2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Buy these 10 big names for Sleepers 2.0

Yes, in case you're wondering, defining a sleeper is one of the most maddening parts of my job. You know what makes it all better? When someone inevitably pops up in the comments suggesting "_______ can't be a sleeper, everyone knows about him."  

So to completely do away with any pretext of anonymity, I'm bringing you 10 sleepers everyone has heard of. Mind blown yet? Good.

The point is that there are different levels of sleepers. My first version of this column this season gave you kind of a generic overview of the concept. Later in the offseason, I'll give you a deep sleeper for every MLB team. Those will be guys who are available in the final rounds of most drafts. There may even be overlap between the three lists. 

Today I'm focusing on players everyone is aware of, but they're still being slept on. It may be because of a down year in 2017 or a major injury. Whatever the cause, you need to be targeting these players in the second half of your Fantasy drafts. We'll sort them by Fantasy Pros ADP

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Matt Carpenter STL • 1B • 13

In 2017, Matt Carpenter posted the highest walk rate (17.5 percent), hard contact rate (42.2 percent) and fly ball rate (50.8 percent) of his career. His reward? A career low .241 batting average and a .451 slugging percentage that was the second lowest of his career. Does it make sense? Of course not. Mike Trout, Aaron Judge and Joey Votto were the only players to walk at a higher rate than Carpenter. Only eight players had a higher hard contact rate (two played in Detroit). His profile suggests 40 home runs and a .400 OBP are within reason. He shouldn't be available in the 12th round.

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Jeff Samardzija SF • SP • 29

Much like Carpenter, Jeff Samardzija had a very wonky year. I discussed it earlier this year in my piece on regression candidates at pitcher. So how good do I think Samardzija should be this year? Well, he's thrown 200-plus innings in five straight seasons, so that seems like a given. I'd also expect he comes close to reversing last year's 9-15 record. His ERA should drop below four and you can count on around 180 strikeouts. That's no 13th round pick.

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Evan Longoria SF • 3B • 10

Samardzija's new teammate, Evan Longoria, is being dinged for being in a terrible hitting environment. But let's not act like he hasn't dealt with that for most of his career. Longoria is no longer a starting third baseman in Fantasy, but he's a solid corner infielder who's being drafted after several worse options including Ryan Zimmerman, Eric Thames, Justin Smoak and Nick Castellanos. There isn't as much difference between Longoria and Eric Hosmer as ADP suggests. 

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Taijuan Walker ARI • SP • 99

In another universe, everyone is buying into Taijuan Walker's 3.49 ERA, and I'm calling him a regression candidate. But his ADP shows that's obviously not the case. Walker may never reach his full strikeout potential, but he should have a solid defense behind him and there's little doubt he'll benefit from the humidor, like the rest of the Diamondbacks pitchers.

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Wilson Ramos TB • C • 40

Yes, Wilson Ramos missed a chunk of last year recovering from an ACL injury. And his full season numbers don't look all that impressive. But after Ramos settled in, he slashed .292/.322/.486 in his final 43 games. In 2016 he was the second best catcher in Fantasy with a .307 average and 22 home runs. Ramos could easily be the No. 3 catcher this year and he's being drafted like an afterthought.

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Chris Davis BAL • 1B • 19

Chris Davis broke the every-other-year pattern with his second consecutive disappointing year in 2017. He also carries considerable risk because of his all-or-nothing approach. But does anyone really believe that 40 home runs are out of the question again? I don't. Davis is exactly the type of high-variance pick I want to make at the end of a draft. He still had a 41 percent hard-contact rate last year. 

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Jonathan Lucroy OAK • C • 21

If you don't believe in Jonathan Lucroy any longer, it's getting hard to blame you. After all, there's yet to be a major-league team that has shown it still believes in Lucroy in 2018. But drafting him in the 19th round has nothing to do with believing. Especially at catcher. There's simply too much upside to be had at a position that's almost devoid of it. If you fail to hit on Lucroy, you can find replacement-level production on the waiver wire. Take a chance.

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Michael Brantley CLE • LF • 23

It feels pretty foolish to say "What if Michael Brantley stays healthy" when he's, you know, not healthy right now. There's already talk that he may not be ready for Opening Day. But I'm going to do it anyway. What if Michael Brantley stays healthy? Well, you're probably looking at a .300 hitter who is a good source of run production and doesn't hurt you in home runs. Someone like Adam Jones, just 10 rounds later.

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Hanley Ramirez BOS • DH • 13

Hanley Ramirez is aiming for a 30-30 season. His manager thinks he's still a middle-of-the-order hitter. To be honest, the HanRam news has been a bit dizzying this spring. I don't know how much to buy into any of it. But I do know one thing -- he's basically free on draft day. This is a hitter, who just one year ago hit 30 home runs and posted an .866 OPS. He's in one of the best offenses in baseball in a park that suits him beautifully.

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Matt Harvey NYM • SP • 33

I was as anti-Matt Harvey as a guy could be a year ago. He was awful. What changed? Well, for one, he's basically free in mixed leagues. Also, Dave Eiland thinks he's figured out a mechanical flaw and Bobby Cox raved about Harvey's stuff after seeing him in person. Harvey's velocity is reportedly back up to 96 MPH. If he has his command back, he could be a Fantasy ace again. He could also be a steal in the final round.

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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