Fantasy Baseball Sleepers to Watch | Bonehead Picks

Fantasy Baseball Sleepers to Watch

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We’re only a few days away from the start of the Major League Baseball season which means those of you who are looking to do your last minute fantasy baseball drafts are taking some final notes before going into your draft.

Those who are drafting within the next few days take the same approach I do when it comes to drafts:

Wait until the end of spring training to do your draft.

Knowing somebody like Madison Bumgarner is out 6 weeks may make you take him a few rounds later or spend $20 less in an auction draft. Imagine getting him the week before his injury?

Even if at this point you have finished your draft, if somehow any of these players are available in free agency, I would consider picking them up, especially if you have N/A slots in your league to store minor leaguers.

1) Jack Flaherty (St.Louis Cardinals) – 

Flaherty is one of the dominant young starting pitchers the Cardinals are grooming for their next run at a World Series. His spring numbers in terms of ERA were a little lofty (over 4.00) but his strikeout numbers were through the roof, averaging more than 11 strikeouts per nine innings. He may not get the call until June or so, but stashing a guy like this can help you make a huge run down the stretch.

2) Sean Manaea (Oakland A’s) – 

Manaea, once a highly touted prospect, showed glimpses of dominance with the Athletics last season, but also showed that he is still a very young pitcher who is prone to making mistakes. With a much stronger offense behind him and another year of experience under his belt, Manaea should be an outstanding get for $1 in auction drafts or a late flyer in a snake draft. Expect an ERA in the upper threes but a near strikeout per inning ratio and around 13 to 14 wins. Not bad for an end of draft sleeper.

3) Jon Villar (Milwaukee Brewers) – 

After a breakout 2016 season, Villar was a major disappointment in 2017, hitting a paltry .241 over 400 plus at-bats. Villar’s 2016 season consisted of career highs in every category, including a ridiculous 62 stolen bases in 80 attempts. Knowing he has the ability to produce such as he did in 2016, why not take a chance on him as a late round pick? In most auction drafts, Villar is only going for approximately $3 on the high end. Even with such a terrible season in 2016, the fact Villar has a tremendous lineup around him should automatically make him better. Plus, he wants to play every day. If he does not perform to par or even above par with how stacked Milwaukee is, Villar may become a reserve. That’s all the motivation he needs to bounce back and get you at least 40 steals and get that OBP back to around .340.

4) Lucas Giolito (Chicago White Sox) – 

The centerpiece of the trade that sent Adam Eaton to Washington, Giolito at first had a rocky transition to the White Sox organization in the minor leagues. A once heralded pitching prospect, Giolito fell of the map once he landed in Chicago. At the end of the 2017 season, Giolito showed some spark but there still wasn’t too much hype around him.

2018 spring training is a whole different ball game.

Giolito has dominated and made quick work of most hitters to face him. Yes, spring training is a different animal. However, for somebody who is ranging as a 15th or later round pick and is topping out at $8 max in auctions, he is definitely worth the gamble who can end up as a top of the line starter.

5) Matt Olson (Oakland A’s) – 

Let’s use this logic:

Rhys Hoskins is projecting to be a 4th or 5th round pick in snake drafts while being between $23-30 in auction drafts.

Olson is projecting to be a 15th or so round pick while topping out at $10 in auction drafts.

Both guys qualify for 1B and OF slots in Yahoo (Olson and Hoskins only 1B in ESPN depending on eligibility).

Both will end up with similar power numbers barring anything abnormal occurring outside of Olson’s maybe 20 to 30 point difference in average.

There’s a lot better early round picks you can make and a lot better ways to use your auction money than with this year’s flavor of the month in Hoskins.

Get Olson for much less or this next guy . . .

6) Josh Bell (Pittsburgh Pirates) – 

Bell has provided steady power in Pittsburgh and is only seemingly getting better. His main issue is his batting average which has steadily increased.

Even though the team around him isn’t exactly spectacular, Bell can give you some cheap late round power. He’s currently topping out at $6 in auctions while going in around the 18th to 20th rounds in snake drafts.

30 home run potential that late?

Sign me up.

7) Trevor Story (Colorado Rockies) – 

This isn’t exactly a sleeper since many know who Story is and what he brings to the table. After an abysmal 2017 and many shortstops essentially leapfrogging him on draft boards, he could give you tremendous value for where you may end up getting him. With guys like Carlos Correa, Didi Gregorius and Francisco Lindor getting taken ahead of him, Story’s stock has crashed. The risk here is if he can stay healthy while also returning to that 2016 rookie year form. It’s a risk that won’t cost you any high pick while keeping you around the $12 range maximum in an auction.

8) Luis Castillo (Cincinnati Reds) – 

There isn’t too much to write about here. Most will stay away since he is pitching on a mediocre at best team. However, he is a really cheap option for strikeouts and has proven he can pitch well at home, which is a notorious hitters park.

If you’re bummed that your top starters aren’t exactly strikeout artists such as Kyle Hendricks, Castillo can bring you those K’s while keeping your ERA and WHIP low. Just beware on the low win count. If he tops out at 12 wins, that will be more than enough at the spot where he will fall to.

9) Shane Greene (Detroit Tigers) – 

The Detroit Tigers will be lucky to win 60 games this season. A majority of those games will be won by three runs or less.

Enter Greene.

There is no competition for Greene’s role as the closer and he should accumulate around 30 to 35 saves this season.

Greene could even be traded to a contender if a team is willing to shell out some decent prospects for Greene’s services.

Point is, he will get you some cheap saves for a minimal risk. That risk is either in the later rounds or at the end of your auction draft where a $3 bid should get him at most. Great value.

10) Jordan Zimmermann (Detroit Tigers) – 

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

If there is ANYBODY who is due for a comeback campaign, it is Zimmermann who once was said to have better stuff than Stephen Strasburg when he made his way through the Washington Nationals system.

Zimmermann’s 2017 campaign was downright atrocious. There were expectations that his ERA and WHIP would rise while getting used to the American League, but the 31 year old put up Mike Maroth/Jeremy Bonderman-esque type numbers with a 6.08 ERA. The 8-13 record should have been much worse. You expected a regression during the adjustment, but that proved to be more astonishing than anything else.

Zimmermann will have a comeback season and will most likely find his way out of Detroit by the time the calendar flips to August. Teams know how good this guy is and you should too. Zimmermann is only owned in 2% of Yahoo leagues as of this writing. Take him in the last round or bid that final dollar. It will be well worth it.

 

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