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7 Post-Hype Sleepers (2019 Fantasy Baseball)

Feb 15, 2019

Tyler Glasnow’s increase in velocity and high strikeout rate bode well for his 2019 production

Winning a fantasy draft boils down to one thing — getting more production than you paid for. If you get less than what you paid for, your team will be stuck in the cellar. Even if you get exactly what you paid for, your squad would probably be in the middle of the pack. This is why making a profit on your player’s draft cost is so crucial, which makes picking the right sleepers a vital part of every fantasy sport.

This is where the concept of post-hype sleepers plays a key role. These are guys who were once highly-touted prospects, but have largely failed to live up to the hype. As such, they can be had for pennies on the dollar come draft day because fantasy owners have lost faith in them, and at that price, they can be a source of major profit. For example, Blake Snell (69th pitcher ADP, fourth-place finish), Jameson Taillon (73rd pitcher ADP, 22nd-place finish), Tim Anderson (133rd hitter ADP, 64th-place finish), and Stephen Piscotty (163rd hitter ADP, 54th-place finish) all brought in huge returns relative their cost in 2018. To help you identify who this year’s diamonds in the rough could be and give you an edge over your leaguemates, our featured experts have come to shine light on their top post-hype hitters and pitchers for 2019.

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Q1. What one pitcher are you targeting that was heavily hyped in the past and is being slept on this year?

Tyler Glasnow (SP – TB) 
“In parts of three MLB seasons, Glasnow hasn’t quite been able to get his complete dominance in the minors to translate to the majors. However, he showed significant progress last season, making subtle changes to his pitch mix after being dealt to Tampa Bay at the trade deadline. Throwing his 96 mph fastball less frequently made it more effective — and his first-pitch strike rate went from 52% with the Pirates to 65% with the Rays. His 4.27 ERA doesn’t stand out, but Glasnow’s fastball gained a full two mph over 2017 and he held opposing hitters to a .217/.312/.376 slash line, averaging 10.96 strikeouts per nine innings — the best numbers of his career.”
– Steve Gardner (USA Today)

“Looking for this season’s Trevor Bauer? In my estimation, Tyler Glasnow fits the bill. The former top pitching prospect has struggled enough with his command that the Pirates relegated him back to Triple-A and eventually the bullpen. Once he was traded to Tampa, however, Glasnow showed flashes of his true-ace stuff. In the second half, his walk rate plummeted and he surrendered just a .195 batting average. Perhaps more impressive is the fact that he struck out 11 hitters per nine innings, which is the same as Blake Snell and Patrick Corbin and better than Stephen Strasburg and Luis Severino. With a full season, we could be looking at 220+ Ks to go with solid ratios.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Shane Bieber (SP – CLE)
“He’s not going quite as late as Bauers (247), but Bieber’s FantasyPros ADP of 155 (56th among pitchers) is laughable. Much like Justin, Shane had an overwhelming amount of fanboys early in his career after he allowed just two runs in his first three starts (not counting one sub-par May start). And just as with Justin, the Belieber’s are far less vocal these days, perhaps because of his 5.17 ERA in 13 second-half starts. Well, unlike Justin, Shane’s downfall was no fault of his own. His second-half 3.17 xFIP and 25.2% strikeout rate tell a much different story than his 5.17 ERA. He ranked 11th in xFIP, 22nd in strikeout rate, and 10th in walk rate over that time — remarkable stuff for a 23-year-old. With better luck on his league-worst .351 second-half BABIP, Bieber has all the makings of a top-20 starting pitcher.”
– Jacob Gibbs (SportsLine)

Yu Darvish (SP – CHC)
“He blew up in our faces last year, and while I don’t expect a return to true ace-form, Darvish is an arm I’m looking to acquire this year. All reports point to him being totally healthy after a horrible injury-riddled season last year. Darvish could return top=-20 value at starting pitcher, and you don’t have to take him until around pick 150 or so.”
– Michael Waterloo (FantasyPros)

Q2. What one hitter are you targeting that was heavily hyped in the past and is being slept on this year?

Jake Bauers (1B/OF – CLE)
“I wanted to go with Hunter Renfroe here, but I worry about his access to regular plate appearances in a crowded Padres outfield. Instead, I’ll highlight Bauers, who was acquired by the Indians in December and has a chance to hit fourth or fifth in Cleveland’s stacked lineup. His live bat produced a BABIP of .300+ each of the past three years in the minors, a number that fell to just .252 in his first Major League action last year. He was one of just four hitters to post a BABIP of .252 or lower while also maintaining a hard-hit rate north of 40%, which would suggest some positive regression will come in the BABIP and batting average departments. That, plus a valuable spot in the batting order for one of the league’s best offenses makes Bauer one of the best post-hype sleepers available in 2019 drafts.”
– Jacob Gibbs (SportsLine)

Jonathan Villar (2B/SS – BAL)
“Villar was a major disappointment in 2017 after being selected in the third, and even second round of fantasy drafts. As a result, he was an afterthought in 2018, and for the first half of the season, it was a good call. Once Villar was dealt to the Orioles, though, he took off. In those 54 games, he managed eight homers and 21 steals, which over a full season would have been 24 and 64, respectively. Think that type of production is impossible? Rewind to 2016 when he hit 19 with 62 steals and a .285 batting average. Villar still has that ceiling and you can get him in the middle of your drafts this year.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Byron Buxton (OF – MIN) 
“He’s shown flashes of brilliance — such as the second half of 2017 when he hit .300/.347/.546 with 11 home runs and 13 stolen bases. But migraines and a broken toe limited him to 94 plate appearances, a .156 average and no homers with the Twins last year. Still only 25, his elite speed and outstanding defense will keep a now-healthy Buxton in the lineup every day. And that will give his true talent the opportunity to shine. 2017 showed he has 20-homer power, and his 90.2% career stolen base success rate hints at 40-steal potential.”
– Steve Gardner (USA Today)

Ian Happ (3B/OF – CHC)
“Last year, Happ was a top-150 player in drafts. This year, he’s going more than 100 spots later. Now, it’s hard to trust Joe Maddon, but getting that big of a discount on someone with his pedigree a year later is value I’m looking to get. His position flexibility helps too, especially in daily lineup leagues and leagues that reward walks.”
– Michael Waterloo (FantasyPros)

Thank you to the experts for naming their post-hype sleepers. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for more advice all season long.

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