2012 Sleepers – Hitters
Mar 6, 2012 by Dan Wheelock
In the early rounds of your draft you want to try to just avoid disaster. Owners that drafted Hanley Ramirez or David Wright last year probably didn’t win their league. You’re not going to turn a huge profit, if any, from your first couple of picks but you should target guys with high floors. Leagues aren’t won in the early rounds but they can be lost then.
In the second half of your draft you can afford to take some risks, especially in mixed leagues where there will be a big free agent pool during the year. Here is where you can turn huge profits and help secure a league championship.
Here are some hitters that can be drafted late (some won’t be drafted in mixed leagues) that should out-play their draft positions.
Brennan Boesch, OF, DET – In 2011, Boesch silently improved on his solid rookie campaign. He raised his average from .256 to .283 and he hit 16 home runs, two more than he had in 2010 in a few less at-bats. Another statistical improvement can be expected as he enters his age-27 season. The Tigers’ signing of Prince Fielder will probably help Boesch more than any other hitter on the team. He is slated to bat second in the order and will see the best pitches of any major leaguer in 2012 with Miguel Cabrera and Fielder hitting behind him. Boesch is currently the 57th outfielder going in drafts (Mock Draft Central) just ahead of players like Eric Thames and Nolan Reimold. Roll with him late and you won’t be sorry.
Jason Kipnis, 2B, CLE – Kipnis broke into the league with a bang last year. After getting called up in July, he hit 6 home runs and had a 1.014 OPS through his first 16 games. A couple days later he strained his hamstring and missed three weeks. He wasn’t the same after coming back. Kipnis finished the season with seven home runs, five stolen bases and a .272 average at the big league level. Between Triple-A and the majors, he had 19 home runs and 17 stolen bases, great numbers for a second baseman. Kipnis has great upside and should be a lock for 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases with an average around .290. He is the 14th second baseman off the board (Mock Draft Central) but wouldn’t be a bad starting option if you miss out on Cano, Pedroia or Kinsler.
Ike Davis, 1B, NYM – Reports suggest that Davis should be ready to go for spring training after missing most of 2011 due to a sprained ankle and bone bruise. Before the injury, Davis hit 7 home runs with 25 RBIs and a .302 average in 129 at-bats. He is a great sleeper pick this year but you may want to monitor him this spring to make sure he’s at 100%. Davis will be 25 when the season starts so he is still entering his prime. He is currently being drafted after the injury-plagued Justin Morneau and unproven Paul Goldschmidt (MDC).
John Mayberry, OF, PHI – Mayberry will be looking to have a Jayson Werth-like breakout in his age-28 season. In 267 at-bats in 2011, he hit 15 home runs, drove in 49 runs and stole eight bases. Mayberry is the favorite to win the starting left field job for the Phillies and could end up being the steal of your draft. He is inexplicably being taken as the 72nd outfielder in mock drafts according to Mock Draft Central. With a full season of at-bats, I’m not afraid to project a line of .270/70/25/85/12.
Lucas Duda, 1B/OF, NYM – Duda was one of the most productive outfielders down the stretch in 2011, delivering a line of .292/38/10/50 in 301 at-bats for the Mets. There are a few things going for the soon-to-be 26-year-old. He should have a good spot in a respectable Mets lineup and the Citi Field fences are coming in and getting shorter in places. As long as he can avoid a platoon in right field, I see big things for Duda in 2012. He can be had for cheap at the end of mixed league drafts.
Dee Gordon, SS, LAD – Gordon, son of Tom “Flash” Gordon, did well for the Dodgers after being called up in June last year. Overall, he hit .304 with 24 stolen bases for the big club, but he hit .345 in his final 142 at-bats. Gordon stole a total of 56 bases between High-A, Triple-A and the majors in 2011. As the unquestioned starting shortstop for the Dodgers in 2012, Gordon should be able to steal around 50 bases, score a ton of runs and hit over .300. He is currently the 10th shortstop off the board according to Mock Draft Central, going just in front of Erick Aybar. Gordon is a good pick in a talent-scarce position.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, ARI – Goldschmidt tore up minor league pitching last year, hitting 30 home runs in just 366 at bats with a .306 average at Double-A. For his efforts he was awarded a late-season cup of coffee with the Diamondbacks where he will also start 2012. The 24-year-old struck out 53 times in 156 at-bats for the big club but he also popped 8 home runs and had 26 RBIs. Goldschmidt is the first baseman of the future in Arizona but be may be platooning with Lyle Overbay for at least the start of 2012.
Bryan LaHair, 1B, CHC – Anthony Rizzo is the first baseman of the future for the Cubs, but, until that time comes, LaHair will be the man at first. In fact, it sounds like he might be batting cleanup in 2012. At 29 years old, LaHair is not a prospect. He did, however, put up great number at AAA last season. LaHair hit 38 home runs and hit .331 with a gaudy 1.07 OPS in 456 at-bats for the Iowa Cubs. He was called up in September hit .288 with two home runs in 59 at-bats. Keep an eye on how LaHair does this spring and he may be worth a late-round pick, even if Rizzo takes over at first base later in the year.
Alex Presley, OF, PIT – Presley is expected to be the Pirates’ starting left fielder in 2012 and will be a nice source of stolen bases with a good batting average. He stole 31 bases between AAA and the majors even though he missed a month with a thumb injury. Presley is also a candidate to hit leadoff this season and could be an excellent source of runs with guys like Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen hitting behind him. No matter where he hits in the order, the 26-year-old will out-perform his 217 ADP (Mock Draft Central).
Mike Carp, 1B/OF, SEA – Between Triple-A and the majors last year, Carp hit 33 home runs. In 2010, he hit 29 home runs in only 409 Triple-A at-bats so we know he has some pop in his bat. He hit .276 for the Mariners last season and has a career minor league average of .277 so he’s not going to kill your team’s batting average. Carp should have left field all to himself and will be in a lineup that is not as bad as it has been in recent years. The recent acquisition of Jesus Montero and the assumed progression of youngsters Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak can only help Carp’s run and RBI potential. Carp is currently going 224th according to Mock Draft Central and could turn out to be an absolute steal there.
Latest Baseball Articles
Baseball Player Updates
- Derek Jeter: (Ankle) Takes BP Wednesday
- Josh Hamilton: Drops To No. 7 Hole In Lineup
- David Price: (Triceps) To Make Rehab Start Friday
- Trevor Cahill: Suffers Bruised Hip
- Chris Perez: (Shoulder) Will Not Return Friday
- Loading ...