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2013 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper: Tommy Milone

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most underrated fantasy baseball performances from this past year came from Oakland Athletics starter, Tommy Milone.

Milone finished the year with a deceivingly mediocre 13-10 record, but his 3.74 ERA and 1.28 WHIP were certainly not the worst in the majors.  He went out there every fifth day and simply got batters out.

The 25-year-old pitched a very respectable 190 innings, which was 18th in the American League in 2012.  However, the first-year pitcher was only able to strike out 137 batters throughout the entire season.  Most pitchers who hit the 200-strikeout plateau, or come close to it, easily rack up 160 strikeouts so Milone’s lack thereof has to be a little concerning.

However, Milone’s most shocking statistic is that he only walked 36 batters through the entire season.  The youngster’s walk total was one of the lowest in the majors for pitchers who threw over 190 innings, and was even lower than Justin Verlander’s 60 walked batters, David Price’s 59, Felix Hernandez’s 56, and even Matt Cain’s 51.

The starter also looked strong in the MLB postseason as well.  In the second game of the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers, Milone pitched a six-inning gem in which he allowed one run, struck out six batters, gave up five hits, and only walked one batter.  Oakland’s bullpen eventually blew the game as Detroit won 5-4, but it really showed how much Milone has matured in his first full season in Oakland.  He will truly be an anchor in the A’s always-dangerous pitching rotation for years to come.

Milone is an amazing sleeper pitcher heading into the 2013 fantasy baseball season.  He may not have staggering strikeout totals, but his low ERA and WHIP will make him a valuable fantasy commodity on a weekly basis.  Grab him as a fourth or fifth starter this fantasy season and be thankful when he puts up third starter numbers.

2013 Fantasy Prediction:  17 wins, 208 Innings Pitched, 176 Ks, 3.46 ERA, 1.21 WHIP