There are sleepers that people talk about (and if everyone is talking about them how can we say they are sleepers) and those that fly under-the-radar. Which category will the A’s Ramon Laureano fall in by the time your fantasy draft arrives remains to be seen. His production in the Majors was decent, though it doesn’t stand out and perhaps that’s part of the reason for the relative lack of attention (though he’s been gaining some steam):
156 At Bats
.288 Batting Average (45 Hits)
5 Home Runs
7 Stolen Bases
.358 On Base Percentage
.474 Slugging Percentage
.388 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Obviously he’s not going to maintain a .388 BABIP, but there’s no questioning that he could post an elevated mark as he hit the ball hard (39.8% Hard%), used the entire field (26.9% Oppo%) and has speed. You also can’t ignore that along with his time spent at Triple-A (246 AB) he totaled 19 HR and 18 SB for the season. So a strong average with 20/20 upside? It seems like a player we’d want on our radar.
That’s not to say that there aren’t questions, especially in his ability to make consistent contact (SwStr%):
- Triple-A – 10.8%
- Majors – 11.6%
The problem came against offspeed pitches, with a 25.88% Whiff%. An adjustment there would help, and it’s not impossible. As it is he only saw hard pitches 58.39% of the time, so even as is there’s going to be value (think of him as closer to a .260 hitter, though he could develop into more).
You also have to think that he could emerge as a candidate to hit atop the Oakland lineup. That’s not a given, though he can draw a walk (10.9% at Triple-A, 9.1% in the Majors) and the A’s lack a true top of the order threat. It could be Marcus Semien, though he’s not ideal. The newly acquired Jurickson Profar? Perhaps, though he and Laureano could form a dynamic 1-2 punch if given the opportunity.
If Laureano does find a spot near the top, with the improving lineup (Khris Davis, Matt Olson and Matt Chapman) he could push for 90+ runs scored. Couple that with the other skills and there’s a lot to like. Considering his current ADP (193.15 in NFBC formats), he’s an easy target at the end of your draft that could provide a significant return.
Sources – Fangraphs, NFBC