Although early-round draft picks are enormously important in fantasy baseball, recognizing value in middle-to-late rounds can be an enigma. With the second week in full swing, let’s discuss several “sleepers” who have provided owners the richest value for their teams.
(ADP = Average Draft Position)
(ADP of 83) – The Chicago White Sox awarded their starting first base gig to Abreu, which is paying off exponentially! Abreu is off to an historic start and leads the league in home runs and is second in RBI. If you were lucky enough (or smart enough) to score Abreu, your team is likely doing well. With a solid lineup around him and batting in hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, look for Abreu to keep mashing!
Brian Dozier (ADP of 201) – Dozier had a nice breakout in his sophomore season. He is continuing to bloom in his third season with 8 home runs and 11 stolen bases. Unfortunately, his .227 average is a major concern. Regardless, he is proving to be valuable in most league formats since he was drafted late or even snagged off the waiver wire.
(ADP of 462) – Rodriguez circa 2008? At the beginning of the season, Rodriguez was second in line to Jim Henderson for the lead on Milwaukee’s closer spot. Rodriguez has successfully converted all 14 save opportunities and has yet to allow a run. With Rodriguez cruising, Henderson should only be owned if you have room on your roster or if Rodriguez gets hurt.
(ADP of 33) – Fernandez was a clear top 10 ace going into his second season, but he’s pitching better than anyone else in baseball. With a strikeout per 9 innings (K/9) rate of 12.54, a 1.74 ERA, and four wins under his belt already, Fernandez will have a shot to step ahead of Clayton Kershaw as baseball’s top fantasy ace.
Charlie Blackmon (ADP of 399) – Blackmon held the top offensive spot earlier this season in all of fantasy baseball. The Colorado Rockies’ offense is demolishing opposing pitchers with unfathomable offensive numbers, and Blackmon has been a top contributor. In fact, he surpassed most of his 2013 statistics in April. Although he and his teammates should cool off, Blackmon remains a steady source for average, power and speed.
Dee Gordon (ADP of 298) – Just when everyone had jumped off the Gordon bandwagon, he slammed down the accelerator. Gordon is finally demonstrating the talent that he showed in Triple A. As a leadoff bat for the potent Los Angeles Dodgers lineup, Gordon is batting .338 with on-base percentage of .369, and has already swiped a league-leading 21 bases. Owners that took one more shot on Gordon are smiling from ear to ear.
Johnny Cueto (ADP of 172) – Cincinnati’s ace Cueto has the skill set to be one of the league’s top aces, but has yet to show the durability. Cueto has been healthy thus far in 2014 and posting a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 60-15 with a 1.31 ERA. As long as he is healthy, Cueto will provide a lot of value to his owners.