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40 Deep League Fantasy Baseball Sleepers

by Bobby Sylvester | @bobbyfantasypro | Featured Writer
Mar 4, 2020

Brendan McKay has a chance to become a top-30 SP this year

If you play in a league deeper than the standard 12-team mixed league that has about 288 players drafted each season, you’ll need to dig deeper than most articles will point you towards. Most sleeper articles discuss players ranked anywhere from 150 and beyond but today, I’ll be starting outside of the 20th round. In fact, we’ll go as deep as ADP #587. We’ll walk through seven different types of sleepers while breaking down one from each category. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask me on Twitter @BobbyFantasyPro.

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Reliable Veteran Hitters

Avisail Garcia (OF – MIL): ADP #268
You may remember three years back when Garcia was an all-star and batted .330 but even last year he batted .282 with 20 homers and 10 steals despite missing 40 games. Oh, and by the way, he did that with pitcher-friendly Tampa Bay as his home ballpark. Now that he moving to one of the best home parks in the majors, a jump to 30 homers and 15 steals over a full season is well within the realm of possible outcomes. Add in the fact that he is a statcast superstar and a jump to .320 and 35 homers is even possible. At the very least, we are getting a solid average with both power and speed late in drafts.

Bounceback Hitters 

Justin Smoak (1B – MIL): ADP #392
It wasn’t long ago that Smoak broke out to hit 38 homers with a .270 batting average. While that hasn’t quite been his level of on-paper production the last two seasons, his average exit velocity is up, his K-rate is down and his BB-rate is through the roof. In fact, Baseball Savant shows that according to batted ball data, Smoak was the single most unlucky hitter in baseball last year. Based on his quality of contact, the batting average should have been around .255 with a slugging percentage just shy of .500 which is in the same range as Nolan Arenado‘s xSLG. To put it plainly, the dude rakes and just so happens to be moving to a top-tier hitter’s park.

Young Breakout Hitters

Sam Hilliard (OF – COL): ADP #307
Virtually everyone in this range, with the exception of Mazara, has playing time question marks. These are the ideal type of hitters to draft late just in case they do make it into the starting lineup. If they don’t you cut them, but in Hilliard’s case, and many others on the list, if we knew he would be a starter at Coors, we’d be talking about a top 150 pick. After all, between Triple-A and the Bigs last year, Hilliard hit 42 homers with 24 steals. The batting average won’t be ideal, but we are still talking about a serious late-round power/speed threat who would score and drive in a ton of runs as a part of the Rockies’ offense.

Starters With IP Concerns

Josh James (SP/RP – HOU): ADP #339
After breaking out as a prospect to a guy who struck out 171 batters in 114 innings with sparkling ratios, James has proceeded to carve up MLB hitters. He now has 124 Ks in 84 innings with a 1.22 WHIP at the MLB level. He was expected to win a rotation spot last spring, but dealt with a core injury that ultimately forced him into the bullpen. Now that the 5th spot is open again, James has to be the favorite and if he happens to win the role, we could be talking about 200+ strikeouts and a potential ace in 2020.

Young Breakout Starters

Brendan McKay (SP/RP – TB): ADP #271
While we are talking about pitchers who dominated the minors, McKay just so happened to be the top MILB pitcher last season before his MLB debut. He carried a 1.10 ERA with an 0.81 WHIP and 102 Ks in just 73 innings. He struggled to keep the ball in the park in 11 MLB starts but has the dynamite stuff fantasy owners should look when trying to find that next breakout like Shane Bieber or Chris Paddack. McKay had a minor injury concern but is now expected back by opening day and he should be in the rotation most of the season.

Complete Wild Card Starters

Chris Archer (SP – PIT): ADP #290
I know, I know, Archer (and Bundy) have burned you time and time again. But it’s one thing to invest a top 100 pick and see a hyped pitcher flame out. It’s another to draft him as your sixth starting pitcher and take a chance that he returns to the top 30 starters in all of baseball. In fact, that’s just who Archer was towards the end of the year when he finally returned to his Tampa Bay percentages of pitchers of thrown. We know Archer can strike out 250 batters in a season, but he is he stays healthy and true to himself, we could be looking at solid ratios returning as well. This is a low-risk, high-reward investment.

Relievers With Dominant Ratios

James Karinchak (RP – CLE): ADP #377
I’ve got to warn you upfront. What I’m about to type is not safe for work. Karinchak struck out 74 batters in 30 innings last year. You read that right. He struck out 22 batters per 9 innings. Do I really need to type anything else? This monster should be up in Cleveland’s pen all season this year and is the next coming of Betances, only you can get him 250 picks later than we are used to drafting those ratio kings with 100+ strikeouts. And if anything happens to Brad Hand, Karinchak could immediately become the next great closer.

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Bobby Sylvester is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Bobby, check out his archive and follow him @BobbyFantasyPro.

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