Top 10 Infielders Sleepers
In a 12-team league, the stakes are high if you wait too long to draft certain positions. For example, the difference between the best shortstop and the twelfth-best shortstop is huge. As an example, it would be Troy Tulowitzki versus Stephen Drew. We're comparing a first-round pick to a player lucky to find a home in a Top 150 list. It should go without saying the No. 1 1B and No. 12 1B aren't nearly as far apart. So when you're looking to draft a sleeper, it's important to realize what you and what you don't have. If you've got Albert Pujols, should you really be concerned about finding a sleeper 1B? Sure, it'd be nice but you might be better off looking for a sleeper if you've got someone like Jimmy Rollins. He's getting up there in age and there are injury concerns.
In reality, you likely can't afford to be this selective, but it is something to keep in mind. Sleepers add value to your draft and shore up depth concerns. They add more opportunities to make trades and most importantly, they'll help you win your league.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
A popular sleeper choice is this 24-year-old power hitter. He played in 48 games last year and managed to hit eight home runs and drive in 26 RBIs. Goldy will likely begin the year as a fantasy starter in most leagues and for good reason. After 103 games in AA-ball, he made the leap to major leagues. Why did you he skip Triple-A? It's because he hit 30 home runs in those 103 games. As expected, there will likely be a steep learning curve for Goldy as the shine has worn off and it's official now: He's in the bigs. Expect a formidable 28-percent strikeout rate that could climb higher. Due to poor contact numbers, he'll also be tucked away in the batting order, hitting around the No. 7 spot. This will limit all of his important numbers, including runs and RBIs. What you're drafting though is upside. He hit .306 in Double-A last year and got on-base at a .435 clip. The risk is high since you'll need to grab him in Rounds 11 or 12, but he's a special talent.
Ike Davis, 1B, New York Mets
You probably entered the 2011 season thinking, "That Ike Davis, he could put it together this year." And he really, he did until an injury sidelined him. Davis has a 30-HR season waiting for him in his future even though he had to deal with recent rumors of "Valley Fever." No, that's not the next teenybopper vampire flick, it's apparently a lung infection that commonly affects people in Arizona. Enough with the medical reports though, Davis should benefit from a redesigned Citi Field where the fences have been brought in. And remember when I was talking about teens? Well look for Davis in the early teen rounds. If he's available in 14, he's a great value pick.
Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros
It is true that the Astros rushed Altuve on the field, but we can all forgive them for it. 2011 wasn't a great year for Houston but a bright spot on the horizon has to be this 21-year-old. Altuve hit .361 in Double-A and it's reasonable to assume he can hit around .290 this year. He's someone that can be grabbed in the late rounds of your draft and there's a good possibility he could put up 10 HRs and 20 steals. Altuve is currently batting near the top of the batting order so there should be plenty of opportunities for runs and stolen base attempts.
Jemile Weeks, 2B, Oakland Athletics
There aren't many players out there who can hit over .300 after the first five or six rounds. That said, Weeks managed to pull it off after playing 97 games in 2011. He also stole 22 bases. Even the most conservative projections have him hitting at least .290 and grabbing 25 steals. Speaking of 25, Weeks is 25 years old so he should be coming into his own as a baseball player. Naturally, the A's offense isn't going to blow anyone away so Weeks will be unable to score a ton of runs or pack much of a punch offensively, but for a backup second baseman with upside, there's enough here for serious consideration.
Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland Indians
If you don't already know about Kipnis, I'm more than happy to tell you about him. If you took Kipnis' 2011 numbers in 150 plate appearances and extrapolated them out to 600 PA, he'd have 96 runs, 28 HRs, 76 RBIs and 20 SBs. Admittedly, these numbers aren't likely but for a player making his major league debut last year, he was impressive. Kipnis isn't a natural power hitter at just 5'11" and 185, but he is a patient hitter that can make solid contact. As an added bonus, he can steal a few bases and should be able to maintain a .340 OBP.
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