There are a couple of fantasy baseball deep sleepers each year that can make the difference for your team. The following 2012 profile of John Mayberry will analyze the chances that he might be one of the next big sleepers. He was selected based on my simple selection process which is detailed in this introductory post.
ADP as of this posting: 227.37 (Round 19/20 in 12-team league)
Projected 2012 Role: Possible Starting OF
2011 Production: .273 AVG, 15 HR, 37 R, 49 RBI, 8 SB in 296 PA
My 2012 Prediction: .270 AVG, 25 HR, 80 R, 85 RBI, 15 SB if he starts
Mayberry has pummeled the baseball in every chance he’s gotten in the big leagues with a .253 Isolated Slugging Percentage (ISO) thus far in his short career. That type of ISO would be better than the likes of Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera so let’s not foolishly expect that to continue. While he was always a bit of a slugger in the minors, it wasn’t quite this apparent with his .199 ISO in the lower levels. If he reverts back to that .199 ISO, he’d still be in good company with players like Andrew McCutchen or Aramis Ramirez who posted a similar number last year. Regardless, it seems likely that he could hit 20-25 HR’s in a full year of play with potential to even approach 30 HR’s based on his current body of work.
For fantasy purposes, there’s reason to be excited about a guy with good power that is available in the later rounds. It gets even more exciting when we see that he has the ability to steal some bases. In the minors, he stole 63 bases while only getting caught 13 times (20 SB and 3 CS recently in 2010). So, he’s an efficient base stealer which means they should continue to let him run periodically and 10-20 SB in a season isn’t out of the question.
There’s been nothing not to like about Mayberry thus far in this post so that batting average can’t be sustainable, right? Sorry, my friend, but it seems that the .273 AVG last year was legit (based on xBABIP) though it was higher than his AVG from any of his minor league seasons. This has the most potential to drop a little but it shouldn’t drop very far if it does. For roto teams, he won’t help you in this area but he won’t hurt you either.
But, finally, here’s the bad news: Mayberry may be in an outfield platoon in 2012. I’ve seen many good sleepers ruined this way and he certainly could fall into that trap. There’s been a ton of mixed signals thus far from the Phillies about whether Mayberry is the starter or not. This offseason the Phillies brought in Laynce Nix as a possible platoon partner for Mayberry in LF (Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino already taking up the other OF spots) and there’s still the issue of Domonic Brown not wanting to go back to Triple-A. So he certainly has some competition that will make it hard for him to be the clear-cut starter all year long unless he comes out swinging a hot bat. Combine those issues with the fact that Mayberry is already 28 years old and you can see the dilemma. It’s for these reasons that Mayberry isn’t being touted as an earlier round pick. which adds to his possible value for you in the case that he does get the job.
Sleeper Verdict: Sleeptastic. Mayberry has the potential to deliver huge rewards for those who take a risk on him. A 20/15 season is possible or, very optimistically, even a 30/20 season could happen. It will be a matter of if he can claim the starting LF role and avoid being caught in a platoon.
Luke is better known as Mr. Cheatsheet despite his last name not being Cheatsheet. He makes spreadsheets, writes blog posts and his rankings were in the top 10 accuracy among FantasyPros experts in 2014, 2016 and 2017. When he's not doing fantasy baseball things, he can be found playing board games or rating beer.