Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Top Five Fantasy Baseball Sleepers for 2009

Every year, numerous people release their "Top Fantasy Sleepers," and now it's my turn. These players can make or break your team.

Say your stud pitcher gets hurt and all you have are these guys. You need them and you know it, now find out my top five fantasy sleepers and win your league.

Some names I've been throwing about are Orlando Hudson, Dexter Fowler, Jordan Schaefer, Daryl Thompson, and Dewayne Wise, but I've decided to go with five other names who can really help you out.

Whether they are minor leaguers or major leaguers, these guys will be the players fantasy owners overlook now, but they will soon become the most wanted guys in every league.


5. Matt Wieters - C Baltimore Orioles

The 22-year-old Orioles' top prospect is considered by many to be the next big thing in Baltimore and was ranked the No. 1 overall prospect in baseball by Baseball America.

Which I obviously agree with, since in one minor league season, at Double-A Bowie, he hit for a .355 batting average, with 27 home runs and 91 RBI. He has also tallied 155 hits.

Another upside is that Wieters has only struck out 76 times in his only minor league season.

4. Tommy Hanson - SP Atlanta Braves

Hanson was recently sent to Triple-A Gwinnett, but is still in line for a call-up once someone gets hurt.

In three minor league season, Baseball America's No. 4 overall prospect has put together a 20-15 record and a 2.74 ERA in 64 total games.

Now his downside as a pro is that he has only thrown in 64 professional games and he's 22, which means the Braves might want to keep him in the minors in order not to "stunt his growth."

The biggest highlight of his career came in 2008, when he was named the MVP of the Arizona Fall League.

3. Orlando Cabrera - SS Oakland Athletics

Yeah, yeah, he's not really a "sleeper" in the technical sense. But he has gone undrafted in two of my leagues and went for $1 in one of those new ESPN auction drafts.

So, to me he is vastly underrated. Why, you ask?

Well, first, he is a veteran of 12 major league seasons. And during his time, he has hit .274 with 105 home runs, 684 RBI, and 1,632 hits.

Not flashy but not awful either, plus he's coming off a down year with the White Sox but now he's recently signed with the Athletics, meaning he has something to prove.

2. John Baker - C Florida Marlins

Yep, the second catcher on the list.

He has only played one major league season since being drafted by Oakland in the fourth round of the 2002 draft.

And in that season, which came last year with Florida, he played in 61 games and hit five home runs with 32 RBI. A .299 batting average rounds out a solid season from Baker.

Now one year isn't much, but in seven minor league seasons, he played in 615 games, hit 45 home runs, 312 RBI, scored 305 runs and hit for a solid .276 batting average.

1. Johnny Cueto - SP Cincinnati Reds

This is my sleeper from last year, which didn't really pan out, to say the least.

But the upside from that is in 2007 my sleeper was Arizona SS Stephen Drew, and he was awful, and his breakout year was last season, so now he's a hot commodity.

If this works out the same way, then 2009 will be Cueto's breakout year, hopefully.

In his only major league season for the horrible Reds, Cueto went 9-14, had a 4.81 ERA and gave up 178 hits in 174 innings pitched.

However, he was a stud in his three minor league seasons, posting a 29-15 record, a 3.28 ERA, and 300 hits allowed in 348.1 innings pitched.

One thing that could hurt Cueto is the Reds' being awful; if they pull of a miracle and make something out of this season, Cueto could become a hot commodity.

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