Players to Target in Keeper Leagues

C-Salvador Perez- Kansas City Royals

Last year Perez was a favorite sleeper pick, and it just didn’t work out. He had an okay season, but not the type of season people

expected. He started the season in a major slump, discouraging many fantasy owners. He did manage to get his average up close to

.300 by the end of the season, but he was predicted by most to hit over .300. His strong finish is a great sign that he is finally settling into the majors and should be the hitting machine he was in the minors.

Perez is going at around 150 in most drafts, which is a fair place for him to go. Based on his second half, he should at least hit over .300 with 15 homeruns. He may even do even better and sneak close to 20 homeruns.

1B- Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox

People are shying away from Aberu because of his lack of MLB Experience. That critique is fair, but looking at the past few Cuban players to come to the MLB, there doesn’t seem to be much of a learning Curve. Former Cuban stars OF Yoenis Cespedes, OF Yasiel Puig, and RP Aroldis Chapman all hit the ground running and have already established themselves in the MLB. There is no reason to believe there will be a learning curve for Abreu at this point

Abreu showed remarkable power while in Cuba. Between 2011 and 2012, Abreu hit .394 / .542/ .837 with 75 walks, 35 home runs, 71 runs and 99 RBI in only 87 games. While playing in the World Baseball Classic, he hit three homeruns including a Grand Slam in 25 games. He showed in Cuba the ability to use the entire field his BA may suffer this year, but he should be able to produce good power in his first year. He is going late in drafts, and could be a steal late in the draft. He has 30 homerun potential, especially considering his home ball park.

2B- Jurickson Profar – Texas Rangers

Profar’s first taste of the pros left a lot to be desired, but he is still only a year removed from being one of the most highly touted prospects in baseball. He only managed to hit .234, without the power or speed numbers to pad it. Part of the problem was he wasn’t getting consistent playing time, and bounced from position to position due to the crowded Rangers infield.

One thing in Profar’s favor this offseason though is the trade of Ian Kinsler, which seals Profar’s role as the starting second basemen. He will have chance to play every day, and play in the same position. His plate discipline, power, and a great ability to make contact, make him a dangerous player. His upside his huge, and it would be smart to get him now for a keeper league before he becomes overpriced in future drafts.

SS- Jonathan Villar- Houston Astros

Every time a SS has a good season, ESPN loves to blow them up and rank them way too high to actually draft. Last year Jean Segura and Everth Cabrera were both steals at the end of the draft, but now they are both being drafted in the top 100 picks, which is poor value. SS is such a shallow position that people often reach for the few established players there are at the position. You often either have to take someone like Elvis Andrus excessively early, for what they actually give you, or are stuck with a scrub in your fantasy lineup.

Villar presents a chance to get a SS just like Segura, Andrus, or Cabrera late. Instead of taking the consistently mediocre Asdrubal Cabrera late, take Villar, whose stat line should look very similar to the top SS late. He has great speed, but that is about it. If your league measures OBP instead of AVG he is even better. He won’t hit many homeruns, but few Shortstops do. He will steal around 40 bases though. It is the same thing you are getting with Segura, Cabrera, and Andrus. Only difference is you are getting him almost 10 rounds later.

3B- Xander Bogaerts- Boston Red Sox

Bogaerts was one of the top prospects last year, but just didn’t have a place on the team to play. His natural position, SS, was

blocked by Stephen Drew, and 3B was blocked by Will Middlebrooks. Even when Middlebrooks was demoted, the Red Sox chose to instead give Jose Iglesias as chance instead of Bogaerts. Bogaerts finally got a chance in August though as a Utility player, and worked his way into the starting lineup by the end of the year. Now with Drew gone, Bogaerts will get a chance to slide back over to SS and play every day. This will eventually give him the added bonus of SS eligibility.

Bogaerts has been a favorite of scouts for a while. He has the potential to be a four category contributor, with only steals being the position he won’t contribute in. He has impressive power, with the ability to hit for even more power than he did in the minors. He should be a must target in Keeper leagues, and even re-draft leagues.

OF-Adam Eaton- Chicago Whitesox

Adam Eaton has the potential to hit 10 homeruns with 30 steals if he can stay healthy. A sleeper going into last year, injuries derailed his first season with the Diamondbacks, and he would later be sent to the Whitesox in a three way trade that sent Mark Trumbo to Arizona. A fresh start could be great for Eaton.

Eaton made a name for himself in the minors for a great ability to get on base, OBP of .450 in the minors. That, combined with good speed, has allowed him to be a force on the base paths. For a guy being drafted around pick 210, Eaton could be a great value add as a final outfielder.

SP- Zack Wheeler- NY Mets

The other young Mets pitcher who broke out last year, Wheeler was over shadowed by the stunning performance of Matt Harvey. Wheeler wasn’t as good as Harvey was, but he still showed he is more than capable of being a great pitcher at this level. His stuff is nasty, and while he could definitely improve his control, he has the potential to be almost as good Harvey.

Now, as he enters his second MLB season, he has a chance to really step up. His ERA may not be as good as Harvey’s was before his unfortunate injury, but he should be the same strikeout machine. Plus, with a much improved Met’s team, he has a chance to get more wins than he did last year.

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