Thursday, March 17, 2011

2011 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers

And now for the first annual JHFBS (John Haskell's Fantasy Baseball Sleepers). I'll go position by position to list those players whom I think are flying "under the radar".

C: Joe Mauer (Min) - Before you start yelling, remember that this is a list of fantasy sleepers. You may be down on Mauer because of his horrible year last year where we watched his BA drop to .327 and his OBP fall to a miserable .402, but before you write him off as a bust, consider him as a possible person to target (Target Field?) in the 14-15th rounds of your draft.
1B: Casey Kotchman (TB) - Heeerrreee's Casey! He's back, but this time as a Ray. Currently the 849th ranked player according to Yahoo! and with his status listed as NA (not available), you should have no problem getting Kotchman in the early rounds of your draft. Need some stats to convince you of his potential dominance? Consider the fact that last year, his .217 average was the second worst of his career and that he offers very little power as a first basemen, never hitting more than 14 HRs in a season.
2B: Chase Utley (Phi) - How can he be a sleeper? According to many sources, Utley has been faking his recent bouts with injuries in order to be considered a fantasy sleeper. He felt that would take some of the pressure off of him to perform. He's 100% healthy and he and the Phillies organization are just lying to the public. Look to nab him in the 10-11th rounds.
3B: Eduardo Nunez (NYY) - E-Rod is set to back up Ramiro Pena who is set to back up Alex Rodriguez. Look for A-Rod, who's never played less that 124 games in a season for the last 15 years, to deviate from that norm and get injured. Then look for Ramiro Pena to get hurt or have family problems. If those two things happen - and it's very likely - E-Rod should assume control of the "hot corner" in the "Big Apple".
4B: [not a position]
SS: Hanley Ramirez (FLA) - While most people in your league may be looking at Tulo, Reyes, and Aviles, Han-Ram will be sitting there waiting to be drafted. This guy, despite conventional wisdom and his career statistics, is a stud. Don't let his numbers fool you. Draft him and reap the rewards. Possible steal in rounds 3 or 4.
OF: Mark DeRosa (SF) - DeRosa used to be a fantasy stud because of his ability to play multiple positions. Now, however, he's only OF eligible which significantly decreases his worth and puts him on our list of 2011 sleepers. The fact that he's not even slated to start for the Giants further solidifies his sleeper value. And if you're a stats person, take a look at the fact that in 93 ABs with the Giants last year, he batted .194 with 1 HR, 0 SBs, and was caught stealing twice. That small sample size should show you that this young 36-year-old has got some potential for this season and years to come.
SP: Adam Wainwright (StL) - No one is going to draft Wainwright because he is expected to miss the entire 2011 season. This means that you could take a flyer on him and draft him in the last round. If not, he'll be available in your league's FA pool.
RP: Brett Sinkbeil (FLA) - While conventional wisdom says, "Take a closer in the first or second rounds," you should probably wait until the third or fourth. That said, one guy to keep an eye on is Brett Sinkbeil of the Marlins. His last name sounds like "sink ball", which could be considered a type of pitch. If you believe in fate, this is your guy. But if you believe in stats, this is also your guy. In three games with the Marlins last year, Sinkbeil poasted a 5:1 BB/K ration and a 13.50 ERA. Not to shabby, huh? He's no Mariano "Mo" Rivera, but look to get Sinkbeil in the fourth or fifth rounds.

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