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March 18, 2011

Future Shock Blog

Quick Ten Pack: DEEP Fantasy Sleepers

by Kevin Goldstein

Our very own Rob McQuown is currently in the midst of a deep fantasy draft, and when I say deep, I'm talking about a situation where he's asking me for advice (a free benefit of working here) on guys who were 8th-10th round picks in last year's amateur draft. Between talks with Rob and some emails from our readers, it seems like crazy deep drafts are quite common, so instead of just helping Rob, let's help others looking for extra names. Here are ten prospects far from the Top 101 list, not on their respective teams Top 11 lists or extended 20s, and not even named as sleepers. There are the just missed guys who might be worth a late selection for those with triple-digit rosters.

Cito Culver, SS, Yankees

All the draft experts snickered when the Yankees selected Culver in the first round last June, as most projected him as a third-to-sixth round pick. While he didn't blow anyone away statistically (.251/.320/.330) in his pro debut, the tools and athleticism were clearly there, as he showed above-average speed and arm strength to go with gap power. It's still a weird pick, but way too early to call it a mistake.

Derek Dietrich, IF, Rays

After leading Georgia Tech in total bases while earning many national accolades as a freshman in 2008, many thought Dietrich would develop into a sure-fire early pick in 2010, but he never got better and ultimately landed in the second-round last June before putting up solid-but-unspectacular numbers in the New York-Penn League. A shortstop in college, he'll be forced to move to second or third base as a pro, and still has enough offensive potential to turn into a second-division starter or good bench player.

Mark Hamilton, 1B, Cardinals

If Hamilton could stay healthy, he'd be much higher regarded. A 2006 second-round pick out of Tulane, Hamilton has slugged .567 at Triple-A over the last two years, but he hasn't been able to play more than 100 games in any of the last three seasons, due to a seemingly never-ending run of minor dings and scrapes. Knowing that he's eternally blocked by Albert Pujols, he's spending the spring trying to prove he can be adequate in left field, and could start his big league career as a bench bat with plenty of power.

Josh Judy, RHP, Indians

A 2007 34th-round pick from the baseball powerhouse that is Indiana Tech, Judy has gone from an org player to serious relief prospect by striking out more than a batter per inning in each of the last two seasons. He'll never be a late-inning option, but his fastball and slider are both above-average, and he could be in the big leagues at some point this year.

Junior Lake, SS, Cubs

Lake's .264/.333/.398 line at High-A Daytona last year might not impress, but it was a solid season for a 20-year-old tools player, and he made clear progress in his approach by cutting his strikeout rate while nearly doubling his walk ratio. The real problem is that he's probably not a shortstop, but he has more than enough arm for third base and burgeoning power in that he can make some progress against breaking balls.

Juan Carlos Linares, OF, Red Sox

When you think Cuban and Red Sox, you think shortstop Jose Iglesias, but Lineras might beat him to the big leagues. At 26, he's not a kid like his former La Habana teammate Igesias, but he impressed in a brief minor league showing last year after signing for $750,000 and hit .320 this spring with a home run off Mets lefty Jon Niese. With gap power, above-average speed and very good defensive skills, he could end up as the ideal fourth outfielder.

Neil Ramirez, RHP, Rangers

Ramirez has generally been seen as a disappointment since signing for $1 million dollars out of the 2007 draft, but he finally began the show the big stuff he showed in high school at the end of the 2010 season and has been one of the talks of spring by bumping his fastball up to 97 mph while flashing a pair of plus secondary pitches. He's definitely worth keeping an eye on this year at High-A Myrtle Beach.

Dave Sappelt, OF, Reds

Just five-foot-nine and thickly built, Sappelt has trouble passing the sniff test for scouts, but he's a career .308/.359/.459 hitter in the minor leagues and has put on a show this spring by going 14-for-26 with a pair of home runs. He's headed for Triple-A with the Reds likely opening the year with Chris Heisey in the bench outfield slot, but Sappelt's ability to play all three outfield spots and annihilate lefties will get him in the big leagues eventually.

Matt Thompson, RHP, Athletics

A 12th-round pick last year that signed for under five figures, Thompson has the opening resume of no more than an org player, but he's one of the systems better sleepers after putting up a 1.94 ERA in his pro debut with 71 strikeouts against just ten walks in 51 innings. His long arms and smooth delivery generates low 90s fastballs that touches 94 mph, and his power breaking ball also generates swings and misses. He'll begin the year in A-ball and focus on a changeup.

Adam Wilk, LHP, Tigers

Wilk has gotten little attention despite a career minor league ERA of 2.35 in 41 starts, as he succeeds more from location and changing speeds due to a fastball that sits in the upper 80s. That said, his pitchability is outstanding, and he's been the biggest surprise in Tigers camp with a shot to make the big league team as a reliever. Certainly not a late-innings guy, but he's gone from a guy expected to pitch in the Double-A Erie rotation to very possibly an opening day job in the bigs.

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

13 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

batts40

Good article, but I'm sort of glad that my league isn't this deep.

Mar 18, 2011 12:27 PM
rating: 6
 
Scott Gilroy

Triple Digit Rosters!? Now that is deep. I feel much better about my fantasy addiction now.

Mar 18, 2011 12:38 PM
rating: 8
 
dianagram

KG .... nice list!

BTW, Cito Culver was in fact on your NYY extended 20.
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=12988

Mar 18, 2011 12:54 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

Oh crap. How about we flop him for Mason Williams, a Yankees outfielder who actually got more money than Culver as a fourth-round pick. Not a big kid, but very athletic, with speed and arm strength as his best current tools, but the Yankees are convinced he'll learn to hit. He won't show up in box scores until the short-season leagues start, but has a big upside.

Mar 18, 2011 13:21 PM
 
kcshankd

None of these guys are available in the 'deep' league I'm in, Linares was drafted a couple of rounds ago in our minor league free agent draft.

Mar 18, 2011 19:14 PM
rating: 0
 
RedsManRick

Sappelt = Victorino minus the arm.

Mar 19, 2011 10:57 AM
rating: 0
 
eliyahu

Very glad to see this. It seems that people have become convinced that thin ESPN leagues are the "standard." While I agree that the majority are in those types of leagues, I am convinced that the majority of people that actually read those sites -- and certainly BP -- are in much deeper leagues. In my league, for example, virtually all of the "value picks" on BP are unavailable, and our ML systems are 12 players deep. I suspect this is more typical of BP readers.

Mar 20, 2011 02:06 AM
rating: 0
 
JAMES M DEZACK

My league has been in existence for 25 years. It is a 12 team, 4 X 4 Rotisserie, NL ONLY, Auction draft, 3 year player contracts. You can extend 1 player each year to a 4th contract year. We may keep up to 14 players going into the draft

We draft 2 rounds of minor leaguers at the end of the draft. You may keep up to 5 minor leaguers on a separate roster each year at a $5 contract upon call-up.

I cannot find the TOP 11 Prospect lists for this year for all NL teams. Everything I find is from last year. It is imperative that I retrieve this information. Can anybody help me here??

James Dezack
jmdezack@yahoo.com

Mar 20, 2011 12:06 PM
rating: -1
 
Al Skorupa

Its on the front page. Scroll down.

Mar 20, 2011 12:08 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Dave Pease
BP staff
(2)

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/

please email us at cs@baseballprospectus.com with any other questions

Mar 21, 2011 15:33 PM
 
Edwincnelson

Thank you so much for articles like this! I am in two Scoresheet leagues, 12 team AL only and NL only, one 40 man roster, the other can in theory have 50 or more. In both leagues almost the entire top 100 prospects are gone and almost without exception the 5 star guys are taken, so info like this is great.

Mar 21, 2011 07:52 AM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

Oh sure, Kevin, now Marc Normandin knows I haven't been slaving 24/7 on site programming, and my league-mates think I'm a fraud. (just kidding)

Seriously, glad for the help. I pronounced myself "winner" of this year's draft the moment I took "Gauntlett Eldemire", though. Nobody's going to top that name, thank you Kevin.

It's sort of an odd mix in this league, as we draft anyone who either:
a. was drafted the previous year (everyone eligible), or
b. played minor-league ball at some point, without ever playing MLB

This makes some of the later picks who don't sign quite valuable. 2006 was the league's first year, and I grabbed Justin Smoak and Jemile Weeks. It's interesting, as players on our rosters are considered to be accruing minor-league years (for Rule 5 eligibility purposes) during their college careers, so it's a trade-off - getting talent later vs. getting players you don't have to put on 40-man roster for 5 years.

I'm looking forward to the 2011 draft... by one mock draft, my team has seven of the top 31 players.

Foreign signees who begin in the minors also end up in our draft.

Mar 21, 2011 15:56 PM
 
hyprvypr

THESE articles are the key to upper level keeper leagues. The poor owners in my league have no chance with the info shared in great wealth here.

One note on Sappelt, haven't the scouts seen enough people who buck the trend(Pedroia, Oswalt, Lincecum, Giles, etc) to give smaller, stockier players more credence?

Mar 25, 2011 16:49 PM
rating: 0
 
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