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Draft Sleepers
Written by Gregory Paget



Sleep-er (n) Someone or something unpromising or unnoticed that suddenly attains prominence or value.

The key words for our purposes here are unnoticed and value. There’s somewhere between fourteen and ninety-two different reasons why you’ll be playing for your league championship come September. The first is luck. The second is more luck. The third is luckily avoiding injuries to your core group of stars. The fourth is waiver wire luck. The fifth is the ability to look beyond the obvious names that’ll be gone in the first ten rounds on draft day and spotting the sleepers. The sixth might be skill, but I’m pretty sure it too is luck…and so on…

The following is a list of position players (non-pitchers) you should start targeting when the sure bets start disappearing from the board.

John Baker, C, Marlins - Baker resumes his spot in the two hole for the Marlins where he was an on base machine for a rookie catcher (.299/.392/.447 in 233 PA in ’08). Oh, and that was before Hanley Ramirez was hitting behind him.

Joey Votto, 1B - Votto looks to build upon his first full season where he put up impressive numbers (.297/24/84/69), albeit with 9 of his homers coming in September. Then again, September is playoff time in most fantasy leagues.

Ryan Spilborghs, OF – The fourth man in the Colorado outfield will finally get his chance with Matt Holliday’s departure to the Bay Area. He’s taking his .407 OBP to the leadoff spot in Colorado and should easily top 100 runs no matter who’s hitting behind him in that air.

Coco Crisp, OF - Like Spilborghs, Coco finally shed the fourth outfielder burden, will lead off, and should finally make the impact people were expecting years ago before Jacoby Ellsbury took away his at bats in Boston.

Jose Lopez, 2B - Lopez (.297/17/89/80) flew under the radar for a brutal ’08 Mariners team that lost 101 games. Seattle will be better this year, so look for a spike in those numbers.

Mike Aviles, 2B/SS - In 419 AB as a rookie last year, Aviles hit .325 and scored 68 runs. He should get you at least 15/15 in ’09 without a drop in average in a much improved KC lineup.

Alex Gordon, 3B - .260/16/59/72/9 isn’t a bad line for a rookie, unless you had the expectations Gordon had placed on him in ’08, where not being a triple crown threat was considered a failure. He should go 20/20 in ’09 and the average should climb well into the .280’s with a more relaxed approach.

Nelson Cruz, OF - Cruz was Wily Mo Pena 2.0 before getting sent down to the farm to learn patience. Recalled last year, he hit .330 with 7 jacks and 26 RBI in 115 AB. If the Texas lineup stays healthy, they’ll score a lot of runs in ’09 and Cruz will surely be in the mix

Last Updated ( Monday, 09 March 2009 13:51 )