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This article is part of a series we’re running that’s showcasing the best Fantasy Baseball articles submitted in each round of the 2017 Fantasy Baseball Writing Contest. This article comes from one of the four writers that made it past Round 1 of this three-round battle royal, with the overall winner getting a $200 cash prize!

Football season is almost over and it is time to begin preparing for your Fantasy Baseball drafts.

Each year in Fantasy Baseball many leagues come to down to identifying players that hold or exceed their draft values and avoiding those who will drag down your team by playing below their draft slot.

Identifying the players who are on the cusp of a breakout and those who are due for a regression can be a difficult scenario.

Hopefully these two players will show you some things to look for when researching possible suspects.

2017 Sleeper & Bust

Sleeper

Keon Broxton, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

 

If you are looking for a sleeper to grab late in your draft this year, take a look at Keon Broxton. His current ADP is around 200 and he has the ability to outplay that value this season. A power/speed combination player, he can have a huge impact on your team’s ability to compete in the home run and stolen bases categories. With the reduction in steals across the Major Leagues, it will be critical for you to identify players that can get steals in bunches late in drafts.

The Milwaukee Brewers led the league with 181 steals in 2016. The Brewers beat the second place team by about 42 steals. Craig Counsell has shown an inclination to be aggressive on the basepaths and with his team showing minimal improvements to their offense so far this offseason, they are going to have to work to score runs. Thus, this stolen base trend is likely to continue. Broxton is going to be a large part of this stolen base parade for the Brewers.

After struggling at the start of the 2016 season and a brief demotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs, Broxton stole 21 bases in only 69 games. Broxton broke his wrist in September after crashing into the centerfield wall. He finished the 2016 campaign with a .242/.354/.430 batting line with nine home runs. In addition, Broxton has elite swing speed and hits the ball as hard as anyone in baseball.

Unfortunately, Broxton has some gaudy strikeout numbers. In 244 plate appearances in the Major Leagues, he has 88 strikeouts. He will swing and miss on pitches outside of the zone and he will miss pitches in the zone, but he does not usually get himself out. It is likely that his ability to understand the strike zone will only increase as he gets older. Going into his age 27 season, this strike zone recognition will only improve.

This is a player who has power/speed potential and will play every day in a hitter’s haven (Miller Park). What’s not to like?

 

Bust

Brian Dozier, 2B, Minnesota  Twins

 

Brian Dozier? Yes, that Brian Dozier. Last year he hit 42 home runs and was only one home run short of the Major League record for second baseman. According to Fantasy Pros, Dozier’s 2017 ADP is 30. He has to be a regression monster for the upcoming season.

Dozier will still be a good hitter in 2017, but he sold out for power last season. In 2016, he finished in the Top 5 of qualifiers in pull percentage and fly ball rate according to Fan Graphs. He had career highs in all of his numbers. It is extremely difficult to sustain this type of pace. His HR/FB percentage last season was about 5% more than his previous career high. All of this adds up to his numbers coming back down to typical levels.

Uncertainty regarding his team, his reliance on pulling for the fences, and an unsustainable FB/HR rate combine to make him a concern this season. It makes sense to let someone else in your league take the plunge in the third or fourth round.

 

Capitalizing on the sleepers and watching out for potential busts will help you to stay competitive in your leagues this season. Maybe picking Keon Broxton late and avoiding Brian Dozier’s expensive price tag will increase your chances.

 

 

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