Fantasy Baseball 2013: Top 5 MLB Sleepers & Top 5 Breakouts
The term, “sleepers,” is a little bit of a cuss word in the Fantasy Expert circles. Everyone has a different definition of a sleeper, and many people throw the term around loosely. It’s dangerous. You could put an eye out.
Here are my definitions, and I think you’ll agree: I’m incredibly handsome – and these definitions make sense.
Sleeper: A relatively bad player, usually snatched up in the later rounds of their respective drafts, that becomes a middle-round draft pick the following season. In other words, he has a much better season than his late draft-pick status expects out of him. In 2012, Jason Kipnis turned out to be a very nice sleeper pick.
Breakout: A relatively good player, usually picked in the middle rounds of their respective drafts, that becomes an early round pick the following season. Jason Heyward, for instance, had a breakout season in 2012. He went from being a top-30 outfielder, drafted near Round 10, to a top-12 outfielder in most drafts this season.
All ADP is gathered from MockDraftCentral.com. Let’s talk about some 2013 Sleepers and Breakouts!
Frazier earns full-time action at third base for the Reds this season, after bouncing around to several spots last year. The Reds will insert Shin-Soo Choo at the leadoff spot and this Reds offense gets even better. Frazier will help owners in several categories as a very good corner infielder. ADP: 205 (Round 18)
Martin’s having a solid spring, which is solidifying his claim on the center fielder’s job in Arlington. He’ll also likely be the leadoff hitter in front of a pretty lethal lineup. That usually spells success. ADP: 336 (Round 28)
When a player has 40 steals and zero home runs over a season, like Revere had last year, you have to figure he’s a one-trick pony. While it’s true, the 25-year-old contact hitter won’t be practicing his home run trot any time soon, he offers a solid batting average, a ton of runs in a remade lineup, and even more steals. ADP: 191 (Round 16)
Masterson enters his fifth major league season, but this time as the ace of the Indians staff. The big righty had plenty of great starts last year, but horrible outings were peppered in around them. With a much better lineup in Cleveland, he should see more win chances in 2013. ADP: 329 (Round 28)
With pitchers like Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer on board, it’s understandable that Sanchez gets forgotten about in Detroit. But the former Marlins pitcher has averaged a 3.68 ERA in his past three seasons, and many hitters in the American League still haven’t seen him. ADP: 194 (Round 17)
A young catcher is learning his team’s pitchers, he has to become reliable behind the plate, and then, lastly, he has to learn how to hit opponents’ pitchers. Plus, they’re still dealing with all the things other young players have to deal with, like having a large amount of disposable income, and living in a Major League Baseball city. Perez, however, is still pretty young (22), but he’s entering his third season. His bat appears ready, as he hit 11 home runs in less than 300 at-bats last year coming back from a knee injury. ADP: 145 (Round 13)
Hosmer burst onto the scene as a 21-year-old, just a couple years after being a top-three draft pick. But he ended up having better stats in his rookie season (.293-19-78) than he did last year (.232-14-60), despite playing in 24 more games in 2012. A good hitter, which everyone was convinced that Hosmer was last spring, will take a full offseason and adjust to the adjustments pitchers made to him. Hosmer should end up as a top-10 first basemen in next year’s drafts. ADP: 87 (Round 8)
Simmons falls more under the “Sleeper”category, but I wanted to get some middle infielders in here. He’s entering his second season after a successful rookie campaign saw him hit .289, with almost 20 RBI in about 50 games. Consider that he’ll probably leadoff, and bat in front of Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman and B.J. Upton. He has 100-runs scored potential, as long as he can show patience at the plate. ADP: 251 (Round 21)
Again, this is a guy that disappointed a bit last season after a big rookie year, just like Hosmer and several other 2011 rookies. But Jennings has great speed and potential pop in his bat, with a possible 25/30 season in his future at some point. The Rays will rely on him more this season, with B.J. Upton gone and Wil Myers taking over the “young bat” title from Jennings. He needs to bring his walks up and strikeouts down, though. ADP: 80 (Round 7)
It’s tough to think of a 10-year veteran as someone about to break out, but Grilli takes over in the ninth inning in Pittsburgh for the first time in his career. The fact that he’s a grizzled veteran that has bounced around the league (six teams) will help his cause. Don’t be afraid of taking a closer on a bad team – their team might not win a lot, but when they do, they’ll win by a close margin. ADP: 145 (Round 14)