One National League Sleeper Per Team
Every year, there are players that grab our attention and move up draft boards. At the same time, Fantasy Baseball owners overlook several players in drafts, whether due to being on the same team, previous disappointment or poor springs. With that in mind, I’m breaking down one player per National League team that deserves more of your attention.
Atlanta Braves: Adonis Garcia – With Garcia not doing much until the second half last year and third base being deeper this year, drafters will overlook him. Don’t make that mistake, as Garcia is a quality corner infielder starting option. Garcia hit .293 with 43 Runs, 9 HRs and 39 RBIs in 67 second half games. Those numbers represent his ability, as Garcia can hit for a solid average, hit 20-plus home runs and manage 70-80 Runs and RBIs.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Jake Lamb – People are still hesitant to believe in Lamb, even after having his breakout season last year. That’s partly due to his slowing down late in the year, but everyone should realize that it was Lamb’s first full season. Lamb won’t hit for a high average, but that power is for real, as he can near 30 regularly. Add in the resulting Runs and RBIs in the Diamondbacks lineup, and you have a third baseman that will provide 70-80 Runs, nearly 30 homers and 80-90 RBIs.
Chicago Cubs: Willson Contreras – With all of the focus on the bigger names in Chicago, Contreras is a bit overlooked unlike teammate Javier Baez, who is being a bit over-drafted. Contreras is one of a few catchers that can – most likely will – hit 20-plus home runs this year. Everyone is focused on Gary Sanchez, but the truth is that Contreras isn’t far behind, possibly even matching Sanchez, in all categories. While others pay up to grab Sanchez and the rest of the Cubs, take advantage of distracted owners and grab Contreras for yourself.
Cincinnati Reds: Eugenio Suarez – It’s possible Fantasy Baseball owners underrate Suarez because the Reds are the antithesis of the Cubs. There’s still value in Cincinnati, and Suarez brings plenty. Again, third base is deep, but if you waited for your corner infielder and/or it’s a deep league, Suarez will provide value with nearly 20 home runs and 60-plus Runs and RBIs. No, those aren’t jump out of your seat numbers, but they are start-worthy in most leagues.
Colorado Rockies: Gerardo Parra – The Rockies need the season to start just to avoid more injuries. As of today, Ian Desmond and David Dahl are hurt, which pushes Parra and Mark Reynolds into the starting lineup… yes, that Mark Reynolds. Even if Desmond and Dahl get healthy, Carlos Gonzalez has been on the trading block for years, which means Parra could find himself starting in the outfield for most of the year. The numbers won’t be exciting, but it is Colorado, and the Rockies don’t have much else to find in the ways of mined value.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Logan Forsythe – Has there been a quieter 20 home run season from a second baseman than Forsythe’s 2016 performance? Maybe it’s because Forsythe was on the Rays, but the Dodgers paid good money to bring in Forsythe as their new starting second baseman, and he’s going to hit atop a strong lineup. Forsythe looks great this spring, and he has the ability to hit for a decent average with 20 home runs, 70-plus Runs, around 60 RBIs and chip in a few steals. That makes him more than worthy of being your starting middle infielder.Miami Marlins: Marcell Ozuna – Ozuna looked to be on the verge of a breakout season in 2015 after starting his breakout in 2014. Injuries derailed his progress, and Ozuna replicated those 2015 numbers last year… so the breakout still hasn’t come, completely. Ozuna has the power to improve on the 23 home runs from last year, and even if they didn’t, the Runs and RBIs will improve just by Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton staying on the field.
Milwaukee Brewers: Domingo Santana – All of my focus has been on Keon Broxton this offseason, and with his hot spring, more and more people are looking his way. That’s made Santana fall to the wayside, despite Santana being the Brewers outfielder owners were fawning over last year. Santana won’t carry a great average, but he will hit mid-20s home runs with around 70 Runs and RBIs, and that makes him a rock solid OF4 with potential for more.
New York Mets: Travis d’Arnaud – There are two significant hitters working on their swings this offseason. One is failing in his attempt to perform better (Jayson Heyward), the other is d’Arnaud. He’s hitting .324 with two doubles and two homers in 34 at-bats. Don’t forget that everyone was hyped for d’Arnaud after 2014… if “he could just stay healthy.” You don’t want him as your No. 1 catcher, but in a two-catcher league, d’Arnaud can still hit for a decent average with double-digit homers and 50-plus Runs and RBIs. IF… he can stay healthy.
Philadelphia Phillies: Tommy Joseph – Keep an eye on Roman Quinn because Howie Kendrick is nearly toast, and between Michael Saunders and him, something should open up for Quinn. Over a full season, Quinn has the ability to provide a 10/30 line with the potential for even more stolen bases. As for Joseph, I’ve talked about him already, so I’ll make it quick this time. The kid has 30 home run power, and he plays half of his games in Citizen Bank Ballpark. Sign me up.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Josh Bell – Bell won’t ever be a Fantasy star because he just doesn’t have enough power or speed, especially when it comes to power for a first baseman. That said, Bell is in a strong Pirates lineup and can hit mid-teen home runs. Add in 70 Runs and RBIs, and you have a productive corner infielder, despite not being a first baseman standout.
San Diego Padres: Ryan Schimpf – You would never know it by the amount of people talking about it, but Schimpf hit 20 home runs last year for the Padres… in 89 games! No, Schimpf isn’t going to near 40 home runs, but mid-20s power is part of his game, despite his low average and poor plate discipline. That last fact limits Schimpf’s ceiling, but if you’re getting 25-30 home runs from your second baseman (truly, your middle infielder), how much are you going to complain about the average?
San Francisco Giants: Denard Span – Span wasn’t healthy for most of last year, but in 147 games in 2014, he stole 31 bases, and that’s where the appeal lies. Span can still hit for a high average and has the speed left over to swipe 20-plus bags. Span will also leadoff for the Giants, hitting in front of Brandon Belt, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence. If he stays healthy this year, Span should score around 80 Runs, which gives him OF4/5 value. The good news is you don’t have to pay that cost given his risk.
St. Louis Cardinals: Randal Grichuk – Grichuk is a good example of a player being down draft boards because he burned owners the previous year. Grichuk lost playing time and was even sent to Triple-A last year. Despite that, Grichuk still hit 24 home runs in 132 games with 66 Runs and 68 RBIs. If Grichuk can stay in the lineup and avoid the major slumps in 2017, he can hit 30 home runs with 70-80 Runs and RBIs.
Washington Nationals: Matt Wieters – The Nationals are confident enough in Wieters that they released Derek Norris… who they just signed this offseason. It wasn’t long ago that Wieters was considered a top-end catcher. He hasn’t played 140 games since 2013, but he still has the same hitting ability. That ability would lead to 15-20 home runs with 60-plus Runs and RBIs and a solid average. You put all of that together at the catcher position, and you have one that will finish inside the Top 10.
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