Fantasy Baseball 2021: Ranking Sleepers to Track for MLB Week 2

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 7, 2021

Fantasy Baseball 2021: Ranking Sleepers to Track for MLB Week 2

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Waking up to a fantasy baseball sleeper before the rest of your league does can be enough to turn the tide of a head-to-head matchup in your favor.

    Make this formula a wash-rinse-repeat routine, and you just might your recipe for a fantasy championship.

    Ahead of a busy weekend in baseball, we're here to clue you in on a trio of sleepers—available in 50-plus percent of Yahoo leagues, per FantasyPros—who could steer your club to a Week 2 victory.

Josh Rojas, 2B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks (21 Percent Rostered)

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    A hot spring not only earned Josh Rojas a spot in Arizona's starting lineup, but it also netted him the leadoff role in three of the Diamondbacks' first four games.

    The opportunities haven't yielded production so far—he went 1-for-16 with four strikeouts and two walks in a four-game series against the San Diego Padres—but the baseball gods might be positioning him for success.

    His week starts in the hitter's haven known as Coors Field, where he could pounce on some underwhelming Rockies pitching. Then, he'll head home for a three-game bout with the Cincinnati Reds, avoiding Luis Castillo and potentially feasting on the likes of Jeff Hoffman and Jose De Leon.

    Rojas had a lot of helium this spring. He's about to remind everyone why.

Akil Baddoo, OF, Detroit Tigers (13 Percent Rostered)

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    There are two ways for fantasy managers to treat out-of-nowhere fantasy contributors.

    The more risk-averse members of the crowd can quickly dismiss the sudden success as unsustainable, flash-in-the-pan mirages. But the more daring (and fun) members of the community climb aboard the hype train and ride it until the wheels fall off.

    Care to guess where we stand? Considering Akil Baddoo hadn't played above high Class-A before breaking camp with the Tigers, we're driving said hype train.

    And why wouldn't we be? The former second-round pick who was plucked away from the Minnesota Twins in the Rule 5 draft has electrified the Tigers and tantalized fantasy managers with power-speed potential. He slugged a home run on the first MLB pitch he saw, hit a grand slam and stole a base in his second big-league game and came off of the bench in his third to deliver a walk-off single in his only at-bat.

    "I think one of the things that we talked about him since Day 1 has been his maturity and his calmness and his demeanor," Tigers manager AJ Hinch told reporters. "There's so much to like about him in those moments."

    We can't promise Baddoo will be on your roster for the entire season—or even the rest of the month. But when a heat wave rips through baseball like this, you can either ride it or watch it from the shoreline. Climb on board, folks.

Carlos Rodon, SP, Chicago White Sox (32 Percent Rostered)

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    It's been a while since the fantasy community paid much mind to Carlos Rodon, as injuries and Tommy John surgery limited the southpaw to just 11 appearances (nine starts) over the past two seasons combined.

    But if his first outing of 2021 was any indication, he might be back in a big way.

    Granted, the Seattle Mariners aren't exactly trotting out murderer's row, but the numbers for Rodon are impressive no matter which club they came against. He allowed just two hits and three walks while striking out nine across five innings.

    "He just continues to improve, doesn't he?" White Sox manager Tony La Russa raved. "You remember his first bullpen, to his first batting practice, to his first [spring] game, and now every time he goes out there, he's taking a couple of steps forward."

    Shrewd fantasy managers probably pounced on Rodon early to take advantage of his two-start week, but those who missed out on the first aren't out of luck entirely. He's slated to toe the rubber again on Sunday in a solid home matchup with the Kansas City Royals.