By Mike Valenti
So, let’s assume: 12-14 team leagues with standard point scoring or 5 x 5.
The basic rule for fantasy baseball sleepers or busts is someone who grossly outperforms or underperforms from their general draft position or auction value. Don’t get all pissy if you know some of these guys. I’m not discovering diamonds for keeper leagues with minor league systems — it’s giving you some names to target for cheap or waiver that will help you.
1. Allen Craig 1st Base/Cardinals—I think Craig will outperform a lot of “names” ahead of him and end up in the Top 5 range at position. Also has OF eligibility. The guy just flat hits.
2. Paul Konerko 1st Base/White Sox—The ageless wonder just keeps going undrafted and in my mind is a steal of waivers. He won’t save your team but he will hit and do so with above average power for the grand cost of $1 or a waiver claim. He’s like thinner Ortiz.
3. Jed Gyorko 2nd Base/Padres—Last year I gave you Kipnis in this spot, this year it’s the Mighty Gyorko. Is locked in at 2nd base for Padres and comes with power pedigree. Would be no surprise if he reached the 20+ range for HR and at 2nd base that legit. Bypass the usual low end suspects and take a flier on this guy.
4. Josh Rutledge SS/2nd/ Rockies—Performed well in 73-games last season and could give you a .280-18-75-15 line. Did I mention he plays in Colorado half his games? Upside is big and playing time plentiful.
5. Norichiki Aoki OF/Brewers—Aoki has a high risk/high reward element to his game. He could go 20-bombs and 35 steals….or regress as he did post All Star break and be 10 homers and 25 steals. Either way for a waiver claim or a $1 there’s a lot to like.
1. Felix Hernandez SP/Mariners—Declining fastball velocity for 3-years straight and an incredible workload raise some red flags. Also just got PAAAAAIIIIDDDDDDDDD. He’ll be damn good but not worth the draft slot/$$$ you would pay.
2. Jared Weaver SP/Angels—another metric nightmare as Weaver simply doesn’t strike anyone out. Declining K Rate spells trouble for a guy no longer touching 93 mph. He will be good, but again not worth your cost.
3. James Shields SP/Royals—Courtesy of Matthew Berry/ESPN…career ERA in dome? 3.34. Career outdoors? 4.67. The Royals play in a toy ballpark, as well. I’ll pass.
4. Any Yankee. I’m not kidding. Pass on Tex, Granderson and Jeter — as all are old, hurt and not worth name value. The team as a whole is a disaster.
5. Elvis Andrus SS/Rangers—Andrus is thought of as a 50+ base stealer who in reality isn’t…or even close. Great speed but underwhelming results. He also had the wisdom to “bulk up” to hit for more power before last season…and didn’t. Leave him for someone in dreamland. There are far better options for far less.