Everyone loves a sleeper, right? I know I do. Well, I will be offering some fantasy sleepers every Friday during the Consensus Rankings Series. I kick off the Outfielder Sleeper series with my AL-only league outfielders who could outperform their draft day values in 2014.
One is a top prospect who could make a big fantasy impact as soon as this season. The second is a hitter coming off an injury and in a new ball park. The third is a real sleeper playing for the worst team in baseball last season.
Here is a look at a few AL-only league outfielders who will be available late in drafts who could outperform their draft day value in 2014:
George Springer, Astros
He may not be with the team on Opening Day, but he has a real chance at a call up in May or June, as the Astros increased their payroll this offseason in an effort to win more games in 2014. Not playing your best player goes against that plan.
Should he get a call early this season, or even make the Opening Day roster, he has a chance to put up a 20 home run, 20 stolen base season and be an impact player this season.
ZiPS likes Springer quite a bit this season, projecting him to hit .237 with 26 home runs, 86 runs, 74 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 600+ plate appearances.
Matt Mattingly wrote this article on Springer earlier this week.
Corey Hart, Mariners
Hart signed a one year deal with the Mariners this offseason after missing the 2013 season due to not one, but two, knee surgeries. He will play right field every day for the Mariners and bat in the middle of their lineup. He is a year removed from a 30 home run, 83 RBI season. In his last three healthy seasons, 2010-2012, he averaged 29 home runs and 80+ RBI, and there is a chance he could put up a 25 home run, 80 RBI season with the Mariners.
ZiPS projects him to hit .246 with 18 home runs and 52 RBI, but I think that will prove to be conservative should Hart stay healthy in 2014.
Robbie Grossman, Astros
Yes, another Astros outfielder on the sleeper list. Grossman struggled in his first taste of major league pitching last season, hitting just .198 in 131 plate appearances. He was then sent back down to AAA to work on his swing, and based on this article from Jason Collette at FanGraphs, he made some real changes. Here is an excerpt, but make sure you check out the article:
There are several noticeable changes to Grossman's stance at the plate. His stance is more closed, he is closer to the plate and his posture is more upright than it was in May. Grossman's hands have a higher starting position and his bat starts at a lower angle.
The changes allowed Grossman to hit the ball with more authority, as the average distance on his flyballs increased 13 feet from the first half to the second half and hit 13 extra base hits in 157 plate appearances before being shelved with an oblique injury just after Labor Day.
After a second half call up, and a change in his stance, he started hitting with more power. In his second chance in the big leagues, Grossman hit .322-.351-.466 with 4 home runs, 9 doubles, 19 runs and 18 RBI in 157 plate appearances. At this point, he should be the starting left fielder for the Astros on Opening Day, and is a very late round sleeper who could outperform his draft day value, especially in OBP leagues. He has the speed to steal double digit bags as well.
If you are looking for more position rankings, or plain old fantasy baseball goodness, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, your one place to get all things fantasy.
- Consensus Position Rankings/Projections: Top 75 Outfielders for 2014, Part 3
- Outfielders to Avoid in 2014
- Equivalent Fantasy Average: Outfielders
- While You Were Sleeping: Kole and Khrush Edition
- Prospect Hotspot: Phillip Ervin
- NFBC ADP Rankings Analysis: Outfielders
- Does Byron Buxton Make the Grade?
- Outfielders to Target in 2014
- Billy Hamilton: What Price Will You Pay for Speed?