Today, I continue the series where I profile some fantasy baseball sleepers that could help you win your leagues in 2015. Every year, fantasy owners are looking for that late round hitter/pitcher who could help them deal with underperformance from an early round pick, or with an unexpected injury. Some will be busts, some will help you along the way.
I like to define a sleeper as a player who is one of the lower ranked players in standard leagues who could come out of nowhere to outperform their preseason ranking/value. Last season, we saw plenty of players come out of nowhere to help fantasy teams including Charlie Blackmon, Dee Gordon, Steve Pearce, Carlos Carrasco, among many others.
I will begin with the American League East division teams, in order of the 2014 standings, and proceed with the AL Central, AL West and so on.
You can find links to my other sleepers below:
The Red Sox outfield is quite crowded at the moment, especially after the signing of Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, the offseason signing of free agent Hanley Ramirez, the trade deadline deal that netted former Cardinals outfielder Allen Craig, and the emergence of Mookie Betts in the second half of the 2014 season.
So where does this leave Shane Victorino? That's a great question, and I have to imagine he could be a good candidate to be traded during spring training, or early in the season, as an injury replacement. Right now, it appears he is the Red Sox fourth outfielder, but ESPN's depth charts still list him as the Red Sox starting right fielder. With Betts on the bench. That could happen, but I seriously doubt that. I see Betts as the Red Sox starting center fielder and lead off hitter. It is quite possible Castillo is relegated to a part time role with Victorino to start the season.
Victorino missed 132 games last season due to back and hamstring injuries, so 2014 was a lost season for him. I see Betts and Castillo getting all kinds of love leading up to draft day, and would not be surprised if The Flyin' Hawaiian isn't drafted in most 12 team mixed leagues, making him a perfect sleeper candidate.
Victorino is two years removed from a season where he hit .294-.351-.451 with 15 home runs, 82 runs scored, 61 RBI and 21 stolen bases. Sure, he is 34 years old, but he is a very good right fielder, and when healthy, he has shown he can still be very productive at the plate.
Victorino currently has an average draft position of 331.58, good for the 78th ranked outfielder according to early NFBC draft results, so he isn't being drafted in most 15 team NFBC leagues. Steamer projects him to hit .268 with 10 home runs, 56 runs scored, 48 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 436 plate appearances this season. With good health, he could easily surpass that projection hitting in the stacked lineup.
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