Friday, March 27, 2015


By @SheWent2_JaredZ


Spring training is in full swing,the smells of the ball park are in the air, and the grass is freshly cut. With each new season we have break out performers or “sleepers” as there known in the fantasy sports world, and we have busts, the guys who don’t quite live up to the hype. Today I’m going to give you part-time fantasy baseball gurus three of each to go into your drafts armed and ready to dominate.
First I will dive into the sleepers, the players that the novice fan might not know about. the first player on my list is Devon Travis, 2nd baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays. The former FSU Seminoles stand out appears to be the front-runner for to win the second base job in Toronto, and he’s definitely a player to keep an eye on this season. He’s had a very impressive spring thus far going 14-for-38, plus he’s a career .323/.388/.487 hitter in the minors. He’s delivered back-to-back seasons with double-digit power/speed totals at lower levels, its hard not to like Travis’s profile as a hitter at a position somewhat devoid of great offensive players.
The second sleeper I’m going to delve into is Boston Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts, before you tell me you have heard this story before and he was some what of a bust as a rookie, let me stop you there and say the most common mistake fantasy owners make in evaluating players is assuming now or never. Not every young player is Mike Trout,and are going to set the world on fire right away, sometimes it takes a few seasons to make the necessary adjustments to succeed at the major league level, like Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo. Sometimes it takes just one season for it to click, like Adam Jones. Bogaerts is still just 22 years old, and looks primed to step up this year and fulfill the lofty expectations he faced as a rookie last season. If his play at the end of last season is any indication of the production he puts up this season then he will be more valuable than most people think. He hit .320 with four home runs and an .824 OPS over his final 100 at-bats.
The final sleeper I’m profiling is Steven Souza,OF for the Tampa Bay Rays. In this years fantasy drafts if you’re snoozing on Souza, then you are in trouble. The 25-year-old power hitting outfielder is starting to make the Rays front office brass look smart for trading Will Myers as the season grows nearer. The Rays knew what they were doing when they traded Wil Myers essentially for Souza. They saw enough risk with Myers and enough reward with Souza that they were happy to make the swap, pick up a few extra players that could also be trade bait and save a few dollars in the long run. Souza hit .350 with 18 home runs and 26 steals in only 346 at-bats at Triple-A Syracuse last year, showing power, speed and on-base ability, whether or not that translates to the major league level in the AL east is still up in the air, but he’s definitely a name to keep in mind while drafting this season.
I think Busts are harder to diagnose preseason then sleepers, you really never know when a player can get a case of the yips like when Chuck Knoblauch couldn’t make the routine throws to first base any more, or when dominant reliever Daniel Bard imploded after being converted to a starting pitcher, but it can happen to just about anyone so drafters beware.Before i get into my busts for the 2015 season, let’s make sure we are clear,the definition of a fantasy baseball bust doesn’t always have to mean a total collapse for a player. It merely could mean that he won’t meet the production necessary to justify their draft position.
The first potential bust for the 2015 season I’m dissecting is OF Yoenis Cespedes, of the Detroit Tigers. Cespedes has put up solid power numbers in recent years, he has hit at least 22 homers and driven in at least 80 runs, including 100 last year, in all three of his MLB seasons. But his batting average has fluctuated, settling at just .260 last year. Another one of the big reasons i could see a potential bust for him is the overall health of the Tigers lineup and the protection he may or may not receive. One of the biggest reasons his Detroit arrival was initially  alluring to fantasy owners was hitting in the middle of a stacked lineup, that line up could fall short of its expectations due to health. If Miguel Cabrera (ankle) and/or Victor Martinez (knee) are at all sidelined, it be the demise of Cespedes fantasy value. The somewhat pitcher friendly Comerica Park won’t do his fly ball centered spray chart any favors, either.
Potential Bust number two is OF Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners, and it’s not quite what you would think off the bat, the detriment of hitting in Safeco field, most of his homers would’ve cleared those fences last year anyways. It’s just do you want to bank strongly on Cruz hitting 40, or even 30, home runs again? He’s innately a risk because of his injury history, do you think he can play his third full season in four years? I wouldn’t bank on him replicating last years numbers coming off his appeal, and he’s in a a much worse hitters park. Don’t over draft for him after he’s already had his career year.

The final bust I’m predicting for the upcoming season is 2B/SS Javier Baez, of the Chicago Cubs. Baez has drawn comparisons to Gary Sheffield thanks to his fast twitch hands and elite bat speed. His power could be huge from two positions that lack many impact bats near the lower tiers of fantasy baseball. But there’s always some good with the bad when it comes to young players , and that is Baez eye-popping 41.5% strikeout rate last year. How long will his leash be if he struggles for the first two months of the season?, and both Arismendy Alcantara and Addison Russell are both knocking on the door of the starting lineup. There’ll be a point when his potential justifies the risk, but don’t overdraft for a ceiling Baez might note be able to reach this year.