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Top 25 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers for 2013 MLB Season

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Fantasy Baseball 2013: Top 25 Sleepers for 2013

Intro
Tim Heitman- USA TODAY Sports

As we draw near the start of spring training, we also draw near that start of fantasy baseball drafts. Draft day is always full of questions. Who should I take with my first pick? Is it smart to load up on pitching? Is he going to stay healthy this year? And probably the question that owners ask the most is, who are the fantasy sleepers this year?

Finding the fantasy baseball sleepers each year can be the difference in winning your league’s championship, and missing the playoffs entirely.

So what’s the key to finding fantasy sleepers?

Honestly, some of it can be luck. But certain ways to increase your chances of drafting the fantasy sleeper of the year is looking at a player’s fantasy upside and finding players who give your team the best chance to win. For instance, instead of drafting a guy in the middle rounds who is going to give you average numbers, take a chance on someone who is due for a break out or rebound year. Obviously you don’t want to apply this strategy in every single round, but in order to land a fantasy sleeper you have to be able to sometimes go with your gut, and take a risk.

To give you a head start on the rest of your league, I’ve come up with a list of the top 25 fantasy baseball sleepers of 2013. Some of the guys on my list, like Manny Machado, have huge upside, while others, like Rickey Romero, are looking to have bounce back years.

So on draft day, make sure you highlight a few names who you believe are fantasy sleepers, and draft confidently.

Follow Matt Malecha on Twitter @MattMalecha.

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25. Dee Gordon- Los Angeles Dodgers SS

25. Dee Gordon- Los Angeles Dodgers SS
Gary A. Vasquez- USA TODAY Sports

While Dee Gordon still has some issues at the plate, he does bring an asset to a team that every fantasy owner wants, stolen bases. In only 87 games last year, Gordon swiped 32 bases. The more plate appearances Gordon has this year, the more comfortable he’ll become. However, be aware of the fact that Gordon may not be in the Los Angeles Dodgers everyday lineup. On speed along, Gordon may be worth a last round draft pick.

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24. Bruce Rondon- Detroit Tigers Relief Pitcher

24. Bruce Rondon-Detriot  Tigers Relief Pitcher
Denny Medley- USA TODAY Sports

The rumor that Detroit Tigers’ rookie pitcher Bruce Rondon may close for the Tigers in 2013 have circulated this past month. Obviously it’s hard to trust a guy who’s never thrown a Major League pitch. But if Rondon does get the closer job for the Tigers, he may become an instant fantasy stud. Figuring the Tigers look like a team that has the possibility of winning a lot of games in 2013, if the closer, Rondon will have the chance to record a ton of saves.

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23. Russell Martin- Pittsburgh Pirates C

23. Russell Martin- Pittsburgh Pirates C
Anthony Gruppuso- USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to find great fantasy catchers. And I’m not saying Russell Martin is a going to be a great fantasy catcher in 2013. Although, if you are looking for a decent back up catcher, or need a catcher in a deeper league, Martin is someone to consider. Martin has proven throughout his career that he can put up good numbers for a catcher. With a new team in 2013 (Pittsburgh Pirates) Martin should be reenergized and focused to getting back to his old self.

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22. Ben Revere- Philadelphia Phillies CF

22. Ben Revere- Philadelphia Phillies CF
Peter G. Aiken- USA TODAY Sports

Now a Philadelphia Phillie, Ben Revere is someone who has big fantasy value. Hitting close to .300 in 2012 and stealing 40 bases, Revere posted decent fantasy numbers. The only thing lacking in Revere’s game is hitting for power. If you are looking for a sleeper outfielder to stash on your bench, and see how he pans out in 2013, Revere is a name to remember.

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21. James Loney- Tampa Bay Rays 1B

21. James Loney- Tampa Bay Rays 1B
Bob DeChiara- USA TODAY Sports

Now on his third team in two years, James Loney is looking for a fresh start. 2012 wasn’t all that kind to Loney. He hit under .250 and only had 41 RBI. Taking over at first base for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013, Loney is a player to watch in deeper leagues. A new team might be just the thing to get Loney’s career back on track.

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20. Justin Smoak- Seattle Mariners 1B

20. Justin Smoak- Seattle Mariners 1B
Steven Bisig- USA TODAY Sports

Justin Smoak didn't have the break out year that some thought he would in 2012. While 19 homeruns isn’t something to write home about, it still proves that Smoak has late round fantasy value. Now 26-years-old, the Seattle Mariners’ first baseman is starting to feel some pressure to finally start producing big numbers for the M’s. 2013 may be the year Smoak lives up to his hype, and rewards fantasy owners who took a chance on him.

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19. Eric Hosmer- Kansas City Royals 1B

19. Eric Hosmer- Kansas City Royals 1B
John Rieger- USA TODAY Sports

After an impressive rookie year, Eric Hosmer was somewhat of a disappointment last year. The Kansas City Royals’ first baseman will look to have a bounce back year in 2013. That being said, with tons of talented fantasy options at first baseman, you may not want to look to take Hosmer until fulfilling your other roster spots.

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18. Jhoulys Chacin- Colorado Rockies Starting Pitcher

18. Jhoulys Chacin- Colorado Rockies Starting Pitcher
Chris Humphreys- USA TODAY Sports

Usually you wouldn’t consider a number one starter to be a fantasy sleeper. Than again, Jhoulys Chacin is the Colorado Rockies number one, which recently hasn’t meant much. But what I do like about Chacin is in 411.1 innings pitched in the MLB, he’s posted a 3.68 ERA. Quality pitching can sometimes be tough to find in later rounds, which is why Chacin is a better option than most.

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17. Tyler Flowers- Chicago White Sox C

17. Tyler Flowers- Chicago White Sox C
Tom Szczerbowski- USA TODAY Sports

With A.J. Pierzynski now a Texas Ranger, Tyler Flowers will take over as the everyday catcher for the Chicago White Sox. Playing 81 games at hitter friendly U.S. Cellular Field should help Flowers power numbers. There’s no doubt that the list of productive fantasy catchers is thin, which is why in deeper leagues Flowers may be a dependable option in 2013.

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16. Mike Fiers- Milwaukee Brewers Starting Pitcher

16. Mike Fiers- Milwaukee Brewers Starting Pitcher
Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

In 2012 Mike Fiers finally got the chance to start every five days for the Milwaukee Brewers. Going 9-10 in 22 starts, Fiers wasn’t overly impressive. That being said, his 3.74 ERA shows that he does have the chance to win some games for the Brew Crew this summer. If you’re looking for a sleeper starter in a deeper league, Fiers is someone to consider.

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15. Steve Cishek- Miami Marlins Closer

15. Steve Cishek- Miami Marlins Closer
Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

After the whole Heath Bell disaster last year, the Miami Marlins seem to have found their closer in Steve Cishek. Posting a 2.69 ERA and going 15 for 19 in save opportunities in 2012, Cishek impressed the Marlins. With Ozzie Guillen out as manager for the Marlins, Cishek still needs to have a good spring in order to lock up the closer role. If he does get the job as closer, which I think he will, Cishek should have another productive fantasy year in 2013.

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14. Denard Span- Washington Nationals CF

14. Denard Span- Washington Nationals CF
Brace Hemmelgarn- USA TODAY Sports

Denard Span was traded from the Minnesota Twins to the Washington Nationals this off-season. Span is coming off of his best year as a big leaguer. If he improves on his great 2012 season this year for the Nats, Span is a fantasy sleeper who will make some noise in 2013.

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13. Eduardo Nunez- New York Yankees IF-DH

13. Eduardo Nunez- New York Yankees IF-DH
Brad Penner- USA TODAY Sports

With Eduardo Nunez’s role uncertain for the New York Yankees in 2013, it’s tough to say what type of fantasy numbers he’ll put up. If Nunez is able to find himself in the starting lineup everyday though, he has tremendous fantasy value. This might sound crazy, but I’d rather spend a draft pick on Nunez than I would on Alex Rodriguez right now.

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12. Yoenis Cespedes- Oakland Athletics LF

12. Yoenis Cespedes- Oakland Athletics LF
Rick Osentoski- USA TODAY Sports

It may seem a little strange to see Yoenis Cespedes name on a list of fantasy sleepers. By now, most of the league believes Cespedes is going to be a superstar. However, the reason I have his name on this list is because I still feel that fantasy owners are underrating his value. Cespedes has the talent to make him worthy of an early round pick this year.

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11. Dayan Viciedo- Chicago White Sox LF

11. Dayan Viciedo- Chicago White Sox LF
Tom Szczerbowski- USA TODAY Sports

Heading into his second full season with the Chicago White sox, Dayan Viciedo has a great opportunity to become a key factor in the South Siders’ offense in 2013. Viciedo certainly showed flashes last year of being capable of putting up tremendous fantasy numbers. After posting 25 homeruns and 78 RBI in 2012, Viciedo is someone to keep an eye on toward the later rounds.

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10. Tommy Hanson- Los Angeles Angels Starting Pitcher

10. Tommy Hanson- Los Angeles Angels Starting Pitcher
Daniel Shirey- USA TODAY Sports

In 2012 Tommy Hanson had his worst year of his career. Now a Los Angeles Angel, Hanson is no longer a number one starter. This may allow for him to fall to the later rounds in most fantasy drafts. Hanson has the benefit this year of pitching behind witch should be an outstanding offense. The expected run support, along with the fact that he has recorded double digit wins every year in his young MLB career, makes Hanson a sleeper starting pitcher worth a middle round pick.

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9. Carlos Quentin- San Diego Padres LF

9. Carlos Quentin- San Diego Padres LF
Jennifer Stewart- USA TODAY Sports

Coming into 2013 completely healthy, Carlos Quentin looks to be the staple of the San Diego Padres’ offense. While hitting in such a horrible hitters ballpark for half the games this year may hurt Quentin’s power numbers, the chance he finally stays healthy this year may be worth the risk of drafting him. When hot, Quentin is possible of putting up huge numbers in bunches.

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8. Ricky Romero- Toronto Blue Jays Starting Pitcher

8. Ricky Romero- Toronto Blue Jays Starting Pitcher
Debby Wong- USA TODAY Sports

Ricky Romero had his worst year in the MLB in 2012. His ERA was well above five, and he finished five games under .500. The Toronto Blue Jays added some big arms in the off-season, which should help take some pressure off of Romero. The Blue Jays’ left-hander has shown signs of being a decent starter in the MLB, so if you are in the later rounds, and looking for pitching, Romero is a name to circle.

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7. Brandon Belt- San Francisco Giants 1B

7. Brandon Belt- San Francisco Giants 1B
Kyle Terada- USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Belt has had high expectations ever since breaking into the MLB in 2011. Having not quite yet lived up to his hype, Belt will try in 2013 to produce the big numbers so many fantasy owners have been waiting for. If you got burned last year by picking the San Francisco Giants’ first baseman early in your draft, I can’t blame you for hesitating a little on taking him this year. But I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that Belt has the talent to be a special player, and make some fantasy noise in 2013.

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6. Brett Lawrie- Toronto Blue Jays 3B

6. Brett Lawrie- Toronto Blue Jays 3B
Joy R. Absalon- USA TODAY Sports

There was a lot of talk that 2012 would be a great fantasy year for Toronto Blue Jays’ third baseman Brett Lawrie. However, Lawrie disappointed most fantasy owner’s expectations. Still only 23-years-old, Lawrie is still capable of putting up the monster numbers that fantasy owners are looking for. If some of the bigger name third baseman go early in your draft, Lawrie is someone to think about.

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5. Anthony Rizzo- Chicago Cubs 1B

5. Anthony Rizzo- Chicago Cubs 1B
Jerry Lai- USA TODAY Sports

While most Chicago Cubs fans know Anthony Rizzo as their new savior, I doubt many fantasy owners are looking at Rizzo as anything other than a late round pick. However, I wouldn't hesitate to take a chance on Rizzo toward the middle rounds of your draft. Only playing in 87 MLB games, we don’t have a lot to judge Rizzo on. But the small sample (15 HR, .285 AVG) we do have of Rizzo is quite impressive for a 23-year-old first baseman.

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4. Will Middlebrooks- Boston Red Sox 3B

4. Will Middlebrooks- Boston Red Sox 3B
Bob DeChiara- USA TODAY Sports

Last year Will Middlebrooks had the tough task of replacing fan favorite Kevin Youkilis at third base for the Boston Red Sox. With some MLB experience under his belt, Middlebrooks is poised to have a break out year for the Red Sox. If you miss out on getting a top third baseman in the first few rounds, look to take Middlebrooks, who definitely has the tools to be a fantasy stud this year.

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3. Addison Reed- Chicago White Sox Closer

3. Addison Reed- Chicago White Sox Closer
Peter G. Aiken- USA TODAY Sports

Addison Reed came into spring training last year with the simple goal of just making the team. Reed made the Chicago White Sox roster, and after a few weeks of having a closer by committee, White Sox manager Robin Ventura named Reed his closer. Going 29 for 33 in save opportunities, Reed posted exceptional numbers for a rookie closer. If you decide to not draft a closer till the later rounds, Reed is a viable option.

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2. Cameron Maybin- San Diego Padres CF

2. Cameron Maybin- San Diego Padres CF
Jake Roth- USA TODAY Sports

Cameron Maybin is a guy I really like for 2013. The San Diego Padres’ center fielder has something coaches can’t teach, speed. Now in his third year in the MLB, Maybin is ready to start playing at an All-Star level. 20 homeruns, 80 RBI and 50 stolen bases are doable numbers for Maybin in 2013.

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1. Manny Machado- Baltimore Orioles 3B

1. Manny Machado- Baltimore Orioles 3B
Joy R. Absalon- USA TODAY Sports

If it wasn’t for all the Bryce Harper and Mike Trout talk last year, Manny Machado may already be on most fantasy baseball owner’s radar. The Baltimore Orioles’ third baseman has been proclaimed as the centerpiece to the Orioles’ future success. While only playing in 51 games last year, Machado’s showed why so many baseball experts have high hopes for the young infielder. He may not have a ton of experience at the big league level, but if your looking for a middle round pick with loads of upside, Machado’s your man.

Follow Matt Malecha on Twitter @MattMalecha.