One of my major tenets when drafting a team is to generally avoid deeper positions like the outfield or first base early in the draft.
I know I can get really good value at first base in the fourth or fifth round and even later down the draft board in the outfield, but I'll struggle to find value at shortstop, catcher or second base if I wait too long. Thus, in my draft preparations I'm always looking for deep sleepers at the outfield position.
This year, I've found a few guys in the outfield and at first base worth taking a chance on in the later rounds. These aren't guys you should expect to plug-and-play immediately, but rather investments or depth moves if you find yourself in a deeper league.
Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Domonic Brown has long been "the future" of the Phillies, but until this spring has been a pretty major bust every time he's gotten playing time in the big leagues.
In 25 spring games this year, Brown is hitting .373 with seven home runs, 17 RBI and 24 runs scored. He's locked down a spot in the Phillies outfield at this point and should find himself hitting sixth in the lineup come Opening Day.
Brown has the ability to hit for average, bash 20 home runs and 85 RBI, score 80 runs and steal 20 bases. I'm not saying he'll reach those marks this year, but he has that potential. He's definitely worth a late-round gamble.
Adam Eaton, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
I know, I know, he's going to be out two months with a sprained left elbow. But Eaton still might be worth a last-round stash play, even if he starts the season on the disabled list.
Still, Eaton had a big spring (.390 with two home runs, 10 RBI, 12 runs scored and three stolen bases) and when he returns will hit atop the Diamondbacks' order. He looks like a guy that should help owners in average, runs and stolen bases, and may still be a candidate for Rookie of the Year.
Don't sleep on Eaton. He's definitely worth your final selection.
Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants
The talent has always been apparent for Belt, but the results at the big-league level haven't come. However, now that he looks like he'll be the everyday first basemen for the Giants, this is the season to add him to your squad in the later rounds.
He's certainly been raking in the spring, hitting .453 with seven home runs, 18 RBI and 13 runs scored.
Belt will definitely help you in the average (or on-base percentage, if that's what your league uses) department, and if he can translate the power he's shown this spring and in the minors to the regular season, he could be one of this year's biggest sleepers.
Chris Carter, OF, Houston Astros
Houston's Chris Carter is one of the more intriguing deep sleepers for fantasy owners this year. And yes, he's a very deep sleeper.
The 26-year-old bashed 16 home runs and 39 RBI in 67 games for the Oakland Athletics last season—don't get too excited, he also hit just .239—and after being traded to the Astros this offseason, he should get regular playing time in left outfield and at designated hitter.
Carter won't help you in most categories, but he could be a guy that comes out of nowhere to hit 25 home runs and add 80 RBI. If you find yourself lacking power in your lineup at the draft, add Carter in the last round and stash him for his home run potential.
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