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Updated by Scott Boot Criscione on Mar 29, 2016
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MLB Sleeper Picks 2016

With Spring Training wrapping up and fantast drafts underway it is time to give you the edge with this years sleeper picks.

1

Starting Pitchers

Starting Pitchers

Starting Pitcher

Kenta Maeda (LAD) - ADP: 185th, 12th-18th rounds.
-Maeda was a hot ticket item when free agency began but somewhat faded away. Quietly he signed with the Dodgers where the Eiji Sawamura Award (Japan's Cy Young Award) winner joins the American Cy Young in Clayton Kershaw. Like many pitchers our of Japan before him, look for a breakout rookie campaign. Project around 14-wins and a near 3.2 ERA out of him.

Shelby Miller (AZ) - ADP: 155th, 10th-15th rounds.
-After a year where he pitched as a front end pitcher to an awful Braves team Miller now has a new home where he has a team that actually has All-Star caliber players behind him, and at the plate. I wouldn't take him as early as the 10th round, but if there is a pitcher run, he isn't a bad #3 pitcher for a fantasy staff.

2

First Base

First Base

First Base

Brandon Belt (SF) - ADP: 135th, 8th-14th rounds.
-Much like the Giants, Belt is off one year, then on the next year. He also lacks 30-homerun pop, and at first that is an issue to some. however the 15th drafted First Baseman (on average based on fantasypros.com rankings) means he is more than likely someone's backup, or a starter that is projected to hit about 18-homers and bring in 70 RBI's. Not bad for a fringe starter.

Mark Tumbo (BAL) - ADP: 180th, 12th-18th rounds.
-He crushed his way onto the scene with the Angels about the same time Trout was about to take off as the leagues best player. Then he vanished to Arizona and Seattle leaving many fantasy owners to distrust him this year. But in Baltimore's homer-heavy lineup he has been crushing it this spring and will be in many hitter friendly parks this year in the AL East. If you are looking for a 25-HR/70RBI/.250 BA guy, here he is.

3

Second Base

Second Base

Second Base

Dustin Pedroia (BOS) - ADP: 169th, 11th-18th rounds.
-How has one of the elite second basemen fallen out of the top tier of his position? We all know who he is, so what gives? Well he is older, he can't steal like many ahead of him can, and he is projected to hit just 11-homers this year. However being the 14th Second Baseman drafted on average means he is being drafted far behind people like a Ben Zobrist who is projected to hit about the same stat line as Pedroia.

Jonathan Schoop (BAL) - ADP: 239th, 18th-undrafted.
-While many of my picks are just guys who may be bouncing back or just known players with value at their slot, Schoop is a bit unknown still to many. In 2014 in a full season he hit 16-homers...and hit .209. Last season in just 86 games he hit 15-homers...batting .279. So given that he is in some leagues a free agent, if he hits 21HR/59RBI/.249 as projected. Why not that late get him?

4

Third Base

Third Base

Third Base

Maikel Franco (PHI) - ADP: 93rd, 8th-11th rounds.
-The earliest pick on my sleepers list because to be frank, there wasn't much to be excited about after him at the Third Base position that can hit like he can. Shadowed by the cloud of terribleness that is the Phillies right now Franco has a chance to become the best big name at his spot. Projecting by many to hit over 25-homers while still putting up solid numbers in all other hitting categories (that matter for fantasy at least). As the 11th best rated at Third, he has a big ceiling.

Justin Turner (LAD) - ADP 223rd, 13th- undrafted.

  • Okay I lied, there is some intrigue after Franco is off the board, but with the interchangeable stat line that the next dozen guys have the best at his valued slot is Turner. His draft position is all over the place, but he can hit for average and will put up decent numbers. If he stays in the lineup for the full season he should be a nice backup off the bench.
5

Shortstop

Shortstop

Shortstop

Ketel Marte (SEA) - ADP: 228th, 15th-undrafted.
-I had to call a scouting friend in Seattle to get intel on this one. He is projected the be the 15th best offensive Shortstop in the game this season, yet is drafted just ahead of Alcides Escobar who give no offensive numbers. Scouting report on him says he will hit 30-stolen bases, and will hit for average. Not much pop, but makes things happen on the bases. Which for someone picked so late is a good thing to have.

Jung-Ho Kang (PIT) - ADP: 169th 13th-17th rounds.
-Maybe it was the injury last year, or maybe the lack of enthusiasm towards the Pirates this year. However, that lineup hasn't changed much and he is a major part of a playoff contending team. If he is my back up or even my starter, I guess I will settle for a 15-homer guy who hits .270.

6

Outfield

Outfield

Outfield
(I'm not picking LF, CF, RF. Just OF in general)

Kevin Pillar (TOR) - ADP 177th, 11th-19th rounds.
-In a lineup of big names offensively comes a quiet Pillar. The 44th ranked outfielder is slated to hit about 15-homers, and steal over 20-bases, while hitting around .270. Solid 3rd-4th outfielder material. If he becomes a leadoff hitter or gets on base before the heavy hitters show up he will be a run scoring machine. Big upside for him there!

Matt Holliday (STL) - ADP: 209th, 13th-21st rounds.
-That's right! Well maybe everywhere but St. Louis. But can you really trust old Holliday? Even moving to First or being a DH can't hide the fact he is not young anymore. However come on, would you draft Delino DeShields jr over Holliday? No? well... America has done just that. So if your league is full of Holli-haters then by all means let them keep picking the DeShields and Billy Burns of the world.

Byron Buxton (MIN) - ADP: 210th, 15th-20th rounds.
-We have all heard of the next can't miss player. We all wanted him last season to destroy the league like a Mike Trout or Bryce Harper did...then he didn't. This season he goes into the draft a marked bust by previous owners and will fall one step below previously mentioned Holliday. Buxton will be a 20/20 guy this season. Is that not worth a bench spot for a fantasy owner? Suppose he does bust onto the scene, then look at you being all smart.

7

Relief Pitcher

Relief Pitcher

Relief Pitcher

Glen Perkins (MIN) - ADP: 168th, 13th-18th rounds.
-I admit I have always liked him as a closer, and why reach on a 40-save guy when a 34-save guy is rounds away? It's nice to have an elite closer. But for those not picking a top-4 closer and are waiting for ours later, here he is. 20th best rated closer who has a 9k/9 projection and is expected to close around 33-games while blowing about five. Not bad.

Santiago Casilla (SF) - ADP: 180th, 13th-17th rounds.
-This was a toss up. Between Drew Storen who may or may not be the closer of the Blue Jays all season, or a guy who holds the position down fairly tight. I went with the safer bet so none of you yell at me when you pick a set up man on my word (though if you listen to me for fantasy season salvation you were doomed all along.) He will give up hits, but he will get the job done. So not a WHIP friendly pick, but safer than some of the late options left after him.

8

Catchers

Catchers

Catchers

Yadier Molina (STL) - ADP: 238th, 16th-undrafted.
-What! No not Yadi! Well kids, sometimes when players get old and hurt their thumbs they do this thing call regress. However sometimes an All-Star caliber catcher bucks the trend and keeps hitting for average and RBI's like Yadi has done. Late pick, go for it, primary catcher... may the Force be with you.

Nick Hundley (COL) - ADP: 268th, 20th-undrafted.
-Hundley makes the list because he plays half of his games in a ballpark that makes any decent hitter look great. Starting him during home stretches is a smart idea, so a late pick catcher who will run into 15-homers and 60-RBIs is not bad this late.