Ben ZobristDesmond Jennings
Alejandro De AzaCarlos Quentin
Probable Overhyped Magazine Sleeper: Starling Marte
Last Years Overhyped Magazine Sleeper: Mike Trout and Bryce Harper
The Fantasy Man's Sleeper: Carlos Gomez
The Fantasy Man's Super Sleeper: John Mayberry
Bust Candidate: Michael Bourn
Value Play - Mark Trumbo and Desmond Jennings
The outfield position this year is tricky and if you're not paying attention, you can really fart up this part of the draft. I split this list up into two main categories....
Group 1 - the solid draft-able outfielders who likely take up your 1st-3rd of 5 (in a normal league) outfield slots.
Group 2 - the wannabe good fantasy players who disappoint every year, aging but still hold value late, players who at least are starting/full-time with a bit of value.
Group 3 - Some unknowns or forgottens you should at least check out, look up, research about
Basically, if I left a player off either list, it means that they're not a full-time player, they're waiver wire material or I simply forgot to add the player in. Regardless, I don't have time to list every possible potential outfielder so I'm sticking with who is relevant.
So above I described the OF position as tricky. For starters, the elite class of OF is GI-normous with the first 10 players listed potential first round picks and you can go top 12 listed if you feel Mike Trout and Bryce Harper belong in the elite list. I don't think they're quite there yet, show me two years in a row and I'll push them up a few slots next year. However, I just can't stomach taking Harper over say Carlos Gonzalez or Jacoby Ellsbury for example. For those who love Mike Trout, it just doesn't sound right to choose Trout over Jose Bautista or Matt Kemp, does it? Maybe its just me, I don't know. Either way, OF is deep the first 25 or so in which any of Group 1 can take up your first OF slot. After that first 25 or so there is a huge drop off for the next 10-15 players in group one. Then, once Group 2 hits, the floor completely drops out with guys you either can't trust, don't want to trust, don't have much in the tank or are perennial busts but still draft able in the right spot. Within the lower half of Group 2 and after, you might as well close your eyes and throw darts. I mention the position is tricky because its so strong top half (Group 1), the bottom half (Group 2) is a complete crapshoot, but then there's likely some good value to come out of Group 3. Its just not a steady decline of talent like we've seen in the past is all I'm saying. Just looks weird to me.
Big sleeper of the bunch, Carlos Gomez. I always put him on a sleeper list and last year he finally delivered some value. What I liked most is that he was consistent from beginning to end. In 415 AB in 2012, Gomez hit .260/19HR/37SB/51RBI and only 98K. He's already an excellent defensive player and he just turned 27 with a few years in the league now. If there was ever a time to break out, this is it. I'd say he's a slightly poor mans Jacoby Ellsbury right now but could be Ellsbury material by the end of the season. The talent is there. Here's something to chew on and lets consider Ellsbury and typical projections for 2013 since his career has been a roller coaster of numbers and Gomez and Jennings from last season assuming there's more upside....
Jacoby Ellsbury .290BA 12HR 60RBI 50SB in 600AB (My 2013 Projection)
Desmond Jennings .246BA 13HR 47RBI 31SB in 505AB (2012)
Carlos Gomez .260BA 19HR 51RBI 37SB in 415AB (2012)
A few things to consider.....
- I don't see Ellsbury hitting 30+ HR again but I do see 50+SB
- I'm not saying Gomez and Jennings will be as good as Ellbury but the numbers are close projected over a full season.
- Ellsbury is 29, Gomez is 27, Jennings is 26
- Jennings has been highly touted the last two years or so, the upside is there, was hurt for a month or so last season.
- Gomez has been touted at least five years or so and finally making strides, started as a part-time player last season.
I can of an entire article on these guys. Point is, there is a ton of potential elite talent later in the draft, probably in rounds 6-10 of a 12 teamer here with Jennings and Gomez. I like players in the OF who contribute in all categories and these guys fit the bill. These are my two big sleepers for 2013.
Another sleeper I like is Drew Stubbs. I call him a sleeper because of how bad he was last year and how he'll likely slip in drafts. I know I know, maybe another Rickie Weeks or Nick Markakis as far as talent never translating to fantasy but the tools on this guy are sick and if he can cut down on the K's just slightly and hit the plate with some kind of a game plan, he can put up 20/40 or even 30/30 type numbers. I love these types of players and always willing to take a risk at the right time of the draft. Stubbs will likely drop in the rankings so might be good to scoop up say in or after the 13th round or so. if I can get .260/15/35SB+ I'd be pretty happy but thats basically what he's averaging with the BA slightly higher. So I'm happy with that but the talent is there for much more which is just extra value caked on.
My super sleeper is John Mayberry. He was on sleeper lists last year but inconsistent playing time early proved to not work well for Mayberry. He hit 14 HR in 441 AB but had a much better second half in 2012. The OF situation looks bleak in Philly but Mayberry is a beast at 6'6" / 250lbs so he has the size and the power to add value late in the draft. he also posseses some speed which he did not showcase last season. Throw 24 doubles on top of the 14 HR and you have yourself a nice little super sleeper in the prime of his career with a chance to play everyday and whom no one is talking about.
The overall big picture here is that you can't go wrong with Group 1 anytime in the draft, there's not much in Group 2 so pick your spots, and if you're paying attention, there will be some value in Group 3.