Here we are four months before most drafts take place, but it is never too early to start grooming your list of potential sleepers. In this edition we will start out with six sleepers out of the American League Central.
1. Chris Sale - The White Sox slender 22 year old lefty has been told that he will be in the starting rotation for 2012. Sale pitched 71 innings out of the bullpen in 2012 and compiled a 2.79 ERA with a 1.11 WHIP. He also struck out 79 hitters and saved 8 games. His stuff is flat out nasty. While there will probably be some issues early on going deep into games, he is going to strike out more than a batter an inning which will be an excellent value late in drafts.
2. Jason Kipnis - The Indians 2nd baseman came up for 36 games in 2011 and didn't disappoint with the bat. He provided a slash line of .272/.333/.507 with 7 homers and 5 stolen bases. A 15/15 season in 2012 is within the realm of possibility.
3. Shin-Soo Choo- While the name Shin-Soo Choo isn't going to take anyone by surprise, his 2011 stat line will. Choo only hit .259 with 8 homers and 36 RBI's. Choo suffered through a tough 2011 season personally, with his DUI arrest and physically, with a broken thumb. He was going in the very early rounds last year and no doubt was one of the biggest busts. That is sure to leave a sour taste in the mouths of some owners, which will make him available a little later in drafts. Expect him to be closer to his 2010 levels in 2012.
4. Glen Perkins- In his first season as a reliever, Perkins thrived. Over 61.2 innings, the lefty recorded an ERA of 2.48 with 65 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.23. The Twins declined Joe Nathan's option and Matt Capps is a free agent leaving the closer duties up for grabs. The Twins have stated that they are going to reduce payroll heading into 2012 and an easy way to do that is by lowering costs out of the bullpen. Perkins may be ready to take over the closers role and could provide you with plenty of saves and K/9 with a late round pick.
5. Salvador Perez - The Royals backstop absolutely raked in his 158 plate appearances, with a slash line of .331/.361/.473. While his BABIP was high at .362, he showed enough that he is going to be given the starting job for 2012. In a very powerful Royals offense, the opportunities are going to be there for him to provide plenty of fantasy numbers for a very low price.
6. Dayan Viciedo - The White Sox are going to look to Viciedo to provide pop in the middle of their order in 2012. He earned a late season call up last year and struggled in a small sample size. Don't let that deter you from picking him up late in your drafts. The 22 year old was crushing the ball in Charlotte until he re-injured his thumb. He has power to all fields and he has become a bit more selective at the plate. Viciedo could have a big year for Chicago.