What is the definition of a fantasy baseball sleeper?
Many of our readers have written us with conflicting answers to this question. Our answer is quite simple.
A fantasy baseball sleeper is a player whose statistics for 2009 are projected to be significantly better than his statistics were for last year. If the player is a rookie or plays in a lesser-known market, that adds to his ability to be named a bonafide sleeper.
Does this definition favor rookies? Of course, it does, because they don’t have major league statistics from last year. Are all players rookies? No, some are veterans who have been solid players for years. Others are veterans who are just getting their chance to play every day.
A fantasy baseball sleeper is a lot like our Baseball’s Hottest Wives. Our sleepers are based on some facts, but at the end of the day, it comes down to our opinions. In the end, however, just like in the Baseball’s Hottest Wives voting, you make the ultimate decision.
Here are Fantasy Baseball Dugout’s 2009 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers for Infielders.
Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Infielders 2009
National League Infield Sleepers
Rafael Furcal, SS, Dodgers — Rafael Furcal will be the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter this season. Forget about Juan Pierre. Although Pierre has 10 stolen bases already this spring, he’s getting outfield action mainly because Manny Ramirez is acting as a DH in inter-league games this spring. Furcal played in just 36 games last year. He’s a .286 lifetime hitter and had 37 stolen bases in 2006.
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals — Ryan Zimmerman’s totals fell off drastically last year due to injury as he hit just 14 home runs. Ryan Zimmerman, however, popped 24 the year before. People forget that he’s only 24-years-old and we expect a big year from this extremely talented third baseman.
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies — Troy Tulowitzki hit .327 after the all-star break after fully overcoming a thigh and hand injury. But, an injury limited Tulowitzki to 101 games. Tulowitzki hit 24 homeruns with 99 RBI with 7 stolen bases and a .291 average in ’07.
American League Infield Sleepers
Alexei Ramirez, 2B/SS, White Sox — Alexei Ramirez moved from second base to shortstop when the White Sox let Orlando Cabrera go to free agency. Ramirez was .290/21/77/13 last year when he played just 136 games in his rookie season. Ramirez is a native of Cuba so you know he loves the game and has played against top competition all along. He married a Dominican woman after the 2006 World Baseball Classic and soon after became a member of the White Sox.
Aaron Hill, 2B, Blue Jays — Aaron Hill suffered a severe concussion after colliding with David Eckstein last year. That kept Hill on the sidelines for most of the season. Hark back to the 2007 season, however, and you’ll see that this guy can put up some numbers, especially at a second base position that is relatively weak. Hill was .291/17/78/4 in 2007. He can be relied on for 20+ homeruns this season.
Placido Polanco, 2B, Tigers — Placido Polanco is a career .306 hitter. Polanco won’t steal many bases for you or hit many homers, but he’ll hit .300 for you and score 100+ runs consistently. But, don’t expect most fans, even fantasy baseball fans, to give him the credit he’s due. That’s why he makes our sleepers list.
Alex Gordon, 3B, Royals — Many publications are expecting a breakout season for the Royals’ third baseman Alex Gordon. He cracked 16 homeruns last year in just 134 games. He won’t put up a big average or steal bases for you, but we anticipate a 25+ homerun season for Gordon who is entering just his third year in the Bigs.
Mark DeRosa, 3B, Indians — Mark DeRosa had a big year for the Cubs in 2008 with a .285/21/87/6 tally. He’s versatile and will likely qualify at 2B and OF for you as well as 3B. He’s also married to Heidi DeRosa who was named Fantasy Baseball Dugout’s Hottest Wife in 2008. We figure if you are married to a woman that beautiful it can only help your stats.
Josh Fields, 3B, White Sox — Josh Fields hardly played last year, but he’s another case of looking back a season. In 2007, Josh Fields got 373 ABs, hit 23 homeruns and knocked in 67. Fields won’t hit for a high average (.233 lifetime) and has just one career stolen base, but we like those power numbers.
Chris Getz, 2B, White Sox — Chris Getz will start the season as the Pale Hose’s second baseman. He has a good eye, will walk a lot, and has good speed to go along with a solid glove and can play all of the infield positions. He projects to a .280 hitter with 15 stolen bases.