Everyone loves sleepers, but not everyone can agree on the qualification for one. For this piece, a sleeper hitter is any with an average draft position (ADP) after 180. Thus, they’re available after the 15th round in most 12-team mixed leagues
- Fitz's Positional Primers
- Justin Mason’s Draft Day Cheat Sheet
- Players the Experts Draft
- Latest Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft
Sleeper Hitters (2023 Fantasy Baseball)
Jesse Winker (OF – MIL): 237.8 ADP & 237.4 ECR
Fantasy folks are a fickle bunch. Winker struggled mightily in his only season for the Mariners last year. The left-handed-hitting outfielder broke out the previous year, though. Winker had 77 runs, 24 homers, 71 RBI, one stolen base and a .305/.394/.556 line in 485 plate appearances in 2021 for the Reds.
Sadly, his production cratered for the Mariners. They’ve since shipped him back to the National League Central. Can Winker rebound this year? Maybe. The cost is cheap enough to find out without feeling too much pain if Winker cannot bounce back.
The 29-year-old lefty should get a lift from playing home games at American Family Field this year after calling T-Mobile Park home in 2022. The latter has the fourth-lowest park factor for runs (0.877), and the former is almost precisely neutral (0.999). In addition, Winker’s power will get a pick-me-up. American Family Field has the eighth-highest park factor for homers (1.158), and T-Mobile has the sixth-lowest mark (0.825) for left-handed hitters.
MLB banning the shift is also a win for Winker. Per FanGraphs, he’s a .319 hitter against no shift and a .293 hitter against the shift in his career. However, Winker had an ugly .258 batting average in 324 plate appearances against the shift last season.
Winker should also be healthier this year after offseason knee and neck surgeries. He won’t contribute to stolen bases. Moreover, Winker will likely land on the bench against lefties or struggle if he faces them. Nevertheless, Winker is a low-risk, medium-to-high-upside option after the 200th pick.
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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.