By Brian Devine on March 21, 2014
In most cases, the late rounds of the draft are critical to fantasy success. Anybody can draft great players early, but it takes skill to find excellent players late. Here are 15 late-round sleepers to target in this year’s draft.
With a .290 career average, Murphy is a solid producer at second base. He also gives owners a nice combination of power and speed. Murphy hit 13 home runs and stole a total of 23 bases last year.
Wood is a talented left-handed pitcher, and he has been very impressive for Atlanta. Wood owned a strong 3.13 ERA in 77 innings during his rookie season, and flashed a lot of potential with an 8.9 K/9. Wood has also not allowed an earned run in 14 innings pitched this spring.
Despite having a strong season in 2013, Kluber continues to fly under the radar. His record stood at 11-5 last year, and he possessed a 3.85 ERA. Kluber has excellent control, and he also has nice strikeout ability with an 8.3 K/9.
d’Arnaud is guaranteed the Mets' starting catching job, and he has always been a highly rated prospect. He has plus power potential, and he has always been a great contact hitter in the minors. While his hitting skills might not translate into major league success, he is worth a shot in the late rounds of the draft.
After a disappointing first season with Cleveland, Bourn is extremely undervalued. He is just one year removed from an excellent season, and will still accumulate plenty of steals.
Hunter has the potential to become a dominating closer. While he has never struck out a lot of batters throughout his career, he has an explosive mid 90s fastball that can overpower the opposition. With a 2.81 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP in 2013, Hunter has already shown that he can succeed as a late-inning reliever.
After a solid bounce-back season for Cleveland, Kazmir is a great late-round option for fantasy owners. Kazmir’s velocity returned last year, and he managed to strike out 162 batters in 158 innings.
While Martinez may have lost eligibility as a catcher, he is still a valuable player. After a slow start, Martinez batted .361 in the second half. Martinez should continue to provide great numbers for the Tigers in 2014.
Dickey had a brutal start to the 2013 season, but he finished strongly. Dickey went 6-3 with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP during the second half. While Dickey’s age is a concern, his knuckleball still baffles opposing batters. He was one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball in 2012, so there is a strong chance he could rebound.
While Axford struggled early last season, his career was revived with St. Louis. He was solid down the stretch for the Cardinals, and he was a key piece to their bullpen during their playoff run. Axford will be the Indians' full-time closer in 2014, and he should have a fantastic season.
Hughes is coming off a dreadful season, but he may be able to turn his career around with Minnesota. Hughes is moving away from the pressures of New York, and he is leaving an extreme hitter’s park in Yankee Stadium. Hughes has looked impressive during Spring Training, and the change of scenery can make a huge difference for him in 2014.
Even though many have given up on Moustakas, he may be in line for a terrific bounce-back year. With a .476 average and four home runs, Moustakas is having incredible spring. He is also a former top prospect, and he is still fairly young at 25 years old.
It wasn’t too long ago that Johnson was one of the best pitchers in the league. While he struggled mightily last season, he should rebound in 2014. His injuries appear to be behind him, and he will benefit from pitching in Petco Park.
Since Castro plays for the Huston Astros, he doesn’t receive the amount attention he deserves. Castro is a former first-round pick, and he has a lot of power potential for a catcher. He batted .276 with 18 home runs last season in 120 games, so he is great late-round option for fantasy owners.
Moss is arguably the most underrated hitter in the league right now. Moss smashed 30 home runs last year, and he had a strong half season in 2012. Moss batted .291 with a .958 OPS in 84 games during 2012. With the numbers Moss has produced the past two seasons, he is a late-round steal for fantasy owners.
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