7 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers for 2014


Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Our 2014 countdown continues today with everyone’s favorite thing in fantasy sports — sleepers. Today, Clave Jones looks at 7 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers for 2014.

Previous Countdown Pieces: 14131211109, 8.

It turns out that the search term “fantasy baseball sleepers” is popular with the googlers. Since I’m nothing if not a sell-out, here is a list of 7 fantasy baseball sleepers for 2014.

Sleepity sleepy sleepers!

1. Danny Salazar is such a sleeper that he quietly slips into bed with you. It’s creepy, but you don’t say anything because he has a 96 mph fastball. What’s more, Salazar has a 14% whiff rate on that pitch, which is no snoozer.

Even though it’s a small sample he showed us last season and there is a chance that hitters will figure him out, the dominance of his fastball is enough to hope for some serious upside in 2014.

Just don’t draft him in leagues that count quality starts (QS), as he rarely pitches deep into games.

2. Tyson Ross is an unheralded pitcher for the San Diego Padres. He deserves to be more heralded.

Ross saw his fastball velocity increase as the season went along. But the new 94+ mph fastball still doesn’t have anything on his slider, which generated a massive 50% whiff rate. Click here for a full preview and projections of the entire Padres team.

3. Alexander Guerrero is a Cuban defector who has a chance to get a lot of starts at 2B for the Dodgers. He doesn’t yet have his work visa that will allow him to play in the states, but the Dodgers will of course slide a couple of trillion dollar bills at some bureaucrat and get that figured out.

Heck if anyone really and definitively knows how Cuban stats translate to MLB stats, but there is hope that Yasiel Puig will rub some of his crazy juju onto Guerrero. There’s a hole in that logic that is big enough to shove a PANDA through it, but toss a couple of bucks at Guerrero in the draft and hope your return is greater than that.

4. Alex Wood is further anecdotal proof that the Atlanta Braves genetically engineer starting pitchers in a lab deep below the CDC.

Wood always had excellent control in the minors and possesses a wicked changeup that gets way more than its share of swing and miss.

But Wood has a delivery that is weirder than Chris Sale‘s. As a result, folks have long predicted he’d either blow out his arm and find a place in the bullpen. But as Chris Sale has shown, it’s working until it’s not working. And Alex Wood sure has been working it.

He logged just 77 major leagues innings last season at age 22, but they were excellent, highlighted by a 3.13 ERA and a 8.9 K/9. The entire Atlanta team is projected here.

5. Wily Peralta has the 4th fastest fastball in the league. He’s also the 4th heaviest pitcher in the league, which isn’t nearly as encouraging.

But we’ll simply describe him as burly and focus on the improvement he showed as his 2013 season for the Milwaukee Brewers wore on. Yet he hasn’t quite been able to make the consistent steps forward that he should have. While the upside is still there do keep an eye on him as your last player taken, just don’t pay more than a buck for him.

6. Yan Gomes hit like a champ in limited at bats for the Cleveland Indians. With word that Carlos Santana could actually get innings at third base, it stands to reason that Yan Gomes will get even more appearances behind the plate.

With 135+ games he has an outside chance at 20 home runs and an average that won’t hurt you. That makes for a fine sleeper for leagues that use two catchers.

7. Oswaldo Arcia has the potential to get 25 home runs as early as 2014. It’s easy also to overlook last year’s MLB line of .251/.304/.430 but overlook Arcia at your peril, my fantasy baseball playing friends. Arcia has a powerful swing and he’ll get plenty at at bats in 2014 to display it.

The distance between him and other outfielders that you’ll have to pay $15 for isn’t as great as you think it is. Grab Arcia as a 4th outfielder for a dollar or two and be glad you did. Here’s a full profile on Arcia.