For fantasy baseball owners, Opening Day means excitement, hope and, of course, more than a few surprises.
Due to injuries, trades, cuts and performance, a Major League Baseball team's expectations—and roster—can change quite a bit from the start of spring training in mid-February to the tail end of March when the very first games that count begin.
As spring training was winding down and the final few exhibition contests were playing out, the vast majority of owners already had completed their drafts. That doesn't mean, however, that they should simply stop keeping tabs on every little transaction as a way to get a jump on some players who unexpectedly earned spots on the 30 different 25-man rosters at the last minute.
That's where the surprises come in, players who weren't on many—or even any—owners' radars but then parlayed a big March into a spot on their (real-life) team's roster. Several such players could wind up having more than a minor impact on the 2014 fantasy landscape. The trick? Identifying them early and adding them to your roster—before your leaguemates do.
That said, many of the names to follow may not be of much help in shallow leagues (i.e., 10- or 12-team mixed) unless that sweet nexus of unforeseen opportunity and underrated talent intersects just so. But for owners in 14-plus-team formats or single-league play, well, this one's for you.
If you're as excited about the possibility of beating your fellow owners to the punch as you are that baseball is back, click through as we unveil a batch of Opening Day roster surprises who just might go from sleepers to keepers.