On Monday, I shared a trio of fantasy baseball sleeper picks with you. Today, I have a six-pack of players who can help your team and should be available very late in the draft, or on your waiver wire. Before we go any further, though, let me define what is a sleeper is not. A sleeper is not a player who is ranked in the top 200 and has an ownership percentage higher than 50 percent. If the majority of fantasy owners roster a player, how can he be considered a sleeper?
KEVIN NEWMAN, SS, 2B, PIRATES
There is nothing overly exciting about Newman. In his first full season with the Pirates, he had only 12 home runs, and a .308/.353/.446 slash line. But he also had 16 stolen bases and is eligible at two positions. He is not a power hitter, ranking in the bottom five percent of the league in terms of average exit velocity. But he also had an 87 percent contact rate. By the way, let me also should mention that he is projected to hit at the top of the Pirates lineup. ADP 207.
ROUGNED ODOR, 2B, RANGERS
Let’s start with the bad stuff first. Odor led the league last year with 178 strikeouts. He also hit only .205. Now the good news. Odor had 30 bombs and improved to a 13.6 percent barrel rate, 45.5% hard-contact rate and 28.9% fly ball rate. Odor’s 136 career home runs dwarfs all second baseman through their age 25 seasons. And he’s had double-digit steals the last four years. Also, last September, he had a .261/.337/.648 slash line, with nine homers and 25 RBI. ADP 222.
IAN HAPP, OF, CUBS
Happ is a candidate for more playing time with the Cubs at both second base and in center field after a tremendous spring. Called up from Triple-A after the All-Star break last year, Happ had a .264/.333/.564 slash line in 58 games down the stretch, with 11 bombs. He had a much-improved 25.0 K%. In September, Happ slashed 311/.348/.672, with six home runs and 17 RBIs in 26 games, only nine of those as a starter. In spring training, Happ slashed.481/.500/.815. ADP 278.
DANNY JANSEN, C, BLUE JAYS
Jansen did little to endear himself to fantasy owners in 2019 – his first full year in the big leagues. That’s the reason why he’s only 5.3 percent owned. But he tweaked his swing during the offseason and had an amazing .529/.600/1.353 slash line in spring training, with four homers in eight games. Keep in mind that Jansen plays catcher, so the bar is set low. If you find yourself at the end of the draft without a catcher, you could do worse than this youngster. ADP 294.
YOSHI TSUTSUGO, OF, RAYS
This Japanese import is just looking for a chance to show the world he can play at the major league level after hitting at least 28 home runs, with a .388 on-base percentage and .511 slugging percentage in each of his past three seasons in his homeland. He did struggle in Grapefruit League play last spring but impressed with his defense. He’s competing with Yandy Diaz and Nate Lowe for playing time at third, but he can also play first base, left field and DH. ADP 326.
TEOSCAR HENANDEZ, OF, BLUE JAYS
A deep sleeper in fantasy leagues, Hernandez disappointed in 2019, hitting only .230, with 26 home runs and 65 RBI in 417 at-bats. But it appears most people are overlooking his breakout in the second half of the season. Hernandez hit 18 bombs in his last 60 game and is projected to hit in the middle of a potent Blue Jays lineup when the 60-game season starts in three weeks. The 27-year-old will be a very cheap source of power who can also swipe a few bases. ADP 339.