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The Unsexy Sleepers

The question I get asked the most this time of year other than "who should I keep?" is, "who are some sleepers you like?" Well, we all have guys we like more than the rest of the room, but at this point calling a guy like Marcus Stroman a sleeper is completely useless. If it requires a top-150 pick to get a guy, they are clearly no longer sleepers.  A real sleeper is a guy you don't have to reach on. Clay Link and I were lamenting the fact that for a day or two Avisail Garcia was in the free agent pool in our Staff Keeper League 2.0 because of some sore of clerical error. When we found out that he was actually getting kept, we noted that there was no longer any sex appeal in the player pool.

The guys who are available are primarily veterans who did not live up to their contracts last year like Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols, Jay Bruce, etc... Of course, Bryce Harper got thrown back, so the comment about sex appeal is not entirely true, but the sentiment remains. The point is, there's nothing exciting about Pujols. He'll go for exactly what he should go for in American League LABR this week, and the same will hold true in most drafts/auctions. By this logic, the best way to find significant value is to take a guy with little to no hype surrounding him who is going for dirt cheap but could actually return a nice profit. Pujols could go for $25 and return $28 in value, but that won't win any leagues. If you take a guy for $1 and he earns $8, or better yet, take a few guys who outperform their price by 500-900 percent, then you're cooking. These are the unsexy sleepers...

Mike Morse (ADP: 255)

Hulking with flowing locks, few have ever called Morse unsexy, but I'm going there. At 32 years old, he has switched teams five times and has only found his way to 500-plus plate appearances once. Morse is basically a journeyman. But rarely will you find a journeyman with his raw power and an accompanying .281 career batting average. His career splits do not suggest he needs a platoon partner, and that has not been the barrier to playing time. Instead a PED suspension, the inability to play even adequate outfield defense and injuries have taken opportunities from him. Now he finds himself playing first base with no real threat behind him. Should Morse stay healthy in 2015 he could hit .270 with 25 homers. That might be a big if, but I think playing more first base will help, and he's not going to cost much on draft day.

Aaron Hill (ADP: 290)

Hill has hit 26 homers twice in the last five seasons. Granted the most recent example was in 2012, but injuries have gotten in the way to some extent since then. Even if we just look at his last two seasons, he has hit 21 homers in 220 games, so if he can stay somewhat healthy in 2015, getting to double-digit bombs should be a cinch. With that kind of a floor, it's not hard to talk yourself into paying a small price to bet on a return to 20-plus homer glory.

Jason Hammel (ADP: 307)

I don't really know what it means that Hammel had a 3.19 FIP for the Cubs last year and a 5.10 FIP with the A's, but it's certainly feasible that he just likes pitching in Chicago. Maybe he likes his co-workers, his work environment, his apartment, or the girl next door. Whatever it may be, his price is so low right now that it's worth rolling the dice on him recapturing his magic on the Northside in 2015.

Stephen Vogt (ADP: 323)

PECOTA likes Vogt to hit 15 homers with 62 runs, 65 RBI and a .255 average in 586 plate appearances this season. Granted, that is the most bullish projection I have seen on him, but I can buy it, assuming he gets that many plate appearances. Having a catcher who also gets occasional starts at first base, DH and the outfield is pretty nice in terms of accumulating chances, and that may be the role Vogt is destined for in 2015. I like Vogt as a guy to wait back on as a second catcher in two-catcher mixed leagues and a cheap No. 1 catcher in AL-only leagues.

T.J. House (ADP: 404)

House had a 2.85 FIP, 2.84 xFIP, 50 strikeouts and 11 walks in 57 innings in the second half last year. Somehow that FIP still ranked fourth among Indians starters in the second half, but Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar all carry a price tag representative of how good they were down the stretch. Meanwhile, House can be had for relatively nothing. Of course one of the reasons House can be had for dirt cheap is the Indians have not officially declared who the fifth starter will be between House and Gavin Floyd. However, I'm taking House in that contest, especially considering Floyd is already dealing with elbow issues. He can be your last starting pitcher in deeper mixers and your sixth or seventh arm in AL-only leagues.

Josmil Pinto (ADP: 410)

Every projection system seems to think that if Pinto gets 350 plate appearances, he will provide double-digit homers. It's anybody's guess how many plate appearances he will see, but it won't cost you much to bet that with Ron Gardenhire out of town, Pinto may be given a real shot at seeing more regular playing time, even if he is simply being deployed as the designated hitter. This is the definition of a post-hype sleeper, and we often forget that it can take catchers a year or two before they even start to take shape as a fantasy option. Pinto has legit plus power and it should come with an average in the .240-.270 range, which is perfectly acceptable for a catcher.

Garrett Jones (ADP: 414)

It's admittedly murky as to how Jones will make the transition to the American League and as to how manager Joe Girardi will use him. That said, he has a career .267 average against righties and has power that should play way up in Yankee Stadium, compared to his previous homes of Pittsburgh and Miami. He has hit 15-plus homers in six straight years, and if he gets to 500 plate appearances this season, I think he hits 20-plus homers in his first season in pinstripes.