Today, we will take a look at six sleepers out of the AL East. In a division that has some of the biggest star power in baseball, there are also some guys that will provide great value late in your drafts.
1. Matt Moore - While some of his "sleeper dust" has worn off due to his postseason appearances, Moore still only threw 9.1 Major League innings. He also isn't assured of a spot in the rotation at this time, but I am banking on him grabbing one of them. Moore went 12-3 in the minors, while striking out 210 batters in 155 innings and posting an ERA of 1.92. Make this guy a part of your team in 2012. He won't disappoint.
2. Henderson Alvarez - The Blue Jays gave the 21 year old the call up on August 10th of last season and he performed exceptionally well, putting up an ERA of 3.53 and a WHIP of 1.13 over 63.2 innings. Alvarez went at least 6 innings in 8 of his 10 starts, and never went less than 5. The one knock I have on him is he isn't a huge strikeout artist (5.7 K/9), but he also only walked 8 guys on the season. Take him in the later rounds and don't look back.
3. Clay Buchholz - Wow did the Red Sox miss Buchholz down the stretch. After winning 17 games in 2010, he was only able to make 14 starts in 2011. He will be ready to return in 2012 and will probably slip a few rounds more than he should due to the injury. Make sure you reap the benefits and scoop him up.
4. Jesus Montero - Whether he is with the Yankees or not, Montero will be getting at bats this year. In 69 plate appearances, the 22 year old ripped .328 with 4 homers while OPS'ing .996. While he may not get 500 at bats, I believe he will do enough damage in 400-450 to warrant a spot on your roster. Hopefully he even catches some to maintain eligibility into 2013.
5. Jim Johnson - Johnson was one of the finest relievers in the league last season, as he racked up a strong 3.2 WAR out of the bullpen for the Orioles. While Kevin Gregg was the closer for most of the campaign, Johnson took over for him late in the season and nailed down 9 games. He threw 91 innings last year and tallied a 2.67 ERA with a 1.11 WHIP. Now, Johnson may be in line for a move to the starting rotation. If he doesn't end up in the rotation, look for him to move back into the closing role as Gregg's 6 million dollar option for 2013 vests if he finishes 50 games. No matter the role, expect nice numbers out of Johnson next season.
6. Edwin Encarnacion - E-5 came on strong in the 2nd half. He hit .291/.382/.504 over 272 plate appearances after the All Star Break, with 11 home runs. He is going to be eligible at 1st and 3rd next season in most leagues and is also playing some left field in winter ball. He should be a nice versatile piece to own for 2012.