Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2012: Drew Stubbs and Sleepers Who Will Break out

Eric BallFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 19:   Drew Stubbs #6 of the Cincinnati Reds slides in safely at second base ahead of the tag of Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros during their game on September 19, 2011 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Astros defeated the Reds 3-1.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
John Grieshop/Getty Images

The fantasy draft season is in full swing now (sorry, bad pun), and the name of the game is sleepers.

This year, there are a handful of guys poised to finally have their breakout year after dealing with injuries, mediocre play or a new opportunity.

Here are a few guys that are worth either a late-round selecting or a waiver-wire pickup.

Ike Davis, 1B—New York Mets

Last year, the 24-year-old was off to an incredible start in his first 36 games (.302/.383/.543, seven HR, 25 RBI), with numbers that were among the league’s best in May.

Then he collided with David Wright and injured his ankle. After a ton of setbacks, he didn’t see the field again in 2011.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03:  Carlos Beltran #15 of the New York Mets is congratulated by his teammate Ike Davis #29 after he homers on a line drive to right field in the bottom of the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field on May 3, 2011 i
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Now, at age 25, he is healthy again and is slated to be the cleanup hitter. The Mets offense is going to struggle, but with the shallowness of first basemen depth in the NL and the potential to land a guy capable of hitting 30 home runs, he is too hard to pass up.

Drew Stubbs, CF—Cincinnati Reds

This is a make-or-break year for the 27-year-old.

The strikeout king was second in K rate (30.1) in baseball last year with over 200 Ks. Completely unacceptable.

Dusty Baker knows this and has been forcing his potential leadoff hitter to bunt more in spring training. Despite his affinity for whiffing, he still collected 15 homers, 44 RBI and 40 stolen bases.

The last stat is the key.

Stubbs may be the fastest player in the game, and as long as he’s making contact, he can lead the league in stolen bases. He has power and is hitting in one of the most potent lineups in the NL. As long as he took to heart the advice Baker has given him in the offeseason, Stubbs is going to be an outstanding fantasy player.

Stubbs is a huge risk, but that’s why he’s a sleeper.

Jeff Samardzija, SP—Chicago Cubs

Samardzija is making the transition to starter and has allowed three runs in 10 innings while holding opponents to a .176 average.

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 15: Jeff Samardzija #29 of the Chicago Cubs pitches during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on September 15, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Not bad, but what stands out is the 9:0 K:BB ratio. He is the front-runner to land the final spot in the rotation and is going to be an inning-eater who provides you with an absurd amount of strikeouts.

His fastball is up to 95 MPH, and he has a nasty slider that has proven to be his bread and butter. There aren’t a ton of pitchers to monitor on the woeful Cubbies, which means Samardzija is going to be overlooked.

But make no mistake about it, he has the potential to throw for 180 innings, a 3.00 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP with an outstanding K rate.

Sounds good to me.