Fantasy Baseball Late-Round Sleepers Who Can Win You a Title
We all clamor for them. We all want to be the guy that snagged a Trout, (Mike that is), in the 15th round to brag to all of our buddies around the water cooler in the office.
The 2013 season is loaded with potential sleepers that could ultimately decide whether or not you win your fantasy league. The key to success is a deep team, as there is very little chance of winning without hitting on a couple of late-round steals.
Here is a group of players that for one reason or another should come out of the woodwork in 2013 and make their owners very proud.
The 22-year-old immensely talented catcher of the Kansas City Royals could have easily been on this list last season if not for a knee injury in spring training. Salvador Perez missed the first half of the season.
Upon returning, Perez flashed an elite bat from the catcher's position. He has a smooth and powerful stroke from the right side that projects well over the course of the season.
Perez hit .301 last season with some pop, smacking 11 bombs in only 76 games behind the plate. More amazingly, in those 76 games, he had a measly 27 strikeouts. Very rarely do hitters his age show that type of plate discipline.
In 2013, Perez has elite catcher potential. It should not come as a surprise to see him knock out 20 homers and 85-plus RBI. If he can continue to avoids strikeouts like the plague, it is conceivable that his average could stay around .300 as well. He is well worth the risk in the later rounds of your draft.
The Chicago Cubs' first baseman is oozing with potential. He burst onto the scene midway through last season and put up strong numbers over the second half of the season.
At the ripe age of 23, Anthony Rizzo is ready to take the league by storm. He is being overlooked at a position loaded with talent, so Rizzo is definitely worth targeting late in the draft to solidify the first base or DH position on your roster.
Rizzo easily has the capability to put up 30 homers and 90 RBI. With questionable protection around him in the Chicago lineup, his upside is limited. However, he would be a great late-round addition without much risk involved.
Josh Rutledge came up big down the stretch for an irrelevant Rockies team in 2012. He replaced an oft-injured Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop for 73 games, and he made the most of it.
He put up 20 doubles, five triples, eight long balls, 37 RBI and seven steals in his short time last year. Extrapolated over an entire season, those numbers would have been elite for middle infielders in fantasy.
With the second base job seemingly his to lose, Rutledge heads into camp at age 23 ready to roll. He got his feet wet last season, and if he can keep his strikeouts to a reasonable amount, he could be in for a huge season. His elite second base value in the later rounds is something to keep an eye on.
The 20-year-old former third overall pick by the Orioles received his early call-up last season and took over at third base for Baltimore in their spirited run toward the playoffs.
Manny Machado got hot down the stretch to give the O's a little boost that they needed. His overwhelming potential is blatant, as he showed early on his propensity to deliver big hits.
The Miami native has superstar ability that fantasy owners would love to see him put on display this season. The third base position has seen better years, so Machado is worth the look. In a deep lineup full of protection for the youngster, he will not be under tons of pressure. A .280-20-75 season out of Machado is more than reasonable.
This is a risky one. But with great risk, comes great reward.
The Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop struggled tremendously in 2012, hitting .228 after a solid .304 campaign during his brief rookie season. While a revert back to his promising 2011 form is iffy, Dee Gordon is worth the risk.
Gordon might be the fastest man in the major leagues at this time. Even with his paltry average and sub-.300 on-base percentage, Gordon still managed to swipe 32 bags in only 87 games.
If Gordon can get his average back up, his numbers stand to skyrocket. Hitting in front of the likes of Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez, Gordon could easily amass over 50 steals and 100 runs scored. The shortstop needs to grab hold of that starting position and run rampant with it. Owners will be glad they took a late-round flier on him.
The crown jewel of the New York Mets' minor league system arrived in a big way last season.
Matt Harvey made 10 starts in the second half for the Mets and showed exactly why the front office was so high on him. He racked up 70 strikeouts in 59.1 innings with a minuscule 2.73 ERA. Harvey gave up three runs or less in nine of his 10 starts.
With huge strikeout potential and no Strasburg-like innings limit on his prized right arm, Harvey should pose a legitimate threat to become the ace of this staff as soon as this year. Pitching in the cavernous Citi Field will only help his numbers, as he was even better with a 1.88 ERA in his short stint with the big club last season.
Owners should target Harvey as a sleeper with monumental potential this season. With the Mets' staff full of question marks, Harvey will be relied upon heavily and owners should look to reap the benefits of his filthy stuff.
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