Three 2019 “Sleepers” We Are Avoiding (Astudillo & More)

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There are always a few players who are going to be hyped as we head towards our drafts/auctions, though how often do these “flavors of the month” pan out?  Fantasy owners need to be careful and not simply buy into the hype.  Here are three players seen as “sleepers”, but you may be better off steering clear of them:

Willians Astudillo – Minnesota Twins – Catcher
Astudillo’s ability to make consistent contact and positional versatility have made him a popular “sleeper” in 2019 drafts.  Just look at the strikeout rates from last season:

  • Triple-A (307 PA) – 4.6%
  • Majors (97 PA) – 3.1%

Primarily a catcher, over the course of his minor league career he’s had experience at every position (and in the Majors he’s already appeared at C, 2B, 3B and OF).  Those are nice attributes, but what else does he bring to the table?  His 12 HR at Triple-A were a career best and you have to wonder if his 10.2% HR/FB stemmed from playing in the Pacific Coast League.

You also don’t have a guarantee that he’s in the lineup regularly.  He’s going to share catching duties with Mitch Garver/Jason Castro, and he’s not an ideal fit at the other positions (though there could be AB at 3B).  Questionable power and playing 3-4 days per week?  If something changes then we will reassess, but for now there isn’t enough upside.

Daniel Palka – Chicago White Sox – Outfielder
If you are looking for a sleeper source of power then sure, Palka has proven he can hold value after hitting 27 HR over 417 AB last season.  However if you are looking for anything besides the long ball he’s not going to be an ideal option.  He struggled to a 34.1% strikeout rate in the Majors, courtesy of a 16.9% SwStr%, as he struggled to make contact against all types of pitches (Whiff%):

  • Hard – 14.11%
  • Breaking Balls – 21.01%
  • Offspeed – 24.71%

Then you have the risk of a platoon, hitting .200 with 2 HR over 75 AB against southpaws, and with the ability to find cheap power elsewhere the risk of disappearing outweighs the potential reward.

Willy Adames – Tampa Bay Rays – Shortstop
After a strong start to his MLB career, hitting .278 with 10 HR over 323 PA, it’s easy to get excited and dub him a potential breakout option.  However can we expect him to maintain this type of power surge?  He was far too groundball-centric in the Majors (52.1%) and his 16.9% HR/FB is nearly triple the mark he had posted at Triple-A prior to his recall (5.7%).

He also could have further strikeout issues, after a 29.4% strikeout rate in the Majors, as he struggled with an elevated SwStr% at both levels he played in ’18:

  • Triple-A – 12.7%
  • Majors – 12.0%

Strikeouts plus a power regression?  Without significant speed that doesn’t create a pretty picture.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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