In fantasy baseball it is all about getting value out of your picks and trying to gain excess value and avoid picks that don’t meet the expectations of that pick. We try to read over all the info that is out there to see who these players are that will gain us an advantage. But every time someone gets noticed, someone else falls back. And every time a player fails, someone else succeeds. So let’s discuss some of these options.
How can anyone be a sleeper nowadays? Seriously, with all the info that is out there on every player how can someone still be a sleeper by the time of your draft? I have seen guys the majority of fantasy players haven’t heard of get talked about as a sleeper and before you know it, they are moved to the do not draft list as they are now being drafted way, way too early.
My criteria for a sleeper are providing more value than their draft position and not about the unknown player that only you know about (that just doesn’t happen anymore). Every draft is different, so you have to pay attention and be willing to change your thought process when a player is still sitting there, almost like they are waiting for you to take them. Usually that creates a moment of panic, does everyone else know something that I don’t? You quickly try to look up the player on 15 different sites to see why this player is still there. But, it just happens. Everyone is so busy that players slip and someone takes a player and people start commenting, nice pick!
How can Prince Fielder be a sleeper? He is currently being drafted 62nd and the ninth first baseman taken in the draft. But in many drafts he is falling because of concerns if he will back to normal. Without this question he would be drafted much higher. With that concern you are taking some risk, but remember that he moved to Texas and if healthy he could have a huge season hitting in the ballpark 81 games a year. I would take Fielder before his 62nd ADP.
Shields had a bad October, which led to a disappointing off-season, until he finally signed a contract that some still say why and others say good deal for the Padres. I think he will be great this year, as he has been a very good starting pitcher for many years pitching for the Rays in the AL East and Royals in the AL Central. Now let’s move him to the National League which always is a good move for starting pitchers but also to the San Diego Padres in the National League West. Great pitcher’s home park, plus lots of road opportunities in Los Angeles and San Francisco for more pitcher friendly environments. He is going 66th and he is worth taking sooner.
The 2014 version of Jay Bruce would qualify as a bust. But I don’t believe you can write off a guy like Bruce, hitting in Cincinnati after one bad year. He doesn’t even have to return to his .841 OPS of two years ago to be a very good pick, as he is being drafted 99th right now and is well worth the risk sooner than that. He hit 32, 34 and 30 home runs the three years prior to last year and I see no reason why he can’t do it again. Bruce was a Top 10 MVP guy, two years in a row.
Sometimes when a player has been traded not once, but twice, people start to think there must be a reason people keep trading him away. But I see a pitcher that people keep trading to have on their team. Last year he had a 3.63 ERA and a WHIP of 1.289. Not ace numbers but solid numbers for a starting pitcher who is being drafted 164th.
Not exactly how the Rangers envisioned their season after adding Choo to that way too big of a contract. Not only did Choo have a terrible season, but the Rangers fell apart literally. Choo’s .885 OPS in 2013 was not happening again, it was a last hurrah at those elite numbers. But he is better than the .714 he put up and if he can fall in the middle he will be a very good pick-up as he is not being drafted until 191st.
What makes a breakout? My view is a huge increase over the previous season. Breakouts are not unknown quantities but players who when you use the previous year numbers, you may miss and that would be a mistake.
Jorge Soler got called up at the end of August and had a very good start before cooling off to finish the season. But I have said before, he is going to be the best of the Cuban group that has been signed the last few years. Joe Maddon has compared him to Vlad Guerrero, but with plate discipline. Scary good! He is also behind Kris Bryant and Addison Russell in most prospect rankings and very well could be the best all-around prospect the Cubs have in their organization.
What more can this guy do before he gets called up in mid-to-late April? The numbers he has put up in the minors are video gamesque. He has a confidence in everything he does that is just right, knows he is good but doesn’t come off like Bryce Harper, not even close. He is going to have a very good rookie season once he gets called up and it has the potential to be a monster rookie year. Not sure there are any bargains on Bryant anymore like when I drafted him in the 16th round in early March as I have seen him taken in the first couple of rounds.
Good example of how prospects are the hot item until they come up and are not a superstar out of the gate. People forget that a guy like Odor is just 21 years old and has almost a full season of MLB experience under his belt (called up on the eighth of May last year … gained an extra year of control in the process … that sounds familiar). His number were not that great, .259/.297/.402/.698, but I see a season that puts him closer to .750 OPS and we start to see the reason the Rangers never wanted to trade him.
Can Machado stay healthy? That may be all it takes to have him breakout to what we have all thought he would be. If his knees will keep working, he could finally break out this year. He hit 51 doubles in 2013 and it wouldn’t be too hard to believe that he could turn a portion of those into home run (like Anthony Rizzo did) and easily be a 20-25 home run guy and help push his OPS over .800.
Another example of a young, highly touted prospect not doing a Mike Trout in his rookie year that people start to doubt will ever make it. Slow starts to Major League careers happen, but it shouldn’t change that a player like Bogaerts is going to be a very good player in MLB. With shortstop and third base eligibility he is more than worth taking a shot on that happening this year.
Do Not Draft
Seriously, do not draft these guys, because of where they are being drafted. They are no longer a fantasy player you want on your team, mainly because they are valued way too high and will cost you a pick you could use on someone that is a better pick for your team. Injury threats are the main theme but also something I have never understood using higher picks on, relief pitchers. Yes you should take these guys if you are in a league full of very smart people who pass on these guys to the point they are players worth taking, I am just not betting that will happen. There is one in every draft that will grab these guys and you should be glad and hope that there is more than one.
Is Miggy still great, of course he is, but is the constant injury threat worth taking him seventh in drafts? Yes he has been a first or second pick for many years and seventh is a steal, if he stays healthy. I like safer picks in the Top 10 and not sure I can take Cabrera in the Top 10 anymore.
I just don’t trust that Tulowitzki can stay healthy enough to justify his 13th spot in the draft order. 2011 was the last time he played even 140 games two of the last three years he hasn’t even played 100 games. Huge numbers when he is in the lineup, but too much risk for the 13th draft pick.
Closer in the Top 50, say it ain’t so. Sorry to pick on Chapman but it is Craig Kimbrel as well. Just can’t see taking a closer when I could be getting Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, Billy Hamilton or starting pitchers like Cole Hamels, Adam Wainwright or Matt Harvey. Take the closers at this point in the draft if you want, I will just say thank-you.
53rd is a good spot if he plays all season. That’s a big IF. Just like his teammate, he just can’t stay on the field. He has never, never played more than 145 games and only more than 134 games twice in his seven years in the majors. Plus his number took a big hit last year dropping to a .723 OPS. That is way too much risk at the 53rd pick.
Now what to do if you did draft one of these do not draft guys, hope for a fast start and sell high!
CCO Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy
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- Draft Strategy – Tiers
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- Drafting Cubs Players