Archive for Sleeper Spotlight

Sleeping On Speed: Adam Eaton As A Late Round Draft Steal

by Will Overton

The Diamondbacks have made a few changes this offseason. The biggest change was the deal that sent their young franchise player Justin Upton packing to Atlanta. This move also solidified another anticipated change. A new centerfielder and leadoff hitter in Adam Eaton, coming off an incredible 2012 at Triple-A.

It was the numbers put up by Eaton at Triple-A last season that made the Diamondbacks feel as if not only was Eaton ready, but that they needed him at the next level. Here are the final numbers put up by Eaton at Triple-A, before a late call-up in September:

.381 Batting Average
119 Runs Scored
7 Home Runs
45 Runs Batted In
38 Stolen Bases
9.4% Walk Rate
12.1% Strikeout Rate
.432 Batting Average on Balls in Play Read more

Digging Deep For Saves: Five Closers In Waiting To Target In Deep Leagues

by Will Overton

If you have ever played in a deep league (14 teams or more), or in a single league only format than you are more than aware that saves come at a premium. I received a harsh reminder last night when I was doing my experts AL only draft and found myself forced to overspend on Brandon League when he was the last real closer available. In a league like that there are really only a couple teams that walk away feeling good about their save stat situation.

In standard leagues the mantra has always been, “don’t pay for saves” the theory behind the charge is that there will always be saves available on the waiver wire. In deep leagues that isn’t true, those saves that come available are usually already on someone’s roster, someone who was thinking and planning ahead.

Once the saves run dry in your league you have to start thinking about who left has the best chance of getting you some saves at some point during the season. It’s not always easy to predict, but there are things to look for when targeting a guy. Here are some of the middle relievers/setup men that I like to help with saves who you can get late in your draft. Read more

NL Only Spotlight: Digging Deep For Hidden Sleepers

by Will Overton

You don’t win single league format fantasy leagues unless you can pinpoint a couple of late picks that can help you to that championship. In a standard mixed 10 team league one can get by with surface knowledge and a handful of big name players. But in NL and AL only leagues you only get a couple big name players on your team and you have to do real work to build the rest of your squad.

If you’re new to the single league format than you may have some extra homework to do before your NL only draft, but I am here to help. If you’re used to playing in mixed leagues like most are than some of these guys have never been on your radar before. But you’d do well to get to know these guys and do some homework of your own for some more guys like this.

Here are four of my favorite NL only league sleepers:

Jimmy Paredes – 3B, Houston Astros: This guy isn’t without his flaws, such as a way to high K rate and a way to low walk rate, but I still can’t help but take him in almost every NL only mock draft I have done. I have gone in depth in the past on here about how weak third base is in the national league once you get outside the top four. Read more

Who Will Be 2012’s Alex Gordon?: Looking At Some Potential Post-Hype Sleepers

by Will Overton

Every year in fantasy baseball there are those select few prospects out there that we all get super excited about and overpay for because they’re can’t miss prospects. And many times those can’t miss prospects end up missing for the first couple of seasons and eventually people stop overpaying for them and they start getting drafted later and later every year. And then once that draft stock has really plummeted for a couple of years the guy finally breaks out and someone in your league drafted/picked up a steal.

Prospects aren’t as easy to predict the success of as we sometimes want to think. The transition from the minor leagues to the big leagues is not always an easy one, some guys never can adjust and some guys just need a little bit of time. Just because a guy doesn’t pan out his first year or two doesn’t mean he never will, there is still a reason that all the so-called experts were high on the guy, and they may just need a little extra time to show it.

Alex Gordon was the perfect example of this last season. Gordon broke into the big leagues in 2007 and the expectations for him were through the roof. For two years he put up decent numbers, but nothing close to his hype. The next two years he completely flamed out altogether with injuries and inconsistency. Finally last season when no one was paying him any attention on draft day he broke out in a big way, and we all saw what the scouts had been raving about four years earlier. Read more

Sleeper Spotlight: Will Derek Holland Develop Into A Must Use Option?

It feels like Derek Holland has long been a pitcher that we have been waiting to see realize his full potential.  While he may not have completely gotten there in 2011, he showed signs of exactly what could be possible:

16 Wins
198.0 Innings
3.95 ERA
1.35 WHIP
162 Strikeouts (7.36 K/9)
67 Walks (3.05 BB/9)
.305 BABIP

There was virtually no luck involved in his performance, either good or bad.  His BABIP is believable, as was his strand rate (72.8%).  So, with no movement in those numbers projected, unless you think he’s going to have positive luck in 2012, the question is if his actual skills will improve.

As a 25-year old left-hander with his first full Major League season under his belt, it’s impossible to say that it can’t happen. Read more

Post Hype Sleeper: Can Cliff Pennington Realize His Potential In 2012?

There were many who believed that Cliff Pennington would be a breakout superstar in 2011, and why not?  He had stolen 29 bases in 2010 and with a 21.5% line drive rate there was reason to believe that he could translate his talents to a significantly better average (.250 courtesy of a .296 BABIP in ‘10).

Many saw him as a late round alternative to top names such as Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins, with his potential to swipe over 30 bases and hit near the top of the A’s lineup.  Unfortunately things did not quite go as planned as Pennington posted the following line:

515 At Bats
.264 Batting Average (136 Hits)
8 Home Runs
58 RBI
57 Runs
14 Stolen Bases
.319 On Base Percentage
.369 Slugging Percentage
.314 Batting Average on Balls in Play

He actually did a better job in hitting the ball on a line, posting a 24.8% line drive rate.  However, while his BABIP was realistic, with that type of line drive rate to go along with his speed you could easily see him capable of maintaining a much better rate and therefore a better average.  Read more