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11 Deep Sleepers (Fantasy Baseball)

Mar 25, 2021

Jarred Kelenic, John Means, and Aaron Hicks are just a few names you’ll repeatedly see across the web when searching for your favorite sleepers. These guys are touted so often, though, that they may no longer be true sleepers. Hicks’ average draft position has risen by roughly two rounds in just the last two weeks alone.

With baseball returning in exactly one week, now’s the time for us to go a little deeper and focus solely on players you’ll find outside the first 20 rounds. Any one of these late-round targets recommended by our featured experts, whether they’re drafted in your league or not, has the upside to provide significantly more production than their price would suggest. The odds of them reaching their upside is low given their (almost free) draft cost, but they’re worth grabbing or watching early on just in case their potential is realized out of the gate.

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Q1. Who is the one hitter outside the top 150 in hitter ADP you are targeting as a deep sleeper on all your teams and why?

Myles Straw (SS/OF – HOU): ADP – H187 | 315th Overall
“There are a bunch of really intriguing names outside the top 150, but I find myself frequently gravitating toward Straw. All the discussion has focused on whether he will bat leadoff for the Astros but all I care about is that he will play, and that is not in doubt. Straw stole 72 bases in 140 games in 2018, 27 bases in 122 games in 2019, and six bases in 33 games in 2020, and he ranks in the 91st percentile in sprint speed. When he gets on base, he runs, and there really isn’t any threat to his playing time. Even if he bats eighth or ninth, he should steal 35-40 bases over the course of a full season. After years of pushing Billy Hamilton much higher in ADP than he deserved, I’m happy to scoop up Straw late in every draft.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Austin Hays (OF – BAL): ADP – H167 | 277th Overall
“I’m still a big Hays fan. This guy plays hard and it shows when he is healthy. Last season he struggled before getting injured, hitting just .203/.272/.246. When he returned, he finished strong, hitting .377/.404/.585 with three HRs and 12 runs scored. He may not start the season hitting atop the lineup due to Cedric Mullins likely winning the job, but talent should win out here and he will be far better than his ADP.”
– Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)

Jonathan Schoop (2B – DET): ADP – H195 | 331st Overall
“Schoop is the clear answer here. The second base position is an absolute atrocity and he is a forgotten man on a rebuilding Detroit squad. Schoop put together a strong .278/.324/.475 season in 2020 and has everyday playing time locked up, unlike many of the other offensive options available beyond pick 330. This is 20 homers in the bank. Don’t overthink it.”
– Wayne Bretsky (BretskyBall)

Willi Castro (3B/SS – DET): ADP – H155| 250th Overall
“Castro is a deep league hitter that I am targeting everywhere. In a 140 plate appearance sample last season, he slashed .349/.381/.550 with six home runs. He made some mechanical adjustments at the plate that led to change. He looks to have added some power this spring and his upside could be 20 home runs and 10 stolen bases.”
– Chris Clegg (Fantrax)

Ty France (2B/3B/DH – SEA): ADP – H172 | 286th Overall
“France of the Mariners has slugged his way into the team’s plans and should receive everyday at-bats. This spring, his .385/.455/.846 slash, five HRs, and 10 RBIs have opened a lot of eyes. His .860 OPS in the minors suggests he’s not a fluke. France has legit pop, solid OBP skills, and multi-position eligibility.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Garrett Hampson (2B/OF – COL): ADP – H171 | 283rd Overall
“Hampson is someone I will be targeting in the later rounds. He has dual-position eligibility and should see everyday at-bats in the league’s most hitter-friendly ballpark. Hampson has had a strong spring so far, hitting .310 with four RBI and four stolen bases across 42 at-bats. With speed being a premium, Hampson has the ability to hit 15-20 HRs and steal 25-30 bags over the course of a full season. He has an ADP of 171, which is a steal for a player who could finally break out in 2021.”
– Brad Camara (FantasyPros)

Q2. Who is the one starting pitcher outside the top 70 in starting pitcher ADP you are targeting as a deep sleeper on all your teams and why?

Freddy Peralta (MIL): ADP – SP93 | 304th Overall
“Peralta continues to compete for the Brewers’ fifth rotation spot, and while he can provide nice value as a high-K reliever, it’s Freddy Peralta the starter that I am trying to add in the end on draft day. His dominating 28.0 K-BB% rate primarily came in relief in 2020, but he was effective in 14 starts in 2018 before falling into a swing-man role the following year. Peralta has been solid in spring training (15:3 K:BB ratio in 8.1 innings), and if he does indeed get that fifth starter job, this is a very exciting arm available outside the top-300 selections on draft day.”
– Wayne Bretsky (BretskyBall)

“The Brewers’ Freddy Peralta has been working out all spring as a starter and has been downright filthy. With 15/3 K/BB and just one ER (on a solo HR) in eight spring innings, he has made his case for a rotation spot. Even if he starts in the pen, he’s a good bet for 15 starts this year regardless and offers dual SP/RP eligibility. That can be huge in deep leagues with mandatory RP slots.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Elieser Hernandez (MIA): ADP – SP77 | 256th Overall
“I love all the Marlins’ pitchers this year, but the only one that can be had at a true discount is Hernandez. Last season, he lowered his ERA to 3.16, his WHIP to 1.01, and his walk rate to just 4.7%. Although he upped his strikeout rate to an excellent 32.1%, he had trouble going deep into the game, which is why he spent time working more on his changeup this offseason. The pitch has gotten excellent reviews during Hernandez’s solid spring, and if it is a reliable weapon for him all year, he can easily develop into a reliable SP3.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Matthew Boyd (DET): ADP – SP86 | 279th Overall
“Call me crazy, but I’m actually buying into Boyd again. I know he was awful last season, but I’m throwing that away since he was dealing with a hamstring injury. I’m optimistic that he will find his slider again and we will see something close to the Boyd from 2019. If his spring training is any indication, it’s already happening. He currently has allowed just three ERs in 13 IPs, while striking out 13 batters. This is also with an Opponent Quality rating of 8.9 out of 10 per Baseball Reference, which is one of the highest of all pitchers this spring.”
– Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)

Trevor Rogers (MIA): ADP – SP139 | 457th Overall
“Rogers is a deep sleeper I am targeting everywhere. He made his debut last season but struggled, posting a 6.11 ERA. Rogers has great command and the arsenal to be successful. His fastball velocity has gotten up to 97 MPH this spring and his strikeout rate has been impressive. I am all aboard the Trevor Rogers breakout train and you should be too.”
– Chris Clegg (Fantrax)

Jordan Montgomery (NYY): ADP – SP71 | 235th Overall
“Montgomery is a starting pitcher I have been touting in previous collaborations. He was unlucky last season and his 5.11 ERA wasn’t as bad as it seemed. The 28-year-old avoided hard contact and posted a SIERA of 3.84, which was well below his ERA in 2020. He owned an impressive 5.22 K:BB and his 3.65 xFIP was second among all Yankees starters. Montgomery should be able to rack up wins and quality starts for a loaded Yankees team and keep his ratios down despite pitching half the time at hitter-friendly Yankees Stadium. I believe Montgomery is a bargain at his current ADP and someone I will be targeting in upcoming drafts.”
– Brad Camara (FantasyPros)

Thank you to the experts for their deep sleepers. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more advice all season and check out our latest podcast below.

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