Fantasy Baseball: The sleeper picks you need to know about on draft day

Lenny Melnick Fantasy Sports. OK, he could have been better last year, but he was still a rookie. At 28, Pirela would be a late-bloomer -- and his home park doesn't do him any favors -- but he's been killing the ball this spring and seems to have legit upside. At 20 years old, the switch-hitting Albies displayed advanced plate skills, posting a. 2018 fantasy baseball sleepers

2018 fantasy baseball breakouts


We have some on-the-radar guys who could be even better than expected, some mid-tier guys with breakout potential, some guys who only lack a clear path to playing time, and some category-specific guys who shouldn't be overlooked.

Outfield is a good spot to find cheap power or cheap steals. Late in drafts, fantasy owners tend to swing for the fences, but guys who hit. Pirela quietly had a nice , hitting 23 homers and stealing 12 bases between games in Triple-A and the majors.

At 28, Pirela would be a late-bloomer -- and his home park doesn't do him any favors -- but he's been killing the ball this spring and seems to have legit upside. Haniger was a popular sleeper picks last year, and after a scorching start, it looked like a great call. An oblique injury derailed his early momentum, and it took him a while to recapture his form. Haniger finished the year by hitting.

If Haniger can stay healthy and put together a full season, he has major upside. It's tough to call Hoskins a sleeper after he hit 18 homers in only 50 games last year, but his. Hoskins is a career. Hoskins is already on the radar as a big-time producer, but he might have even more upside than many think. Mazara basically turned in the same season at the plate in as he did in '16 -- only with 37 more RBIs. If that doesn't remind you how fickle that stat is, nothing will.

So, while it's tempting to say Mazara will disappoint this year because his RBIs will go down, the rest of his stats could just as easily go up. This is based largely on age, as Mazara is still only The raw power is there and the increase in walks last year is a good sign to his overall approach.

Margot finished with 13 HRs and 17 SBs in games last year -- not bad for an age season in an extreme pitchers park. Margot's surroundings could continue to limit his overall value, but given his speed, he has the potential to greatly improve his average, runs, and stolen base totals.

Acuna is the No. Still only 20, Acuna has a. Last year's numbers included a. Zimmer struck out a lot during his rookie season He'll likely strike out a lot again this year, but he'll also hit some homers and steal a bunch of bases.

He went in games between Triple-A and the majors last season, and at 25, his power might still be developing. The batting average is likely going to be a drain, but with SBs at more of a premium now, Zimmer can be useful.

Mancini had an impressive rookie season, clubbing 24 HRs while hitting. Considering he had a. Mancini might not have a crazy-high ceiling, but a few adjustments could easily lead to him outperforming his draft position. The Calhoun hit. Calhoun doesn't really walk, but also doesn't strike out, which is a rarity for a power hitter. Once he gets back to the majors, he should be a cheap source of homers and everything that comes with them if he can maintain regular playing time.

Washington doesn't have many legit sleeper candidates, but Taylor, who went in games last year before hitting another two homers in the playoffs, certainly qualifies. He was hitting for more power than ever, as evidenced by his career-best.

His ground ball rates dipped and he started hitting the ball in the air more and harder than ever. The real bustout campaign could come this year for Castellanos, who has a chance to hit plus homers and deliver a respectable batting average.

Grab him when the very elite and top-level third baseman are gone. He is seriously undervalued, as most fantasy owners don't believe what they saw from him last year.

Maybe he is not a sleeper in the classic sense because some people did notice last year's production, but he is fundamentally a sleeper because he is going to return terrific production relative to his late-round draft position. Last year, though, he hit the ball harder than ever before and Cabrera could prove he is no fluke.

How bad were the Braves last year? So bad that you may not have noticed just how good Inciarte was during the second half. He made himself a useful piece going forward for Atlanta, hitting. Over a full season this year, you could deliver a. Inciarte stole 16 last year and could be better overall in most categories in Arizona used Drury at a few positions in an impressive rookie year, and now seems set to hand him the second base job after the power promise he flashed last season.

He popped 16 homers in at-bats, and his plate approach should improve this season. He struck out 20 percent of the time at the MLB level last year but his minor league track record suggests he can provide a stable batting average as well if he plays regularly.

Flowers traded in his usual mid-teens HR power for a career-high. His BABIP was very high, but so was his hard-hit rate, and he started pulling the ball less, so he has obviously reworked himself as a hitter.

The Braves have already confirmed him as their starting catcher, and if you get him very late, he can provide solid power if he stays healthy, and there is promise for some stability across the board. Lots of fantasy owners may steer clear of Ray, his record and his 4. He also had an unlucky Add in his 3. Most Yankee fans remember Nova as an erratic and unreliable starter, but he looked like a different hurler in Pittsburgh, where heralded pitching coach Ray Searage often does wonders with new acquisitions.

In 11 starts for the Bucs, Nova fashioned a 3. Nova may not sparkle quite that much in a full season with Pittsburgh, but he could definitely produce the best marks of his career now that he's set to spend an entire season facing off against the National League. Simply put, baseball insiders absolutely love this guy and were looking for him to break out last season. He may just burst onto the scene a year late, as experienced observers still constantly rave about his stuff. According to one former front office exec turned broadcaster, Conley possesses a competitive motor that reminds people of Chris Sale.

He is penciled in as the Mets' fifth starter, yet outside of Queens, fantasy players either don't know enough about him or they consider him a placeholder for Zack Wheeler. Gsellman has good command and a quality minor league track record of friendly ERAs and lower walk rates. He has the underrated Dan Warthen as his pitching coach, so he's destined to provide real friendly return late in drafts. He struck out batters in Neris can hit 94 mph on the gun, and as long as he can keep his walk rates reined in, he can wrest the job from Jeanmar Gomez, who started to come apart down the stretch last season.

Gomez was a nice surprise early on last season, but Neris is definitely more dominant and in the classic closer mold. Sam Dyson is expected to begin the season as the Rangers' closer, but he doesn't miss bats as often as Bush, and he relies heavily on ground balls and sinking action to get the job done. Of legitimate concern is that Dyson's strikeout rate slipped last year and he had a very high strand rate.