Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Fantasy Baseball Week 22 Preview: Top 10 sleeper pitchers include Cole Irvin, Johnny Cueto

Fantasy Baseball Week 22 Preview: Top 10 sleeper pitchers include Cole Irvin, Johnny Cueto

Cole Irvin, Matt Manning are two-start standouts.

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If you’re into streaming pitchers or simply have a hole to fill in your lineup, Scott White has 10 recommendations for the upcoming scoring period, all rostered in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues. They’re no substitute for some of the universally rostered pitchers, of course, but these are the best you’ll be able to do off the waiver wire.

All information is up to date as of Sunday evening.

Sleeper pitchers for Week 22 (Aug. 29-Sept. 4)

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OAK Oakland • #19 • Age: 28

The only downside to Irvin’s two-start week is they’re both on the road, where he has a 4.88 ERA compared to 1.94 at home. But they’re choice matchups in two pitcher-friendly venues, Washington and especially Baltimore. He’s also coming off his best start of the season.

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DET Detroit • #25 • Age: 24

The five-time top-100 prospect is finally beginning to live up to his pedigree after returning from a lengthy bout with shoulder inflammation, apparently working to recapture his slider during his downtime. Coming off the two best starts of his career, Manning is now in line to face two bottom-10 offenses (Mariners and Royals).

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CHW Chi. White Sox • #47 • Age: 36

Cueto has entered the Adam Wainwright category of former ace who’s adapted to diminished stuff in ways that are hard to decipher from the data. Still, all but four of his starts this year have been quality starts, and he’s facing a bad Royals offense this time around.

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NYM N.Y. Mets • #23 • Age: 26

Peterson’s return to the starting rotation has been hit or miss through two starts, but he has a much easier task against the Nationals’ depleted lineup in Week 22. If he can get back to featuring his slider as prominently as before his ouster, we could see a big strikeout total.

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TOR Toronto • #48 • Age: 32

Most of Stripling’s 2.94 ERA was compiled over abbreviated starts, but he’s been pitching deep enough lately to be taken seriously. And of course, anyone who’s scheduled to face the Pirates needs to be taken seriously.

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ATL Atlanta • #12 • Age: 32

Odorizzi is like the ultimate tweener starter who’s not quite good enough to keep the elite lineups at bay but can carve up the weaker ones solely on the strength of his fastball. He’s facing one of those weaker ones, the Marlins, this week.

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STL St. Louis • #62 • Age: 33

It’s been a mixed bag for Quintana since joining the Cardinals, and he’s traveling to Cincinnati this week, which can be dangerous. He’s not himself so vulnerable to the long ball, though, and the Reds lineup isn’t much of a threat these days anyway.

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BAL Baltimore • #80 • Age: 30

Watkins has put up halfway decent numbers this year, in part because his home venue is now so pitcher-friendly. Only one of his two scheduled starts this week is there, but the Guardians and Athletics are both favorable enough matchups that he should limit damage well enough for points leagues.

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SEA Seattle • #7 • Age: 30

Gonzales rebounded from a rough patch Thursday, allowing one earned run in six innings against the Guardians. He still allows too much contact, but the Tigers this year have been known to make pitch-to-contact guys look like bat-missers. He’s scheduled to face them this week.

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DET Detroit • #57 • Age: 29

Rodriguez’s velocity and whiffs have been down in two starts back with the Tigers, but the results against the Angels and Rangers have been decent. He’s not the highest-priority play this week, but he’s facing a Mariners lineup that ranks in the bottom 10 for runs scored.

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