With just a few weeks to go before baseball’s Opening Day, most fantasy baseball geeks (yes, that includes me) are in a frenzy in preparing for their respective draft/auctions for later this month.
One major key to winning any format is finding that bargain who is going well below value. Last year, there were examples of breakthrough sleepers like Zach Greinke or Pablo Sandoval as well as injury comeback stories who fell in drafts such as Chris Carpenter. Lately, I’ve been taking advantage of the mock drafts and several names have been standing out so far that fit the category.
Here are a few examples today. Yes, the names are obvious, but it’s all about round value. I’ll get to some sleepers later on.
Grady Sizemore – OF – Indians
In 2009, Sizemore was a top-10 pick in all draft formats. This year he has been falling into the third round in 12-team formats. This is insane value for a guy who is a lock to hit 25 homers and steal another 25 bases. Minimum. Oh, and have you heard he has been dropped in the order to take advantage of more RBI opportunities?
Jon Lester – P – Red Sox
Ok, this isn’t exactly sleeper material so far, but if you are looking for someone who will certainly outperform his draft slot then Lester is your man. In 12-team leagues, Lester has been going in the 5th round. That’s in the same neighborhood as Johan Santana and Clayton Kershaw. While somebody burns a first round pick on Tim Lincecum, go ahead and take Jon Lester a few rounds later for more wins and 220 K’s. That’s fantasy ace material if I’ve ever seen it.
Matt Garza – P – Rays
One of my true breakout SP’s this year is Matt Garza. In mock drafts, he’s been falling into the 11th or 12th round in 12-team formats. He’s an excellent mid-round value who will deliver plenty of strikeouts and win a few games for you in 2010. Truest me, you’ll thank me later for this one.