Fantasy Baseball sleepers have the ability to make or break your team, let’s face it. But finding that “diamond in the rough” isn’t as easy as just reading a bunch of columns and going after the player in your draft. It takes time, research and a little common sense—you don’t want to be that guy who simply looks at a team’s roster and decides that an unknown player is going to become a sleeper.
A sleeper is defined as a player who is not necessarily expected to have a significant impact in fantasy, but is speculated to surprise everyone: sort of like Jose Bautista in 2010.
Well just as Bautista took the majors by storm last year with his 54 homeruns and 124 RBI—a feat he will not duplicate by the way—another player is on the cusp of being that “diamond on the mound”.
His name is Mike Minor of the Atlanta Braves.
At first glance, Mike Minor’s fantasy baseball value seems to be more of a risky venture, than a wise investment. Last year’s numbers were no better than average (3-2 with a 5.98 ERA and a 43/11 K/BB ratio in 40.2 IP), and there isn’t even a guarantee he’ll make the roster this spring. His current ADP is 296.76.
So why draft the guy in the very back of your draft, let alone label him a sleeper?
For starters, Mike Minor is expected to win the job for the fifth spot on the roster behind his arsenal of pitches, despite that lack of a guarantee. What he throws and how he throws it has been his bread and butter since his first day on the mound in Georgia for the Rome Braves. Mike Minor knows how to make batters swing and miss, which is backed by his 163 SO (10.9 K/9) in the minors—his full stat line can be viewed below.1
His main pitch is his fastball, which maintained a mid-90 range nearly all season long, while his plus pitch was the change-up, followed by his out pitch or "compliment" pitch: the curveball. He can throw his FB and CU for strikes, but even Mike Minor himself admits he has to work on his third pitch a bit, in order for it to be more effective.
The knock on Minor was his late season bout with fatigue, but to be fair, the bigs are different from the minors so it was to be expected from a rookie. In addition, it was that late-season fatigue that was said to contribute to that inflated ERA—ironically enough, he still finished with 4:1 strike to ball ratio.
In addition to the aforementioned, Mike Minor’s peripherals were just too good to keep him in the minors for more than two years, and despite his pedestrian major league numbers from 2010—albeit a bit misleading—there is nothing but upside for a youngster who can throw three very difficult pitches, command the mound with intelligence and provide quality fantasy numbers.
All in all, Mike Minor is a guy who you will find in the back end of your draft, as well as a guy who you could easily get away spending two or three bucks for in your auction draft. He’s perfect for mixed leagues, NL only formats and especially Dynasty and Keeper leagues.
Oh, and did I mention he’s a bona-certified 2011 fantasy baseball sleeper?
Mike Minor Stats, Information, and Projections:
- 1AA Numbers: 3.84 ERA and a 3.16 FIP in 82 innings – 3.51 BB/9 and 11.3 K/9 – left-on-base percentage of 63.9% ERA was slightly high, but he was able to keep the ball home.
- AAA Numbers: 1.89 ERA and a 2.45 FIP in 33.1 IP (2010) – .242 BABiP not a bad sample size – 3.24 BB/9 and 9.99 K/9 – Only one homerun allowed over 33+ plus innings.
2011 Projected Numbers:
Accolades and Additional Information:
- 2007 Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American
- 2007 Rivals.com Freshman All-American
- 2007 SEC All-Freshman Team
- 2007 SEBaseball.com SEC Freshman of the Year
- 2007 SEBaseball.com Second Team All-SEC
- 2008 Best pitcher Haarlem Baseball Week
- 2009 Louisville Slugger Second Team Pre-season All-American 
- 2009 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Second Team Pre-season All-America Team 
- 2009 SEC Pitcher of the Week – Week 8
Current ADP results are provided by our friends at MockDraftCentral.com.