The Milwaukee Brewers quietly signed outfielder Norichika Aoki last season to a team friendly two-year deal. Aoki had played his entire career in Japan for the Yakult Swallows of the Japan Central League, where he was a career .329 hitter.
The 31-year old’s venture to America was overshadowed by the signings of pitcher Yu Darvish and fellow outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. However, Aoki did not disappoint in his rookie season for the Brewers, as he batted a respectable .288 with 10 home runs, 50 runs batted in, and 30 stolen bases in 38 attempts.
Aoki finished fifth in National League Rookie of the Year voting. However, he is still a sleeper in many fantasy baseball drafts. Aoki plays outfield, which is the deepest position in fantasy baseball, one in which poolies always seem to target the big-name superstars.
The jury is still out where Aoki will rank in your respective draft, but he is a definite sleeper to target when fellow managers are seeking the household names. Aoki is a professional hitter, which he has now proven in both Japan and the major leagues. He has decent pop in his bat, and will guarantee you 30 bags.
Aoki ranked fourth in the National League, only striking out once in every 9.5 at bats, and ranked fifth in outfield assists with seven. There is no question Aoki is not a sleeper for anyone that follows the Brew Crew, so you may want to pull the trigger a round or two earlier.
Regardless, he is a decent all-round bargain for a player that will be worth a mid-round selection.
Clayton Richer covers the Toronto Blue Jays for Rant Sports, follow and interact with him on Twitter @MLBHotCorner