Fantasy Baseball Deep-League Sleepers
My plan was to start the week by writing articles on hitters and pitchers you should target in rounds 20-25 of standard league drafts, then this extreme deep sleepers list later in the week, but the FantasyPros’ team draft takes place tomorrow, so I am not giving away any clues. Instead, today you get my favorite of the articles; a list of players I don’t expect to be drafted until pick No. 400. You see, some of our readers play in 20-team league with 30-player rosters. There are no articles out there helping you brave owners navigate through the gantlet of super-deep league drafts. Let me rephrase that, there were no articles for you. Below, I’ll give you five hitters, five starting pitchers and five relief pitchers that I think will be drafted no earlier than No. 400 that may morph into very strong fantasy players this season. If this type of league isn’t for you, don’t bother drafting these guys, as they will be available via free agency in 100% of standard leagues. It certainly can’t hurt to keep tabs on them, though, so when they begin the breakout, you are a step or two ahead of your competition.
Rafael Montero (NYM) – The Mets absolutely love this guy, yet while everyone always talks about their great young staff, his name never comes up. It is no guarantee that Bartolo Colon is going to hold him off for the fifth spot in the rotation, and if Montero wins it, he will become an immediate pick-up in standard leagues.
Jarrod Parker (OAK) – The 27-year-old has missed most of the last two seasons with severe injuries, but was superb to start his career. There isn’t much win-upside in Oakland, but if he can return to pre-injury form then you’ve got yourself a draft day steal.
Kris Medlen (KC) – In 2012 he carried a 1.57 ERA in 138 innings for the Braves. The next season he posted a 3.11 ERA, then missed 2014 and most of 2015. After finally returning, he pitched respectably for the Royals with a 4.01 in 58 innings. His strikeout rate is not impressive, but the wins and ERA upside are extremely exciting.
Tony Cingrani (CIN) – Yes, he threw out of the bullpen last season, and yes he is supposed to start the season in the bullpen again, but the lefty is quite good and more than capable of winning his job back if he proves healthy and has improved his command. He was lightning in a bottle as a rookie (2.92 ERA with 120 Ks in 104 innings), so we know the talent is there.
Joe Kelly (BOS) – The Red Sox’ No. 5 pitcher is set up to pick up wins in front of that great offense, and let’s not forget that he had a 1.91 ERA in the second-half of 2013, behind only Kershaw, Jose Fernandez, and Zack Greinke. He pumps an upper 90’s fastball and has untapped potential just waiting to breakout.
Rex Brothers (CHC) – The electric lefty says good-bye to Coors Field and hello to a pitching coach that has helped many less-talented relievers blossom into strikeout machines. Brothers had 169 K’s in 136 IP over 2012 and 2013 before dealing with an injury, of which he is now entirely recovered from.
Alex Meyer (MIN) – Entering last season, he was a top-30 prospect. He proceeded to implode, negating his prospect status and forcing a move to the bullpen. That is where the magic started. The 6’9″ fireballer struck out hordes of batters on his way to being called up in September.
Arquimides Caminero (PIT) – This one is really pretty simple: He throws 102 miles per hour, but has had command issues. His pitching coach, Ray Searage, is a real-life wizard. He is in-line to pick up saves if Melancon blows his chance or gets hurt, and should be even better than last season.
Trevor May (MIN) – You may know him from being a decent No. 5 starter for the Twins last year. I know him as the former top-50 prospect who led all minor leaguers in strikeouts one season then went on to post 11.29 K/9 in the second-half after being converted to a reliever, which you may want to note, was better than Familia, Giles, and Rondon in the same time-frame. Glen Perkins is not a great closer, if when he falters, May will be in consideration to steal the job.
Jacob Lindgren (NYY) – Everyone talks about Aroldis Chapman, Delin Betances and Andrew Miller, and for good reason, but the Yankees’ bullpen actually has four stud relievers. Meet the 22-year-old, left-handed rookie that has struck out 77 batters through 46 innings as he blazed through the minors with a 1.74 ERA. The kid is going to be a good one right away.
Oswaldo Arcia (MIN – OF) – He isn’t first on the depth chart at any position, but the 24-year-old lefty oozes with raw power and is eager to take back the job he lost last season. He struggles against lefties but absolutely mashes righties.
Peter Bourjos (PHI – OF) – After having been stuck behind Matt Holliday, Randall Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty, the speedy young outfielder that Albert Pujols once called “very much like Jimmy Edmonds” is finally getting his chance. Steals are hard to come by, but there could be 40 really cheap ones out of this guy.
Jedd Gyorko (STL – 2B/SS/3B) – Moving away from Petco Park is a great start, especially for a power hitter. He will need a Cardinals infielder to go down in order to get playing time, but that seems like a virtual certainty considering how often their players appear on the disabled list.
Jesus Montero (SEA – 1B) – The former top catching prospect is still just 26 years old and dominated Triple-A last season (.355/.398/.569). He has always been a great minor-league hitter but hasn’t put it together on the big stage yet. If he does, he could break out into an all-star overnight.
Jurickson Profar (TEX – SS/2B) – Another former top-five prospect that had a rough start to his career (injuries), Profar still has loads of potential and only one injury or trade preventing him from showcasing his ability. The 23-year-old was once thought to have 20 HR, 30 SB, .300 AVG potential.
Thanks for reading and good luck in your drafts! Make sure to run through a mock draft using Draft Wizard, check out our Expert Consensus Ratings and Zeile Projections to help prepare for your draft. Remember, part two three of the sleepers segment will be released later this week, so keep an eye out if you are in standard leagues.