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Fantasy Baseball 2020: Breaking Down Dansby Swanson, Top Infield Sleepers

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 24, 2020

Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson throws to first for the out on St. Louis Cardinals' Kolten Wong during the fourth inning in Game 3 of a National League Division Series baseball game Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Dansby Swanson has increased his offensive production in each of the past three seasons, but he is still considered a fantasy baseball sleeper because of his position in the Atlanta Braves order.

Even if he continues his offensive progress, Swanson will be rightfully overshadowed by Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman and others. Swanson's consistency gives him value in the middle or back end of fantasy drafts as an infield sleeper that could produce above his draft position.

The Pittsburgh Pirates' Kevin Newman may fit into a similar category as Swanson since he achieved success in a handful of offensive categories in 2019. Eric Hosmer, meanwhile, does not have as high splits as he used to, but he will carry value later on in fantasy drafts because of his power.

                             

Top Infield Sleepers

Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta

Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Swanson pushed his home run total from six in 2017 up to 17 last season.

In that three-year span, the Atlanta shortstop has increased his RBI, batting average, slugging percentage and OPS in every season. Even in a shortened campaign, the 26-year-old could be in line for strong numbers if the power hitters above him in the Atlanta lineup reach base on a frequent basis.

The addition of Marcell Ozuna to Acuna, Freeman and Ozzie Albies could also aid Swanson's totals if the outfielder gets on from the cleanup hole and the shortstop bats in the sixth or seventh spot.

Swanson holds an average draft position of 256, per Fantasy Pros, which would put his availability around the 21st round in 12-team leagues.

Although he will not have overpowering numbers, Swanson should benefit from playing on a contending team with a plethora of power bats. Those factors may push Swanson up a few rounds if certain owners value his position on a squad that could top the National League East.

                        

Kevin Newman, 2B/SS, Pittsburgh

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Newman's ability to chip in at most offensive categories and positional availability at second base and shortstop make him an intriguing sleeper selection.

In 2019, the 26-year-old recorded 152 hits, 20 doubles and 12 home runs in 531 plate appearances. His splits of a .308 batting average, .353 on-base percentage, .446 slugging percentage and .800 OPS make him a solid backup to the primary middle infielders on your roster.

Additionally, Newman recorded a batting average over .300 versus three National League Central opponents in 2019. If the MLB adopts a schedule with mostly divisional games, Newman could thrive against the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals again.

With an ADP of 208, Newman should be selected anywhere from the 15th to 18th rounds in 12-team leagues. The Pirates infielder would have even more value in 10-team leagues, wherein having reliable reserves is important to separate from other teams.

                      

Eric Hosmer, 1B, San Diego 

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

The main draw to Hosmer is his power.

The San Diego Padres first baseman has hit at least 20 home runs in three of the previous four seasons, but he comes with drawbacks in a few other categories. Hosmer's run total decreased from 98 with the Kansas City Royals in 2017 to 72 in 2018 and 2019 with the Padres. The 30-year-old also experienced an increase in strikeouts from 104 to 163 during that span.

Those shortcomings will keep his ADP, which is 219, low, but there should still be a place for him on fantasy rosters because of his long ball ability. The left-handed hitter could be used as a utility player or in the starting first baseman role in matchups with right-handed pitchers.

Hosmer hit 21 of his 22 home runs in 2019 off right-handed pitching, and he had significantly higher splits in those situations. With that in mind, Hosmer's best value should be near the 17th to 20th rounds once you have more well-rounded sluggers already in place.

                             

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference.