FANTASY BASEBALL SLEEPERS by POSITION
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Call them what you want, but the “term” sleeper has become watered down over the years. The fantasy community in all sports has rested on this terminology simply because more applicable terms just take too long to flesh out, so we have become lukewarm to the term “sleeper”, which couldn’t be further from the truth in the current age of social media. Back in the day – information was difficult to obtain, and angles on players were few and far between. Now there are no hunches, just stat dumps to suggest why you should take a player later rather than sooner. It’s all good though, we are all on the same playing field, if we choose to be, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you have a beat on a guy because you read an article or a tweet… the chances are all the players in your league have that same player on their radar as well, and who ends up getting him depends solely on who values him more. There are multiple “sleepers” at every position, so I’m going to outline one guy at each position you should bump up your board. Every team drafted should have 2-3 sleepers on it with the hopes that one of them pans out. Here’s who I’m looking at.
CATCHER – Devin Mesoraco Cincinnati Reds
It wasn’t an accident that Mesoraco led all catchers in HRs in 2014 while being second in RBIs as well. Mesoraco represents the cheapest 20 HR power at the position and possibly in the majors. He only played in 114 games in 2014 and only had 45 ABs last season, so there is not much tread there. If I’m going value at Catcher, Mesoraco is the guy.
FIRST BASE – C.J. Cron Anaheim Angels
A lot of people are going to be on Justin Bour as a “sleeper” but you and I know better. Someone will reach for him and may or may not get value, but either way, several rounds later feel free to take a shot at C.J. Cron. His splits aren’t as good as Brandon Belts, or Bour’s, but he has just as much upside in a devastating lineup. The sample size is small but the power has been there at every level, so keep him in the middle of your mind should injuries creep into your lineup.
SECOND BASE – Devon Travis Toronto Blue Jays
Through the first month of the season in 2015 Travis was the best power hitting 2B, while being in the top five of every offensive category. An early season injury derailed all of that for him as he could never get back in rhythm. The Jays are all in on Travis again, and he flashed 20 HR power with some speed. Small sample size but worth a flyer late.
THIRD BASE – Jung Ho Kang Pittsburgh Pirates
I’m not as excited at picking up sleepers at 3B because there is so much value in the first 12. But if you must look at someone have a gander at Kang, who’s debut last season was pretty impressive. If you are looking to add power depth to your bench, Kang should push 20 HRs and not bring you down in any other stat. Love the line up too.
SHORTSTOP – Addison Russell Chicago Cubs
Russell has a lot of work to do, but the Cubs love him. He could be another hype guy, but I’m not reaching and don’t recommend you do the same. With Starlin Castro gone, and Baez in somewhat of the doghouse, Russell should get the nod at short, and his tremendous upside makes him a sneaky value pick. Russell has a lot to prove, so by no means am I plugging him in right away when I can stash him to see what I have.
OUTFIELD – Joc Pederson Los Angeles Dodgers
Here’s why I like Pederson. I love the power and I love the upside. He was speedy in the minors, so if his base path prowess returns, there is all sorts of value here. If someone beats you to the punch with Pederson, don’t sweat it, but if he falls to you in the late rounds that’s cheap power and great upside.
STARTER – Adam Wainwright St. Louis Cardinals
Wainright is currently ranked outside the top 20 for SPs, which is a travesty in terms of value. If Wainright plays a full season, he will easily be a top ten pitcher and could easily be a top five. Don’t be surprised if someone in your league takes him inside the top 15. It was his achilles, not his elbow.
RELIEVER – Sean Doolittle Oakland Athletics
Hector Rondon is the 13th ranked RP but will be closing on a team that may have the most wins in the majors, but if you really want to dig deep, check out Sean Doolittle. He’s back to throwing heat, is healthy and will be in the bottom third of closers taken on draft day. There is value plus if he stays healthy, and I’m banking that he will.