Here are some late starters to watch

We’re less than a week away from Opening Day 2022 and fantasy baseball drafts are in full swing. Your player pool research has been extensive, draft strategies have been tested and hopefully you’ve made any necessary adjustments to your player rankings based on the latest news and injury reports.

Before you enter your war room, however, you need to solidify your list of top late-round picks. Most people look for depth and potential approachers, but you can really go big if you start pitching late in the round.

Drawing high-end starters remains a priority for many, but with the recent news of Jacob deGrom’s shoulder and other injuries to the likes of Chris Sale and Luis Castillo, there’s a general uneasiness about the investment required to acquire one. This is why your late-round decisions become so important. Just ask that person in your league who landed Robbie Ray or Carlos Rodon last year. Your late picks need high upside potential for strikeouts, but also the potential to turn a profit and post strong odds.

Padres starter Mike Clevinger should be on more than just your radar. Yes, he is 31 years old. Yes, he missed all of last season’s rehab after Tommy John’s surgery. But this was a former Cy Young contestant who still has a huge strike up and now has a brand new arm. Additionally, to see him through this season, the Padres went out and hired Ruben Niebla, Clevinger’s old pitching coach from Cleveland. There will be some spring and early season rust, but by mid-May he’ll be looking like ace again.

If you look further down your draft board, watch out for Hunter Greene of the Reds. The rookie has already won the job of fourth starter and regularly hits triple digits on the gun with his fastball. He has also shown excellent mastery of his secondary offerings. There is some risk involved in throwing at the Great American Ballpark as a beginner, but when he hits the hitting zone, very few can match.

Late-round draft picks should never be dismissed as “rounding out” your roster. Your picks must have a purpose, and building a strong fantasy rotation is more than just a matter of your top picks. Drafting Clevinger and Greene could give you high-end aces for the same price someone else is paying for Paul Blackburn. WHO? Exactly.

Howard Bender is the Head of Content at Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on fantasy sports channel SiriusXM weekdays from 6pm to 8pm. Go to for all your fantasy baseball advice. Here are some late starters to watch


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