Fantasy Baseball 2013: Top 25 Outfield Sleepers
The definition of a sleeper is someone whose value is much better than the round in which they were drafted. This season, like every fantasy baseball season, there are tons of sleepers to be aware of, especially at the outfield position.
There have already been some huge moves in the off-season, with the Los Angeles Angels making a move to get free agent superstar, Josh Hamilton. Not to mention the Atlanta Braves’ signing star outfielder B. J. Upton a couple weeks ago.
Additionally, more and more young outfielders are having a fantasy impact within their first couple seasons, making it as important as ever to actually scout minor league rosters. Last season rookies Mike Trout and Bryce Harper exploded on the scene to put up legitimate fantasy numbers in just their first season. Normally it takes years for a top prospect to become a fantasy superstar, but both of these players proved to break the mold in their first year.
The 2013 season will host an array of young talent looking to take the next step. Youngsters like Adam Eaton, Desmond Jennings, Justin Ruggiano, and J. D. Martinez are all looking to have a major fantasy impact this season.
Outfield may be the deepest position in fantasy every season, but it is also one of the easiest to spot sleepers at. There are hundreds of potential outfielders out there every season, so it is important to know which ones to target. Here is a list of my top 25 fantasy baseball sleepers at the outfield position for the 2013 season:
25. Eric Thames, Seattle Mariners
Eric Thames, Seattle Mariners - The Mariners easily have the worst collection of outfielders in the game, but someone has to get hits in that lineup. Thames is also a lefty at the plate, so expect him to stay in game against southpaw pitchers, while other right-handed batters are shown the bench.
24. Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates
Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates - Marte was a free agent superstar last fantasy season, so there is no need to think he will stop producing now.
23. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, New York Mets
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, New York Mets – Nieuwenhuis seemingly came up with every big hit for the Mets last season, all three of them. He showed a rare combination of speed and power, both things the Mets’ lineup is lacking.
22. Brett Jackson, Chicago Cubs
Brett Jackson, Chicago Cubs - Jackson may begin the season in the minors, but seeing as he is the future of the Cubs outfield, he will be in centerfield sooner rather than later.
21. Adam Eaton, Arizona Diamondbacks
Adam Eaton, Arizona Diamondbacks - Eaton will be in centerfield for the Diamondbacks this season and the 24-year-old has amazing potential. Eaton has an amazing swing and his bat has been compared to Kansas City Royals OF Billy Butler. Eaton is the next great Arizona outfielder.
20. Ben Revere, Philadelphia Phillies
Ben Revere, Philadelphia Phillies - Paul Revere jumped on his horse and stole 40 bases last season in just 124 games. He also had a batting average of .294, giving him the potential to be a roto-league superstar in Philly this season.
19. Justin Ruggiano, Miami Marlins
Justin Ruggiano, Miami Marlins - Ruggiano was one of the bright spots in an otherwise bleak Miami 2012 season. Ruggiano finished the year with a .313 batting average and hit 13 homers in just 91 games.
18. Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians
Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians - Brantley now has complete control of the outfield with Shin-Soo Choo now playing for the Cincinnati Reds. He has a very strong bat and underrated speed, making him a great third or fourth outfielder to target this season.
17. Tori Hunter, Detroit Tigers
Tori Hunter, Detroit Tigers - Hunter batted .313 and drove in 92 runs last season in only 140 games. Detroit got a deal in the veteran outfielder, as he will surely be a great addition to the middle of the Tigers always-dangerous lineup.
16. Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals
Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals - Cain made some spectacular plays with his bat and in the field in during the dwindling months of the Royals 2012 season. In 61 limited games last year, Cain still managed to hit seven homers and steal ten bases.
15. Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers
Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers - Crawford will be one player who may not even get drafted this season, but that doesn't mean he should be forgotten this season. The 31-year-old has not exactly been a picture of health throughout his career, but he does have a career batting average of .292 and is one of the best in the game at stealing bases. If Crawford shows he still has speed left in his legs, than he can be a serviceable third outfielder this season.
14. Xavier Avery, Baltimore Orioles
Xavier Avery, Baltimore Orioles - Avery is an outstanding utility player for Baltimore. He can hit, swipe bags, and play the field. Avery will be a true fantasy steal this season.
13. Melky Cabrera, Toronto Blue Jays
Melky Cabrera, Toronto Blue Jays - The “Melkman” may be coming back off a 50-game suspension, but he still had a monster 2012 season before his incident. If anything PEDs has just helped his game, so expect more of the same this year from Cabrera.
12. Dexter Fowler, Colorado Rockies
Dexter Fowler, Colorado Rockies - Fowler had a career year in 2012, as he hit .300 and had an On Base Percentage of .389. The speedster has really developed his game and has become a strong third outfielder in mixed leagues.
11. J.D. Martinez, Houston Astros
J. D. Martinez, Houston Astros – Martinez may have ended the season with a .241 batting average, but last April he batted .282 and drove in 19 runs in 22 games. The 25-year-old plays multiple positions as well, which will only get him more time in Houston's gutted outfield.
10. Dayan Viciedo, Chicago White Sox
Dayan Viciedo, Chicago White Sox - Viciedo was one of the biggest sleepers heading into the 2012 season, but his .255 batting average and 120 strikeouts left something to be desired for fantasy owners. The 23-year old will have a much better season in 2013, as he matured tremendously throughout the season. Look for him to hit around 20-30 homers and to get his batting average above .270.
9. Shin-Soo Choo, Cincinnati Reds
Shin-Soo Choo, Cincinnati Reds – I mentioned the trade earlier, but the move to Cincinnati is great for Choo as well. He has amazing run support now with Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, and Brandon Phillips also in the lineup. Choo is a true leadoff hitter that can hit home runs, only adding to his underrated fantasy value.
8. Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles
Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles – With all the attention to Adam Jones last season many fantasy owners forgot about Markakis. In just 104 games played due to an inured hand, Markakis was only able to rack up 125 hits and 13 homers. However, he showed great power and will be one of the true sleepers to watch for in the 2013 fantasy baseball season.
7. Domonic Brown, Philadelphia Phillies
Domonic Brown, Philadelphia Phillies - Brown went from earning the starting spot in right field to being place on the DL with knee injuries several different times. The 25-year-old will be back in right when the season starts, so don’t sleep on him just because he had one injury-plagued season. Brown has all the potential in the world and is certainly worth a spot as a third or fourth fantasy outfielder.
6. B. J. Upton, Atlanta Braves
B. J. Upton, Atlanta Braves - The 23-year old heads to the Braves to fill an immediate hole at centerfield. Upton will get plenty of chances to run in Hotlanta, so look for him to rival his 2008 career-high of 44 steals.
5. Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees
Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees – The Grandy Man had a very down year last season as he only hit .232. However, do not discount his 43 homers and 106 RBI from last season.
4. Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay Rays
Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay Rays – With B. J. Upton now playing with the Atlanta Braves, Jennings now has sole control over centerfield and the team’s running game. Expect Jennings to finally take that big step forward this season that fantasy owners have been waiting for.
3. Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox – In 74 injury-plagued games last season, Ellsbury still managed to rack up 82 hits and 14 stolen bases in a down year.
2. Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels
Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels - With all the attention of the Josh Hamilton signing and Mike Trout’s amazing rookie season, Trumbo appears to be the forgotten man in LA. Trumbo still clubbed 32 homers and drove in 95 runs last year. He will have another monster season in the Angels' super-lineup
1. Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins - Many people are down on Stanton in 2013 due to the Marlins lack of talent around him. However, he is still an absolute monster and will easily eclipse the 35-homer plateau. Don’t sleep on this slugger too long this season.