Identifying Fantasy Baseball Sleepers () is what every fantasy site attempts to do better than the others. We all have our fair share of big hits and huge misses. What is important is that you understand that while I list many sleepers (enough to fill five teams) I would never recommend that you draft more than a few with the possible exception of the new Temporary Hibernation Squad, which consists of players that are already (as Larry David might say…) pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.
The Temporary Hibernation Squad – This team consists of players who are relatively well known. However, I believe that each of these players is likely to take a small and maybe even a giant step forward in terms of production this season or maybe just get a lot more at-bats or innings pitched.
C – Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles – This near rookie has the tools and the discipline to be every bit as good as Joe Mauer…maybe better. Still, it will be a while before he signs for $184 million. He has hitting talent that is rare in a catcher. Do not allow his slow start in 2009 to ruin it for you.
C – Dioner Navarro, Tampa Bay Rays – His strength as a hitter was always in his ability to put the ball in play. He is a great contact hitter who usually displays better than average plate discipline. In 2009 his game was way off. His BABIP was a very low .231 and I believe he panicked a bit. The starting job is still his if he can stay healthy and regain his effectiveness. Kelly Shoppach should take away his toughest at-bats, which has to help.
1B – Casey Kotchman, Seattle Mariners – Okay, he has not lived up to his potential. Kotchman be the regular first baseman for the Mariners. If he hits for his usual good average in the middle of their improved lineup, Kotchman should be very productive for a AL-only fantasy team and better than expected in mixed leagues.
3B – Adrian Beltre, Boston Red Sox – Free from Safeco Field which greatly inhibits the power of right-handed hitters, Beltre should look considerably more like the player who once hit 40 homers in 2010 in Fenway Park. He will not actually hit that many but you will start to think he could. You know who else looks like a 40 homerun guy? David Wright, that’s who. He has his power stroke back this spring and as long as he maintains it he should be a certain first rounder once again. That’s extra value for actually reading these blurbs.
CR – Scott Rolen, Cincinnati Reds – It is not so much that I expect better numbers from Rolen as it is that he is going very cheaply in many leagues. If he is going for single digit prices in your NL-only, you want him on your team – injuries be damned. The power is not what it was but for the money he’s worth it.
2B – Mike Fontenot, Chicago Cubs – Like Scott Rolen it isn’t so much the improvement in numbers as the lowness of his price. In many leagues, he is not even being drafted! Fontenot is a good hitter with 15 homer power in a full season of at-bats. He has the starting second baseman job almost locked up.
SS – Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels – He finally has that starting job all to himself. Defense is his calling card at this point, but people forget that he has the speed to steal 50 bases, which is one of the reasons he will be batting leadoff this season. He is not a great base stealer but if allowed to run he will make fantasy owners very happy.
MI – Marco Scutaro, Boston Red Sox – Sometimes fantasy owners become so jaded against overspending on last year’s flukes that they dismiss guys like Scutaro without looking at the evidence. He has always shown the ability to get n base with moderate power. He just never collected enough at-bats to cause anyone to notice. He is not a one-year wonder.
OF – Jeremy Hermida, Boston Red Sox – The talent is there. The skills displayed in flashes. He begins the season as a fourth outfielder but do not be surprised if he works himself into a much better position. With the fragile J.D. Drew in right field and the aging (and streaky) Mike Cameron in center there should be plenty of available at-bats. He should not cost more than a few bucks (even in Boston) so the risk is very small in deeper leagues.
OF – Juan Pierre, Chicago White Sox – The White Sox love to steal bases and Pierre is the former Greek God of steals (I just made that up). Still as a full time regular, he should steal 40 bases easy and score a ton of runs. The awesome part is the low-low price.
OF – Delmon Young, Minnesota Twins – There is not much evidence this spring that Delmon Young is going to break out this season. Nevertheless, my considerable gut tells me he will. He did hit .302/.322/.502 in the second half and Ron Gardenhire finally seemed to love him late in the 2009 season. So much so, that despite the Jim Thome signing, Young will still play every day. Young is only 24-years old. He will be on many of my teams this season.
OF – Jonny Gomes, Cincinnati Reds – He has not won a starting job yet. However, the Reds seem determined to keep Chris Dickerson as a bench asset only. He proved he could hit right-handers as well as lefties last season and with considerable power. He only needs a break to pull a David Ortiz.
OF – Hunter Pence, Houston Astros – Pence has had small but steady improvements in his walk rates the last three seasons. He cut his strikeout rate in 2009 and improved his plate discipline by swinging at fewer pitches outside of the strike zone. I would love to see him hit more line drives. He is also 27 with experience if you like that old theory. It fits in this case because I think we are about to see a career year from Pence.
UTL/DH – Chris Davis, Texas Rangers – Going into the 2009 season there were few players desired as much. Far too many strikeouts later, 114 strikeouts in 258 at-bats, he was demoted to the minors to get his game straightened out. He came back from the minors a new man and hit .308/.338/.496 to end the season. Now he is destroying all competition this spring. His confidence is contagious, as is confidence in him.
P – Jon Lester, LHP, Boston Red Sox – Minus a slow start in 2009 we would be talking of him as the unquestioned ace of the Red Sox. The improved defense and another year of experience was enough to move him up my rankings. Watch his strikeout rate explode this season, as it did in the second half of 2009. He had an unlucky .323 BABIP in 2009. He is about to have one of THOSE seasons.
P – Chad Billingsley, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers – The first half of the season demonstrated what Billingsley could do. He wore down in the second half. He has not used it as an excuse but he missed part of 2009’s spring training with a leg fracture and that may have impacted his conditioning. Then he pitched through a knee injury in the second half. He has everything you want to see in a pitcher. I see big things for the healthy, better conditioned Chad Billingsley in 2010.
P – Brad Penny, St Louis Cardinals – Working with Pitching Coach Dave Duncan has done a ton of good for pitchers with far less natural talent than Penny. If he stays out of double digits prices, I would draft him.
P – David Price, Tampa Bay Rays – Some pitchers take longer than others to develop. Price had an up and down season. He was mediocre after his call up but as he became more effective, his strikeout rate fell but so did his walks, and his groundball rate increased. He was working at the end of the season on developing his changeup. This work has continued this spring. Price will be better this season but the big breakout will be in 2011.
P – Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox – Beckett will benefit from the improved defense of the Red Sox in 2010. A potential free agent after the season, Beckett should be motivated. We have seen a motivated Beckett do great things before and I expect even more this time.
P – Matt Harrison, Texas Rangers – In July Harrison was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome which ended his season. Since returning during the Arizona Fall league his stuff looks rejuvenated. This spring both his velocity and command have been excellent. The Teixeira trade is looking ridiculously in favor of the Rangers. He is one of my favorite late round dollar picks.
P – Edwin Jackson, Arizona Diamondbacks – I do not understand why so many people want to have a problem with Edwin Jackson. Is it because he took so long to emerge? He has now had three decent to very good seasons in a row and is still just 26-years old. Baseball Prospectus has suggested that he was tipping his pitches at the end of the season in 2009 and that makes some sense but it is also possible that the inning load just wore him out. He moves to the easier league and I like him still.
P – Matt Thornton, Chicago White Sox – Matt Thornton has been the best pitcher in the White Sox bullpen for a couple of years now. He is the favorite to take the closer role from Bobby Jenks when he no longer proves worthy of it. The White Sox seem eager to see that happen and Bobby Jenks is not doing much to stop it.
The Day Dreamers (they are not sleeping they just lack the proper respect) - This squad is composed of light sleepers that are more likely to be bargains in shallower mixed leagues. In deeper leagues, you might laugh at the notion of these players being sleepers.
C – Jeff Clement, Pittsburgh Pirates – Due to the silly contracts that Bill Bavasi handed out as General Manager of the Seattle Mariners Jeff Clement has yet to receive the shot he deserves at a full time catching job. He will not get that chance with Pittsburgh it seems either. But at the least the Pirates have recognized the potential of his bat and are giving him every opportunity to win the first base job in Spring Training. His batting average has been up and down but he has shown some on-base skills and power consistently over the years. Clement is 26-years old this season. He needs to make the most of this opportunity, because at 27-years old you become useless in Major League Baseball. You knew that, right?
C – Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers – This rookie has power and some skills with the bat. He is certainly a better offensive option than Gerald Laird is. Even if he does not start, he has a decent chance of splitting the job in 2010 before taking over as the starter in 2010.
1B – Casey Kotchman, Seattle Mariners – He came through the minors with high expectations. He was supposed to hit for power and average and become another homegrown star for the Los Angeles Angels. But illness and a variety of injuries and a little bad luck combined to turn him from darling to dud. Now the Seattle Mariners (as they did successfully with Russell Branyan in 2009) are giving him an opportunity to be their regular first baseman. His power is better than it looked with the Braves. He has solid plate discipline and draws more walks than strikeouts. I like him as a corner infielder, especially in deeper leagues. I think a .290, 15-20 homerun season is very possible. In the Mariner lineup he could easily score 80 runs and drive in a similar number.
3B – Mark Teahen, Chicago White Sox – Back at third base where he started the White Sox are hoping that Teahen can recapture what he seemed to lose being shuffled around the infield and outfield with the Royals. He has the talent to be an above average player. He has a brand new opportunity; he only needs to take advantage. The change in ballparks helps too, though his new home tends to help more with home run hitting than batting average.
CR – Brandon Wood, Los Angeles Angels – I get annoyed with the Angels all the time. They have these great prospects and they make them wait much longer than seems necessary to earn a major league job. But maybe I should get over it. When they needed Erick Aybar to play regularly, he was ready. Juan Rivera (I know a Yankees prospect) was also ready when needed. Kendry Morales was ready when needed. They traded for Scott Kazmir who was having the worst season of his career and suddenly he was ready as well. Now, they seem to think Brandon Wood is ready to become their full time third baseman. I agree. He has reduced his massive strikeouts totals to a reasonable level. The power is still there to hit 25-35 homeruns a season on a consistent basis. I love him.
2B – Kelly Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks – He will start at second base and should return to his former level of production, established before a fluke 2009 season. The upside is a .290 average with 15-20 homers and 15-20 stolen bases. That’s gold baby! Gold!
SS – Everth Cabrera, San Diego Padres – You have to love it when a Rule V pick manages to stay with the big league club and becomes a fantasy asset to boot. Cabrera will begin the 2010 season as the starting shortstop for the San Diego Padres. If he can continue to make adjustments and utilize his speed on the bases he has a chance at 50 steals this season.
MI – Blake DeWitt, Los Angeles Dodgers – DeWitt is fighting for a spot in the majors after the Dodgers signed both Jamey Carroll and Ronnie Belliard. DeWitt’s ISO has improved along with his walk rates and contact rates. He has proven to have better than average plate discipline in his brief time in the majors and looks like a player with upside at a potentially weak position. UPSIDE: .290 BA with 20 homers.
OF – Ryan Raburn, Detroit Tigers – I liked him a lot better before Johnny Damon arrived in Detroit. Still, Raburn showed he could hit. With the Tigers lineup featuring a collection of old and brittle stars, there should still be plenty of at-bats. Do not overpay for Raburn, in the end he is just a good utility player. If you have to pay him like a starter, you can use your money better.
OF – Chris Young, Arizona Diamondbacks – A strong September (after a return to the minors) offers Young some hope of recapturing his potential. Of course, we have seen these flashes before. He is rapidly approaching the hit it or quit it portion of his career. Meaning he needs to get productive or go home. I actually like owning guys in that situation, you can count on their teams casting them off(opening a roster spot for you) if they fail.
OF – Brett Gardner, New York Yankees – The New York newspapers love to doubt Gardner’s ability. He has excellent plate discipline and draws walks at a decent clip. He can bunt for hits almost at will and has the speed and requisite skills to steal 40 bases in a season. At the very least, he is a younger version of Nyjer Morgan, I happen to think he is closer to Jacoby Ellsbury.
OF – Juan Francisco, Cincinnati Reds – Given the opportunity he could probably hit 30 homeruns in a season. His plate discipline is not great but he mashes what he connects with. As a fifth outfielder or utility player in an NL-only league, you could do much worse.
UTL/DH – Travis Hafner, Cleveland Indians – He looks healthy. He is ripping the ball in Spring Training. We also know from experience that he can do a ton of good to a fantasy team when he is feeling good. I would not expect 40 homeruns again, but 30 are not out of the question. Plus: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox – Ortiz fixed a mechanical problem in his swing and looked more Big Papi-like in the second half of last season. He should have better all around totals in 2010 but we have seen his best seasons already.
P – Jeff Niemann, Tampa Bay Rays – He had a very solid rookie season which included a strong second half of the season where his K9 went up nearly every month due to increased use of his curveball.
P – Brett Anderson, Oakland Athletics – As good as he was in his rookie season, he was better than he looked. His ERA of 4.06 will fool some of the less perceptive members of your league. Anderson is a stud in progress. He has the strikeout ability, the control, and the groundball induction skills to be one of the best in the game. His LOB of 67 percent, his BABIP of .317, and his 3.69 FIP are all signs of the improvement that we could see in 2010. Get him now, this may be your last chance for a decade.
P – Joel Pineiro, Los Angeles Angels – Some doubt that Pineiro can maintain 2009’s gains with the Angels. I actually think he could be better. Pineiro has talked enough about his change in pitching style that I believe he will stick with it. He will be pitching in a good pitching environment with a better defense behind him and supported by a better offense.
P – Phil Hughes, New York Yankees – The hype around Phil Hughes is certainly still loud but the nature of the hype has changed. Instead of being regarded as the best pitching prospect in baseball as he was just a few years ago, he is now considered semi-flop with a reconsidered ceiling of a number three starter. This is good news for you. Now you can grab the pitcher on the cheap. Almost every projection out there is based on Hughes receiving a few spot starts and spending the rest of the season in the bullpen. He has the changeup working again, and the Yankees have another ace in the making.
P – Ian Kennedy, Arizona Diamondbacks – Kennedy has a strikeout rate and walk rate that should indicate a successful pitcher. He is not a groundball pitcher. He has demonstrated an ability to keep the ball in the park. He induces many infield flies (as Barry Zito used to do). The D’Backs will give him a complete opportunity to perform in the majors, a chance he was unlikely to get as a Yankee. Do not go crazy but for a few bucks, I love him in NL-only leagues.
P – Justin Masterson, Cleveland Indians – Justin Masterson, underutilized with the Red Sox due to their outstanding pitching depth, is a better pitcher than you may understand. He has the power sinker to induce mad numbers of groundballs. He strikes out batters at a nice clip and if he can bring some of his minor league control to the majors, he will have the holy trinity of abilities that we look for in young starters. I almost did not include him in this article for selfish reasons. I want him in my local leagues that much. But I couldn’t do that to you.
P – Brett Cecil, Toronto Blue Jays – It is amazing how quickly these guys can fall off the fantasy radar. He does not strike out many batters but he induces a ton of groundballs. He combines that with decent control. And he induces a ton of groundballs. The Blue Jays will give him an extended opportunity this spring. I think it will work out well.
P – Mike Adams, San Diego Padres – Personally, I think the Padres should keep Heath Bell as their closer. So far, the Padres seem to think the same way. However, the media and fans calling for and expecting the Padres to trade their more expensive players (even though they are relatively cheap) can have a powerful effect on a team, especially when they are not winning. Mike Adams has been around and he has pretty typical closer stuff. He has the big fastball, the strikeout totals, and he even induces groundballs at a decent clip. The great thing for Adams owners is the improved control. Adams went from shaky control to damn good control over the last few years. He can do the job.
P – Matt Guerrier, Minnesota Twins – Before Spring Training began I considered him an excellent set-up reliever. He was a great candidate for someone planning to use the Three Reliever Strategy. Now, with Jon Rauch the closer, he becomes a candidate for saves and his potential value explodes. Remember Jon Rauch (since injuries prevented him from starting) for a saves role in the past. However, something whether it is injuries or just bad luck has prevented him from embracing it long term. If he fails again, guess who takes his place… Throwing a dollar down on Jesse Crain couldn’t hurt either.
The Cat-Nappers (A loud noise would wake them in a hurry) - This group consists of players that are definitely underrated, un-hyped, or inexperienced but producing or due to produce much better than the general perception. These players are deeper league targets.
C – Kurt Suzuki, Oakland Athletics – When you consider the money involved there is no fantasy catcher I like more than Suzuki. He has very good plate discipline, he can draw walks and get on base, he has good power, and steals a handful of bases. Yet, he is available at bargain rates in a whole lot of leagues.
1B – Daniel Murphy, New York Mets – Murphy should be a second baseman or a third baseman but that just isn’t going o happen right now. Instead, Murphy will be the primary starter at first base. He has solid plate discipline and power that would be decent coming from your middle infield but lousy at first base. But at the end of the season he should (assuming he doesn’t have another three-month slump) have totals around .280 BA, .340OBP, .450 SLG, 15 homers, 10 steals , and a bunch of runs scored depending on his final location in the lineup.
3B – David Freese, St. Louis Cardinals – If he can avoid another DUI Freese should be the starting third baseman for the Cardinals. He can hit. He has solid plate discipline and 25-homer power and can steal a base if asked. I have him for $8 in my local AL-only league. I’m keeping him.
CR – Jake Fox, Oakland Athletics – Fox will initially be a part-time DH and fill in at both infield corners. If Daric Barton has another poor start he could take over at first. Fox is potentially a better hitter than Jack Cust but lacks major league experience. I would like him even more if there were not so much competition at the corners in Oakland.
2B – Tony Abreu, Arizona Diamondbacks - He came to the D’Backs as the Player-to-be-Named in the Jon Garland deal. He makes strong contact but lacks patience at the plate. Abreu also has decent power and speed for a middle infielder. I think of him as a Howie Kendrick type. He is a strong candidate to become the starting second baseman.
SS – Mike Aviles, Kansas City Royals – He will not be ready to start the season. Aviles may have started poorly in 2009 but that does not mean that 2008 was a fluke.
MI – Mike McCoy, Toronto Blue Jays – A career minor leaguer that hit .307 with a .405 on-base percentage last season at Triple-A, walking 80 times and striking out just 70 while going stealing 40-for-46 on the basepaths, yeah, that’s a sleeper. He does not have any pop, but he can get on base, can handle the strike zone and is a smart base stealer.
OF – Julio Borbon, Texas Rangers – If you just like him, you are underestimating him. We will not get it all in 2010 but Borbon’s potential is vast. He is an excellent contact hitter, draws walks like a leadoff hitter, has solid plate discipline, and hits the ball on the ground the way a player of his speed should. He could steal 50 bases this season or even more if the Rangers feel like running this year. They certainly have the personnel for it.
OF – Aaron Cunningham, San Diego Padres – Away from the outfield glut of Oakland, he joins the outfield glut in San Diego but he’s becomes the best center field option. He has some power and speed. A 20/20 season is very possible if he wins full time at-bats. As I write this, the Padres seem to be leaning towards Tony Gwynn Jr., which I understand emotionally but intellectually seems somewhat stupid.
OF – Fernando Martinez, New York Mets – The Mets and their manager Jerry Manuel are probably dumb enough to force Martinez back to the minors in favor of established mediocrities like Angel Pagan and gary Matthews jr. However, this is a player with major league talent and star potential. If stashing is possible in your league, you should be the one stashing him.
OF – Terry Evans, Los Angeles Angels - Evans is out of minor league options, which gives him a good chance to claim one of the openings the Angels have for a reserve outfielder, and even though he's a bit old for a prospect (he just turned 28), there's actually some potential here if he gets a chance at regular playing time. Evans hit .309 with 33 homers and 37 steals between high Class A and Double-A in 2006, and .301 with 15 homers and 24 steals in 2007, before missing much of 2008 due to injury. He bounced back last year with a .291 average, 26 homers and 28 steals at Triple-A. Sometimes production can come from an unexpected source if that player gets a chance to play (witness Garrett Jones last year), and that could be the case with Evans if he somehow finds playing time.
UTL/DH – Jason Kubel, Minnesota Twins – The Twins have built up the lineup entering their new stadium. Kubel has been very good, and he could be even better in 2010.
P – Felipe Paulino, RHP, Houston Astros – Injuries destroyed Paulino’s 2007 and 2008 seasons. But his fantastic ability to strikeouts batters, improving control, some ability to induce groundballs, and seriously bad luck in 2009 make Paulino an excellent sleeper who should be available for pennies in your auction.
P – Bryan Augenstein, Arizona Diamonbacks
P – Ryan Rowland-Smith, Seattle Mariners
P – Marc Rzepczynski, Toronto Blue Jays – If he finds control over his great sinker and excellent slider in the majors he will collect strikeouts in addition to being an extreme groundball pitcher.
P – Aaron Poreda, San Diego Padres
P – Shawn Marcum, Toronto Blue Jays
P – Blake Hawksworth, St Louis Cardinals
P – Juan Gutierrez, RHP,ArizonaDiamondbacks – He’ll get important outs for the dbacks, the question is which inning.
The Nearly Comatose Commandos - This team is loaded with long shots and comebacks. These are the high risk, high reward players. You do not want to own more than one or two of these players because the potential for failure is almost as high as the potential reward.
C – Russell Martin, Los Angeles Dodgers
1B – Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox
3B – Troy Glaus, Atlanta Braves
CR – Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals
2B – Ronnie Belliard, Los Angeles – He’s no superstar but if he gets a starter’s at-bats he’ll be worth owning in most leagues.
SS – J.J. Hardy, Minnesota Twins – At this point, I think we know what Hardy is. He is an extremely streaky but powerful hitter who had an unlucky 2009 season. He will never be a great hitter but .270 with 20-plus homers from shortstop is good enough for me.
OF – Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers – If you look closely you will see that despite a disappointing season Gomez actually showed some improvement in his plate discipline and patience. Gomez is a potential star and one of my favorite members of this sleeper team.
OF – "Andruw Jones is "said to be in the best shape he's been in for a decade," writes SI.com's Jon Heyman.
"Jones agreed to a one-year, $500,000 contract with the White Sox in late November and is expected to serve as the club's designated hitter most nights. The 32-year-old batted .214/.323/.459 with 17 homers and 43 RBI in 281 at-bats with the Rangers in 2009 and is a fine add in AL-only leagues.
OF – Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
P – Jeremy Bonderman, Detroit Tigers
P – Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox and Matsuzaka had it out last season. The result was a renewed peace between them. Matsuzaka will stop working slightly apart from the team and do everything as every other member of team does. He will work with the Boston pitching coaches and work out on their program. He will even spend three weeks at the Athletes Performance Institute in Arizona before spring training. The same place used by some of baseball’s best athletes including teammates Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia.
P – Manny Parra, Milwaukee Brewers - He destroyed a few fantasy seasons in 2009. But Manny Parra has the stuff of an ace. He just struggles to harness it from game to game. New pitching coach Rick Peterson may be just the man to straighten him out.
P – Francisco Liriano, Minnesota Twins - Minnesota Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano, a rookie sensation in 2006 before an elbow injury stalled his progress, pitched 26⅔ scoreless innings in a row in the Dominican League, including the playoffs. He had 35 strikeouts in 27⅔ innings.
P – John Maine, New York Mets - When he was last healthy he went 15-10 with a pretty good ERA. After two injury-plagued seasons, he will be coming to you dirt-cheap. For a single-digit price, he is worth the risk.
P – Chien-Ming Wang
P – Billy Buckner, Arizona Diamondbacks - In 77.1 innings pitched he struck out 7.45 batters per nine innings, issuing 3.38 BB/9. He also kept the ball down, generating grounders 48.8 percent of the time. Buckner’s xFIP, based on whiffs, walks and a normalized home run per fly ball rate, was 3.95- nearly two and a half runs lower than his actual ERA.
P – Ben Sheets, Oakland Athletics
P – Justin Duchscherer
The Fresh Ones – This team’s roster loads up on rookies and first-year players with very little major league experience and usually even less name value. These players all have an opportunity to make their major league teams and could have massive impacts if the playing time is there.
C – Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers
C – Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians
1B – Justin Smoak
3B – Brett Wallace, Toronto Blue Jays
CR – Chris Carter
2B – Scott Sizemore, Detroit Tigers
SS – Alcides Escobar, Milwaukee Brewers
MI – Cliff Pennington, Oakland Athletics
OF – Chris Heisey, Cincinnati Reds – Heisey is a potential 20/20 fantasy stud. His primary obstacle is to overcome his status as a late round draft pick and a rookie on a Dusty Baker team. Wish him luck. In 585 plate appearances split between Double-A and Triple-A, Heisey hit a robust 314/.379/.521 with 22 home runs, and for good measure he swiped 21 bases in 24 attempts.
OF – Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves
OF – Desmond Jennings
OF – Casper Wells, Detroit Tigers – He could provide the offense from center field in 2010 that Austin Jackson hopes to provide in future seasons, maybe better.
OF – Michael Taylor, Oakland Athletics
UTL/DH – Jesus Montero, New York Yankees – There is little hype around Jesus Montero becoming the 2010 Rookie of the Year. This is primarily due to Jorge Posada filling the catcher position (and Monetero’s need for continued development there) and Nick Johnson’s arrival as the new designated hitter. If Johnson requires a stint on the disabled list (as has often been the case), it would probably herald the arrival of Jesus Montero to the major leagues. It is only a matter of time. Then we will see a Mike Piazza, Carlos Delgado level of talent hit the majors.
P – Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
P – Wade Davis, Tampa Bay Rays
P – Brian Matusz, Baltimore Orioles
P – Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays
P – Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
P – Hector Rondon, Cleveland Indians
P – Neftali Feliz, Texas Rangers
P – Mark Melancon, RHP, Yankees
P – Drew Storen, Washington Nationals
The Keeper Sleepers – These players are the names you will be looking at in 2011. No one will care now so you will get most of these players on the cheap. Only draft these guys if you can stash them away. In leagues with minor league systems most of these guys should be drafted already. If not be certain to pounce on them.
C – Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
C – Josh Thole, New York Mets
1B – Logan Morrison, Florida Marlins
3B – Josh Bell, Baltimore Orioles
CR – Danny Valencia, Minnesota Twins
2B – David Adams, New York Yankees – Adams is one of those guys who tend to be called scrappy. He plays the game with passion and works hard at it. Compared to Dustin Pedroia for his talent as well as his drive to be the best, he will not quit until he makes it. He will steal some bases and eventually hit for power but his strength will be getting on base.
SS – Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs
MI – Adeinis Hechavarria, Toronto Blue Jays - Cuban Free Agent
OF – Mike Stanton, Florida Marlins
OF – Dominic Brown, Philadelphia Phillies
OF – Ryan Westmoreland, Boston Red Sox – His potential is as high as any one player on this list. Unfortunately, last week Westmoreland underwent surgery to remove a cavernous malformation in his brain.
From Joy of Sox: (http://joyofsox.blogspot.com/2010/03/report-westmoreland-surgery-successful.html)
According to the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ, Red Sox minor league outfielder Ryan Westmoreland today underwent successful surgery to remove a cavernous malformation in his brain. Dr. Robert Spetzler performed the surgery. The announcement was made by General Manager Theo Epstein. Following the five-hour procedure, Westmoreland remains in the intensive care unit but has come through the surgery well. Due to the complexity of this surgery, Ryan will face a difficult period initially before beginning his recovery.
OF – Will Venable/Tony Gwynn Jr.
P – Tanner Scheppers, Texas Rangers
P – Jordan Zimmerman
P – Tim Alderson - Alderson has asked, and the Pirates have agreed, to restore his motion to its origins when he was the 22nd-overall selection in 2007 out of Scottsdale, Ariz. He felt he got away from the mechanics that enabled him to regularly throw 89-93 mph fastballs. Poor kid, they were down to 87-91 mph last season, when he went 10-3 with three different teams in two separate leagues. Still, that supposedly slower fastball is said to have hit-the-dot command. Ergo, the Pirates don't want to mess up a good thing, but they're behind Alderson in this mechanics quest.
P – Mark Rogers, Milwaukee Brewers -
P – Jose Ceda, Florida Marlins
P – Jaime Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals
P – Jenrry Mejia, New York Mets
P – Dan Runzler, San Francisco -