As we continue our fantasy baseball recap, we will highlight the pitchers who surprised this season. It was a weird year with injuries to numerous top pitchers, but hopefully, hitting on some of the under-the-radar guys helped keep your team in contention.
Pitchers Who Surprised:
1. Arizona Diamondbacks Starting Pitcher Robbie Ray -- The left-hander was drafted 71st among pitchers in March according to FantasyPros.com, and he finished the season ranked in the top five in ERA at 2.89. Ray also cracked the top 10 in strikeouts with 218. It was an incredible turnaround for the 26-year-old, as he pitched less innings than 2016 but finished with seven more victories and took two runs off his ERA. Ray is about to hit his prime, so there should be a few more seasons like the one we saw this year.
2. New York Yankees Starting Pitcher Luis Severino -- If fantasy owners drafted under-the-radar-Yankees, then those owners more than likely ended up in the running for a championship. Like teammate Aaron Judge, Severino was an afterthought prior to the season, but has made a name for himself in 2017. Drafted 338th overall, and the right-hander finished the season with 14 victories, 230 strikeouts and a 2.98 ERA. At 23, it's scary to think just how good Severino can be.
3. Colorado Rockies Closer Greg Holland -- The veteran was a late-round flier target for fantasy owners just in case he would take over the closer role for the Rockies. Those who took that chance were rewarded greatly, as the right-hander finished the season tied for second in saves with 41. Outside of a rough August that almost cost Holland his job as closer, the reliever was a rock for fantasy owners in 2017.
4. Milwaukee Brewers Closer Corey Knebel -- If there was a poster child for the argument of not prioritizing closers in March but attacking aggressively on the waiver wire, Knebel would be it. The right-hander didn't earn his first save until May 14, but once he took over the ninth inning for the Brewers, he ran with it. Knebel finished the season with 39 saves to go along with a 1.78 ERA. This is another example that owners don't need to overdraft closers in March; the waiver wire continues to be a very important tool to improve rosters throughout the season.
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