Deep Fantasy Sleepers in Fantasy Baseball 2012

The “Season” has started.  Well…as a technicality the season has started, but how many of us really decided to stay up to watch…the Mariners and the A’s?  I cherish my sleep, and I somehow someway do not feel particularly motivated to stay awake to watch these two teams.  I think most are in agreement that this match-up is no Djokovic v. Nadal…instead an Ungur v. Jaziri (go ahead and look it up, they’re real names)

Opening Day begins on the 4th, which means that for those that did not draft before the A’s and Mariners series in Japan, we are all drafting this weekend.  For most of us, we’re in 10-12 people leagues.   Depth is not terribly critical in drafts, and many have shallow free agency pools.  For those of us however that are in deeper leagues or larger leagues ( 14+ team leagues) we have less of a selection and more questions regarding any available player.  These are the players available in more than 95% of leagues that can make a difference this season and will have good potential to be waiver wire darlings.

Ryan Ludwick:  Ludwick has had good years playing in front of an MVP first baseman.  He hit .299 and had 37 home runs in 2008.  This year he’s sandwiched in the lineup between Joey Votto and home run machine Jay Bruce.  He is going to get a lot of pitches to work with and has the potential to have a rebound year.  Unfortunately, durability has been a concern with Ludwick.  He’s only played over 140 games once.  The Reds were seventh in runs scored, seventh in Home Runs ( 105 HR at home, ranked 4th in MLB) and were in the top half in batting average as a team.  A potential .260/25/70/70 player is available in 99.4% of ESPN leagues

Casey Kotchman: Matt LaPorta isn’t going to be taking the first base job and the Indians are going to have to score runs somehow.  If Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera are healthy, that gives Kotchman the opportunity to drive in some runs batting on an otherwise anemic offense.  Kotchman might never hit more than 20 home runs, which at 1B you generally want, but he also won’t strike out often and last season he hit .306 for San Diego.  His career BA is .268.  Again, he’s not going to lite the world on fire, but he will have opportunity.  A healthy Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore would help…unfortunately we all know the odds of that coming from Sizemore.

John Mayberry Jr. :   Owned in just 11.6% of ESPN leagues, Mayberry presents a classic example of buy low.  Juan Pierre has made the team, but Mayberry can also play first base due to the injury to Ryan Howard.  Mayberry finally played a bigger role for the fightin’s in 2011 and it showed that he is in need of more playing time.  He hit .273 in 267 at bats.  He has 25 HR potential if he can play a full season, and given the variety of injuries suffered in Philly, he could easily have the opportunity to contribute.  Couple this with OF/1B eligibility and it provides a great bench player that can be substituted into multiple slots.

Luke Hochevar : The Opening Day Starter for the Kansas City Royals was probably discarded by most before the All Star game last season.  However, if you had him afterwards. you surely noticed the 3.52 ERA in 12 starts.  His K/BB ratio post all star break was 2.83 and a WHIP of 1.13.  Opponents were batting a parsley .222 against Hochevar post All-Star Game as well. Pitching against teams like the White Sox and Indians also helps, but a big problem has been run support.  Regardless of the run support, a three category pitcher who can potentially pick up a couple wins is great for pitching depth.