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Which Sleeping Beauties will Finally Wake Up in 2017?

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Drafting Sleepers is the most fun part of the draft, but only if the Sleeper does breakout. Obviously not every Sleeper is destined to be superstar, but some of their breakout just requires a little more patience.

Look ahead. A better future is waiting for us.
Look ahead. A better future is waiting for us.
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

We all love Sleepers. When we draft them right, not only we have a higher chance of winning the glorious championship, but also they grant us unlimited bragging rights. Of all those 2015 pre-draft hyped sleepers, some of us drafted studs like Wil Myers, Trevor Story, or Rougned Odor. For the others, who were less fortunate, ended up with guys like Gerardo Parra, Miguel Sano, or Byung Ho Park.

We all do numerous researches and read every expert column, but we somehow always put our trust on a wrong guy's breakout, but that's why they are called "Sleepers" in the first place. A lot of the Sleepers never wake up, and most of their draft stock drops for the following season. Nevertheless, we have to remember that some of the young guys do require little more patience. Do you remember after his RoY campaign, how Bryce Harper's two mediocre follow-up seasons lowered his ADP just before his MVP season? Do you also remember how Anthony Rizzo's ugly .233/.323/.419 sophomore slash made us to believe that the Italian slugger can't handle the Major League left handed pitching?

Let's discuss some of the Sleeper busts and see if they have any chance to return something tangible for the NEXT SEASON (just a reminder, they are useless for the rest of THIS season).

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David Peralta

One of the best pitcher-turned-position-player stories didn't pan out well this year. In 2015, the outfielder's first full-time season was a huge success as he hit .312/.371/.522. Many people anticipated that he was due for a breakout season as someone to protect Paul Goldschmidt in the hitter-friendly Chase Field.

He not only suffered various injuries to miss chunk of his time, but also didn't impress anyone even when he was on the field. He has never been a walker, but his plate discipline got even worsened, and his overall slash and HR all went south.

First things first, let's talk about his power. Since he had spent most of his Minor League years as a pitcher, we don't have enough data to prove his raw power. Before he signed with the D-Backs, he crushed the Independence league pitching with silly .359/.404/.566 slash, but even then he only cleared wall 28 times in 990 PA, which translates to about 17 HR per 600 PA. This number looks pretty consistent with his 16 HR / 600 MiLB PA and 18 HR / 600 MLB PA. He hit 4 HR in 183 PA this year (13 HR / 600 PA), so his power wasn't his major struggle. He is turning 30 next season, but we can at least be sure that he hasn't lost his power yet (but there isn't 25 HR+ upside neither).

His biggest value comes from his hard hit line drives and groundballs which can slice the outfield gaps, but he lost about 60 points in his BA this year. It was largely due to his increased K-rate, but fortunately, we don't see too many warning signs here. He actually made more contracts and his swing and miss rate didn't go higher. Then why did he struggle? He somehow faced more pitches inside to zone this year, which is strange considering that he was one of the best fastball hitters in 2015. It's tough to imagine that his opposing pitchers intentionally threw him more strikes when they should try to exploit his lack of patience. I can't explain the full story here, but I can tell you that this phenomenon is very unlikely to be repeated.

Lastly, he doesn't own flashy wheels, but he added 9 SB last season to boast his Fantasy value. His age could be a little concern, but the D-Backs are tied for the 5th in the Major League in steals, and they don't even have guys like Jonathan Villa (Brewers 1st), Billy Hamilton (Reds 2nd),  or Starling Marte (Pirates 5th). 22 SB by Jean Segura is the most among the team, and the manager loves to let anybody run when they have chances, so we can still be optimistic about Peralta's solid SB return when he comes back for the next season. I know a lot of you didn't really have much fun with him, but the B-day boy (today, 8/14 is his 29th birthday) deserves at least one more chance.

Steamer Rest of the Season Projection

PA

HR

RBI

R

AVG

SB

108

3

13

12

0.273

1

_

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Michael Conforto

The 2014 10th overall pick didn't take long to make a splash in the Majors. The bat-desperate Mets called up the 22-year-old outfielder straight from its Double-A team, and apparently the kid was ready to face the Major League pitching even without a full-season of Minor league practice. He helped the Mets' playoff run as he hit .270/.335/.506 in 56 games, and he hit 2 HR in Game 4 of the World Series, where he was the sole offense when the Mets fell to the Royals 3-5.

So it was only natural to expect a big thing from the former College Baseball Player of the Year, and after his quick start in April (.365 4 HR), everybody was ready to greet the new superstar in baseball.

Obviously things start to go really wrong since then. Since May 1st, the kid has hit paltry .161/.238/.313 and struck out whooping 29% of the times. The Mets, desperate enough to consider Carlos Gomez, had no choice but to send him down to the Minors.

The good news is that he is at least crushing the Triple-A (.344/.420/.623). His bat obviously belongs in the Majors, but he somehow couldn't find a way to snap out of his extensive slump. It's been a disappointing season for the Mets and whoever snatched him in the late round, but it doesn't mean that he has reached his ceiling.

His crucial problem is his inexperience. Before this season, he had only played 133 games in the Minors, and only 45 of them were Double-A level, where the actual competition begins (zero Triple-A games). Because of his lack of competitive at bats, he hasn't seen enough Major League level breaking balls to be familiar with them. His brief success in the Majors were driven by his ability to destroy fastballs. Last year, there were only three qualified hitters who created more runs from each fastball than Conforto did, and they were Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson, and Mike Trout.

So what does the pitchers do? Stop throwing fastballs to him. He has experienced one of the biggest drops in percentage of opposing fastballs, and he struggled. His fastball hitting skills prove his natural talent in baseball, but there are good reasons why even extremely talented players go through the Minor League system. Every gifted athlete's early struggle tend to be related to handling breaking balls (e.g. Michael Jordan), and Conforto needs to go through that harsh learning curve just like everyone else does. He has been around the league for only about two years now, and he would have been still practicing against his Minor League peers under normal circumstances. Treat his 2017 season like the future All-Star's actual debut year, and you won't be disappointed again.

Steamer Rest of the Season Projection

PA

HR

RBI

R

AVG

SB

119

4

14

13

0.245

1