Fantasy Baseball 2021: Highlighting Top Sleepers for MLB Week 20

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 4, 2021

Fantasy Baseball 2021: Highlighting Top Sleepers for MLB Week 20

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    The fantasy baseball community can be slow to wake up to a sleeper.

    A week ago, Joey Votto was rostered in fewer than half of ESPN leagues. He finally forced (almost) everyone's hands by blasting nine homers in a seven-game stretch, but even before then, he was hitting .297 with a .401 on-base percentage and 14 extra-base hits in 39 games since returning from the IL.

    The 37-year-old should be universally rostered. He somehow still isn't and wasn't anywhere close to that just a short time ago.

    The rise in rostership takes him out of discussion for this exercise, which focuses only on sleepers who are available in 40-plus percent of Yahoo leagues (via FantasyPros).

    But he's a great example of why you should act swiftly and decisively on the waiver wire. Had you pounced on Votto once he clearly deserved it, you would not only have beaten your leaguemates to an obvious asset but you also would have received every bit of that power surge.

Harrison Bader, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (53 Percent Rostered)

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    Joe Puetz/Associated Press

    If you're hoping to find the next Votto, Harrison Bader is quietly making his case.

    The 27-year-old plays a different position and with a different approach, but he's also an established commodity making more noise at the plate than the fantasy community seems to realize.

    His success seems less sustainable than Votto's—Bader has hit below .230 in each of the last two seasons—but he's hot enough to string more good games together and could provide contributions in power and speed.

    Something clicked for Bader at the All-Star break. Before then, he had a .234 average with 10 extra-base hits in 31 games. Since intermission, he's up to a ridiculous .389 average with eight extra-base hits and 20 combined runs and RBI in 15 games.

    The heat wave won't last forever, but hop onboard now and maybe you could ride it through the near future.

Kyle Finnegan, RP, Washington Nationals (45 Percent Rostered)

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Need more saves? If you're playing fantasy baseball, the answer is almost certainly yes.

    Bullpen roles are increasingly fluid, and a lot of them changed in particularly significant ways at the deadline. That's proving to be good news for Kyle Finnegan, who has suddenly seized control of Washington's post-deadline pen.

    The 29-year-old recorded his first career save on July 29. Save No. 2 came the following night.

    More saves could be ahead after Washington parted company with both Brad Hand and Daniel Hudson at the deadline.

    Finnegan doesn't have great control or wipeout stuff, but he does seem to have a relatively solid grip on Washington's closing duties, which is all the reason fantasy managers should need to pick him up.

Jo Adell, OF, Los Angeles Angels (14 Percent Rostered)

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    Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

    Fantasy managers should never lose sight of the big picture. So, while you might have come to this article in search of Week 20 streamers, you should be open-minded about adding a player who has a chance to become a lineup fixture with time.

    Jo Adell is one of the best prospects in baseball. He's also a raw 22-year-old with some serious strikeout issues to correct.

    Last season, he was doomed by an inability to make consistent contact. He wound up hitting an anemic .161 across 38 big-league games, during which he struck out a whopping 55 times.

    But with his power-speed combination, there is major five-category potential here if he can just avoid those strikeout issues. He got better at that as the Triple-A season progressed this year, and upon his promotion, he owned a .289/.342/.592 slash with 23 homers and eight stolen bases in 73 games.

    Hopefully, Adell's debut on Monday was a sign of great things to come. He went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, a walk, a stolen base and zero strikeouts.