The Search for Narco | 2012 Sleeper Hitters

My non-scientific method for coming up with fantasy baseball’s possible deep sleepers has yielded a crop of great surprise players each year. Last year, it told us to reach for Mike Stanton and dig around for Mike Morse. Both of those players would have likely provided you a huge fantasy boost on your roster at their preseason price tags. Two years ago, we got huge production from Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Gardner and Angel Pagan for pennies on the dollar. If we go back further, you would have gotten surprise success from Nelson Cruz, Ben Zobrist and Shin-Soo Choo in ’09 and Josh Hamilton, Jacoby Ellsbury and Nate McClouth in ’08. This system has proved to be successful time and time again. Here’s how I introduced the system a couple of years ago: 

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.

I then went on to explain that I’m looking at the guys who only had 100 to 350 AB’s generally and weeding out usual fantasy stars who were injured. Lessons I’ve learned over the years is to not expect great things from catchers who show up in this system and to not overvalue those who are already older in age. Ideally, we want to find young guys who are about to get a chance at a full year of being a starter while showing good success in limited appearances previously. The hard part at this point is figuring our who will actually get to start for their team in 2012. But, without further ado, here is the list of potential narco candidates for 2012 in alphabetical order:

Alonso, Yonder OF CIN (24)
Bourgeois, Jason OF HOU (29)
Campana, Tony OF CHC (25)
Constanza, Jose OF ATL (28)
Craig, Allen OF STL (27)
De Aza, Alejandro OF CHW (27)
Downs, Matt 2B HOU (28)
Duda, Lucas OF NYM (26)
Gentry, Craig OF TEX (28)
Goldschmidt, Paul 1B ARI (24)
Guzman, Jesus 1B SD  (27)
Heisey, Chris OF CIN (27)
Jennings, Desmond OF TB (25)
Kipnis, Jason 2B CLE (24)
Lawrie, Brett 3B TOR (22)
Lillibridge, Brent OF CHW (28)
Mayberry, John OF PHI (28)
Parmelee, Chris 1B MIN (24)
Presley, Alex OF PIT (26)
Reimold, Nolan OF BAL (28)
Young, Eric OF COL (26)

It’s a long list of names and many of these will not get a chance to start in 2012 but some of these players will get a green light and become great fantasy starters (I’m looking at you, Desmond Jennings). The preseason is still young so some investigating has yet to be done but many of these names will certainly pop up during the draft preparation here. As the readers, if you think any of these names on the list are particularly worthy of excitement based on your inside knowledge, feel free to blurt it out in the comments below. A couple of people within this list will become fantasy stars next season but we’ll just have to wait to see who it is.

More analysis to come.

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