2009 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers

With most fantasy drafts kicking off over the next two weeks, I am going to begin a twice-through all 30 teams to identify a sleeper from each.  These will cover all formats with an over-emphasis on deep AL- and NL-only.

For those interested in how others look for sleepers, check out Advanced Fantasy Baseball for a round-up on some of the main methods.  For me, opportunity is the dowsing stick.

C/3B Brandon Inge, Detroit Tigers:  Last season's .205 AVG has people fleeing from the catcher-eligible Inge.  However, that may provide a great opportunity for the Tigers' starting 3B.  Inge has 1,149 ABs as a catcher and "produced" a slashstat of 199/260/330.  In 1,991 ABs at 3B, the slash stats look much better, 256/326/424.  That would nearly match the AVG for AL catchers who had more than 250 ABs in 2008.

OF Fernando Tatis, New York Mets:  Tatis came out of nowhere to discover the power he had during the height of the steroid years.  However, this power has been around since the 2007 season.  In one of the worst HR parks in all the minor leagues, Tatis still hit 21 HRs in 2007.  Last season, he had 12 before being recalled by the Mets and hitting eleven more.

3B Dayan Viciedo, Chicago White Sox:  The other day Viciedo was sent to the minors.  That wasn't a surprise.  What did surprise is where he was sent - to AAA.  If Josh Fields and Wilson Betemit continue to hit as they have done in recent seasons or get hurt, expect Viciedo to be recalled.  So much for off-season reports that he was a fatty.

SP Dana Eveland, Oakland A's:  Eveland's collpase coincided with the A's decision to punt the 2008 season.  In the first three months, he never had an ERA over 3.67.  In the final months, he couldn't manage one less than 4.97.  With the additions of SS Orlando Cabrera and LF Matt Holliday on the left side and a renewed focus by the A's to score runs, the lefty Eveland may be poised to put a full season of quality together.

3B Chris Johnson, Houston Astros:  Before Aaron Boone's heart surgery, there appeared to be little reason to think the win-now-at-all-costs Astros were not going to spend all 2009 with Geoff Blum and Boone in a platoon.  Now Chris Johnson has the opportunity to get those right-handed ABs.  NL-only keepers leagues would be wise to send a buck Johnson's way as just a "What the heck are we thinking!?!?!" moment separates him from full-time ABs.

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