Preparing for a fantasy baseball draft usually involves studying player ranking lists. While doing this, certain team owners might only pay attention to players ranked highest.
However, chances are a few names closer to the bottom will exceed expectations and have successful seasons. Major League Baseball (MLB) players achieving this are known as “sleepers” in the fantasy baseball world. Finding sleepers is extremely beneficial to fantasy baseball owners.
Sleepers are usually obtained late in fantasy drafts since they are overlooked and passed up for other players. Undoubtedly there is a lot of luck involved when it comes to landing sleeper picks. Despite this, there are some ways to determine which players might have sleeper potential.
Below are four points to consider when deciding which fantasy baseball draft picks could become sleepers.
1. New Team Acquisitions
A player’s level of production can be affected by his teammates. Due to this, it is best to keep track of off-season roster moves made by each team. Upgrading talent around certain players can help them reach their potential.
Generally batters in improved lineups will get better pitches to hit, along with more RBI and run scoring chances. As for pitchers, quality free agent relievers brought in can help increase a starter’s wins and lower their earned run average (ERA). Aside from this, new free agents with experience can help take away or deflect some of the pressure others faced.
2. Injury Comeback
Unfortunately some successful players suffer serious injuries at the height of their careers. A few players are even haunted by long-term injuries that might keep them out an entire season or more. Aside from this, surgeries to correct problems might force an athlete to change his entire approach before returning to baseball.
Obviously such a player would be ranked low by fantasy drafting experts due to the risks involved with taking him. Fantasy owners should keep in mind though that baseball is full of successful comeback stories. If most media reports indicate that the player is fully healed and ready for MLB action, it might be worth giving him a shot.
3. Contract Year
At the start of every season, there will be some MLB participants that have yet to sign contracts for the following year. Typically such players will have more incentive to perform at higher levels. A very productive year can make them more valuable in free agency.
Publicly players will not admit that money is a factor, but common sense usually says otherwise. A good resource for learning about player contracts is ESPN.com. Fantasy owners should read off-season reports about players in this situation and see if any are working harder than normal in preparation for the season.
4. New Manager
Each MLB manager has his own particular style and ideas when it comes to running a team. Potentially they feel that certain players, despite talent level, do not fit their plans. If this occurs, it means that particular players will get minimal chances and therefore enter the next season with relatively low fantasy rankings.
A new manager in the following season may have a completely different philosophy and make that player a starter. A good tip for fantasy owners is to pay attention to team situations and try recognizing any opportunity that might arise. In addition to more time, new managers might also give players the extra advice or confidence needed to be successful.