Infield Sleepers (2019 Fantasy Baseball)
Adalberto Mondesi could be the biggest steal in fantasy baseball this season.
Mic drop. Blank stare. Awkwardly picks up the microphone, checks for damage. Proceeds to clarify.
Go ahead and disregard the pun, as I don’t want to convolute the seriousness of that statement. The Kansas City speedster has all the tools to emerge as an absolute fantasy monster in 2019. Sure, he’s being taken somewhere near the fifth round in standard drafts, but I believe he could realistically produce numbers worthy of a second or third round pick.
Cue the dramatic music.
We’ll discuss Mondesi and other infield sleepers in a moment. However, let’s lay some ground rules before I get too far ahead of myself.
This article will examine the best value candidates among infielders. We’ll be constantly utilizing FantasyPros’ convenient “ADP Consensus Board” to reference draft expectations and lurking sleeper candidates. One more note: rounds are decided through standard 12-team leagues and may differ depending on the size of the draft.
Got it? Okay then, let’s get back to the good stuff.
Turns off dramatic music. Trades microphone for a megaphone. Clears throat.
Early Round Sleepers (ADP 60 or less)
- Adalberto Mondesi (SS – KC)
- Eugenio Suarez (3B – CIN)
Mondesi came in like a wrecking ball last season with 14 homers and 32 stolen bases (.276 average) over 275 at-bats. We aren’t expecting the 23-year-old to keep that pace in his first full Major League season, but 20-25 HRs with 40-45 stolen bases is a realistic baseline. The average will probably come down closer to a .250 or .260 level, but guys with legitimate 25/25 potential don’t grow on trees – especially with an ADP of 61. We are talking about upside akin to Javier Baez and Trea Turner while making sacrifices in average and RBIs.
I believe Suarez is a legitimate candidate for 30 HRs and nearly 100 RBIs with a useful .270 average. That pretty much overlaps with his numbers over the past two years, and remaining in an excellent home ballpark doesn’t hurt. Despite that, his ADP rests at 54, which translates to the late fourth or early fifth round for standard leagues. Suarez’s bankable projections are along the same lines (or better) than much earlier draft selections like Anthony Rizzo, Rhys Hoskins, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, and George Springer.
Middle Round Sleepers (ADP 60-120)
Gennett is much like his aforementioned teammate, Suarez. Neither gets much love despite posting consistent production over the past two seasons. I’m expecting Gennett to keep thriving along the same lines as his .310 average, 23 HRs, and 92 RBIs line from 2018. Even if his average dips closer to the .280 mark, I still love him as a promising value with an ADP of 89. That pushes him to the seventh or eighth round of standard drafts.
Abreu is underrated based on his discouraging numbers from last season. However, general inconsistencies while battling through injuries really bogged down the fantasy production. The White Sox slugger should see a strong bounce-back year while returning to full health. Let’s not forget about his old ways of a .285 average with 30 HRs and 100+ RBIs, which is a plausible expectation that represents satisfying value with an ADP of 79.
Mid-Late Round Sleepers (ADP 120-168)
I went into great detail about Moustakas in the “3B Tiers” article on FantasyPros. Here’s another guy with realistic 30 HR and 90-95 RBI potential who is dropping way too late in most drafts. What’s his ADP you ask? It’s currently at 140, which puts him in the 11th or 12th round of standard leagues! He’ll continue to hit for a quality lineup in an excellent home park to keep the pace of previous years.
Muncy was incredible last season with 35 HRs in 481 ABs. He probably won’t come close to that pace, but it’s nice to know he has that level of upside if things fall his way. Having said that, 30 HR isn’t out of the question when considering a full year of work while holding a premium lineup spot in a great Dodgers offense that should inflate his numbers in the run and RBI departments. Moustakas is a better value among third basemen, but Muncy is no slouch as a value sleeper with an ADP of 120.
Late Round Sleepers (ADP 168-240)
Most people forget that Schoop went for 32 HRs and 105 RBIs while hitting .293 in 2017. One full season and two teams later, he finds himself with a 179 ADP that translates to the 15th round of drafts. Perhaps the move to Minnesota can push him closer to his 2017 form. I don’t mind taking a chance on that for such a cheap asking price.
I’m not sure if Castillo is a true sleeper like the other picks in this article, but he represents fine value if you are waiting on a catcher. He’ll enjoy a nice park factor in Chicago while holding 20 HR upside and a solid average (.260-ish) for an otherwise shallow position. Castillo battled injuries that led to a disappointing 2018 campaign, but he will look to bounce-back similar to his aforementioned teammate, Abreu.
I can hardly contain my excitement for Hampson this season. Do what you need to do, calling upon the fantasy spirits to make this happen. Maybe if we send in a collective request, we can override the Rockies’ tendency to screw these things up for fantasy backers.
Hampson is competing for the starting second base job, and he would thrive with across-the-board production (especially steals) if given the chance. So give him the chance! Don’t be afraid to scoop him up as a bench player toward the end of drafts while hoping he emerges as an everyday staple.
Waiver Wire Sleepers (ADP 240 or more)
Tyler White currently has an ADP of 338, which means he’s going undrafted in most leagues. You can either select him as a late-round bench filler or add him to the watch list in shallow formats. Either way, he’s a name to remember heading into this season while looking to build upon a promising 2018 foundation. He hit 12 homers through 210 at-bats with 42 RBIs and a solid .276 average last season, and a regular role within a confident Houston offense should keep him on track.
You don’t always see a genuine 30-HR guy hanging out with an ADP of 272. I’m a little bit nervous about the signing of Marwin Gonzalez for the Twins, so we’ll have to see how the playing time shakes out here. However, Cron is coming off a 28-HR season while upgrading his home park factor and surrounding lineup with the move to Minnesota.
Spencer Limbach is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Spencer, check out his archive and follow him @spencer_jl.