Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2012: Potential Breakout Star at Each Position
With the 2012 season nearing, many fantasy baseball owners are trying to pick up on any clues as to which young, late-round picks have the potential to breakout this season.
Fantasy owners know very well that championships are not won in the early rounds of a fantasy baseball draft. It is about how owners can find the diamonds in the rough that nobody is talking about in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft.
This slideshow will point out a young stud at each position that has the potential for a breakout season, and can lead your fantasy team to a championship.
Catcher: Wilson Ramos, WAS
After this young catcher's first full season as a starter, Ramos has proven that he is worthy of being the catcher of the future for the Washington Nationals
Coming up through the minors, Ramos had always been considered one of the top catching prospects. Now with the stability of being an everyday starter, he will really start to blossom this season.
After the all-star break, Wilson hit an above average .288/.342/.471, and he only got better in the month of September when he hit the cover off the ball with triple slash numbers of .358/.434/.582.
Unfortunately, he does not have that much power potential, but Ramos is a great mid to late-round pick for any fantasy team.
1st Base: Ike Davis, NYM
After an injury cut short Ike Davis' season in 2011, he may be one of the most forgotten players this year.
Many forget that Davis started out the season with power numbers ranking among some of the best players in the National League.
At the time of Ike's injury, he had seven home runs and 25 RBIs, which were good for 8th and 5th, respectively in the NL.
He not only hit well for power, but he also had a very solid triple slash line of .302/.383/.543 in his first 36 games.
Davis will probably be the starting first basemen and cleanup hitter for the New York Mets this season. If he can stay healthy, he has the potential to hit 25 plus home runs with 90 plus RBIs to go along with an average around the .300 mark.
He is a great low-risk, high-reward type player late in the draft.
2nd Base: Jason Kipnis, CLE
Despite playing in only 36 games last season, this up-and-coming stud second baseman is on his way to be the everyday starter for the Cleveland Indians this year.
Last season, in only 136 at-bats, Kipnis managed to belt out seven home runs. That gave him a home run in 19.4 percent of his at-bats, which ranked him 16th in that category with players who had a minimum of 150 plate appearances.
Assuming that his .272 batting average, seven home runs and five stolen base numbers will rise with experience in the MLB, Kipnis should be a solid second baseman for any team looking for a steal in the late rounds.
3rd Base: Mike Moustakas, KC
The rise of Eric Hosmer may have caused many fantasy owners to overlook what Mike Moustakas will bring to the improving Kansas City Royals team.
Despite Moustakas' batting average of only .263 from last season, there are some signs that that should go up next year.
In his 338 at-bats from last season, the future star only struck out 51 times. That gives him a low 14 percent strikeout rate, which is great for a young player.
Therefore, Moustakas has a 78 percent ball in play rate, which is great compared to the league average of only 69 percent. What brought Mike's batting average down last season was his below average .296 batting average on balls in play.
One has to assume that if he continues to put the ball in play at such a high rate, then his luck has to improve and he will become a more consistent hitter for the 2012 season.
Shortstop: Dee Gordon, LAD
Most of the other up-and-comers that I have on this list are all guys that will give you a little bit of everything, none of them are necessarily great at just one aspect of the game.
Dee Gordon is the exact opposite of that. He will offer almost no power, but he will eventually become one of the best base stealers in the game.
Last season in only 56 games, Gordon had 24 stolen bases. That was good for second on the team behind superstar Matt Kemp.
If he can continue to put the ball in play as he did last year at an astounding 85 percent, and can continue to get base hits using his speed, then Gordon should have no problem getting more than 50 stolen bases in the 2012 season.
Outfield: Desmond Jennings, TB
After finally solidifying his spot on the Tampa Bay roster, Jennings is ready to have a breakout season.
What Jennings would bring to any fantasy team is a great combination of power and speed.
Despite a batting average of only .259 from last season, the young outfielder still hit 10 home runs to go along with 20 stolen bases in only 63 games.
If Jennings is able to become a starter for a full season, he could easily go for 20-plus bombs and 40-plus stolen bases.
Designated Hitter: Jesus Montero, SEA
In a mere 61 at-bats last season, Montero was on a tear for the New York Yankees. He had a .328 batting average, four home runs and 14 RBI's in his minimal at-bats.
Now a trade that brings Montero to a weak Seattle Mariners team will put him right in the middle of their batting order.
After hitting .308 with 76 home runs in five minor league seasons, it is easy to see that Jesus is a very capable hitter if he is getting a high number of at-bats.
Many people may view Montero as a catcher, but since the Mariners already have Miguel Olivo and John Jaso to play behind the plate, Montero should get to see most of his at-bats in the DH position.
It will be impossible to keep this prospect's bat out of the lineup, so regardless of his position he will still see enough opportunities at the plate to put up great numbers.
Starting Pitcher: Matt Moore, TB
After being a September call-up for the Tampa Bay Rays last season, Moore is quickly becoming one of the most looked at prospects by fantasy owners.
In his three games last season he pitched only 9.1 innings with an ERA of only 2.89 and 15 strikeouts it is easy to see why.
In a must win game for Tampa Bay last season, they put Moore on the mound to play the always potent Yankees for his first career MLB start.
He responded by pitching five great innings, in which he gave up zero runs, four hits and had a fantastic 11 strikeouts.
If his one start from last season is any indication of what is to come, then Matt will be a great mid-round selection this season.
Relief Pitcher: Kenley Jansen, LAD
Kenley Jansen may be the riskiest draft pick on this list, because of the uncertainty of the Dodger's current closer role.
If Jansen can beat out Javy Guerra for the closer role for LA this season, then he should have no problem living up to his potential.
Despite not being the closer last season, Kenley still put up great numbers.
In his 53.2 innings pitched, he had an above average ERA (2.85) and WHIP (1.04) to go along with his amazing strikeout numbers (96). That gave Jansen an outstanding 19.10 K/9 rate.
Watching the Dodgers' race for the closing role would be a wise decision for anyone looking for a late-round steal for a relief pitcher.
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