The 2013 baseball season is right around the corner. For me this means two things. First, I will probably suffer through another long season as a fan of the Chicago Cubs, and secondly, another season of Fantasy Baseball. I am going to put together a list of guys that I think can be good late round value picks in your draft, or free agent acquisitions.
It all depends on what kind of a league you are in. Obviously, if you are in a 14-team NL Only league, most of these guys are not considered sleepers, this piece is more towards the standard mixed leagues, 10 or 12 teams.
Salvador Perez C, KC
Perez has ended up being my catcher in almost every league that I have drafted. I just love him as a nice comeback player this season. Perez was held back by injuries in 2012, but if he can stay healthy, this is a guy that has consistently put up a very good average, and has great power potential for a catcher. I like the Royals line-up to be improved this season, so I think Perez will get plenty of good pitches to hit.
Jedd Gyorko 3B, SD
Gyorko is a guy that I profiled on Promising Prospects (you can see that here). As I said in that piece, I like Gyorko’s offensive potential, especially if he can make the move to 2B. Well, this spring training the Padres gave him a shot at 2B, and he was very good. With Chase Headley starting the season on the DL, Gyorko will take over his spot at 3B, but as long as he continues to hit, he should slide over to 2B when Headley returns, and will give you very good production at a limited position.
Aaron Hicks OF, MIN
Hicks is definitely a bit of an unknown, but I like the talent that I see here. He has been a top prospect in the Twins organization for years. He has the talent to become a good power and speed fantasy performer, but he is a 23-year old who has never played above AA. The Twins are ready to give him a shot, as he will begin the season as their starting Centerfielder. If all goes well, Hicks could give you solid power while stealing around 30 bases, but because of his inexperience, the risk is certainly there for a bust.
Alex Cobb SP, TB
Cobb is the next pitcher to get a chance in the rotation for Tampa Bay, and does it not always seem like these guys always turn out to be solid? The Rays traded SP depth this year to acquire hot-shot OF prospect Wil Myers from Kansas City, and did so knowing that Cobb was ready to make the next step at the big-league level. I trust this organization in their evaluation of pitching enough, that I am making Cobb a late round pick of mine in every draft that I do.
Jeff Samardzija SP, CHC
The former Notre Dame football star took a huge step in his baseball career last season. Before last year, the Cubs kept moving him back and forth between the bullpen and rotation, and he struggled seemingly because he everything was always changing for him. When Theo Epstein took over in Chicago, he decided that he wanted to give Samardzija a legitimate chance to start a full season. Samardzija took that chance and ran with it, starting 28 games with a 3.81 ERA and a 9.3 K/9. He did struggle at the mid-part of the schedule, but with the Cubs out of contention, it is believed that he was working on some new pitches, and that was a big reason why he had a few rough starts in the middle of the year. He finished 2012 very strong, and I like Samardzija a lot this season.
Julio Teheran SP, ATL
Julio Teheran has been a top prospect in the Atlanta system for a while now. He has dominated the minor leagues for years. Teheran has locked up a rotation spot with the Braves, and he is a guy that I like a lot. I think the Braves are one of the best teams in baseball, so the wins should definitely be there, and he is an elite strikeout pitcher. That is half of the scoring in a regular 5×5 league for SP. So if he can maintain a solid WHIP and ERA, which I think he will, there may not be a better valued SP in Fantasy Baseball right now. Head to your waiver wire and get him right away.
Other solid sleeper picks: Shelby Miller SP, STL, Eric Hosmer 1B, KC, Anthony Rizzo 1B, CHC, Norichika Aoki OF, MIL, Jose Altuve 2B, HOU, Jesus Montero C, SEA, and Andrelton Simmons SS, ATL
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