Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2013: Late-Round Steals That Will Pay Huge Returns
Looking for a few deep sleepers at your fantasy baseball draft? Well, you've come to the right place, folks.
The following players aren't going to single-handedly win you your league, but adding them in the latter rounds could be a cheap way to get some excellent production. All are players with immense potential, but either a stunted development or an injury have prevented them from fully shining for their teams.
But not this year, folks. This year, these players will shine, and you'll look savvy for stealing them late in your draft.
Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Domonic Brown has major talent, but he was starting to look like a major bust for the Philadelphia Phillies. But this spring, Brown not only looks like he'll earn a starting spot in the outfield, but also looks like he could be a major breakout player for fantasy owners this season.
Brown is a career .236 hitter with 12 home runs and 58 RBI in 147 games over three seasons, but this spring he is raking, hitting .397 with six home runs. In a Phillies lineup that is aging and lacks the pop it had when the team dominated the NL East, Brown could be just what the doctor ordered.
In most leagues Brown isn't even being draft, but he has the potential to hit 20 home runs, steal 20 bases and knock 80 RBI for the Phillies this year. Take a chance on Brown in the later rounds—he's looking like a player about to blow up this season.
Rick Porcello, SP, Detroit Tigers
Truthfully, I probably wouldn't have Porcello on my radar, but it seems quite a few baseball writers are expecting a solid year from the young pitcher—yes, he's only 24—so I've been swayed.
We start with Keith Law (via ESPN Insider):
It's not so much that he's been effective this spring—he hadn't walked a batter in 18-plus innings as of this writing—but that he looks better—throwing a little harder, commanding the ball better up and down and has a little more bite on the breaking ball.
Dave Hunter of ESPN has more:
There are a few signs that lead me to believe Porcello is ready to finally live up to his prospect hype of a few seasons ago, one of which is his improved velocity. Porcello also has increased his K/9 rate and LOB% in recent seasons, which means he's learning how to get out of jams more consistently, which in turn helps lower his ERA.
Alright, fellas, you've convinced me.
Seeing as Porcello has an average draft position of 225.8, you can grab a potential sixth or seventh starter at an absolute bargain. And if he indeed ends up getting traded to the Texas Rangers, a team reportedly interested in the pitcher, he should be a solid source of wins.
Keep an eye on Porcello.
Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Boston Red Sox
With an ADP of 196.3 in ESPN fantasy drafts, Middlebrooks could end up being the steal of your draft.
The young slugger was on a torrid pace last season, hitting .288 with 15 home runs, 54 RBI and 34 runs scored in 75 games before breaking his wrist. And don't worry, folks—his wrist is just fine.
Don't draft Middlebrooks and expect him to hit .290. Draft Middlebrooks and expect him to hit about .265 but knock 25 home runs and 85 RBI. In the 20th round of your draft, that level of production at the third base position is an amazing value.
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