Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Sportsthodoxy's 2016 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers

Every year there are guys who go undrafted at the start of the season who wind up being difference makers in fantasy baseball down the stretch. And every year, dozens of fantasy baseball publications try to identify these guys, allowing their readers to have an edge going into their drafts. Of course, since all of these publications tag the exact same guys as sleepers, their names get splashed all over the place and they're no longer sleepers because everyone knows about that, That's why we at Sportsthodoxy are taking a slightly different approach to our fantasy sleepers. Specifically, we recommend you run out and get:

Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Boston - Sandoval, he of the roly-ploy demeanor, cute nickname and multiple SF Giants World Series rings, just lost his job as Boston's starting 3B to scrappy white dude Travis Shaw. Scrappy white dude infielders in Boston tend to have a shelf life of roughly 3 months, at which point they're quietly sent off to Pawtucket or traded to the Diamondbacks. Shaw is a defensive liability at third, doesn't hit for power, and has a long swing, all of which suggests he's going to become a folk hero on the WEEI circuit until his bat cools off, at which point the Red Sox will put the guy they're paying a gazillion dollars to back out there.

Literally anybody, RP, Philadelphia - The Phillies are going to win maybe 65 games this year, and they're not going to score a lot of runs in the process. That means the games they do win will be close ones, which means lots of saves (relatively speaking). Unfortunately, at this point there's literally nobody in the Phillies' bullpen you can point to and say "Yup, he'll be getting all the saves". They've got a mix of young guys nobody's ever heard of, old guys who blew out their arms somewhere else, and starting pitching prospects who aren't as good as Vince Velasquez. At least three of them are going to be run through the closer role this season, possibly more. So grab one. You might get lucky.

Mikie Mahtook, OF, Durham Bulls - Desmond Jennings currently occupies left field for Tampa. Desmond Jennings did not have a great year last year. Desmond Jennings is making actual major league money (which is to say, 25th guy on the Yankees' roster money). At some point this year, the Rays will ship out Desmond Jennings, at which point Mikie will be The Next Outfielder In Line. He's got a little power and a little speed, and a team-taken promotional headshot that makes him look like a serial killer, all of which are things you look for in an outfielder.

Alex Rodriguez, DH, New York Yankees - There has been precisely zero controversy out of A-Rod this spring. When he did a radio interview with Mike & Mike at ESPN, he was all "I'm just here to help the team win" and "individual milestones don't matter". No centaur pictures, no PED allegations, no mysterious cousins, no lawsuits - A-Rod has become totally boring, which means he's fallen off people's radar. Which means that everyone's going to forget about him until the late rounds of your draft, even though he hit 33 home runs last year.

Hisashi Iwakuma, Nate Karns, Taijuan Walker and Wade Miley, SPs, Seattle - Because they have to pitch someone on the days King Felix doesn't go.

Rene Rivera, C, Free Agent - The Rays just got rid of Rivera for being utterly unable to hit a baseball. Previous catchers they have gotten rid of in this fashion and/or for this reason include John Jaso, Stephen Vogt, Robinson Chirinos, and Chris Gimenez, all of whom have gone on to perfectly corpulent professional careers once the Rays got rid of them. Rivera's bound to be next on the list.

Babe Ruth, OF - Yes, I know he's dead. But if he came back as a zombie, he'd still probably hit 20 home runs.

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