2020.

Patrick Sandoval (LHP, LAA) got a lot of called and swinging strikes at pitches he threw inside the strike zone in 2019, as we learned during the presentation by Nick Pollack of PitcherList at First Pitch Arizona 2019. Sandoval flashed some good skills in August too (106 BPV). And he knows how to keep the ball on the ground. He's another overlooked arm that has good profit potential at his 576 ADP.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Tyler Beede (RHP, SF) has dealt with some elbow issues this spring, and it remains to be seen when he will get back on the mound. If you want to roll the dice on him being healthy, there are several reasons to invest in him during 2020 drafts. He was the 14th overall pick in the 2014 draft, so he has a good pedigree. His command soared late in the 2019 season, and it was supported by a dip in his ball%. He also gets swinging and first-pitch strikes at a high rate. A healthy Beede would make for an extremely attractive speculation in 2020.

Zach Eflin (RHP, PHI) looked like a viable mid-rotation arm at times during the 2019 season. He consistently posted a near-70% FpK%. He also induced groundballs at a high rate in both August (55% GB%) and September (51% GB%). The question is whether he will miss enough bats to avoid getting hit hard at a high rate, but the hope is he can mitigate some of that damage using his ability to keep the ball on the ground. He's a good value play at his 491 ADP.

Tony Gonsolin (RHP, LA) was helped by a friendly hit rate during his MLB debut in 2019. Still, his stuff ticked up late in the season (14% SwK% in Sept), and he did manage a 2.4+ Cmd against lefty and righty bats. The risk for him can be found in his walk rate, since he goes through stretches where he neither gets ahead of hitters nor throws a high volume of strikes. Nevertheless, he's a decent risk/reward play at his 536 ADP.

Elieser Hernandez (RHP, MIA) looked filthy during June (146 BPV) and September (162 BPV) of 2019. He posted an elite 15% SwK% in each of those months. Pairing that ability to miss bats with a high rate of first-pitch strikes gives him the foundation to grow more in 2020, especially if he can find a groundball pitch. Hernandez is a forgotten man in many drafts (641 ADP).

Adrian Houser (RHP, MIL) no longer might be an end-game play in many leagues (251 ADP). But if owners are weary due to the 4.06 ERA he posted in the second half of 2019, use that as a reason to nab him. He delivered a 100+ BPV in four of five months last season, and he also kept the ball on the ground at a very high rate in aggregate (53% GB%). He could take another step forward in 2020.

Mitch Keller (RHP, PIT) also won't be available in the end game of many drafts (231 ADP). Still, some owners might be underestimating his breakout upside in 2020 drafts. Few pitchers were more electric in the second half of 2019 than Keller (180 BPV). He throws really hard and has good offspeed stuff. Profit plays don't get much better.

Pablo Lopez (RHP, MIA) is another MIA hurler with some untapped upside heading into 2020. Before suffering a shoulder strain in mid-season, Lopez had a string of three straight 100+ BPV months. He was unhittable at times against RH batters in 2019 (5.0 Cmd vR). He's someone you should be able to get late in your drafts (389 ADP) that has legitimate sub-4.00 ERA potential in 2020.

Freddy Peralta (RHP, MIL) was dominant in the first half of 2019 (139 BPV), but his stats didn't reflect it (5.12 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) due to a 37% H%. Then he was bounced from the rotation and struggled until his skills blossomed again in September (20/2 K/BB in 10 IP), albeit in a relief role. Peralta has been dominant so far this spring (15/6 K/BB in 12 IP). If he can throw the ball over the plate at even a modest level, he'll be a steal at his 442 ADP.

Cal Quantrill (RHP, SD) had a mixed debut with SD in 2019 (5.16 ERA, 1.30 WHIP in 103 IP). That said, he did put up a 100+ BPV in both August and September, and he also kept the ball on the ground at a high clip in the first half (50% GB%). The worry is his swinging strike rate, which continued to get worse as the season went along. He seems to have found something this spring (9/1 K/BB in 7 IP), but it's way too small of a sample size to get excited about. It's reason enough to stash him as a possible target late in your draft if you play in a deep league though, and you should be able to do so based on his current market price (655 ADP).

Nick Pivetta (RHP, PHI) went from a popular breakout choice in 2019 after the 135 BPV he posted in 2018 to a pitcher that most everyone is avoiding now (542 ADP). His breaking pitches regressed, and he struggled to throw strikes consistently. It remains to be seen who the real Pivetta is, but if you play in a very competitive league, don't overlook the top-tier skills that he has shown in the past.

Lucas Sims (RHP, CIN) produced a mediocre 4.60 ERA in a mix of starting and relief roles in 2019. However, two of his command sub-indicators suggested he has some significant untapped upside: 14.9% SwK%, 66.1% FpK%. If he can improve against lefties (1.7 Cmd vL in 2019), Sims could surprise in 2020. And you can get him for nothing given his current 744 ADP.

Austin Voth (RHP, WAS) is another arm that is being overlooked (513 ADP). He's got pretty good offspeed stuff and bumped up his velocity in 2019, both of which led him to a 11.5% SwK%. And he was dominant against same-sided batters (6.0 Cmd vR in 2019). Voth is a one dollar dart throw that could yield some nice profits in 2020.

Alex Young (LHP, ARI) showed some of the better offspeed stuff in the game at times during 2019. It helped him deliver a 13% SwK% in spite of a 90 mph fastball. He also induced groundballs at a high rate (48% GB%). He's a budding mid-rotation arm that is being overlooked in most leagues (632 ADP).


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.