You know what they say about sleepers in fantasy baseball: They can sneak up on your opponent, carefully whittling away at his or her dignity until there is nothing left.
There is nothing better than beating an opponent who sports big names, with lesser names who have caught fire. Every year, there are bargains to be found when looking for pitching.
Here are some of my top sleeper candidates on the mound for the 2013 season.
Bruce Rondon, RP, Detroit Tigers
The Tigers have stressed that Bruce Rondon is the favorite to win the closer's job this spring. With Phil Coke as the fallback option, that's probably true.
Rondon's numbers in the minors last year (29 saves, 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings) are indicative of the kind of upside the 22-year-old Venezuelan has in 2013. He's a true fireballer who can hit 100 miles per hour on the radar gun, but he also possesses a changeup that has been clocked at 90 miles per hour.
Rondon likely won't give you a great WHIP in his rookie season (he struggles with his command at times), but he could certainly be among the league leaders in saves while posting a high volume of strikeouts.
Vance Worley, SP, Minnesota Twins
Vance Worley posted an 11-3 record with a 3.01 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 131.2 innings pitched in 2011. He had a 3.24 ERA through June last year, but the 25-year-old with electric stuff took a nosedive in July and August.
That could have been because Worley was playing through elbow problems (he underwent elbow surgery in September).
I expect Worley to bounce back in 2013 with a new team. If he can stay healthy, he has the arm and repertoire to be a steal on draft day.
Alexi Ogando, P, Texas Rangers
Alexi Ogando is technically a relief pitcher right now, but he has an opportunity to grab one of two open spots in the Rangers rotation this spring.
Given his repertoire—a fastball in the mid-90s, a dynamic slider and a respectable changeup—it would be a surprise if the 29-year-old doesn't join the Rangers' starting rotation in 2013.
In 29 career starts, Ogando has posted a 3.49 ERA and 1.12 WHIP (17 quality starts). He has the stuff and history to do it again in 2013.
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