Finding “sleepers” in Fantasy Baseball is even harder than in Fantasy Football. Everyone has the information now, and in Fantasy Baseball, people know exponentially more about prospects. So for this version of 2018 Outfielder Sleepers, remember that it is more about value.
A Sleeper is simply someone that is being undervalued on draft days in most leagues. I am not going to name anyone that is an unknown commodity. Moreover, I am finding players that people know about and are bored of knowing what they can do.
More often than not, outfielder sleepers are going to be players that are nearing or past the age of 30. Anyone that might have a chance at breaking out at a young age is too over-hyped by the prospect-manic portion of Fantasy Baseball owners.
The obsession with finding high ceilings with prospects in Fantasy Baseball leaves gaps in the market for outfielder sleepers like the following players. What most of the outfielder sleepers bring is solid to above average production across multiple statistical categories. So follow our tips for drafting and highlight these five guys on your cheat sheet.
5 Boring Outfield Sleepers
Mitch Haniger, Seattle Mariners – ECR : OF64, 201st Overall
Haniger was set to have his first full season of work last year, but injuries cut him short. He played nearly two-thirds of the season with some solid numbers. Extrapolated over the whole year, he would have had 27 home runs, 98 runs, 79 RBI, 9 Stolen Bases with a .282 average.
Do you know how many outfielders had at least 24 bombs, 10 steals and a .280 average last season? There were two. Mike Trout and Charlie Blackmon, both are Round One picks this year. If he gets anywhere near those marks, it is a great value after pick 200.
I know, he does need to prove he can do it over a whole season. The Mariners have an above-average lineup though. There is more lineup protection than you might think off the bat with Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager and Mike Zunino all hitting 23+ home runs. Then there’s the speed with Jean Segura and newly added Dee Gordon. Haniger will have plenty of opportunity with guys on base and pitchers will have to throw to him.
David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks – ECR : OF68, 207th Overall
Personally, it always feels like the later you are in a Fantasy Baseball draft, the harder it is to find runs scored and a good batting average. David Peralta provides both of those things at an absolute bargain cost.
You will see a trend with these outfielder sleepers: how many guys provide what they do? For example, only eight outfielders in the majors had more runs and a higher batting average than Peralta last season.
Peralta is not terrible in other areas either. He can still get you 15 homers and 10 steals. While those numbers are not going to “wow” you, you have to remember that you are drafting him in the 21st round in a 10-team league. Peralta is what he is: a boring pick that no one will praise you at the draft for, but he will produce in all areas. That, to me, is a great value.
Re: RF fence lowered from 18 feet to 8 feet in Anaheim. https://t.co/K4cj8jIFdw
— Steve Gardner (@SteveAGardner) February 22, 2018
Kole Calhoun, Los Angeles Angels – ECR : OF76, 239th Overall
Kole Calhoun has a three-year average of 82 runs, 21 home runs, over 76 RBI, 4 stolen bases with a .257 batting average. Once again, how many outfielders do you think had more home runs, runs and runs batted in than that average? Just thirteen players.
It is the same old song and dance. There’s nothing that jumps out at you about Calhoun, but he is the type of player that can win you leagues. Would you like his batting average a little higher or for him to run more? Yeah, of course. But if he had those type of numbers then you would have to draft in with one of your first few picks.
He is what he is: an above-average Fantasy Baseball player that you can get as the SEVENTY-SIXTH outfielder off the board. That, to me, is the epitome of one of my outfielder sleepers.
Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins – ECR : OF81, 248th Overall
Whenever I am looking at younger players poised to break out, I like to see a solid, upward trajectory. By solid, I mean reasonable. I don’t want a guy that jumps from a .220 average to .275 the next year. That kind of uptick screams regression.
Kepler had his first full season in the Bigs last year and improved in basically every statistical category. While his counting numbers should be higher due to more at-bats, his average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS all increased as well.
In terms of launch angle, Max Kepler increased his LA avg the most from 2016 to 2017 among those in the Twins lineup.
No reason to stop that progress. pic.twitter.com/KFzhCGB2Pw
— Parker Hageman (@ParkerHageman) February 26, 2018
Kepler showed he could do it in the minors. His last season there he triple-slashed .318/.410/.520. The most promising part of Kepler’s game is the increase in power since getting called up. He had never had more than 10 home runs in the minor leagues but has 17 and 19 in his first two seasons respectively.
Should Kepler continue his upward trajectory and get the speed back he showed in 2015 (19 stolen bases) then all of a sudden you have a Top-20 outfielder.
Mallex Smith, Tampa Bay Rays – ECR : OF100, 327th Overall
For the support of Mallex Smith has one of my outfielder sleepers, I bring to you Exhibit A: Billy Hamilton. Hamilton is seen as a Top-25 Outfielder and a Top-75 overall player in Fantasy Baseball.
We all know what Hamilton is about: single-handedly winning you the stolen bases category. He also chips in a solid amount of runs since he is in scoring position almost every time he is on base.
In Mallex Smith’s last three full seasons (in the minors) he had 64, 88 and 57 stolen bases. He has 34 steals over his first couple of seasons with major league work, which equals about a single full season combined. His stolen base ability might not be the equal of Hamilton, but he is in the tier just below him.
What I am most excited about (besides the team names that might derive from him) is his overall hitting ability. He hit .270 in exactly a full season with the Rays last year. His last two full seasons he hit .310 and .306. Billy Hamilton has never hit better than .260 with the Reds, and only once in the minors did he break .280. Smith has legitimate .300 potential. If you combine that with absolutely elite speed, and he can bring you everything Hamilton does, but with a much cheaper price tag and a better batting average.
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