The Search for Narco | 2011 Sleeper Hitters

As I have mentioned in the past, my system for selecting deep sleepers (for non-pitchers, at least) has been quite effective over the past and  helped us target names like Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Gardner, Angel Pagan and Andres Torres last season.  For those new to the site, I’m going to refer to last year’s post for an explanation:

My method is not entirely scientific but it does yield fairly successful results.  One of the leagues I play in is a point-based head-to-head league and the first thing I do in the offseason is export the results from this league into a spreadsheet (the scoring system is fairly standard).  Using these results, I divide the players’ total fantasy points by the number of at-bats and sort those results accordingly.  Not surprisingly, at the top, you’ll find the cream of the crop from the fantasy universe.  But, you’ll also find some guys who did quite well with the few plate appearances they had.

The next step is to remove all players who had over 350 ABs or under 100 ABs, as well as guys who were simply injured the previous season but fall into the group.  Now, we have a group of guys who didn’t get a ton of time to prove themselves but proved they are capable of success in that time.  Now, the key is to find out which of these guys will get a starting opportunity in the upcoming season.  In the past, I’ve found an interesting group of relatively unheard of names.

Those 350 AB or 100 AB numbers can be somewhat flexible as we don’t want to discount someone with 354 AB or so.  One thing I’ve found last year is that catchers can often come up in this system but are not completely reliable for breaking out so take them with a grain of salt (I’m looking at you, Chris Iannetta).  In 2008, this method netted breakout stars such as Josh Hamilton, Jacoby Ellsbury and Nate McClouth.  In 2009, the players that came out from here were names like Nelson Cruz, Ben Zobrist, Shin-Soo Choo and Denard Span.  And, I already mentioned some of the breakout stars from last season.  For a full recap, refer to last year’s post here.

We’ll look more into this last a bit later on but here is the 2011 list of potential narco targets:

Brooks Conrad 3B ATL
Jed Lowrie 2B BOS
Carlos Santana C CLE
Ryan Hanigan C CIN
Matt Joyce RF TB
Mitch Moreland 1B TEX
Dan Johnson DH TB
Tyler Colvin LF CHC
Mike Morse OF WAS
Ryan Kalish CF BOS
John Jaso C TB
Michael Stanton RF FLA
Ryan Raburn LF DET
Chris Denorfia CF SD
Logan Morrison OF FLA

These are in the order of potential narco value with Brooks Conrad and Jed Lowrie being the biggest producers here.  We’ll take a closer look at these players as the preseason rolls along and keep an eye on whether any of these players will possibly get the chance to start in 2011.  One name that already pops out is Michael Stanton as a potential Carlos Gonzalez in the making.  Stay tuned for updates on this list and profiles of these players throughout the upcoming months.

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