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Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2012: Late-Round Gems Who Will Lift Teams to a Title

ST PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 23:  Pitcher Brandon Morrow #23 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on September 23, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2012

After building the foundation of your fantasy baseball team, it's important to enter the later rounds with a list of targets to consider. If you just take a random player off the cheat sheet, more often than not you'll be disappointed with the results.

Let's take a look at three sleepers who should be available late in most drafts that will provide terrific value based on draft position.

 

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 05:  Emilio Bonifacio #1 of the Florida Marlins hits during a game against the New York Mets at Sun Life Stadium on September 5, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Emilio Bonifacio

Bonifacio stole 32 bases over the final three months of last season following a slow start. One of the biggest reasons for that major jump was increased patience at the plate, which allowed him to get on base more often. That's the most important factor for a player whose best attribute is speed.

As long as his plate discipline continues to improve, there's nothing holding him back from reaching 50 steals. There aren't many late-round selections providing that type of production, even if he doesn't contribute to the power categories.

The Miami Marlins speedster also has eligibility at multiple positions, including a weakened third base spot, which only gives owners more reason to draft him.

 

Brandon Morrow

Heading into last season, few pitchers were generating more hype than Morrow because of his ridiculous strikeout potential. Even though the Toronto Blue Jays star did strike out hitters at an impressive rate, his ERA lagged behind and caused many owners to sour on him.

There were some positive signs, though. His walk rate decreased by half a batter per nine, which proves he's finally learning to pitch instead of just throwing it hard and hoping to get strikeouts. He also suffered some bad luck in terms of a low left-on-base percentage.

It all adds up to a potential breakout season for Morrow. He's slowly but surely putting everything together and has a great chance to match the hype from last year.

 

MESA, AZ - MARCH 8: Jesus Montero #63 of the Seattle Mariners bats during the game against the Chicago Cubs at HoHoKam Stadium on March 8, 2012 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
Rob Tringali/Getty Images

Jesus Montero

Montero was the marquee piece the Seattle Mariners received after trading Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees. It's too early to make a call on the deal, but the early edge goes to Seattle. Montero has been tearing the cover off the ball in spring training while Pineda has been struggling.

He's always been able to hit, no matter what level he was playing at, but his defense has held him back. While there are legitimate concerns about his ability to be a catcher over the long haul, all owners need to worry about is finding a spot in the lineup, which Montero has locked up.

He'll only be eligible for the utility spot for a while, but he should eventually earn catcher status in most leagues. At that point, his value will skyrocket because he's capable of hitting .285 with 25 home runs.

 

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