Results tagged ‘ 2012 MLB Sleepers ’
2012 is going to be another interesting season, as every MLB season tends to be. We’ll see guys breakout and we’ll see guys fall apart. Fantasy players will look at their rosters and think they are untouchable, only to realize that Ubaldo Jimenez may have just made you lose your first week when he hit Troy Tulowitzki’s elbow, and Corey Hart, you last resort for outfield help, is starting the season with the Brewers instead of the DL while getting time off instead of rehabbing in the minors. Thanks guys. Below you’ll see some of those bold predictions that probably won’t come to fruition, some guys to monitor during the season, and guys to watch as they come up through the minors this year.
AL East Champion:
New York Yankees
AL Central Champion:
AL West Champion:
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, USA, North America, Earth, Milky Way
AL Wild Cards:
Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays
NL East Champion:
NL Central Champion:
NL West Champion:
NL Wild Cards:
Colorado Rockies and Milwaukee Brewers
Tigers over Reds in 6 games
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, 3B
AL Cy Young:
Justin Verlander, Tigers, RHP
AL Rookie of the Year:
Matt Moore, Rays, LHP
AL Manager of the Year:
John Farrell, Blue Jays
Jay Bruce, Reds, RF
NL Cy Young:
Cole Hamels, Phillies, LHP
NL Rookie of the Year:
Bryce Harper, Nationals, RF
NL Manager of the Year:
Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks
1. Alex Rodriguez rebounds and is an elite 3B again.
2. Kendry Morales posts better overall numbers than Albert Pujols.
3. Drew Stubbs doesn’t strike out 150 times and he goes 30/30 for the Reds.
4. Jason Heyward FINALLY hits the way that everyone expected him to, carrying the Braves while Larry Jones battles injuries in his final season.
5. Allen Craig becomes more valuable to the Cardinals than offseason signing Carlos Beltran.
6. Eric Thames never gives up the LF job in Toronto and the Jays deal Travis Snider for relief help in July.
7. Hanley Ramirez moves back to short and Matt Dominguez takes over third when Jose Reyes suffers a season-ending hamstring tear in June.
8. Matt Cain establishes himself as the Giants best pitcher not named Madison Bumgarner, meaning…Bumgarner is their best pitcher in 2012.
9. Rick Porcello starts throwing his four-seam fastball again and finally develops into the pitcher the Tigers drafted, not the guy they screwed up with for the last four years.
10. Justin Upton hits 40 HR in 2012.
Lorenzo Cain, Royals, CF: Power, speed, improving lineup = solid investment.
Chris Parmelee, Twins, 1B: On-base skills, slightly above average power, sudden opportunity due to Morneau’s move to DH = definition of a sleeper.
Nolan Reimond, Orioles, LF: Power like crazy coming out of college, he just hasn’t stayed healthy. He should get a majority of the starts in a hitter’s park, so he is worth a look.
Henderson Alvarez, Blue Jays, RHP: He turns 22 in mid-April and he posted 110/26 K/BB over 160 innings between Double-A and the Majors in 2011. He has a mid-90′s sinker that he, clearly, has dominant control over. He could control the AL East hitters with it, too.
Ike Davis, Mets, 1B: Many will forget him due to his injury in 2011, but Davis was on pace to be an All-Star for the Mets. He had some health issues this spring, which may further drop his fantasy draft position, but he is a legitimate power threat in a lineup that may look dreadful at times. He isn’t far from being a 30 HR-100 RBI type of player.
Todd Frazier, Reds, 3B/OF: One name…Scott Rolen. Rolen is 37 and hasn’t been healthy and productive in years. The Reds just traded the alternative to Rolen, Juan Francisco, so WHEN Rolen gets hurt in 2012, Frazier will get a look…once Dusty Baker gives Miguel Cairo one too many starts (did you know he likes veterans?). Frazier may not hit for much average, but he certainly has some power, and he plays in a bandbox.
Juan Nicasio, Rockies, RHP: Nicasio hit 97 mph with his fastball late in the spring and looks like he is developing into a Ubaldo Jimenez-lite type of pitcher for the Rockies. He has beat odds before, coming back quickly from a frightening injury in 2011, an injury that many thought could have ended his career.
Prospects on the Rise in 2012:
Dylan Bundy, Orioles, RHP
Manny Machado, Orioles, SS
Anthony Rendon, Nationals, 2B/3B
Bubba Starling, Royals, OF
Christian Yelich, Marlins, OF
Rymer Liriano, Padres, OF
Josh Bell, Pirates, OF
Jake Marisnick, Blue Jays, OF
Cheslor Cuthbert, Royals, 3B
Jonathan Schoop, Orioles, INF
Taijuan Walker, Mariners, RHP
Matt Davidson, Diamondbacks, 3B
Wil Myers, Royals, RF
Mikie Mahtook, Rays, OF
Not everyone that rakes in the second half of a season begins the next season on a tear. I mean, there are only, what, four months between their last meaningful swing and Spring Training, right? However, some guys show things that we may not notice in their final stats. Anyone else out there who wanted to throat punch Dan Uggla at the All-Star break last year with his .185 AVG and .622 OPS? Well, if you held out for his .297 AVG, .948 OPS and 21 Post-break homers, you are clearly a great fisherman. Here are a few guys who may be “breakout candidates” due to a huge second half in 2011.
Nick Hundley, C, Padres: .367/.404/.656, 11 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR in 128 AB
Sure, he is going to be pushed by Yasmani Grandal at some point in 2012, and he plays in the worst stadium for offense in the world, but Hundley isn’t bad. Maybe the upcoming competition will enhance the skills he showed in the second half, or the stress may be a bit too much, who knows? One thing to remember, though: he’s 28, in his prime, and posted these sick numbers last year.
Dexter Fowler, CF, Rockies: .288/.381/.498, 22 2B, 10 3B, 5 HR, 27 RBI, 10 SB in 271 AB
Fowler will be just 26 in 2012 and showed exactly why the Rockies have been patient with him when he broke out in the second half. The man spent 24 games in Triple-A last year after a brief demotion and it seemed to really light a fire under his…toosh. The Rockies aren’t pushing Tim Wheeler too quickly this year, knowing that Fowler is capable of this type of production. He just needs to not show the J.D. Drew-like effortless play that some “toolsy” guys do, as they try to get by on what they want to, instead of what they can…I’m looking at you B.J. Upton.
Dee Gordon, SS, Dodger: .345/.367/.408, 7 2B, 1 3B, 15 SB in 142 AB
Gordon has about as much power as my three-year-old daughter, but he is fast. Guys looking for speed in fantasy leagues will want to monitor where he is going in drafts and look to grab him. There aren’t a ton of SS with value and Gordon could approach 50-60 steals this year playing every day. If he hits 1 homerun, consider it luck, especially if it isn’t an inside-the-parker.
Salvador Perez, C, Royals: .331/.361/.473, 8 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 21 RBI in 148 AB
Perez was just 21 when he made the jump to the Majors last year. He’s another in a line of young catcher reaching the Bigs, as the youth of Santana, Ramos, Posey, and Mesoraco create an exciting time to be a fan of backstops. Perez is a big guy at 6’3″, 230, but he is solid behind the plate, 42% of would-be basestealers in the Minors (though just 21% in his stint with K.C.). He could be an interesting talent for the Royals and could have great value in that improving lineup. Wil Myers was moved to the outfield prior to last season, so Perez doesn’t seem to have anything to worry about when it comes to locking down the position long-term.
Lucas Duda, RF, Mets: .322/.411/.546, 14 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, 38 RBI in 205 AB
Someone has to drive in runs for the Mets, right? The fences are being moved in and Ike Davis and David Wright should be healthy, so Duda could be that dude (see what I did there?) He’ll be just 26 for the whole 2012 season and he showed some impressive power. The question will be if being 6’4″, 255 is going to work in the outfield. His range factor was well below league average in his 42 games there in 2011, but the man can rake.
Corey Hart, RF, Brewers: .297/.361/.549, 13 2B, 1 3B, 16 HR, 37 RBI in 266 AB
Hart is going to have to help carry the Brewers for 50 games if or when Ryan Braun is suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs. He looked like he was capable in the second half of 2011 of becoming that type of player. He turns 30 in 2012, so he still has a couple of years of value, but we saw how quickly giant men can become useless last year when Adam Dunn become a useless turd in Chicago. Here’s to hoping that Hart’s swing doesn’t become as long as Dunn’s in a time when Milwaukee will have their hearts attached to him (I’m on a roll).
Alejandro De Aza, OF, White Sox: .329/.400/.520, 11 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 12 SB in 152 AB
De Aza could be the next Andres Torres, a guy that comes out of nowhere to show skills that no one thought they had, only to crash and burn due to the fact that reality is really a harsh tool that makes people second guess the likelihood of chance repeating…so is De Aza worth drafting or counting on? At 28 and having a .242 career average in 194 career AB prior to his brief stint of mattering in 2011, the chances of this being reality are slim.
Ricky Romero, LHP, Blue Jays: 8-3, 2.72 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 77/35 K/BB in 102 2/3 IP
Romero doesn’t get enough credit for what he’s done in the American League East on a team that, while improving, isn’t a top tier team. He has quietly gone 42-29 with a 3.60 ERA in 93 starts, while striking out a little over 7 per 9 IP. He seems like an afterthought, but he is a legitimate anchor to a staff that will feature stars like Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek (if he reaches his potential) in the next couple of years. He wears his hat pretty sweet, too.
Alfredo Aceves, RHP, Red Sox: 8-2 in 31 games (0 starts), 1.79 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 47/18 K/BB in 56 IP
Why is he on this list? Because his numbers are about as sick looking as Vicente Padilla’s face, and that is the man that he will be battling for a potential rotation spot in Spring Training. Aceves is a wins vulture out of the bullpen regardless, so based on his ERA and WHIP, could be a valuable fantasy commodity if he is in a middle relief or set-up role in 2012. He’s someone to monitor in the upcoming weeks.
Javier Vazquez, RHP, Couch: 8-3, 2.15 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 96/16 K/BB in 96 1/3 IP
After pitching batting practice in the first half last year (5.23 ERA, .288 BAA), Vazquez returned to his I’m-not-a-Yankee-so-I’ll-pitch-well-form that he has shown his entire career. Then…he retired…or did he? He’ll turn 36 in July and clearly has something left after his incredible second half in 2011. It is just so cliche to go out on top, especially when your top was for a team that finished 30 games back in the NL East. If Vazquez comes back and doesn’t pitch for the Yankees, he is worth grabbing. If he comes back and pitches for the Yankees, you’ll wish he stayed home on his couch.