In most fantasy baseball leagues, championships are won by the sleepers you draft in later rounds. It’s not rocket science that Albert Pujols is going to hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 runs or that Matt Kemp is going to hit 25-30 home runs and steal 30 bases or more.
One approach I usually take when drafting my sleepers late in drafts is going after rookies or young players who have destroyed the minor leagues and been successful when called up in September last year. I also like to look at guys with good power and speed upside. A guy that can hit 25-30 home runs and steal 25 bases is a huge commodity in fantasy baseball.
Some of these guys might not even start in the majors but when called up this season will instantly contribute like Brett Lawrie or Jason Kipnis did last season. Drafting these players can help put you over the edge in your fantasy baseball playoffs. Here are 3 pitchers and 3 hitters that I will look to draft. They are in the order I would draft them.
1.Yoenis Cespedes (Oakland A’s, OF) This guy is a freak of nature athlete. He has a lot of power and good speed. Would be a lot higher drafted if he didn’t play in a pitcher friendly park. He might not carry a real high average but will make up for it with home runs and steals.
Projected: .265 18 hr 85 rbis 15 steals
2. Zack Cowzart (Reds, SS) This guy is not a great athlete but pretty solid at all areas. He provides decent power and speed and a plus defender. He will hit for a good average but don’t expect him to compete for a batting title. He will have playing time right away and provides a good option since good fantasy baseball shortstops are rare.
Projected: .282 14 hr and 70 rbis 12 steals
3. Yonder Alonso (Padres, 1B) Not much power for a corner infielder but I think Petco Park is perfect for his gap to gap hitting. He should put up decent rbi totals even thought the offense isn’t great. He also should carry a good average and is a solid option for a CI spot in 2012 fantasy baseball.
Projected: .292 12 hr 86 rbis 2 steals
1. Jacob Turner (Tigers, SP) He will be given every opportunity to start for the Tigers. The AL Central is weak and the Tigers are good so he has a chance to rack up wins. Don’t be surprised if he is the number 2 or 3 pitcher for the Tigers by season end.
Projected: 160 IP, 13W, 7 L 145 K, 3.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
2. Addison Reed (White Sox, RP) Matt Thornton is probably going to start the season as the closer but Reed is one mistake away from getting his shot. He has great control and strike out ability. He blew through the minor league system and is also was a well established college pitcher.
Projected: 75 IP, 3 W, 2 L, 27 SV, 95 K, 2.75 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
3. Drew Pomeranz (Rockies, SP) Breezed through the minors and got 4 starts after his call up last year. There is a starting rotation spot for his taking. He has good strike out ability. I look for him to be one of the Rockies best pitchers this season.
Projected: 165 IP, 10 W, 7 L, 150 K, 3.75 ERA, 1.25 WHIP