2017 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers

South Side Sleeper

We all like a good sleeper and this is the second article in the series of our staff’s 2017 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers. I like to be the different one and I’ll be the first to admit I may have cheated a bit from Ben Rolfe’s original sleeper model.

My first sleeper is just outside the top 200 ADP on FantasyPros. The way I see it a player can still be a sleeper if you’re league mates are overlooking him in your drafts and he’s falling below where you believe he should be drafted.

Don’t worry I made up for my first unofficial sleeper by providing three additional sleepers that fit the original sleeper model. These players are basically free at this point and are going undrafted in many leagues. Consider them late-round lottery tickets. They’re not going to make or break your team if you need to drop them later so they’re very low risk/reward type of investments. I focused on providing our readers with some young high-upside/high-ceiling type prospects that could possibly help sooner than later.

Just remember that at the ripe age of 20 a guy named Mike Trout went on to hit .326 with 30 home runs, 83 RBI, and lead the AL in runs scored (129) and stolen bases (49). Now that I’ve hopefully gotten your attention here’s Maddog’s 2017 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers!

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Tim Anderson | SS | Chicago White Sox

ADP: 208

Tim Anderson is one the few young players to get excited about on a rebuilding Chicago White Sox team. Last year he was blocked at shortstop by 37-year old veteran Jimmy Rollins. The Sox finally came to their senses and released Rollins on June 10th opening the door for their much hyped prospect to get the call to the Bigs. Anderson supplied an immediate spark to the Pale Hose by providing a nice blend of speed and pop in their lineup. Anderson has the upside to steal 20-30 bags this year based on his minor league track record; he swiped 49 bases at Double-A Birmingham in 2015.  Also consider that he was ranked as a top-20 prospect by Baseball Prospectus just last year.

The only real concern with Anderson is his lack of plate discipline as evidenced by his alarming 13/117 BB/K ratio in 431 MLB plate appearances. This is an area of concern but also something he can improve on moving forward at the ripe age of 23. I’d prefer to focus more on the positives with Anderson. He has shown that he has room to grow in the power department and could possibly become a 15-20 homer option at a premium position. I’m also optimistic given that he’s the top candidate to leadoff for the Sox after the departure of table setter Adam Eaton.  Given his current ADP of 208 on FantasyPros.com I think he holds some nice sleeper appeal. The upside is there considering he could put up a decent average, score 80-90 runs, hit 15-20 jacks, and steal 20-30 bases. If you’re waiting to take your starting SS you could do a lot worse than taking a shot on Anderson late in your drafts.

Could this be the year <a rel=

Joey Gallo breaks out? (Tom Fox – The Dallas Morning News)

Joey Gallo | 3B | Texas Rangers

ADP: UD

Joey Gallo falls in the classic post-hype sleeper category after being one of the Texas Rangers most highly touted homegrown prospects in their organization. It’s easy to forget that he was drafted 39th overall by the Rangers back in 2012. Since then he has wowed everyone in the minors at every stop with his light tower power moonshots. The caveat is that he hasn’t been able to improve his plate discipline and cut back on the insane amount of strikeouts. Last year he struck out a whopping 169 times in 463 plate appearances between Triple-A and the majors. He did manage to launch 26 homers last year between Triple-A and the majors. Gallo is still young at the tender age of 23. I don’t think the Rangers are ready to give up on him yet or they would have already traded him away.

The path back to Arlington is currently blocked for Gallo with the Rangers offseason acquisition of Mike Napoli and aging mainstay Adrian Beltre at the hot corner. He’ll start the season back in Triple-A for more seasoning. It’s probably a good thing considering Gallo needs to continue to work on developing better plate discipline while cutting back on the whiffs. The upside is there for Gallo if the light ever turns on or the opportunity for playing time presents itself. While it would most likely take an injury to Napoli or Beltre to get the call I think he could make an impact later this summer with the club regardless.

While I’m not advocating drafting him in shallow mixed leagues he’s definitely worth a late round flier in AL-only formats and very deep mixed leagues. Also if you play in a keeper league he should definitely be stashed away in hopes that he someday reaches his full potential. He’s basically free so why not take a shot on Gallo if you have the ability to roster or stash a minor leaguer.

I'm Rocky Mountain High on Tom Murphy. (Doug Pensinger - Getty Images)

I’m Rocky Mountain High on Tom Murphy. (Doug Pensinger – Getty Images)

Tom Murphy | C | Colorado Rockies

ADP: 270

Note: Out 4-6 weeks

Tom Murphy was at the top of my sleeper list this year especially in 2-catcher leagues. He was ticketed for a starting role as the backstop for the Colorado Rockies. All of this changed last week when he was struck by Anthony Rizzo‘s bat behind the plate. The news that followed was that he suffered a hairline fracture of his right forearm and will miss 4-6 weeks. While this is a major buzzkill it offers the opportunity to get Murphy at an even lower price now late in your drafts. He’s currently going as the 270th player off the board and 17th catcher after the likes of Matt Wieters, Stephen Vogt, and Wilson Ramos. Make sure to check out our FakePigskin Fantasy Baseball staff positional rankings to see where he stacks up with his counterparts. Keep reading to find out why I’m higher on him than the rest of our staff.

It’s fair to consider Tom Murphy a late bloomer since he’ll turn 26 shortly after the start of the season. He’s toiled away in the Minor Leagues for five years where he’s been a very productive hitter. Over that time period he boasts a career .282 batting average while amassing 384 hits, 214 runs scored, 258 RBI, and 72 home runs. Last year was arguably his best season yet at Triple-A where he slashed .327/.361/.647 with 19 home runs and 59 RBI.

It’s hard to get that excited about a catcher but when you realize what his power potential is and that he’ll play half his games at Coors Field, you have to start taking him serious. His swing is tailor-made to produce fly balls which should play very well in the high altitude of Coors Field. Murphy came up late last season and got a cup of coffee in the bigs playing in just 21 games. His minor league power translated well to Coors where he smacked five dingers in just 44 at-bats. I’m going to advise everyone not to forgot about Murphy and realize that he’ll be back by early May. If you can draft him as your backup catcher and stash him on your DL it’s a savvy move to make. In 2-catcher leagues continue to draft him late as your third catcher with the upside to become your #2 option when he’s back.

Deep Sleeper Prospect

Can the Yankees top prospect Gleyber Torres make an impact in 2017?

Can the Yankees top prospect Gleyber Torres make an impact in 2017?

Gleyber Torres | SS | New York Yankees

ADP: UD

Everyone is all over Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi, and Dansby Swanson as this year’s top rookies. They’re the consensus expert picks to make an immediate impact with their teams and for their fantasy owners. While they’re deserving of the attention, lost in the shuffle and overlooked by many is Gleyber Torres. He was the key piece the Cubs traded away last year to acquire Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees. The trade worked out for the Cubs with Chapman helping end the 108-year World Series drought and bringing a championship to the Northside. The Yankees on the other hand got back one of the Cubs best prospects in their loaded farm system.

Gleyber Torres scouting report is very impressive. He’s described as having soft, quick hands, and excellent pitch recognition aided by good instincts. Not only is he a natural hitter, he’s got excellent range and a very strong arm. Torres also has above-average speed that should translate to 20-30 steals annually. He flashed his skills last year in the Arizona Fall League becoming the youngest player ever to lead the league in hitting (.403) and win MVP Award. At the ripe age of 19 Torres set the league on fire adding eight extra base hits, 15 runs, 11 RBIs, and 4 stolen bases over 18 games. The hot hitting has carried over from the Fall League to Spring Training where he’s hitting .423 with 2 home runs and 7 RBIs.

At this point it’s safe to say Torres will start the season at Double-A Trenton. The Yankees already have Didi Gregorius locked in as their starting SS.  I’ve spoken with a Yankees insider who told me that they plan on having him play some second base and if he’s comfortable this could expedite his arrival to the bigs. There also has been talk that if Chase Headley is released Starlin Castro could slide over to third base opening up his spot for Torres at second base. It’s anyone’s best guess when the Yankees top prospect will get the call but when he does he’s going to make some serious noise. Make sure you’re a step ahead of your league mates and stash him now or keep him at the top of your watch list ready to snatch him up.

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