Join us as we discuss five young buy-low pitchers poised for breakout seasons in Fantrax fantasy baseball. Our goal is to identify these promising players early and add them to our rosters before their value skyrockets. We have a diverse selection of breakout candidates, from flamethrowers to finesse pitchers. Let’s dive in and take a closer look at these exciting arms.
The season is not here yet, but why not get a head start and jump in a Fantrax Classic Draft contest? Get a jump on the season with a Best Ball league or maybe a Draft and Hold. Or put some green on the line with a new season-long league to try and conquer. There’s no better time than now to get your baseball on!
6 Buy-Low Pitchers Who Could Break Out in 2023
1. Brandon Pfaadt, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Brandon Pfaadt, a lanky right-handed pitcher, was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 5th round of the 2020 MLB June Amateur Draft. Standing in at 6-4 and weighing 220 lbs, Pfaadt’s delivery is often characterized by a loose arm and clean mechanics, allowing him to consistently throw strikes in the 94 mph range.
Pfaadt’s best offspeed pitch is his plus slider, which he delivers with sharp spin at 85 MPH. While he is still developing his curveball and changeup, neither of them currently flash as plus pitches.
In 2022, Pfaadt excelled in Double-A with a remarkable 32% K% and a low 4% BB% over 105.1 innings pitched. He earned a mid-season promotion to Triple-A, where he continued to impress with a 2.63 ERA over 61 additional innings, striking out 74 while only walking 14. His ability to throw 160 solid innings in a single minor league season is an impressive feat.
With his outstanding MiLB performance, the Arizona Diamondbacks have every reason to consider Pfaadt for the MLB roster, possibly as early as the middle of May or even on Opening Day. While Pfaadt is expected to make his major league debut as a starting pitcher, he also has the potential to serve as a reliable long reliever out of the bullpen.
Looking at it from a fantasy perspective, Pfaadt’s capacity to handle a full season MLB workload distinguishes him from other young pitchers and makes him an appealing option for managers seeking to complete their pitching staff. This translates to a higher probability of him racking up more wins and strikeouts compared to other relievers at a similar draft price, significantly boosting his value.
2. Bryan Abreu, RHP, Houston Astros
Bryan Abreu is a power-armed right-handed reliever for the Houston Astros whose four-seam velocity spiked by 2 MPH last year, now regularly touching the 97 MPH range. In the 2022 season, Abreu switched out his ineffective curveball for a hard-biting 88 MPH slider, which has quickly become his go-to pitch. He uses it almost as often as he throws his fastball. While he does still possess a curveball, he struggles with control and tends to leave it over the middle of the plate too often. Adding a changeup to his arsenal could be beneficial.
In the 2022 season, Abreu boasted a 36% K rate with a 10.5% BB rate, amassing 88 strikeouts, 2 saves, 8 holds, and a sub-2.00 ERA in 60.1 innings.
As the 2023 season approaches, Abreu is expected to be a dependable source of strikeouts, ERA, and holds. If given the opportunity for more saves, he did have two last year, he has the potential to emerge as one of the top fantasy relievers.
3. Jovani Moran, LHP, Minnesota Twins
Jovani Moran is generating considerable hype among various projection systems as a breakout candidate. The crafty left-handed pitcher stands at 6-1 and weighs 167 pounds and proved himself in his second stint in the MLB, primarily due to his exceptional changeup, which he combines with a fastball averaging around 94 MPH.
In his breakout season last year, Jovani put up impressive numbers, pitching 40 innings with a 2.21 ERA, a 33% strikeout rate, and an 11% walk rate. His minuscule FIP- of 45 highlighted that he was 55% better than the average pitcher, which is a remarkable feat.
Although he’s currently a middle reliever for the Twins with no real chance at saves, Jovani’s outstanding performance and exceptional changeup make him an intriguing addition to any fantasy team looking to boost their ERA, strikeouts, and holds.
4. Drey Jameson, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Drey Jameson, a 6-foot tall and 165-pound pitcher, was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 1st round (34th overall) of the 2019 MLB June Amateur Draft. He made his debut on September 15, 2022, and threw 7 impressive innings, allowing no runs on only two hits and a walk while striking out five. Throughout his 24 innings pitched at the MLB level, he maintained a remarkable 1.48 ERA and threw an average fastball of 95.6 MPH.
Despite his ongoing work to refine his delivery, he boasts a promising pitching repertoire featuring a plus slider and a developing changeup, which he plans to employ more frequently to keep opposing batters off balance. As we look ahead to 2023, Jameson is projected to continue building on his recent success in the MLB by pitching around 120 innings, with an ERA that aligns with the league average and an impressive average of eight strikeouts per start, while minimizing walks.
Regarding his role with the team, Jameson’s fantasy value is not necessarily affected. While his floor is a long reliever the team may use multiple times a week, his ceiling is an SP3 for 2023.
Currently, Jameson is rising up draft boards, so fantasy managers should be cautious about the price they pay on draft day. If he slips to a late round, he could be an excellent gamble and a potential diamond in the rough.
5. DL Hall, LHP, Baltimore Orioles
DL Hall, a left-handed pitcher, was selected by the Baltimore Orioles with the 21st overall pick of the 2017 draft. Standing at 6-2 and weighing 210lb, Hall’s exceptional strikeout abilities make him a potentially valuable asset to your fantasy team. With four plus pitches in his arsenal, including fastballs that can reach up to 97 mph, and above-average secondary pitches in his curveball and changeup, the Orioles will likely keep him as a starter for as long as possible.
Hall’s 2022 season was marked by an impressive 36.1% K rate, the highest in Triple-A, along with a high walk rate of 14.2%, one of the worst. Despite this, the team plans to utilize him in some capacity at the big-league level. However, fantasy managers may prefer to see Hall as a starter, where he has the potential to become a dependable SP3 with flashes of SP2-level performance. A comparison to a young Robbie Ray is fitting for Hall at this stage in his career.
However, if Hall were to move to the bullpen, it wouldn’t necessarily affect his fantasy value, but it would suggest that the Orioles intend to use him less frequently than they would if he were starting. Ultimately, Hall’s walk rate will likely dictate his role on the team.
NOTE: Although Hall is currently recovering from a minor injury, he has already faced live batters, and it is unlikely to impact his workload for the 2023 season. The team expects him to be ready for Opening Day.
6. Logan Allen, LHP, Cleveland Guardians
Meet Logan Allen, not to be confused with the other Logan Allen. This one was selected 56th overall in the 2020 draft and signed for over $1.2 million with the Cleveland Guardians, going well over the expected slot value.
Despite a well below-average fastball, Allen compensates with a deceptive arm angle and great extension, making the most out of this pitch. Hitters react as if it’s closer to a 92 MPH fastball than the 89 he usually sits on the gun. In addition, he has an exceptional changeup that induces groundballs from both left-handed and right-handed batters.
He also excels at throwing both a curveball and a slider, with the curve offering more vertical drop and the slider more horizontal movement. Although his fastball could benefit from a velocity increase, starting with a 9 instead of an 8, Allen’s remarkable control and deception already make him resemble a seasoned veteran lefty, known for their craftiness.
Allen has been good at every level so far, and with Cleveland’s history of turning pitchers into studs, he’s got potential. If you’re playing in a Holds league, it might be worth adding him to your roster as a sneaky option. He might start off in Triple-A, but he’s definitely in the running for an early call-up with Cleveland.
Who are your favorite buy-low pitchers for the coming season? Drop some names in the comments below. For more great analysis check out the 2023 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit!