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John Sickels' Column: AL Fantasy Sleepers from the 2010 Draft

John Sickels

John Sickels

John Sickels writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Here is a look at some fantasy sleepers from the 2010 baseball draft. This list focuses only on players drafted in the second round or later, since we dealt with the first rounders last week. The goal is to point out players who could help a fantasy team sometime within the next three years. This is the American League list, the National League will be in a separate article.

AL EAST

BALTIMORE: UCLA product Dan Klein, drafted in the third round, could move to the majors quickly as a reliever due to sharp command of his low-90s fastball, curveball, and changeup. Fourth-round pick Trent Mummey, an outfielder out of Auburn, offers blazing speed but may be just a reserve guy. Seventh round Pepperdine lefty Matt Bywater has superb control of average stuff and could be a solid command innings-eater type.

BOSTON: Second-round choice Brandon Workman out of Texas could move quickly as an innings-eating starter, although heís making noises about returning to school or going independent if he isnít given a first-round bonus. Few of Bostonís later-round picks have much short-term fantasy value. A possible exception is seventh-round lefty Chris Hernandez out of Miami, who has excellent command of mediocre stuff but could be a fifth starter. An obscure guy to track is 13th-round RHP Keith Couch, who dominated weaker college competition at Adelphi but can hit 92-93 MPH.

NEW YORK: Few Yankee picks can be expected to have fantasy value soon. The only real exception may be third round choice Rob Segedin, a third baseman out of Tulane with an average glove but a bat that could provide solid power with a good batting average and OBP.

TAMPA BAY: This high school heavy class wonít help fantasy-wise soon. Two possible exceptions are second rounders Jake Thompson (RHP, Long Beach State) and Derek Dietrich (3B, Georgia Tech), although both are probably at least two years away. Sixth-round pick Jesse Hahn, RHP from Virginia Tech, has first-round ability and could leap forward quickly, but has to prove he is healthy first.

TORONTO: Most Blue Jays picks will need plenty of development time and no short or medium term fantasy interest. Third round OF Marcus Knecht has excellent tools and could be a 20/20 guy, but is at least three years away. Fourth round RHP Sam Dyson out of South Carolina could help within two years if his arm problems do not recur. Heís made a lot of progress transitioning from thrower to pitcher over the last year.

AL CENTRAL

CHICAGO: The best bets for an early payout are third-round picks Addison Reed and Thomas Royce, both polished college arms. Reed, who both closed and started for San Diego State, has excellent command of solid stuff, including a 90-93 MPH fastball and a strong breaking ball. He could get to the majors within a year if used in the bullpen, but would probably take a bit longer as a starter. Royce, from Louisville, is an inning-eater type who could be a nice fourth starter eventually.

CLEVELAND: Three college players could get to the majors fairly quickly. Fourth rounder Kyle Blair, RHP from San Diego, is an underrated arm with a nasty sinker/slider combination and good command. Ninth-round RHP Jordan Cooper out of Wichita State may be difficult to sign as a sophomore, but if he goes pro he could move rapidly due to his superb control and ability to chew innings. 10th-round outfielder Tyler Holt out of Florida State is an outstanding baserunner with good speed and enough pop to stay in a lineup, at least in center field.

DETROIT: The Tigers drafted several college players who could help soon. Second round LHP Drew Smyly out of Arkansas has an average fastball but sharp breaking stuff and excellent command. Third round UC Riverside catcher Rob Brantly offers very good defense and should hit for average, but wonít knock a lot of home runs. Fourth round RHP Cole Green out of Texas has so-so stuff, but gets grounders and throws strikes. He could be a fifth starter or long reliever within two years. Sixth-round catcher Bryan Holaday (TCU), seventh-round second baseman Corey Jones (Cal State Fullerton), and ninth -ound first baseman Tony Plagman (Georgia Tech) are all polished college talents with a chance to be useful, at least as role players.

KANSAS CITY: Brett Eibner out of Arkansas was a steal in the second round. Heís a two-way guy but the Royals will try him in the outfield first, where he could be a power-hitting center fielder. Fourth round University of Florida LHP Kevin Chapman should advance rapidly to the majors and has enough stuff and command to be a closer in the Show. Seventh round RHP Eric Cantrell, out of George Washington, has mediocre stuff, but his command is superb and he could be a sleeper. 10th round Ole Miss outfielder Tim Ferguson has blazing speed and could be a nice reserve.

MINNESOTA: If a balky elbow doesnít slow him down, third-round lefty Pat Dean out of Boston College has enough stuff and control to be a nice fourth starter. Fifth round outfield sleeper Nate Roberts out of High Point offers power, speed, and plate discipline. Seventh-round RHP Matt Hauser was a bullpen force at San Diego this spring, and sharp command of his splitter could get him a middle-relief role sooner than expected.

AL WEST

LOS ANGELES: Second-round choice Daniel Tillman, RHP from Florida Southern, was a successful college closer due to his fastball and slider and could zip through the minors as a relief option. Third round RHP Donn Roach from JC of Southern Nevada has plus stuff and showed greatly improved command this spring. If he maintains that in the pros, he could also help relatively soon. Fourth round LHP Max Russell, Tillmanís teammate at Florida Southern, has average stuff but strong pitchability. Two hard-hitting college seniors, Kole Calhoun (ninth round, Arizona State) and Drew Heid (10th round, Gonzaga) lack tools, but have very polished bats and could be nice reserve outfielders.

OAKLAND: The quickest help could come from sixth-round pick Tony Thompson, University of Kansas slugger, though whether he sticks at third base is doubtful. Ninth round Tennessee Tech slugger A.J. Kirby-Jones has strong power at first base but not much of a glove. 11th round Florida Southern shortstop Wade Kirkland could move fast as a utility player. An intriguing sleeper is Jose Macias, a RHP from Franklin Pierce drafted in the 18th round. His stuff is average but his statistics this year were outstanding and he has good command.

SEATTLE: James Paxton in the fourth round could be anything: a rapidly-advancing bargain, or a disappointment who should have signed in 2009. Seventh round Boston College first baseman Mickey Wiswall has an intriguing power bat but defensive limitations. 10th round Michigan RHP Tyler Burgoon is short at 5-10 but can hit 94 MPH, giving him a chance to be a quick bullpen reinforcement.

TEXAS: Most early Rangers draftees are upside-but-raw players who will need time. Sixth round University of Missouri catcher Brett Nicholas has a fairly good glove and a chance to be at least a decent hitter. Seventh round LHP Jimmy Reyes out of Elon showed excellent command in college of above average stuff, though his small size (5-10, 195) kept him from earlier rounds. He could be a fifth starter or bullpen asset. Ninth round RHP Zach Osborne from Louisiana-Lafayette has a good sinker/slider combo and could also advance fairly quickly as an inning-eater or a relief option.