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)
Masataka Yoshida (OF – BOS): 183.4 ADP & 201.0 ECR
Projecting players from overseas to MLB is tricky. Yet, the potential for Yoshida to struggle while adjusting to playing in the US and MLB is more than accounted for in his ADP and expert consensus ranking (ECR), creating the potential for the former NPB superstar to generate value for gamers who take a chance on him.
First, according to Sports Info Solutions, Yoshida hit .358 in 53 at-bats with 10 walks against fellow NPB-to-MLB transplant Kodai Senga, supremely talented young hurler Roki Sasaki and former MLB starter Masahiro Tanaka. The left-handed-hitting outfielder also excelled against two of NPB’s Pacific League’s best left-handed relievers over the three previous years. Yoshida’s success against three top-shelf starters and two talented lefty relievers provides optimism about the veteran outfielder succeeding against quality pitching in MLB and fairing well in same-handed matchups.
Second, Adam Jones, the former big leaguer and Yoshida’s teammate had high praise for Yoshida’s approach. The approach was successful. According to Baseball-Reference, Yoshida had more walks (427) than strikeouts (307), clubbed 135 homers and slashed .327/.421/.539 in 3,189 plate appearances in seven seasons in NPB.
Thankfully, Yoshida can benefit from his home park and where the Red Sox plan to slot him in the lineup. According to our MLB park factors, Fenway Park has the third-highest park factor for runs (1.210) and enhances homers (1.095), singles (1.116), doubles (1.298) and triples (1.643). And the Red Sox project to hit Yoshida in the cleanup spot to split up lefties Rafael Devers and Yoshida while allowing Devers to remain in the second spot in the order. Calling a hitter-friendly ballpark home and hitting cleanup are reasons enough to roll the dice on Yoshida a round ahead of his ADP. Finally, his Zeile projection of 67 runs, 16 homers, 67 RBI, four stolen bases, a .291 batting average and a .362 OBP is a tasty cherry on top.
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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.