It's March! It's the best day of the year, the day we pretend that we like Spring Training games just because we're so starved for baseball. OK, it's not the "best" day, but that's just how excited I am, that I would even briefly declare Spring Training Opening Day as the best day of the year. To celebrate semi-real games once again being a thing, I've got some lists for you. I've got so many that I can't give 'em all to you today, but instead I'll be giving them to you all month.
There will be lists that you're used to like the 10 Best Breakouts or the 10 Best Relievers Who Could Close or today's about Sleeper Hitters, but also ones a little more out there like 10 Guys Who Could 20-20 (Going Pick 150 or Later) or 10 Guys on the 40-Man Who Could Beat Better Prospects to the Majors. If you have an idea of a 10-man list you'd like to see covering a particular topic, let me know on Twitter (@sporer).
10 Sleeper Hitters (Going Pick-150 or Later)
It's tough to have sleepers these days because information is so abundant that no one really gets overlooked. There is someone excited about everyone. OK, maybe not everyone. Sorry, Tuffy Gosewisch. I'm using the 150-pick cutoff because anyone going in the first 10 rounds isn't really a sleeper.
Pick 150 is 10th-round cutoff for the biggest league type you will see regularly. Yes, there are 16, 18, 20, and probably even 24 or 30-team leagues, but those are the exception for sure. So I'm looking at the NFBC average draft position data and putting together a 10-pack (C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, CI, MI, OF, OF, and a Wildcard which is any position – I didn't UT because I want people to think I'd be picking from the UT-only players) of hitters who can greatly outperform their draft position. If a guy has a 150-200 ADP, I'm saying he can be a top-100 kind of player; if a guy has an ADP greater than 200, I think he can be a top-150 kind of player.
|Yasmani Grandal||C||188||With the repaired shoulder, he's a threat to carry his 1H OPS (.927) through the entire season.|
|Justin Bour||1B||246||Obliterates RHP (.249 ISO in '15), could be avg v. LHP to avoid full platooned; might pop 30 HR|
|Jonathan Schoop||2B||235||I always pump him, I know, but I just love the pwr potential & his MiLB #s portend better K:BB|
|Starlin Castro||SS||193||I'm reluctant to write-off the SBs entirely, but the pop upside drives my interest; has 20 HR upside|
|Brett Lawrie||3B||216||I'm a sucker, but I keep falling for him, maybe it's bc I love Red Bull, too? Could see 20 HR/10 SB|
|Yangervis Solarte||CI||298||3B is total butt if you don't get a stud, Solarte has 2 straight solid seasons & positional flexibility|
|Marcus Semien||MI||251||Bottom-third lineup spot hurts, but I think he can play out of hit; did get 40 starts in 2-hole last yr|
|Joc Pederson||OF||173||Showed the upside & downside of his plate skills, but he hasn't touched the speed yet; it's coming|
|Odubel Herrera||OF||251||Pardon the cross-promotion, but I just wrote him up (and you'll get a bonus OF sleeper)|
|Stephen Piscotty||WC||205||Swing changes paid immediate dividends, pushing his ceiling; could add 1B-elig., which is thin|
Highest Upside: Pederson. You're not hearing word one about his stolen bases because he was 4-for-11 last year. How can anyone think that's who he is as a major leaguer? He was 113 for 153 in the minors (74%) with seasons of 26 (2x), 30, and 31 stolen bases. It takes time to learn how to steal in the majors when you aren't just a pure burner. A dream season has real 20 HR/30 SB potential.
Highest Floor: Solarte. I mean, he's probably just going to do what he did last year, but that's OK, too. I think you have to build in a few bucks of value for his positional flexibility. That really helps in-season just because it opens you up to more possibilities on the waiver wire and I'm not sure that gets considered enough. He will carryover 3B and 1B eligibility. Last year he had 19 games at 2B, so he could get in-season eligibility there.
Longest Shot (at reaching top-100 status): Schoop. If I'm wrong about his plate skills improving, it's going to be hard to be a top-100 guy striking out that much and walking that little, power be damned. And the fact is that he's 24 so even if those plate skills do arrive, they might not be due this year. Believe me, I'm going to get some shares of Schoop because the upside is definitely there, but I fully realize the odds. Thankfully a lot of that is mitigated by the draft cost, though.