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John Sickels' Column: NL 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 National League list; we posted the American League list earlier.

NL EAST

ATLANTA: Second-round pick Todd Cunningham will need time to adjust to third base after playing outfield in college, but he should contribute some power and speed eventually. Joe Leonard, another third baseman out of the University of Pittsburgh, is another solid college bat who wont be a star but should be useful. SUNY-Oneonta right-hander Dave Filak has a great arm and could zip through the system if he replicates in the pros the command he showed in Division III. University of Virginia second baseman Phil Gosselin, drafted in the fifth round, is another solid college bat who can steal a base and provide a bit of power.

FLORIDA: Second round UCLA southpaw Rob Rasmussen could get to the majors very quickly due to sharp command of a 90-93 MPH fastball and a mixture of effective breaking balls. Sixth round UT-Arlington right-hander Rett Varner can hit 95 but will need to refine his breaking stuff in order to advance fast, which isnt impossible. Seventh round Cal-Berkeley OF-1B Mark Canha has a very polished bat that should provide batting average and OBP. Another OF-1B, University of Missouri product Aaron Senne, also provides a stick with pop that could help fairly soon. He was drafted in the 10th round.

NEW YORK: Third round University of Tennessee catcher Blake Forsythe will get to the majors due to his glove. He also has power, but his offensive track record is inconsistent and he might not get beyond a backup role. Fourth round pick Cory Vaughn is the son of former major leaguer Greg Vaughn. He has excellent tools, but the San Diego State pick is very raw for a college bat and will need at least three years in all likelihood. Fifth round pick Matt dan Dekker, University of Florida outfielder, has an excellent glove and projects as a useful reserve. Sixth round Oregon State RHP Greg Peavey might move quickly due to his improved command. Two small college sleepers are 12th round RHP Bret Mitchell from Minnesota State-Mankato, and 13th round choice Brian Harrison, a third baseman from Furman.

PHILADELPHIA: Second-round fireballer Perci Garner out of Ball State might move fast in relief, if his improved command this spring holds up. University of Texas catcher Chad Rupp, drafted in the third round, could also see the Show relatively soon due to his defense, but his bat is questionable. Sixth round outfielder Gauntlett Eldemire out of Ohio has superb tools, but is a big development project due to lack of refinement. A sleeper is 12th round Lewis-Clark State RHP Tyler Knigge, who has good stuff and underrated control. 26th round Central Florida outfielder Chris Duffy has a power bat and is a Golden Spikes finalist, but poor tools hurt his draft status.

WASHINGTON: Second-round lefty Sammy Solis out of San Diego has advanced pitchability and excellent makeup, making him a good candidate to move quickly. Third round Rice infielder Rick Hague could also get there fast, if he can get back to the polish he showed in 09 rather than his struggling 10 season. A potential sleeper is ninth round RHP Aaron Barrett from Ole Miss, who has an average fastball but a nice slider that could play well in the bullpen.

NL CENTRAL

CHICAGO: Few Cubs picks look to make an impact quickly. Third round catcher Micah Gibbs out of LSU is very advanced with the glove, but his bat draws mixed reviews and will determine if hes a starter or reserve in the long run. Fifth round Villanova OF Matt Szczur has blazing speed and could push his way forward rapidly if he hits at all. Ninth round RHP Kevin Rhoderick out of Oregon State has the arm strength to be a relief force if he can overcome a mediocre spring.

CINCINNATI: Second round University of Michigan outfielder Ryan LaMarre has great tools and could move faster than expected as he gets past an injury-plagued spring. Third round Long Beach State shortstop Devin Lohman and fourth round Texas A&M second baseman Brodie Greene wont need much minor league seasoning, but project more as useful reserves than first-division starters. 25th round Cal State Fullerton RHP Daniel Renken has the command to move very rapidly, but was expected to go much sooner in the draft and might return for his senior year.

HOUSTON: Third round Virginia Tech hitter Austin Wates has the polish to reach the majors quickly on offense, but his position is the question, drafted as an infielder but spending most of his career in the outfield so far. Fourth round RHP Bobby Doran out of Texas Tech is a steal in this round and could beat many more-heralded arms to the Show. Eighth round RHP Jake Buchanan from North Carolina State has average stuff but outstanding control. 12th round RHP Andrew Robinson from Georgia Tech has a similar profile; both could reach the majors fairly soon if all goes well.

MILWAUKEE: Second round Alabama RHP Jimmy Nelson and third round Charleston Southern RHP Tyler Thornburg both have plenty of arm strength and could be there in three years, though both need additional polish. Fourth round 1B Hunter Morris out of Auburn has terrific power but will find a hard time getting a spot in Milwaukee. Sixth round Tennessee 3B Cody Hawn has the makings of an underrated hitter who could surprise quickly, though his defense is spotty. A significant sleeper is New Mexico catcher Rafael Neda, drafted in the 10th round. His bat is a big plus, but his glove needs work.

PITTSBURGH: The Pirates focused on long-term upside in the draft, and few of their picks will have a short term impact. If he signs, Arizona State infielder Drew Maggi (15th round) could get there fast as a scrappy hitter with plenty of speed and makeup, but hes a draft-eligible sophomore and wont sign easily.

ST.LOUIS: Second round RHP Jordan Swagerty should arrive fairly quickly in the majors, if his overpowering season for Arizona State was any indication. Hes a good setup guy at worst, and has a chance to close. Fourth round catcher Cody Stanley out of UNC Wilmington has a solid bat and average defensive tools. Eighth round LHP Daniel Bibona out of UC Irvine is extremely polished and very competitive, a typical finesse southpaw though a very intriguing example of the type.

NL WEST

ARIZONA: Fourth round HRP Kevin Munson out of James Madison has a vicious breaking ball to go with his 90+ heat, and could reach the majors rapidly as a bullpen asset. Few other Arizona draftees look to get to the majors quickly, though 12th rounder Blake Cooper (RHP, South Carolina) is very polished and has a chance.

COLORADO: Second round RHP Chad Bettis out of Texas Tech has good command of a power sinker/slider arsenal, and looks like a real steal to me. Third round Alabama SS Josh Rutledge looks like a future utilityman, albeit a good one due to his speed and versatility. Fifth round University of Hawaii RHP Josh Slaats is another guy with a good sinker and slider, and like Bettis he has a chance to move quickly, though his ceiling is not as high. University of Tampa OF Jared Simon, drafted in the sixth round, has good power and controls the strike zone well.

LOS ANGELES: Like most Dodgers picks, third rounder Leon Landry (OF, LSU) is quite toolsy, but he has more polish than most of the others and wont need as much minor league time. He has Matt Lawton-like ability. College teammate Blake Dean, a 1B drafted in the eighth round, has a powerful senior bat with good discipline. Ninth round Virginia Tech backstop Steve Domescus and 10th round Fresno State OF Bobby Coyle could also reach the majors ahead of the toolsier-but-younger guys picked in other rounds.

SAN DIEGO: Second round West Virginia infielder Jedd Gyorko has the bat to move very quickly, but will need to settle in somewhere defensively first. Third round RHP Zach Cates from Northeast Texas CC can hit the mid-90s, has a good changeup, and could advance more quickly than the typical junior college talent. Fourth round Kentucky 2B Chris Bisson has leadoff man speed. Two later picks to watch are 13th round LHP Miguel Pena out of San Jacinto JC, and 14th round catcher Tommy Medica out of Santa Clara. Pena has average stuff but excellent polish, while Medica has a very good glove and some pop in his bat.

SAN FRANCISCO: Virginia OF and second round pick Jarrett Parker has terrific tools, but is rather raw. He could get there in three years if the Giants can refine him, or he could fizzle out in Double-A just as quickly. Third round Kansas State SS Carter Jurica has average overall tools but the polish to help quickly, at least in a utility role. Fourth round RHP Seth Rosin from Minnesota never walks anybody, though the quality of his stuff can vary from outing to outing. Eighth round pick Joe Staley, a catcher from Lubbock Christian, has a powerful bat in a system that needs hitters, but defensive questions kept him from a higher draft slot.