Last week I gave some players to look out for this spring training. This week, I am going list some more sleepers to remember heading into this fantasy baseball season.
Lance Berkman (Tex) – Here is a familiar name we all know. Two years removed from a surprise renaissance year with St. Louis, Berkman proves that can still be productive. But, let’s face it; the first thing that comes to mind about Lance is “injury prone”. He had a disaster final year with the Cards as he played in only 32 games. Now he is with the Texas Rangers and playing as one of the key parts to fill the void left over by Josh Hamilton. I am banking on him having a bounce back season as being the DH for the Rangers will lessen his chances of getting hurt. It is not a stretch to think he can have a 30 HR/90+ RBI campaign.
Kendrys Morales (LAA) – The deepest infield position this year has to be 1B. One player to keep an eye on is Morales. This player will forever be known for his game winning celebration in 2010 where he broke his ankle after he hit a walk off grand slam. He missed all of 2011 too and was expendable by the Angels because of their logjam at first base. He did have a decent bounce back season last year, hitting 22 HRs in just 137 games. Now he goes to Seattle where they moved in the fences to accommodate a power hitter like Morales.
Justin Ruggiano (Mia) – Yes, I am aware that it is hard to think of another name for the Marlins besides Mr. Stanton. But keep Ruggiano in mind. He proved to be useful in his short time last year, quietly having a .313/13 HR/ 14 SB campaign. The best thing about Justin is the fact that a lot of people will shy away from any Marlin after Giancarlo thinking it is a fantasy wasteland. That is why you can get Ruggiano on the cheap. With a full season, expect him to improve on his stats last year. A nice bargain OF here.
Manny Machado (Bal) – Third Base is a shallower position than 1B. However, you can still find hidden gems at a cheaper price. Machado is really a SS but his teammate JJ Hardy is still there. Until then, he is a 3B – not just any 3B but he could be the next big thing in baseball. Upside is a .300 avg with 25+ HRs and high RBI totals with double digit SBs. And that could happen as early as this season. Give me a higher upside 3B in Machado than other risky types with lower ceilings like Pedro Alverez.
Andrelton Simmons (Atl) – At 23 yrs old, he’s already the best defensive SS in the game. He has the job now as the everyday SS. Now, he is surrounded by a potentially dangerous lineup. The potential is there to be poor man’s Elvis Andrus with decent BA and nice SB totals. Not bad for arguably the shallowest position in fantasy baseball.
Dan Uggla (Atl) – Uggla’s numbers were plain ugly last year. Career lows in BA, OPS, HRs, and RBI had many owners cursing at him. Now he costs even less and is on many people’s “do not draft” list. BA was never his strong suit. His main production is solid power and RBI for fantasy baseball 2B. I expect him to bounce back and be the perennial 30 HR guy that we all love.