Fantasy baseball sleepers are by definition the athletes you can draft at an ADP well below their probable production in the upcoming season, or an athlete you add via waivers who has a significant impact on your season’s success.
As you begin to scour through the plethora of available fantasy baseball projections, you will notice that Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is outside the top 15 in most. More specifically, Arenado is ranked as high as 12th and as low as 22nd on most popular forms of media.
These projections seem fair based on 2013 production. However, they do not accurately represent the upside one can and should expect from the Rockies’ 22-year old third baseman this year. There are a number of factors that make Arenado a proverbial “can’t miss” in 2014.
First and foremost, Arenado plays for the Rockies. The Rockies play their home games at Coors Field. Coors Field is a hitter’s paradise.
Next, Arenado was a Gold Glove recipient in 2013. What does that have to do with his fantasy relevance, you ask? His defensive prowess makes it impossible for Colorado not to have him in the batting order. Plus, the guy proved to be durable on a team with durability issues a season ago.
Arenado’s stats won’t initially jump off the page, but keep in mind that 2013 was his first season and growth is inevitable. I would also agree that Arenado’s power on paper seems suspect, having hit just 10 long balls and four triples last season. That said, don’t forget the ballpark he calls home.
Plus, Arenado has made it clear that his focus in 2014 is to become a more rounded player known for more than just a solid glove. During Spring Training, he has lived up to goals early, leading the Rockies in home runs. Something else to consider: Arenado batted .298 after the All-Star break. This can easily be indicative of two things — he doesn’t tire down the stretch and he is getting better.
Finally, he has a year of experience and a year of at-bats (plus the accompanying film to study) under his belt. When looking through the film on Arenado one season ago, he was overly aggressive chasing pitches that put him behind in counts. If Arenado can live up to his preseason declaration of bettering himself at the plate by looking through 2013 film, his goals are well within reach.
That is certainly a good thing if you are the person who takes a late-round flier on the Rockies’ third baseman. Arenado is a low-investment, high-return guy – draft late without hesitation and with complete confidence.