Heading into the 2020 MLB season two players from the Mariners standout as Sleepers. Starting pitcher Justus Sheffield and first baseman Evan White. Sports Illustrated’s fantasy baseball analyst Shawn Childs recognizes that Evan White won’t be drafted in most fantasy baseball leagues but could be one of the season’s top free agent pickups. As for Sheffield, Childs says the pitcher can offer “possible help in strikeouts” after many fantasy baseball players wrote him off as a bust in 2019.
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Read the full transcript from Childs’ conversation with fellow fantasy baseball analyst Ben Heisler.
Corey Parson: Hey what's up, it's Corey Parson, the fantasy executive here from SI.com. Getting ready to talk some fantasy baseball with our SI fantasy and gambling experts, Shawn Childs and Ben Heisler. Let's focus on the Seattle Mariners. Shawn, can you identify a sleeper in this lineup?
Shawn Childs: Yeah. Justin Sheffield is the guy that looked like he was coming on in 2018 in AA and AAA. Had an under 2.5 ERA, 123 K's, 160 innings for the Yankees. They traded him in the off-season to Seattle and it looked like pretty much a steal for them. But well, last year he struggled with his command, walked 14 guys in first 18 innings. They sent him down to the minors. They actually sent them down to AA to kind of get his form back. When he came back he pitched a little bit better, flash a couple different times, had a couple of good stretches in September, and he looked like he would offer upside. The trick with him is he's got to throw more strikes. His fastball is probably, you know, league average. But he's a lefty and there is a lot of like to like if he can throw more strikes. So this year, I expect him to be, you know, a viable pitcher at the back end. But I would be careful if he's if he's not throwing enough strikes to help you and whip especially. So is a player that's not a target, but he's a guy that you want to keep an eye on, especially in the other leagues where he could be in the free-agent pool.
Corey Parson: Ben, same question.
Ben Heisler: Yeah, I like Evan White with Seattle. I think his opportunity in the middle of that lineup to be able to hit behind guys like Kyle Seager and Mitch Haniger is a really interesting opportunity for him to get plenty of plate appearances and plenty of opportunities to get some rest to try and improve his power. The batting average component of his game is there. And even for a first baseman, too, he's got some sneaky wheels, he stole some bases in college. I know Shawn in his team preview talked about him as a 280 2080 guy, maybe in his first full year. I think that's actually reasonable considering the amount of AB's he's likely to see in Seattle. They need to develop him, I think. Evan, why does it really intriguing candidate and especially with so much power at the first base spot. I think there's some sneaky value too.
Corey Parson: All right, Evan White, sneaky value with sneaky wheels. Thanks a lot, Shawn, thanks a lot Ben. For the latest from the majors, make sure you keep a lock right here at si.com.