Now that I’ve exhausted my list of potential sleepers, it’s time to see who is actually worth drafting for the 2012 season. I’ve talked about 11 different hitters as potential sleepers for your team but obviously you don’t want your roster to be filled with all 11 of them because that would just be wacky! So, that begs the question of who you should be really targeting in your drafts here.
In the early rounds, there are two potential sleepers sitting out there who have not given us a full year of MLB success but certainly have great potential:
- Desmond Jennings (OF, TB) – Early Round – Great option
- Brett Lawrie (3B, TOR) – Early Round – Great option
I like both of these players quite a bit but I would love them if they were found a couple rounds later. As it stands, they’re both going in the 5th round on average in a 12-team league. They have the potential to deliver a lot more than that but going with a sleeper that early is always a risky proposition. Regardless, I have confidence that they’re both very good options at that point if you decide to go with either one.
The guys I really like to grab are usually found in the middle rounds. If we’re to look at the history of successful sleepers, there’s a lot of evidence that points to guys taken in the middle rounds being the biggest difference makers. In 2008, Jacoby Ellsbury and Josh Hamilton played that role. In 2009, that guy was Nelson Cruz for me and then it was Carlos Gonzalez in 2010. And, last year, that mid-round sleeper was Mike Stanton. This year, we have two mid-rounds sleepers on my list that could produce at the same level as those past mid-round sleepers:
- Paul Goldschmidt (1B, ARI) – Middle Round – Great option
- Jason Kipnis (2B, CLE) – Middle Round – Good option
I like Goldy quite a lot and expect big things of him this year. Jason Kipnis has 20/20 potential which is great as a late round middle infielder. He’s the only middle infielder on the sleeper lists actually so he’s definitely worth targeting as well. Given their lower price tag and higher ceilings, these are guys that I’m setting my sights on.
For 2012, all of the potential late round sleepers are outfielders so perhaps you should consider leaving some space on your roster for high potential backup outfielders. These guys aren’t always the biggest stars but some can really break through to help you out like Michael Morse last year (or Brett Gardner in 2010 and Shin-Soo Choo in 2009). Here are the guys that fit the mold this year:
- Lucas Duda (OF, NYM) – Late Round – Great option
- Alejandro De Aza (OF, CHW) – Late Round – Great option
- Nolan Reimold (OF, BAL) – Late Round – Good option
- John Mayberry, Jr. (OF, PHI) – Late Round – Good option
- Alex Presley (OF, PIT) – Late Round – Decent option
- Chris Heisey (OF, CIN) – Late Round – Decent option
- Jason Bourgeious (OF, KC) – Late Round – Decent option
In my analysis, it looks like Duda and De Aza have the highest values of these late round options. Next in line would be Reimold and Mayberry as good options too. While I’m not quite as high on Presley, Heisey or Bourgeious, they certainly are decent options to take a chance on in much deeper leagues. Otherwise, they can be left on the waiver wire for now and picked up if they start to heat up.
All in all, I wouldn’t load my entire team with sleepers since only a percentage of the sleepers on this list will pan out. On this week’s podcast, we discussed this a bit more extensively. But, regardless, I love the mid-round sleepers this year (as I always do) and I definitely will get one or two of the late round sleepers as my backup outfielders too.