Now is as good a time as any to review my 2016 Fantasy Baseball Dynasty League Prospect Sleepers post from last off-season. Let’s get right to the meat of this thing (in order of where they ranked on the original post):
Intro) Trevor Story COL, SS – By the time I collected all of my favorite sleepers into one post, Story was no longer a sleeper. He was dominating Spring Training and exploding up fantasy baseball draft boards. But when I ranked him 30th overall on my off-season top 100 in early February, he was barely getting any love at all in the prospect world, going completely unranked on Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus’ Top 100’s. Story went on to dominate the majors until a thumb injury ended his season, and he currently stands as my best prospect sleeper pick.
1) Bobby Bradley CLE, 1B – Dropped from 18th on my off-season list, to 28th on my End of Season Top 35, but basically maintained in High-A this season what made me love him so much in 2015. Double-A will be the first real barometer on how this call is going to play out.
2) Derek Fisher HOU, OF – Double-A and Triple-A pitching wasn’t any more of a challenge to Fisher than A-Ball pitching was. He started showing up in the back of some mainstream mid-season prospect lists, and his value certainly took a jump this season. While the ultimate test will be how he handles MLB pitching, he was already cashed in as a trade chip in two of my dynasty leagues from owners who bought on the cheap last off-season.
3) Josh Hader MIL, LHP – From unranked on Baseball America’s off-season top 100, to top 25 on their mid-season list. I don’t mean to keep harping on mainstream lists, but so much of a prospects objective value in fantasy leagues is determined by where they rank on these lists. In one dynasty league, owners were trying to pry Hader (7 years of team control) from me all season as a centerpiece in deals for guys like Max Scherzer and Todd Frazier (expiring contracts).
4) Tom Murphy COL, C – Graduated from a dynasty league sleeper last off-season, to a redraft league sleeper this off-season. If you like to wait on catcher, which you should, Murphy is a prime late round target.
5) Alen Hanson PIT, 2B/UTIL – We come to my first miss. Not only did Hanson get no at-bats while Jung-ho Kang was out early in the year, like I thought he would, but he showed no improvement repeating Triple-A this season either. It also looks like he is headed for a utility role early in his career, which can be annoying in fantasy leagues where he will have to take up a roster spot. I still like Hanson and would hold if I owned him, but his value is undeniably lower than where it was last year.
7) Harrison Bader STL, OF – Bader impressed at the Fall Stars Game too, smacking a double to the wall in his first at-bat, and tacked on another well hit single his next time up. Like Calhoun, he showed up on the back of some mid-season top 100 lists, and I was able to use him in a trade (plus a lot more) that netted me 4 cheap years of Yu Darvish.
8) Jacob Faria TB, RHP – Performance slightly declined across the board at Triple-A this year. Homer and walk rates were up while strikeouts were down. I don’t think his value is significantly different from where it was last year, but considering he will be going at it in the AL East, I’m concerned I was a bit too high on him in the first place.
9) Jack Flaherty STL, RHP – Value remains basically identical to last off-season. Hasn’t added the extra velocity that many projected when he was a “projectable” high school starter, but there is plenty of time for that to still come. Like Bradley, what he does at Double-A next year will be telling.
10) Justus Sheffield NYY, LHP – Will be leaving the comfy confines of Progressive Field and the AL Central for Yankee Stadium and the AL East. Everything else is more or less the same as last off-season, but he is a bit higher profile now that he was involved in that blockbuster trade for Andrew Miller. Clint Frazier and Sheffield probably won’t have any added pressure on them to perform, none at all.
11) Tyler O’Neill SEA, OF – I’ve been patting myself on the back for being so high on O’Neill last off-season, but it turns out I was still too low. He significantly improved both his hit tool and plate approach this year at Double-A, and has been equally impressive in the Arizona Fall League. After being unranked everywhere in the off-season, he was all over traditional mid-season lists.
12) Austin Byler ARI, 1B – My bad. At least he was ranked last on this list 😉