Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2012: Late-Round Gems Who'll Save Your Team
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Fantasy owners who missed out on Jose Bautista and other monster bats need not worry—James Loney and more will still be available to add some seriously underrated pop to your lineup.
Each year, participants look for steals. The expectation is that these late-rounders produce just enough to suffice.
The players on this list will do more than that.
They're that final piece—the one that transitions your squad from middle of the pack to top dog.
Best of all, you can sneak them late.
James Loney, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Loney is consistent for a .288 batting average, 160 hits, 12 home runs and 85 RBI.
These aren't bad stats at all.
Loney turns 28 this season, so he's now in the thick of his prime.
That being said, there are no more excuses for Loney not to burst through the ceiling he's made for himself.
The Dodgers' financial situation has been solved. He's surrounded by talented players such as Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. He's playing in a contract year.
Loney is entering his seventh season in the majors. Look for him to produce his best season to date.
Projected 2012 stats: .292 BA, 179 hits, 19 HR, 94 RBI.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
In just 48 games last season, Goldschmidt hit a respectable .250.
More impressively, he hit eight home runs and 26 RBI in the same span.
Furthermore, most of his production came late in the season, helping the Diamondbacks over the hump and into playoffs.
In four playoff games in 2011, he hit .438 with two home runs and six RBI.
Look for Goldschmidt, only 24 years old, to enter 2012 still hot.
His confidence is already high from last year and now he's surrounded by an upgraded offense and pitching staff.
Goldschmidt will definitely be around late for you to steal.
Projected 2012 stats: .282 BA, 158 hits, 23 HR, 85 RBI.
Lucas Duda, RF, New York Mets
In just over half a season, Duda hit .292 with 88 hits, 10 home runs and 50 RBI.
He has the consistency to put up similar numbers in the same amount of games.
Duda will be a full-time starter in 2012, so all of his stats should rise with near 162 games.
One scouting report compares Duda's production to that of Aubrey Huff, Raul Ibanez and fellow sleeper candidate Brennan Boesch.
With mumblings of David Wright possibly on the move, Duda may be forced into being "the guy" for the Mets.
For Duda, that'll be even better.
Projected 2012 stats: .285 BA, 141 hits, 18 HR, 88 RBI.
Colby Rasmus, CF, Toronto Blue Jays
Rasmus is a consistent hitter who is only getting better with age.
Lucky for fantasy owners, he's only 25 years old. His production should continue to rise.
In 35 games with the Blue Jays last season, Rasmus hardly dazzled.
But coming over late in the season from the eventual World Series champions to an out of contention AL East team could plague anyone's season with letdown.
2012 is Rasmus' time to shine.
The Blue Jays are poised to surprise many this year.
The team has patiently put together a young team of studs who can compete with the best. The addition of another wild-card spot helps those chances too.
Surrounded by talent, the expectation is that Rasmus will contribute at a high level.
He's shown he can do it.
In his best season at 23 years old, he hit .276 with 23 home runs, 66 RBI and 12 stolen bases. Look for Rasmus to produce similar, if not, better numbers in every category this season.
Projected 2012 stats: .279 BA, 152 hits, 19 HR, 79 RBI.
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