Finding valuable players in the later rounds of drafts is crucial. I analyze the previous year to find potentially undervalued players statistically each year. Generating that list is less about scouting and more about a player’s production during limited time last year. The method isn’t foolproof but historically two-thirds of those on my list end up outperforming expectations. This year, there are potentially six hitters who make the cut and I’ll be analyzing one of them, Wil Myers (OF, TB), today to see why he may or may not be a deep fantasy sleeper this year.
Why He’s Here
Wil Myers was an über prospect in the Royals farm system. His stock shot through the roof when he hit for .314 with 37 HR’s between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012 and was voted the Minor League Player of the Year. Instead of becoming a cornerstone in Kansas City, he was traded to Tampa Bay in the James Shields deal before the 2013 season. Myers rewarded the Rays by continuing to crush the ball in the minors then getting promoted and doing the same in half a major league season. He combined for 27 homers, 12 SB and 110 RBI’s between the minors and majors last year.
|Age||’14 ADP||’13 AB||’13 AVG||’13 xAVG||’13 HR||’13 SB||’13 R||’13 RBI|
Given the hype surrounding Myers as a prospect and his breakout rookie year (which earned him Rookie of the Year honors), his ADP is already fairly high and will likely continue to go up during the preseason. So, I’m not necessarily advocating for Myers as a deep sleeper but he still has the potential to take a huge jump to Top 20 status by next season so 2014 may be the lowest we see his draft position for many years to come.
Why He Might Fail
That .293 AVG out of the gates last year looks mighty good but that .254 xAVG shows that he was the benefit of some lucky basehits and a fairly high BABIP.
Like the Sports Illustrated cover curse, the Sophomore Slump curse is a sports urban legend. Despite being a strange myth, there does seem to be an element of truth behind there being an expected slump in a player’s second year in the majors. In an article that is now nearly a decade old, The Hardball Times shows that 64% of Rookie of the Year winners declined in their second year at that time. There aren’t a host of stats that point to a possible decline for Wil Myers but that is usually the case for those who fall victim to the Slump.
Why He Might Come Through
Yes, he had a high BABIP last year so his AVG may have been inflated. But, if you look at his minor league numbers, he’s a guy who typically has a high BABIP as his baseline. Over five minor league seasons, he hit for .300 so his .293 AVG last year actually seems sustainable.
We got a sneak peak of his power last season but he has 40 HR capability based on previous numbers. His power numbers took a bit of a dip when he came to the majors despite hitting 13 HR in half a season. Given a full offseason to prepare, we might see him hit homers more like did at the minor league level and become one of the best power hitters in the game.
A few years ago, I had Giancarlo Stanton on my sleeper list and felt he was a sure thing despite being drafted at around 80 ADP. Myers reminds me of Stanton in that regard. However, we’ve also seen big-time prospects burn us badly in fantasy like Desmond Jennings (54 ADP in 2012) and Brett Lawrie (56 ADP in 2012). In fact, in my past research, I found that my sleeper candidates drafted earlier than a 100 ADP are huge risks with only 29% even performing up to their expected value from their draft slot (with 14% really outperforming it). So, my heart wants to rave about Myers and encourage you to reach for him but my brain tells me that these type of sleepers are ripe with risk and we want to minimize risk if we can.
It is nothing against Myers in particular but I would say use caution and don’t reach for him ahead of his expected draft spot but take him if he falls to you at a lower risk point in the draft. Realistically, I could see Myers hitting .300 with 30 HR and 100 RBI in 2014 but these second-year players are a mystery that defy logic sometimes.