Fantasy Baseball: Early first base sleepers

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Trying to put together sleepers before all the big sites fully begin hosting drafts is really tough as the ADP data you receive is limited and very site and therefore format/league size specific. Instead I have decided to do my early sleepers at each position based on how I rank people versus the expert consensus on fantasy pros. Generally the expert consensus will shape ADP especially in the early stages so it may be that my final sleepers look very similar to this list but there might also be a few adjustments once things start to settle out closer to the season.


Before we look at the guys I have picked as my first base sleepers I just want to stress that just because I rank them higher than others doesn’t mean I think you should reach and take them miles early. If they are generally going 20th off the board at the position and I have them ranked closer to 10th that doesn’t mean you take them 10th it just means you take them at the time the 16th/17th guys are coming off the board. Yes you will likely be slightly over paying for them but I think the upside for them to outperform that slight overpay is there. However, if you take them 10th overall at the position then you are negating their upside and they no longer become sleepers.

Finally, these players are sleepers in roto leagues as opposed to points and the eligibility I have for them is based on ESPN.

Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates

I actually thought I was low on Bell when I ranked him in my fifth tier at 12th overall. It turns out that I am actually higher than any of the rankers on fantasy pros who have him down around the 20th mark behind guys like Carlos Santana and Matt Carpenter. Let me compare Bell to those two in particular is because in my projections I have him as a very similar player to those two; 150-160 combined runs and RBI, 25ish homers and an average in the high 0.250 low 0.260 range. The reason I prefer Bell is that I feel like we know what Santana and Carpenter are at this stage while Bell is still young in the league and has room to grow as a hitter. I can see the reasoning for going against Bell with his team being below the standard of the other two but I think Bell has the most upside and is the one of the three I would be least shocked to see a power surge resulting in 30-35 home runs. At the stage of the position where I am considering these guys I am already at a disadvantage at first base so why play it safe and go for the tried and tested boring option when you can take the upside option?

Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles

Mancini is a similar story to Bell in that he is the upside option at the position. Mancini finds himself at 30th in the fantasypros composite rankings versus being in my 5th tier at 13th overall. Last year Mancini hit 24 home runs with a 0.298 average which is a really nice total in itself but I think he has the talent and the ball park to go bigger this year. We have seen what sluggers can do in Baltimore and while I don’t think Mancini has the 50 home run upside that Chris Davis showed a few years back I do think he can make the jump to 30+. Baltimore’s line-up is a weird mix of old and new which might see Mancini bat lowish in the order early but I could easily see him slotting into the middle of the line-up if he gets off to a good start and then the possibility of a 160 combined runs and RBI, 30+ home runs and a 0.290+ average mean he has every chance of ending the season a top 10 first baseman.

Greg Bird, New York Yankees

You can read my thoughts on Bird here.

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