Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2014: Identifying Players Who Need to Be on Your Team

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIMarch 29, 2014

Boston Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts watches his two-run home run during the sixth inning of an exhibition baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, March 5, 2014, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson

The best fantasy baseball owners are the ones who scour rosters to find the best under-the-radar talent.

Everyone can pick Miguel Cabrera, but it's the ones who picked Chris Davis last year that are true fantasy geniuses.

This year is no different. Finding sleepers is paramount if you want to win your league.

So who are the fantasy baseball sleepers in 2014 that absolutely need to be on your team? We'll break them down below:

Fantasy Baseball Sleepers
Travis d'ArnaudCatcherNew York Mets
Matt AdamsFirst BaseSt. Louis Cardinals
Jedd GyorkoSecond BaseSan Diego Padres
Xander BogaertsShortstopBoston Red Sox
Brett LawrieThird BaseToronto Blue Jays
Kole CalhounOutfieldLos Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Christian YelichOutfieldMiami Marlins
Dustin AckleyOutfieldSeattle Mariners
Danny SalazarStarting PitcherCleveland Indians
Tyson RossStarting PitcherSan Diego Padres
Nate JonesRelief PitcherChicago White Sox
David RobertsonRelief PitcherNew York Yankees
Jeremy Fuchs


Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox

Gerald Herbert

Xander Bogaerts brings plenty of playoff experience into his rookie season.

In 12 postseason games, Bogaerts batted .296 with an impressive .412 on-base percentage.

Those around the Red Sox think Bogaerts is going to be an immediate star. As Adam Kaufman of the Boston Globe wrote:

Will he be as good as the still-waiting-to-be-signed Stephen Drew on defense? Unlikely. With the bat? Without question. Save for a serious injury derailing his season, this future, perennial All-Star will be the AL’s Rookie of the Year in 2014. He demonstrated a calm, cool, and collected nature when inserted for Will Middlebrooks in last year’s postseason and was completely unfazed by the astronomical pressure.

Bogaerts is going to be a force for the Sox. The only question is whether or not he will face some rookie growing pains.

It's certainly possible, but he's too talented to pass up. Draft him in the middle rounds and watch him become a mainstay of your team.


Kole Calhoun, OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Ross D. Franklin

Batting in front of Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols is a good way to score a lot of runs.

That's why Kole Calhoun needs to be on your fantasy radar.

The rookie outfielder shined in a brief call-up last season, batting .407 with four home runs in eight games and 27 at-bats.

"He has a short, compact swing, plays good defense, and he competes," Mike Trout told Eric Karabell of played with him through the minor leagues and know what he's capable of doing. Right now I think he's leading off. He works hard and is ready to go." 

All Calhoun has to do is get on base. Luckily for the Angels, he's pretty good at that. In Triple-A last season, Calhoun had a .431 OBP. He also batted .282. 

Calhoun has shown the ability to get on base, and given that the Angels score a lot of runs—last season they ranked seventh in runs scored, and that's with down years by Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols—Calhoun will cross home plate a lot.

He's a solid bench outfielder for your team. Don't be afraid to use a late-round pick on him.


Danny Salazar, SP, Cleveland Indians

Paul Sancya

The Indians must think highly of Danny Salazar if they are willing to make him their starter for their home opener:

But given his talent, it's not too surprising. As Jonah Keri of Grantland wrote:

Salazar’s inclusion shouldn’t be a surprise after last week’s offseason edition of The 30, in which I drooled over his filthy fastball-slider-changeup arsenal and the 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk rate he posted last season in his first 10 major league starts. He’s talented enough to make a Cy Young run, maybe even as soon as this year. And while individual talent is more important than teammate contributions, Carlos Santana’s move from catcher to third base could have a hugely positive impact on Salazar and the rest of Cleveland’s pitchers.

Salazar can reach 100 MPH and will be the fourth starter on the Indians, a team that is a legitimate contender for the playoffs. It would not be surprising to see Salazar reach 15 wins. He also has an outside shot of reaching 200 strikeouts. 

If you can get him, you must pounce on Salazar. The only limit on him is a potential innings count. But that shouldn't be too much of a concern. He's too good to ignore.