With pitchers and catchers now reporting, it’s safe to say that it’s time to prepare for your upcoming drafts for the 2014 MLB season. Mock drafts are the best way to give yourself some practice and to see who other owners are gravitating towards in these make-believe draft rooms. Meantime we have put together our Sleepers to watch segment; this year by position. We also included Deeper Sleepers for those in leagues of 14 and up. Good luck to you all this season.
Sleeper: 1B Matt Adams-Cardinals- Adams began hitting as soon as he was called up and will play a much more important role with St. Louis this year. Among the 42 first basemen who posted at least 300 plate appearances last season, Adams’ .503 slugging percentage was ranked fifth best. In just 319 at bats last season, Adams belted 17 home runs. If you ever needed to see what the recipe for a sleeper looks like, Adams would be it. With good reason we are expecting the portly Adams to tally around 25 dingers.
Deeper Sleeper: 1B Kyle Blanks-Padres- Between lack of playing time and some injuries, Blanks has not had an adequate platform in which to show off his talents. We’ll classify him as a ‘hold and watch’ until and unless we see his at bats increase to our liking. We do know that he has the power potential with 28 homers in just under 800 ABs which equates to around 23 HRs a year. The Pods also have Seth Smith and Yonder Alonso at first base, so the competition is there- Blanks just needs the opportunity.
Sleeper: 2B Anthony Rendon-Nationals- 2013 was Rendon’s first full year in the majors which proved to be more like a ‘tale of two seasons’ in that he had a relevant first half .301/.352/.460, and then with a series of injuries put up a .234/.310/.340 second half ,(217 plate appearances). His excellent hitting is what made Rendon go 6th overall in the 2011 draft. Go by his first half numbers and cash in on this sleeper.
Deeper Sleeper: 2B Jemile Weeks-Orioles- We’re labeling Weeks as a ‘hold and watch’ until he nabs the starting job in Baltimore. Acquired by the Orioles in December, Weeks can fatten up two stats for you; runs scored and stolen bases.
Sleeper: 3B Matt Dominguez-Astros- The Marlins gave up on the 23-year old who still ended up blasting 20 home runs on the year. In a category that’s one of the more barren ones in fantasy, Dominguez needs to improve on his BA (.241 last year) as he already has the power and defense to join some of the better third basemen in the league.
Deeper Sleeper: 3B Cody Asche- Asche is another player you might consider taking a flier on to start the season. The soon to be 24 year old hit 15 homers and had 11 stolen bases in 2/3 of a season in Triple-A last year and if he performs in Philadelphia this season and keeps the gig even when Maikel Franco is ready, then he could become a viable deeper sleeper.
Sleeper: SS Jody Mercer-Pirates- This sophomore hitter is ready to contribute until he is replaced possibly by top prospect Alen Hanson. Mercer can hit for power, has some speed, and in 365 PA’s batted .285. He will certainly make a top N.L. only deep sleeper.
Deeper Sleeper: SS Xander Bogaerts-Red Sox- Probably better to consider the 21 year old Bogaerts as a Hot Prospect as he very well could end up the season as one of Boston’s top three hitters! If you have some bench room in deeper leagues, don’t pass this stud-to-be by. His initiation into the majors came in 18 games last year in the Red Sox post season against some of the top pitchers in baseball to wit Bogaerts had some excellent at bats holding his own against aces like Max Scherzer Michael Wacha, and Adam Wainwright.
Next up: Catchers and Outfielders