Archive for Sleepers

Speculating on Speedsters: Quinn, Granite and Allen

As Paul Sporer noted last week, stolen bases are getting expensive in this year’s drafts. With players like Jose Peraza and Jarrod Dyson shooting up draft boards, it’s clear that fantasy owners are more than willing to pay for steals in 2017.

Personally, there is nothing I love more than a good bargain. I spent a good two minutes doing price comparisons on hot dog buns at the grocery store yesterday, before finding some off-brand buns for just 89 cents on the bottom shelf. I don’t care who you are, you don’t need to be spending big on hot dog buns.

This is the same approach I take to speed-only players in fantasy baseball (great transition, Scott). I don’t like to spend on speedsters in my leagues, partially because I know steals are probably going to be available on the waiver wire. There’s usually a handful of undrafted bench players or minor leaguers who end up swiping a significant number of bags.

Last year, Travis Jankowski stole 30 bases in 383 plate appearances. Keon Broxton swiped 23 in 244 PA. Dyson was another example, stealing 30 bases in his 337 PA. The aforementioned Peraza picked up 21 steals in 256 trips to the plate. It’s no coincidence that Dyson, Peraza and Broxton were the top three players Sporer mentioned last week when discussing rising ADPs.

I got to thinking about who those guys will be next year; the players who go undrafted in fantasy leagues this year, but end up in high demand in 2018 due to gaudy smallish-sample steal totals. I identified three players to keep an eye on for steals as the season progresses, or perhaps slot into a reserve or minor-league spot, if your league has those.

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Deep League Draft Targets – Shortstop

Over the last several weeks, we’ve taken a look at available deep league options at catcher, first base, and second base. In this latest edition of Deep League Draft Targets, we move onto shortstop. Previous installments can be found below:

Deep League Draft Targets – Catcher

Deep League Draft Targets – First Base

Deep League Draft Targets – Second Base

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All Aboard the Tyler Saladino Hype Train

No need to fret. The unofficial conductor, who is also the author of this post, does not expect the cabin to reach capacity. Not prior to April, at least.

Brett Lawrie‘s time with any organization, not just the White Sox, was ticking away; more writing was scribbled on more walls with each passing year since his debut. So when the White Sox released Lawrie, the first thought on most fantasy owners’ minds was not Where will Lawrie end up? but, rather, When will Yoan Moncada get the call? Moncada, a consensus top-5 prospect, changed socks and is now the marquee name of the South Side’s now-promising future.

Yet one could argue Moncada’s not quite ready for the big show. After raking and running absolutely wild in High-A in 2016, Moncada graduated to Double-A and, well, his performance is open to interpretation. On one hand, his 11 home runs, nine stolen bases and .277/.379/.531 triple-slash in 207 plate appearances amounted to a batting line that was more than 50% better than the league. On the other hand, he struck out more than 30% of the time — and that lack of contact carried over into his Major League debut, during which he struck out in 12 of 20 PAs. The tools are immense, but, at 21, he could definitely use some polish, and the White Sox have no incentive to rush him along.

Allow me to (re)introduce you to Tyler Saladino.

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Deep League Draft Targets – Second Base

Welcome to this third installment of Deep League Draft Targets, an exploration of each position’s middle and late tier players. Where mediocrity abounds, value is found. Where one man’s trash is another man’s backup left-handed platoon option.

In previous editions, we covered first base, touching on Fangraphs-favorites, Tommy Joseph and Justin Bour. The week before, Tyler Flowers, Mike Zunino, and Andrew Susac, called for our attention behind the dish. Today, we move onto second base, a position that in past seasons drew the ire of many a fantasy owner but that the roto community has lately characterized as “groin-grabbingly deep.” But is it really?

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They’re Both the ‘Most Underrated’

Champions League B, an Ottoneu league in which all owners must have previously won an Ottoneu league, had its inaugural auction draft last weekend. First-year auction drafts are compelling and informative, especially when the league is made up of skilled and experienced owners. Theoretically, in first-year auctions, all players should be purchased at or near their actual value. There shouldn’t be too much obvious surplus or too many colossal overpays.

Bargain hunting is a delicate endeavor in a first-year auction. Owners can hunt for potential bargains by targeting players coming off down seasons. Andrew McCutchen comes to mind. So does Yasiel Puig. Buying such players can be risky, because their recent poor play may be indicative of future performance. However, it can also be rewarding, because if the player bounces back he may return more value than his price warrants. Having so-called surplus assets is one of several keys to success in Ottoneu.

McCutchen and Puig saw their value decline because of uncharacteristically poor performance on the field. Another type of player to target when searching for surplus is players coming off injuries. Two specific examples are among the most compelling and potentially undervalued fantasy assets in the game. They’re the same age (29), and they play on the same team. They have remarkably similar career numbers and both had season-ending injuries in 2016. Below are the career totals for underrated co-stars A.J. Pollock and David Peralta: Read the rest of this entry »


2017 Lottery Ticket Team: Pitcher’s Edition

This is not a “sleeper” list. Read the rest of this entry »


Holding out Hope for Kolten Wong

Second base looks like a deep position heading into 2017. This is likely news to no one reading this column. However, something that goes overlooked a bit is how shallow the position is in NL-only leagues.

Taking a look at the average draft position for 2B, this becomes quite clear. After Nats teammates Trea Turner and Daniel Murphy, second-base options for NL-only formats grow thin in a hurry. Dee Gordon, DJ LeMahieu, Jose Peraza, Ben Zobrist, Jedd Gyorko, Logan Forsythe, Neil Walker and Josh Harrison round out the top ten. There’s a pretty big drop-off after Gordon and LeMahieu, both of whom I personally value significantly less than Turner and Murphy to begin with.

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The 2017 Lottery Ticket Team: Hitter’s Edition

This is not a “sleeper” list. Read the rest of this entry »


Fantasy Busts and Opportunities: AL East

The series continues! We’re here to discuss the following question – which current MLB starters might flop in 2017, opening an opportunity for a prospect or non-full time player? During Spring Training, we’ll go into a full dive on team depth charts, fleshing out these opportunities in more detail. This post is meant to be quick and dirty. If you missed the previous editions, you can find the NL East here, AL West here, NL Central here, and AL Central here.

I’ve constrained myself to players I believe may predictably fail. The person who asked the question used the Tigers rotation, Jimmy Rollins, Shin-Soo Choo, and Luke Gregerson as examples. He or she profited from Michael Fulmer, Tim Anderson, Ken Giles, and Nomar Mazara.

Let’s begin.

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Fantasy Busts and Opportunities: NL West

The series continues! We’re here to discuss the following question – which current MLB starters might flop in 2017, opening an opportunity for a prospect or non-full time player? During Spring Training, we’ll go into a full dive on team depth charts, fleshing out these opportunities in more detail. This post is meant to be quick and dirty. If you missed the previous editions, you can find the NL East here, AL West here, NL Central here, and AL Central here.

I’ve constrained myself to players I believe may predictably fail. The person who asked the question used the Tigers rotation, Jimmy Rollins, Shin-Soo Choo, and Luke Gregerson as examples. He or she profited from Michael Fulmer, Tim Anderson, Ken Giles, and Nomar Mazara.

Let’s begin.

Read the rest of this entry »