The Search for Narco | 2013 Sleeper Hitters

Each year, I generate my list of potential fantasy baseball deep sleepers which I affectionately label as ‘narcos’. I use a method of evaluating performance per plate appearance in a season then looking for players who may not have gotten a full season of opportunity in the past yet are primed to produce in the upcoming year if given the chance. The method that I’ve used up until this point would typically generate a list of nearly 20 players each year. It was a crapshoot from there of figuring out who would be the true sleepers from that list. This year, I’ve heavily modified my system so that it now produces a much smaller pool of players who have a much greater chance at success than the pool of 20 or so narcos.

Based upon this new system, here are those that met the basic qualifications over the past five years (those in italics were not Opening Day starters for their team and those in bold were those that outperformed their draft position by 3 or more roto points):

  • 2012: Alejandro De Aza, Jason Kipnis, John Mayberry, Jesus Guzman, Allen Craig, Chris Heisey
  • 2011: Jed Lowrie
  • 2010: Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Gardner, Casey McGehee, Garrett Jones, Seth Smith, Julio Borbon, Angel Pagan, Andres Torres, Ryan Raburn
  • 2009: Ben Zobrist, Pablo Sandoval, Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, Mike Fontenot, Chris Dickerson
  • 2008: Josh Hamilton, Nate McLouth, Matt Kemp, Jayson Werth, Jacoby Ellsbury, Cody Ross, Rick Ankiel, James Loney, Jeff Keppinger, Michael Bourn, Ryan Spilborghs, Ramon Castro

As you can see, most years have been quite successful with at least three big sleepers coming out of the group. If the player is an Opening Day starter then he stands an even better chance at being successful. The one really odd year was 2011 where only one player qualified and he wasn’t even his team’s Opening Day starter. On the other hand, 2008 was probably the landmark year with a ton of huge sleepers coming out of this system. Let’s see what 2013 holds for us (player’s current ADP is in parenthesis):

  • 2013: Andy Dirks (328 ADP), Tyler Moore (Undrafted), Will Middlebrooks (176 ADP), Justin Ruggiano (186 ADP)

So, we have four players who met the qualifications with one of them currently going undrafted. Middlebrooks and Ruggiano look like decent sleepers who have a slot on their team’s Opening Day rosters. Dirks is a bit of a deeper sleeper but also has a spot on the Opening Day roster currently which is a plus. Moore is the big question mark as he doesn’t seem to have a role on his team currently. Expect player profiles on each of them to appear here in the near future.

For those that are curious, we would have had 13 additional players in the list if we were using the old narco method. Surely some of these players will also have nice seasons but I’m not fully banking on them as full-fledged narcos. I’ll write some player profiles on a select few. Here’s the list of almost-narcos and the reason they didn’t make the cut:

  • Brandon Moss (197 ADP) – too many prev PA’s
  • Wilin Rosario (107 ADP) – barely above 400 PA threshold (426)
  • Yasmani Grandal (267 ADP) – performance was a bit below new threshold
  • Chris Carter (305 ADP) – performance was a bit below new threshold
  • Anthony Rizzo (84 ADP) – performance was below new threshold and ADP under 100
  • Salvador Perez (134 ADP) – performance was below new threshold
  • Tony Campana (Undrafted) – performance was below new threshold
  • Matt Dominguez (Undrafted) – performance was below new threshold
  • Josh Rutledge (229 ADP) – performance was below new threshold
  • Jordany Valdespin (Undrafted) – performance was below new threshold
  • Rob Brantly (313 ADP) – performance was below new threshold
  • Matt Carpenter (Undrafted) – performance was below new threshold
  • Darin Mastroianni (323 ADP) – performance was below new threshold

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