Everyone loves a sleeper, right? I know I do. Well, I will be offering some fantasy sleepers every Friday during the Consensus Rankings Series. The Sleepers series kicked off with my AL-only league first baseman who could outperform their draft day values in 2014 earlier this morning, and now I bring you my NL-only league sleepers for 2014.
Here is a look at a few NL-only league first basemen who will be available late in drafts who could outperform their draft day value this season:
Morneau moves from one of the best pitchers parks in baseball to one of the best hitters parks in baseball, humidors notwithstanding. Last season, he hit .259 with 17 HRs, 62 runs, and 77 RBI, and more importantly, he was healthy. He was a year removed from post-concussion syndrome, and it was great to see him playing on a regular basis. He hit 30 home runs and drove in 100 runs way back in 2009, the last year the Twins played in the old Metrodome, a hitters park. Morneau is now moving to Coor Field which is one of the best hitters parks in baseball, so we could see his 25-30 home run power return should he stay healthy in 2014. He will probably bat 5th or 6th in the Rockies lineup, just behind Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, so he should have plenty of RBI opportunities this season.
Howard has had difficulty staying healthy over the last two seasons, so there is risk in drafting him this season. Should he prove healthy, he could put up a 25-30 home run season with 85-90 RBI, albeit with a low batting average. He provides less value in OBP or Points leagues as he doesn't walk much and strikes out a ton. Citizens Bank Park played as the best home run park in baseball last season, so there is a chance we see another 30 home run season from Howard, assuming good health.
LaRoche is a year removed from his best season as a pro, where he hit .271 with 33 home runs and 100 RBI. I don't expect him to ever reach that again, but he is good enough to hit 20-25 home runs and drive in 80-85 runs in the Nationals lineup which underperformed expectations in a big way last season. He is a streaky hitter though, prone to months where he just looks completely lost at the plate, like last April where he hit .136 or July where he hit .159. He offsets those months with months like May 2013 where he hit .330 with 7 home runs and 19 RBIs.
Davis was all sorts of lost at the plate last season and ended up demoted to AAA, but had a promising second half where he hit .286 with 4 HRs, 15 runs and 16 RBI in 38 games. Prior to his demotion, he hit .165 with 5 HRs, 21 runs and 18 RBI in 62 games. He has been the subject of many trade rumors this offseason, but as we move closer to spring training, it looks more likely that he will remain with the Mets. A hot start in spring training will do wonders for his trade value should the Mets still want to deal him. Otherwise it could cement him as the Mets starting first baseman to start the season. He won't be drafted in many mixed leagues, but he is a guy to draft if your leagues allow you to stash players on the bench, as he still owns the power skills he showed in 2012.
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