2013 Fantasy Baseball Deep Sleepers

Get the Athlon Sports Newsletter

Under-the-radar players that could be valuable fantasy contributors this season

<p> 2013 Fantasy Baseball Deep Sleepers</p>

Mike Trout went from largely undrafted prior to the start of the 2012 season to the AL Rookie of the Year and one of the top players in all of fantasy baseball. Trout wasn’t the only player to come out of nowhere and be a valuable fantasy contributor. National League Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper, National League Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, Toronto first baseman Edwin Encarnacion and Atlanta pitcher Kris Medlen are just some of the others who broke out in big ways in 2012.

While it’s almost impossible to predict who the next Trout or Medlen in 2013 will be, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other players outside of Athlon Sports’ Big Board that won’t finish among the top 200 players in fantasy baseball by season’s end. Here are some names at each position that you should be able to get later in your draft or even once the season starts that could prove to be very valuable to your fantasy team.

Note: Players are listed at the position(s) they are currently eligible, according to Yahoo!. Be sure to check your league’s eligibility requirements as they may differ in terms of status prior to Opening Day and as the season progresses.

Fantasy Baseball Positional Rankings: Big Board | C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | DH | SP | RP

2013 Fantasy Baseball Deep Sleepers

Catcher:

Late-Round Target
Jesus Montero, SEA, C

Nothing about Montero’s 2012 numbers (.260-15-62) particularly jump out, but don’t forget he’s still just 23 and this was his first full major-league season. What he did, however, was show signs of progress and growth in the second half (.278-7-34 in 241 AB after the All-Star break compared to .245-8-28 in 274 AB) of last season, especially in regards to cutting down on strikeouts (67 in first half, 32 in second). Don’t forget the fences at Safeco Field were brought in from four-to17 feet in left and left-center, something that should benefit a right-handed hitter like Montero.
Other candidates: Jonathan Lucroy (MIL, C); Brian McCann (ATL, C), Salvador Perez (KC, C)

For Even Deeper Leagues
Rob Brantly, MIA, C

Outside of Giancarlo Stanton, there don’t figure to be many impact fantasy producers on the Marlins’ roster this season, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be any pleasant surprises either. Take Brantly for example, a left-handed hitting catcher who in a very small sample size last season (31 G, 100 AB), showed he can make contact (.290 average, only 16 SO) and hit for a little power (8 2B, 3 HR).
Others worth considering: Welington Castillo (CHC, C), Yasmani Grandal* (SD, C), John Jaso (OAK, C), Devin Mesoraco (CIN, C), Jordan Pacheco (COL, C/1B/3B)

*Grandal will have to serve a 50-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

First Base:

Late-Round Target
Brandon Belt, SF, 1B

A highly touted prospect who tore up the minors, Belt has struggled to find his swing in the majors. That could change this season, however, as a strong finish last season (.329-3-23 from August on) has carried over to the spring. Belt has already slugged seven home runs in spring training, and most importantly, he’s scheduled to be the Giants’ regular first baseman. Not saying he’s going to bust out for 30 home runs or anything like that, but don’t be surprised if he ends up among the top 20 first baseman in fantasy by season’s end. Buy now, especially if you are in a keeper league. You can thank me later.
Other candidates: Yonder Alonso (SD, 1B), Michael Cuddyer (COL, 1B/OF), Chris Davis (BAL, 1B/OF), Corey Hart (MIL, 1B/OF), Adam LaRoche (WAS, 1B), Kendrys Morales, (SEA, 1B), Justin Morneau (MIN, 1B)

For Even Deeper Leagues
Brandon Moss, OAK, 1B/OF

Moss slugged 21 home runs in just 84 games last season with the A’s. He probably won’t mash 40 over a full season, but if he gets the at-bats he may be the cheapest source of 30 home runs or more out there. Besides the power, he managed a .291 batting average in 2012, although that’s likely to go down some considering the 90 strikeouts versus only 26 walks. Still, the power potential alone makes Moss worth keeping an eye on.
Others worth considering: Mike Carp (BOS, 1B/OF), Matt Carpenter (STL, 1B/3B/OF), Chris Carter (HOU, 1B), Tyler Colvin (COL, 1B/OF), Garrett Jones (PIT, 1B/OF), Mitch Moreland (TEX, 1B), Logan Morrison (MIA, 1B/OF), Daniel Murphy (NYM, 1B/2B)

Second Base:

Late-Round Target
Jurickson Profar, TEX, 2B/SS

Even if Profar doesn’t make the Rangers’ Opening Day roster, it’s simply a matter of when and not if for the game’s top prospect. The 20-year-old should get his chance at some point this season, and it’s highly likely that once he does come up he will stay. A .276 hitter in three minor-league seasons, Profar did collect his first career home run among three hits in 17 at-bats with the Rangers at the end of last season. The fact the Rangers reportedly discussed trading All-Star shortstop Elvis Andrus during the offseason to make room for Profar should be all you need to know about their expectations for the young infielder. If you have the room, there’s no reason to draft or pick him up and stash for later. It’s a move that will require patience, but could pay off handsomely in the end.
Other candidates: Dustin Ackley (SEA, 1B/2B), Emilio Bonifacio (TOR, 2B/OF), Daniel Murphy (NYM, 1B/2B), Marco Scutaro (SF, 2B/3B/SS), Kyle Seager (SEA, 2B/3B), Michael Young (PHI, 1B/2B/3B)

For Even Deeper Leagues
Maicer Izturis, TOR, 2B/3B/SS

Izturis can play all over the infield, so his versatility alone makes him an interesting option. A .273 career hitter, he appears to be the frontrunner to be the Blue Jays’ starting second baseman. Being a part of a lineup that includes Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawire among others, could result in under-the-radar production in several categories for Izturis, something extremely valuable in a middle infielder.
Others worth considering: Darwin Barney (CHC, 2B), Gordon Beckham (CHW, 2B), Jeff Keppinger (CHW, 1B/2B/3B), Chris Nelson (COL, 2B/3B), Cliff Pennington (ARI, 2B/SS), Josh Rutledge (COL, 2B/SS), Donovan Solano (MIA, 2B/3B/OF)

Third Base:

Late-Round Target
Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE, 3B

The Indians are hoping this is the season Chisenhall finally puts it together at the plate. After hitting seven home runs in 212 at-bats in his first big-league action in 2011, the young left-handed hitter was expected to establish himself at the hot corner last season. Instead, he managed to hit just five home runs in only 142 at-bats, as he made just 28 starts in the field. This season, the Indians are giving the third base job to Chisenhall from the outset and he has responded with a strong spring, including four home runs so far. If he gets off to a hot start at the plate once the season starts, Chisenhall could be in store for a solid season as a member of a revamped Indians lineup.
Other candidates: Trevor Plouffe (MIN, 3B/OF), Marco Scutaro (SF, 2B/3B/SS), Kyle Seager (SEA, 2B/3B), Kevin Youkilis (NYY, 3B), Michael Young (PHI, 1B/2B/3B)

For Even Deeper Leagues
Jedd Gyorko, SD, 3B

Considered a long shot to make the Padres’ Opening Day roster from the outset of spring training, Gyorko’s chances of securing a spot have increased greatly thanks to Chase Headley’s thumb injury. What’s not clear, however, is where will Gyorko play – at third, which is his more natural position, or will he stay at second where the Padres had him playing prior to Headley’s injury. Either way, it looks like Gyorko has a good chance of contributing to a fantasy lineup this season, as the 24-year-old hit a total of 30 home runs with a .311 average between Double- and Triple-A last season. He’s already hit three home runs in spring training, so if anything, his power potential alone makes him an intriguing option, especially should he add second-base eligibility.
Others worth considering: Alberto Callaspo (LAA, 3B), Matt Carpenter (STL, 1B/3B/OF), Luis Cruz (LAD, 3B/SS), Maicer Izturis (TOR, 2B/3B/SS), Jeff Keppinger (CHW, 1B/2B/3B), Chris Nelson (COL, 2B/3B), Eduardo Nunez (NYY, 3B/SS), Jordan Pacheco (COL, C/1B/3B)

Shortstop:

Late-Round Target
Alexei Ramirez, CHW, SS

Prior to last season, Ramirez averaged 17 home runs a season from 2008-11. That number dropped to just nine in 2012, but the encouraging sign is that he still managed 73 RBIs, which is right around his previous four-season average of 71.2. Ramirez doesn’t strike out a lot (77 in 593 at-bats in 2012) and stole 20 bases last season. He may not be flashy, but if he can somehow find his power stroke again, you are looking at a shortstop that could potentially go 20-20, a feat that only three others reached in 2012.
Other candidates: Stephen Drew (BOS, SS), Jed Lowrie (OAK, SS), Jhonny Peralta (DET, SS), Marco Scutaro (SF, 2B/3B/SS), Jean Segura (MIL, SS), Andrelton Simmons (ATL, SS)

For Even Deeper Leagues
Zack Cozart, CIN, SS

In his first full season in the majors, Cozart hit 15 home runs and 33 doubles in 600 plate appearances. Since he doesn’t run at all (four stolen bases), Cozart needs to provide power and some run production to be worth a roster spot, although his .246 batting average will probably improve with more experience. Still, when you are talking deep sleepers, what’s more intriguing than a shortstop who could potentially hit 20 or more home runs and around 40 doubles?
Others worth considering: Pedro Ciraco (BOS, 2B/3B/SS), Yunel Escobar (TB, SS), Dee Gordon (LAD, SS), Maicer Izturis (TOR, 2B/3B/SS), Eduardo Nunez (NYY, 3B/SS), Cliff Pennington (ARI, 2B/SS), Josh Rutledge (COL, 2B/SS), Ruben Tejada (NYM, SS)

Outfield:

Late-Round Target
Starling Marte, PIT, OF

Everyone knows about Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, but Marte may make a name for himself this season as well. The 24-year-old outfielder made his debut last July and provided a glimpse of the potential across-the-board contributions he can offer when he posted a .257-5-17 line with 12 stolen bases in less than 200 plate appearances. Penciled in as the Pirates’ starting left fielder, Marte could provide a 15-20 type of season, and that appears to be his floor, not ceiling.
Other candidates: Michael Brantley (CLE, OF), Michael Cuddyer (COL, 1B/OF), Chris Davis (BAL, 1B/OF), Nick Markakis (BAL, OF), Cameron Maybin (SD, OF), Michael Morse (SEA, OF), Josh Reddick (OAK, OF), Nolan Reimold (BAL, OF), Cody Ross (ARI, OF), Denard Span (WAS, OF)

For Even Deeper Leagues
Andy Dirks, DET, OF

Even though he bruised his knee running into the wall earlier this week, Dirks should be the Tigers’ Opening Day left fielder, a job he earned after hitting .322 with eight home runs in just 314 at-bats last season. Detroit’s sure to score lots of runs, so as long as Dirks can get on base, he should be able to contribute in that category as well as offer a little bit of power and possibly some speed, while not serving as a batting average drain either. Depending on your options, he may worth a look as you fill out your outfield or bench.
Others worth considering: Emilio Bonifacio (TOR, 2B/OF), Domonic Brown, (PHI, OF), Mike Carp (BOS, 1B/OF), Matt Carpenter (STL, 1B/3B/OF), Tyler Colvin (COL, 1B/OF), Rajai Davis (TOR, OF), Lucas Duda (NYM, OF), Garrett Jones (PIT, 1B/OF), Justin Maxwell (HOU, OF), Nate McLouth (BAL, OF), Logan Morrison (MIA, 1B/OF), Brandon Moss (OAK, 1B/OF), Wil Myers (TB, OF), Justin Ruggiano (MIA, OF)

Starting Pitcher:

Late-Round Target
Jason Hammel, BAL, SP

Hammel was having a solid season for the Orioles until a troublesome right knee resulted in surgery in July. He returned for two starts in September in which he gave up just two earned runs in 8 2/3 innings. For the season, he went 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 118 innings. He is expected to be the Orioles’ ace in 2013 and should be a valuable contributor in a fantasy rotation, even if it’s not as an every-start option.
Other candidates: Clay Buchholz (BOS, SP), Alex Cobb (TB, SP), Ryan Dempster (BOS, SP), Ross Detwiler (WAS, SP), Jaime Garcia (STL, SP), A.J. Griffin (OAK, SP), Matt Harrison (TEX, SP), Edwin Jackson (CHC, SP), Paul Maholm (ATL, SP), Justin Masterson (CLE, SP), Wade Miley (ARI, SP), Chris Tillman (BAL, SP), Edinson Volquez (SD, SP)

For Even Deeper Leagues
Hisashi Iwakuma, SEA, RP/SP

Following a fairly strong showing in his first season in the U.S., the Marines re-signed Iwakuma to a two-year deal. The Japanese righty is slated to be Seattle’s No. 2 starter behind ace Felix Hernandez after he went 8-4 with a 2.50 ERA in 15 second-half starts. Even if you aren’t willing to put him out there time he takes the mound, Iwakuma should get strong consideration as a spot-starter, especially when he’s pitching at home. Iwakuma posted a 6-3 record in 17 games (10 starts) at Safeco Field with a 2.49 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 67 strikeouts in 76 innings.
Others worth considering: Trevor Bauer (CLE, SP), Chad Billingsley (LAD, SP), Scott Diamond (MIN, SP), Dillon Gee (NYM, SP), Joe Kelly (STL, SP/RP), Mike Leake (CIN, SP), Zach McAllister (CLE, SP), Shelby Miller (STL, RP), Bud Norris (HOU, SP), Rick Porcello (DET, SP), Erasmo Ramirez (SEA, SP/RP), Julio Teheran (ATL, SP), Jacob Turner (MIA, SP), Jason Vargas (LAA, SP), Travis Wood (CHC, SP)

Relief Pitcher:

Late-Round Target
Ernesto Frieri, LAA, RP

Traded to the Angels early last season, Frieri was without a doubt the team’s best reliever in 2012. In 56 appearances he surrendered a total of 26 hits in 54 1/3 innings with 80 strikeouts. Despite 26 walks, he still managed a 0.96 WHIP and 2.32 ERA for the Angels with 23 saves in 26 chances. The team added closer Ryan Madson in the offseason, but he is coming off of Tommy John surgery last April and is not expected to be ready by Opening Day. Frieri will handle closing duties to start the season and it’s possible that he may not give them up once Madson returns. At worst, he should be a productive setup guy, especially in fantasy leagues that use holds.
Other candidates: Carlos Marmol (CHC, RP), Bobby Parnell (NYM, RP), Glen Perkins (MIN, RP), Addison Reed (CWS, RP), Bruce Rondon (DET, RP), Drew Storen (WAS, RP), Jose Veras (HOU, RP)

For Even Deeper Leagues
Jake McGee, TB, RP

Fernando Rodney is entrenched as the Rays’ closer and Joel Peralta figures to handle setup duties, but that does not mean there is not a late-inning role for McGee. Clocked with the fastest average fastball of any left-handed American League reliever in 2012, McGee struck out 73 in 55 1/3 innings, while walking just 11 in his 69 appearances. With power stuff and the ability to miss bats, McGee would probably get the call before Peralta to close things out should something happen to Rodney. Or McGee could simply take either the closer’s gig or setup job away from either of them based on performance.
Others worth considering: Andrew Bailey (BOS, RP), Sean Doolittle (OAK, RP), Kyuji Fujikawa (CHC, RP), Kelvin Herrera (KC, RP), Mark Melancon (PIT, RP), Trevor Rosenthal (STL, RP), Sergio Santos (TOR, RP)

Related Content:
2013 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Big Board
2013 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Infield
2013 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Outfield
2013 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Starting Pitcher
2013 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Relief Pitcher
2013 Fantasy Baseball: Closer Grid
Fantasy Baseball Studs to Avoid in 2013
Fantasy Baseball 2013: Which Injured Players are Worth Drafting?

Miscellaneous: 

Home Page Infinite Scroll Left