Sleeper 3: Collin McHugh
One of the best stories in the Astros system, right-handed pitcher Collin McHugh has pitched his way not only to the second spot in the Astros starting rotation behind Dallas Keuchel, but into one of the most underrated pitchers in not only the American League but in baseball.
After two seasons in obscurity to start his career, McHugh was selected off of waivers by the Astros before the 2014 season. When Astros first-year pitching coach Brent Strom got a hold of him, the rest is history.
In his two seasons in Houston, McHugh is 30-16 with a 3.39 ERA and 1.167 WHIP. He also strikes out 8.2 batters and gives up 0.8 home runs per nine innings.
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With the numbers he has put up in Houston, why is McHugh so low on ESPN’s fantasy draft rankings? Part of it is his ERA in 2015 and his projected ERA for 2016. An ERA that hovers in the 3.80 range is not really exciting for fantasy owners. However, the reason why his ERA is so high is because of outlier games. For example, McHugh had two games last season where he gave up a combined 15 earned runs in 7.2 innings pitched against the Giants and the Mariners respectively.
Every pitcher struggles at some point during the long and strenuous season. Also, after those starts, McHugh won both of his next starts giving up a total of 5 earned runs in 13.1 innings pitched. This may not be the best stats fantasy owners have ever seen, but it shows how he can bounce back after struggling the start before.
With an offense that will provide runs for any pitcher, the former top 5 finisher in AL Rookie of the Year and top 10 finishers in AL Cy Young has the potential to have another 15 plus win season with solid strikeout numbers. With how underrated he is in fantasy drafts and how his production stacks up against the American League, McHugh is a steal.
***Stats from astros.com***