Fantasy Baseball Sleepers For 2018
There's nothing better than taking a chance on a value pick during your draft and watching it pay off.
To aid you in your quest for the elusive fantasy baseball sleeper, we've put together a list of potential breakout or bounce-back players to help you win this season.
This list is in alphabetical order and the degree to which these players qualify as sleepers obviously depends on your specific league.
Atlanta Braves Second Baseman
Albies got the call to the majors on Aug. 1 and hit the ground running, flashing the well-rounded skill set that made him a top prospect in baseball. At 20 years old, the switch-hitting Albies displayed advanced plate skills, posting a .347 wOBA in 244 plate appearances. He's not an imposing presence in the batter's box at 5-foot-9, 160 pounds, but Albies has excellent bat speed and he used that to generate above-average game power (.171 ISO, 33.2 percent hard-hit rate). He also went 8-for-9 on the basepaths, and when it was all said and done, Albies was worth roughly two wins above replacement in just 57 games. Albies' ability to make consistent contact gives him a solid floor in batting average, and he runs at a time when stolen bases are on the decline league-wide. The power is just the cherry on top. He could end up being a significant bargain in drafts and auctions, even with spring helium.
Philadelphia Phillies Outfielder
Injuries limited Altherr to 107 games in 2017, but his performance when on the field constituted a mini-breakout. He upped his average a full 70 points and his OBP nearly 40 points while matching his highest home-run total from any professional season. His strikeout (25.2 percent) and walk (7.8 percent) rates leave something to be desired, and his 18.8 percent HR/FB and .330 xwOBA suggest he did in fact overachieve, although the hard-hit and flyball growth point to real strides in terms of power development. Altherr is heading into his age-27 season and may not run much moving forward after going just 5-for-9 on the bases, but he has earned a chance to play every day and make his case to be part of the organization's long-term infrastructure. Just beware that the injuries last year were not merely a blip; Altherr missed significant time with a wrist injury in 2016 and battled ankle issues earlier in his career.
Milwaukee Brewers Pitcher
Anderson quietly posted a 3.02 ERA after the All-Star break in 2016, and he did not slow down last year, finishing the season with easily the best ERA and WHIP of his career. An injury he suffered while hitting cost him two months right in the middle of his campaign, but he was a model of consistency over his final 16 starts, giving up more than two earned runs just four times over that span and never giving up more than three runs when he did. Two keys to success for Anderson last year were an improved fastball (93.1 mph) and the best home-run prevention numbers of his career. His strikeouts will not wow fantasy owners, but the Brewers showed their belief in him by inking him to a four-year extension over the offseason. If Anderson can maintain his increased velocity and keep the ball in the park, both the team and fantasy owners will be happy with their investment in 2018.
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