2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: One deep sleeper from every MLB team

As we close in on the start of the 2017 season we enter that strange period where more than half of you have drafted but those of you that haven’t are still hungry for draft advice. Hopefully this list will serve both groups.

Use this list of deep sleepers either to guide you in the late rounds of your draft or assist you with your first waiver wire. Everyone on this list has an ADP outside of the top 300.

I’ve included a short note on each deep sleeper with a little bit extra devoted to my favorite sleeper in each division. 

AL EAST

The opportunity is there with injuries to Price and Pomeranz.


Melvin Upton Toronto LF
Upton was one of only nine 20/20 guys in 2016.

Seth Smith Baltimore RF
Smith has put up an OPS over .750 in Seattle. That will play in Camden.

Luis Severino N.Y. Yankees RP
SPARP eligibility enhances whatever upside he still has.

Steven Souza Tampa Bay RF
I still believe in his 20/20 potential, but he must show it his year.

Steven Souza hasn’t given us a great deal of reason to hope in his short major-league career, but hope I will. After all, we’re talking about a guy with a 19.9 percent HR/FB rate and a 22.4 percent line drive rate in 920 career plate appearances. Since the start of 2014 only Chris Davis, , Paul Goldschmidt and Joey Votto have reach both of those marks.

Souza also has 20-25 steal potential. You could say he has Will Myers upside, and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but he’ll have to cut that career 34 percent K rate considerably for that to happen. 

AL Central

Josh Tomlin Cleveland SP
The Indians are short on sleepers but Tomlin could eat innings and compile wins.

Nathan Karns Kansas City SP
Karns could be a better version of Tomlin in a much better park.

Daniel Norris Detroit SP
Norris has huge upside on a team that needs a pitcher to step up.

Jose Berrios Minnesota SP
There’s a wide range of possibilities for Berrios, but I like him more in Rotisserie.

Tyler Saladino Chi. White Sox 2B
Saladino has potential for 15-20 HR & SB on a team that will need to play him every day.

Jose Berrios had one of the worst rookie seasons in recent memory. He was one of only 10 rookie pitchers ever to post an ERA over 8.00 and a WHIP above 1.8. The other nine names on the list are far from impressive.

He’s also a 22 year old that struck out 125 batters and had a 0.98 WHIP in 111.1 innings in AAA last year. If Berrios had just stayed in AAA all year he may be viewed as the best pitching prospect in baseball.

Berrios is starting the year in AAA, which will drive his cost down to almost nothing. A short stint of dominance in AAA should earn him another shot in the majors and I would expect this turn to work out better.

AL West

Joe Musgrove Houston SP
Musgrove should beat out Mike Fiers once McHugh returns.

Mitch Haniger Seattle CF
Scott White’s darling will get every chance for Mariners.

All you need Choo to do is stay healthy and he’ll be one of the steals of the draft.

Ben Revere L.A. Angels CF
Career .295 hitter before last year, has 30 SB potential.

Andrew Triggs Oakland RP
Another SPARP pitching in a big ballpark.

I get that Shin-Soo Choo was a disappointment last year. I know he’s a 34 year-old with major health concerns. But the Rangers plan to play him primarily at DH should help keep him healthy, and when he’s been healthy he’s been pretty great.

Five times in his career, Choo has played at least 140 games. In those five seasons he’s averaged 20 HR, 91 runs and 84 RBI. His worst batting average in those five years was .276.

While it’s true that several of those years were pre-2014, it’s also true that he put up .276/.375/.463 in 2015. Choo has top 25 OF upside in a points league and could be a solid third outfielder in Roto if he stays healthy. That’s well worth his cost. 

NL East

Jayson Werth Washington LF
I don’t love Werth, but Dusty Baker insists on hitting him in the middle of the order.

Zack Wheeler N.Y. Mets SP
Wheeler may just give you 120 innings but you can find another starter by then.

Cesar Hernandez Philadelphia 2B
Hernandez could be a top 12 2B in Rotisserie without making a big leap.

Justin Bour Miami 1B
Bour has a 30 HR ceiling, especially if he can learn to hit lefties.

Can he finally deliver on the promise of his big fastball?

Cesar Hernandez is quickly becoming a guy that I’m writing too many words about, so we’ll keep this quick. My expectation for Hernandez is a .280 average with 25 steals and close to 80 runs scored. Considering he’s almost free, that’s not bad at all. It’s also not his upside.

Hernandez hit .298 in the second half but his OBP ballooned to .413 due to his 15.7 percent BB rate. I wouldn’t say he has .400 OBP upside, but .380 is within the realm of possibilities and that could lead to a 30 SB, 90 run season (he scored 39 runs in the final 70 games of the season). 

NL Central

Brett Anderson Chi. Cubs SP
You might be able to win 15 games if you started 30 games for the Cubs. 

David Freese Pittsburgh 3B
I’m beginning to wonder if Jung Ho Kang will even play this year.

Kolten Wong St. Louis 2B
Wong is highly motivated to prove to the Cardinals he is an everyday player.

Travis Shaw Milwaukee 3B
You’re all going to be surprised when he hits 30 bombs. You shouldn’t be.

Brandon Finnegan Cincinnati SP
Finnegan made big improvements down the stretch in 2016.

If you read my Sleepers 1.0 column you know that I laid out the case for Travis Shaw hitting somewhere between 25-50 home runs. Yes, it’s a comically huge range and the 50 is outlandish. The key number is the 25, because if he gets 600 PA that looks to me like his floor.

Whether he gets 600 PA will depend partially on how he does against lefties, but maybe even more on Eric Thames. Thames had a mediocre spring, hitting .244 with just three extra base hits in 54 PA. I don’t expect he’ll have any trouble hitting for power against RHP but he’s never hit lefties and that could open up the door for Shaw to slide to first if the Brewers want to play Hernan Perez when southpaws are on the mound.

NL West

Denard Span San Francisco CF
Span is an under-the-radar points specialist when he stays healthy.

Andrew Toles L.A. Dodgers RF
Toles’ speed will play if he can stay on the field and get on base.

Gerardo Parra Colorado LF
Injuries give Parra another shot at Coors Field.

Patrick Corbin Arizona SP
Corbin’s upside is still there and now it comes with SPARP-eligibility.

Carter Capps San Diego RP
Capps has top ten closer potential.

We still don’t know if Carter Capps will break camp with the big league club, but that would just be a bonus if he does. If Capps isn’t quite ready you can stash him in the DL slot until he and his wildly entertaining delivery make their debut.

Capps had a 1.16 ERA and a .081 WHIP when we last saw him in 2015. There is no one in San Diego who can come within spitting distance of those numbers. Assuming Capps regains form, he’ll be an elite closer at the cost of a pick in the very last rounds. Yes, the Padres are going to be bad, but that shouldn’t prevent Capps from approaching 30 saves if he’s anywhere close to the pitcher he was.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Heath Cummings is a Senior Fantasy Writer that covers Daily Fantasy Sports of all types. Before coming to CBS Sports he was a staff writer for Footballguys and the host of The Fantasy Football Show on... Full Bio

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