Thursday, March 17, 2011

Looking for 2011 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers?

posted by Jon Williams
Are you looking for sleepers for your fantasy league draft? You've come to the right place. Today I present (yes, as a tease) just the first of the eight teams of sleepers in the annual All Sleeper Teams article. The rest should be up tonight (please please please...)

Let the name of the team be your guide.

Easy Like Apple Pie


C Mike Napoli - He is finally with a team that appreciates his skills but be careful not to over estimate his playing time. He'll be the primary DH against left-handers (and he'll rock at that) but at-bats against righties could be tough to come by.

C Matt Wieters - So few catchers have ever been dominate offensive players at Wieter's age that calling him a sleeper seems unfair. Like calling a teenager a potential adult, if you just wait a few years he'll probably get there.

1B Mitch Moreland - He's young but he's a fairly disciplined hitter that should hit for both average and power in the middle of a great lineup in a great park for hitters. Plus he won't cost nearly as much as the equivalent hitter with more experience. Would you rather have a $12 Moreland or a $23 Derrek Lee?

3B Pablo Sandoval - His confidence is soaring, he's in the best shape of his life and his new condition should ensure that doesn't get benched for poor defense again.

CR Jerry Sands - He won't begin the season with the team but he's too much the powerful hitter the Dodgers need to stay in the minors the entire season. I'm betting he's up in May.

2B Sean Rodriguez - He does a little of everything, and the price is right to gamble on what he does with career high at-bats.

SS Jose Reyes - He's healthy again, he's playing for a new contract with a manager who values him for what he does, rather than what he might do. That is to say watch him steal 70 bases in 2011.

MI Gordon Beckham - His potential is just too high to give up on. Plus, the White Sox rushed him a bit anyway, so the slump was something not very difficult to fortell.

OF Jason Heyward - If he stays on the field (and healthy while doing so) for 550-600 at-bats, he's a potential 2011 MVP.

OF Mike Stanton - This is your next National League Homerun King. If you're worried that he won't hit for average you haven't been watching closely enough.

OF Dexter Fowler - He has all the tools and the developing skills to explode on the scene a lot like teammate Carlos Gonzalez did in 2010. Now he needs a cool nickname, De-Fowl? De-Ler? Dexter is a serial killer to me now...

OF Jay Bruce - Bruce hit .338/.418/.700 during August-October. Bruce hit 15 HR in his final 35 games. Bruce is coming around.

UTL Manny Ramirez - With Manny it is all about health and motivation. He seems motivated to keep his career going. He the opportunity, now he just needs to go do it. Are you really betting against him?

SP Shawn Marcum - He proved last season that he was fully recovered from elbow surgery. This season he gets not only the bump from moving from the American League to the National League, but a bump from the AL-East to the NL-Central. He is my pitcher to get in NL-only Leagues this season.

SP Matt Garza - Garza gets the same bumps as Marcum but a lot of analysts seem to feel he'll be hurt by Wrigley Field (at least the ones that don't just think he's overrated do). I think what he gains in the switch (like facing pitchers instead of David Ortiz, Adam Lind, Jorge Posada and Vladimir Guerrero) will more than make up for a few extra homers allowed due to park factors.

SP Edison Volquez - He is the ace the Reds have been looking for. He'll prove it this season.

SP Jonathan Sanchez - I just love all those strikeouts. He's jumping up a level this season.

SP Phil Hughes - The Little Rocket (so named by Jason Giambi) takes off this season.

SP Daniel Hudson - He had an amazing second half, Hudson may not be an "ace" but he is damn good. He and Mr. Kennedy will put the D'backs back in contention.

RP Frank Francisco - The favorite for saves in Toronto. His only problem has been staying healthy. He does not have the platoon problems that the other candidates for the job have.
Bold
RP J.J. Putz - The new closer in Arizona. Don't let the injuries and non-closer season get you down on Putz. He's as good as they come when healthy.

RP Drew Storen - This great young pitcher surrounded by solid bullpen talent should be able to thrive as the Nationals new closer. He isn't being drafted very high so he makes a great later round saves grab.

Wait until you see the rest of the teams. You will LOVE it.

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