"Oh no, not this guy again."

It's exactly that level of exasperation that makes for a post-hype sleeper in Fantasy. He's worn out his welcome. He's used up his good will. He's run out of chances and been left to sink in the rankings, where he'll no longer be of harm to anyone.

Might he still be of good to someone, though? That's the case I'm making here. These players, once the buzz of Fantasy Baseball, are mere afterthoughts now even though they're still young enough, and flashing many of the same tools still, to live up to their potential.

I wouldn't say any of them are high-priority sleepers for me. If they were, they'd have appeared in my Sleepers 1.0. But in a way, they're truer sleepers because they're no longer being elevated by hype.

Eloy Jimenez
CHW • DH • #74
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Though Eloy Jimenez's ADP (via FantasyPros) is the highest of these 12 players, it's more than 100 spots lower than a year ago. No doubt, his DH-only status heading into 2024 has something to do with it. There are a number of noteworthy hitters with that same affliction -- Marcell Ozuna, J.D. Martinez and Byron Buxton -- and they're all slipping in drafts. But none was as celebrated as Jimenez a year ago. It's true that his production -- the .272 batting average, 18 homers and .758 OPS in 120 games -- fell short of our expectations. It's also true that he hit the IL a couple times, which has been all too common an occurrence for the 27-year-old. But he also got his strikeout rate below 20 percent for the first time. Between that and the exit velocities he's delivered in the past, a .290-hitting, 30-homer outcome remains a possibility.

Christopher Morel
CHC • DH • #5
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Christopher Morel had 37 homers between the majors (26) and minors (11) last year, and they're backed up by the sort of exit velocity readings that have his Statcast page flashing a fiery red. So why is the hype dying down rather than ramping up, his ADP settling outside of the top 200? Mainly because he's faked us out twice already, getting off to impossibly hot starts in 2022 and 2023 only to fall out of favor with the Cubs as the reality of his 31 percent strikeout rate set in. Inconsistent performance led to inconsistent playing time, in other words, which undermined whatever strengths he showed. That's what makes the news of him focusing on third base this spring so interesting. It's a position of need for the Cubs, and if they can count on him to fill it (a big if), they might be more willing to ride out the cold stretches. 

Jeremy Pena
HOU • SS • #3
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I was never a big believer in Jeremy Pena, labeling him a bust when he was being drafted in the first 10 rounds last year, but it does seem like the pendulum has swung too far the other way in response to what may have been his worst-case scenario. He went from having 22 homers and a .426 slugging percentage as a rookie to having 10 homers and a .381 slugging percentage as a sophomore even though much of the underlying data didn't change. What did change was the ground-ball rate, which skyrocketed over the last four months in particular, and to address it, Pena has revamped his stance for this year, calming his setup to be more efficient to the ball. If it takes, a 25-homer, 15-steal outcome is still on the table for a player whose defense figures to keep him in the lineup.

Jarred Kelenic
ATL • LF • #24
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Jarred Kelenic is on this list for a second straight year, which you might take as an indication it's time to move on already, but several things have changed to keep optimism alive. The biggest is that he's now with the Braves, who jumped through some hoops to acquire him, taking on a bunch of dead salary that they then had to pass off to other teams. Clearly, president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos is a believer, and he's already said that the goal is to play Kelenic every day rather than have him platoon. Fittingly, Kelenic actually hit lefties (.259 batting average, .774 OPS) better than righties (.251, .738) last year. That's one big improvement he made. The other was holding his own against sliders for the first time, even turning five around for home runs. It may be just a jumping off point for a player who's still only 24.   

Nick Lodolo turned heads with his 11.4 K/9 as a rookie in 2022, his curveball inspring poetry with its ridiculous horizontal movement. He was considered the safer breakout pick to Reds counterpart Hunter Greene, in part because his ground-ball tendencies figured to play better at Great American Ball Park. Well, you don't need me to tell you it didn't go as planned, but for all the chaos the stress reaction in his left leg wrought, ending his season after seven starts, he still had 12.3 K/9. The curveball remains a knockout pitch, giving him all the same upside as a year ago. There's more downside risk, in part because manager David Bell says Lodolo will only begin the season on time "if everything goes well and perfect." But he's pitching pain-free now, calling his early bullpen sessions "a night-and-day difference" from a year ago.

Vaughn Grissom
BOS • SS • #5
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What's funny about Vaughn Grissom's placement on this list is that he actually has the full-time job we so desperately wanted him to win with the Braves last season. So what's happened to the enthusiasm? Well, he did get 80 plate appearances for the Braves last season and delivered ... no home runs or stolen bases, undermining his power/speed case. The data undermines it even more so. In what's now two partial major-league seasons, Grissom's average exit velocity is only 85.2 mph and his max exit velocity only 107.7 mph, both bottom-of-the barrel readings. His sprint speed, meanwhile, is middle-of-the-pack.

So the air is out the balloon, sure, but Grissom's minor-league numbers remain phenomenal, including a .330 batting average and .921 OPS last year, and the raw power isn't as critical if he learns to elevate to his pull side at Fenway Park. Manager Alex Cora says the club has already identified things the 23-year-old can do mechanically to generate more power. 

Alejandro Kirk
TOR • C • #30
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Strange as it may be to hear now, Alejandro Kirk was considered the next big thing at catcher at this time a year ago, combining a preternatural contact ability with the sort of exit velocities that would make it stand up. While he made just as much contact in 2023, placing in the top one percent for strikeout rate, he didn't hit the ball quite as hard, his batting average slipping from .285 to .250. His DH at-bats dried up, and he again had to split time with Danny Jansen behind the plate even though Kirk grades out as the better defender. It's not clear that his situation has improved for 2024, but it is clear that he's still a uniquely talented catcher who, at 25, could absolutely force the issue with his performance. He's become an afterthought at a position with so much budding talent.  

Reid Detmers
LAA • SP • #48
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Reid Detmers was as hyped as any pitcher heading into last season. The former first-round pick had revamped his slider down the stretch in 2022, adding a couple miles per hour to it, which resulted in a 3.04 ERA and 9.9 K/9 over his final 13 starts. So then when he showed up last spring with a couple more miles per hour on the slider, well, excitement went through the roof. But it turns out that throwing the slider that hard also served to straighten it out, undermining what made it so dominant in the first place. Detmers attempted to fix it over the course of the year and did finish on a reasonably high note, but the pitch still wasn't the same. We've seen, though, in both the majors and minors, that when it's at its best, he's a force to be reckoned with, and there's early optimism in Angels camp that he's fixed it again.

Henry Davis
PIT • RF • #32
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Henry Davis was never hyped quite like you'd expect a former No. 1 overall pick (2021) to be even though the concerns surrounding him were mostly on the defensive side. But then when his big chance came last June ... yeah, the hitting wasn't there either. There isn't much optimism to be found in the underlying data, so his sleeper case is mostly just an appeal to pedigree. And to be fair, he did slash .306/.454/.561 in 55 games between Double- and Triple-A last year. Ironically, it could be his defense that bails him out for Fantasy. Though the Pirates broke him in as a right fielder last year, he's expected to play catcher primarily this year, where his offense could go a lot further. The best-case scenario would be for him to split time with Yasmani Grandal behind the plate and then move out to right field on his "off" days, giving him more at-bats than the typical catcher.

Brett Baty
NYM • 3B • #22
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Brett Baty had some nice moments in a brief big-league trial in 2022 and just obliterated Triple-A pitching for the first two weeks of 2023, setting him up for a mid-April debut that figured to propel him to greatness. Instead, he took a nosedive, batting .212 with a .598 OPS. The Ronny Mauricio injury assures him another opportunity this season right from the get-go, and there's still a lot to like about the profile. We know he's capable of delivering premium exit velocities from his minor-league days, and he walked at a nice rate down there as well. One factor that's always been playing against him is a high ground-ball rate, but video work with hitting coaches Eric Chavez and Jeremy Barnes this offseason showed he could improve it by strengthening his top hand, which he says he's done. Bottom line is the upside is too high to give up so soon. 

Michael Busch
CHC • 3B • #29
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Really, the hype for Michael Busch should be at its pinnacle right now. The Cubs acquired him from the Dodgers this offseason to be their starting first baseman. They recognized the potential we all saw in the minors and freed him at long last. Too long, it turns out, because many are treating the 26-year-old's delayed arrival as evidence that he's not actually good. Busch slashed .323/.431/.618 at Triple-A Oklahoma City last year, homering 27 times in 98 games and with all the exit velocity readings to back it up. The reason I think it took so long for him to get his first legitimate chance is that he was a tough defensive fit on a club that couldn't afford to break him in but still valued his bat enough to cling tightly to him in all previous trade talks. Clearly, the Cubs don't think Busch is another Matt Mervis ... or else they'd just start Matt Mervis. 

Miguel Vargas
LAD • 2B • #27
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Miguel Vargas was my most coveted sleeper last year, the 23-year-old son of a Cuban hitting legend who himself hit .300 or better at every minor-league stop and had the mighty Dodgers so convinced of his ability that they anointed him their second baseman, a position he had hardly played, at the start of spring training. Of course, I didn't have exit velocity readings for Vargas at the time. I do now, and they're not great. They weren't after he was sent back to Triple-A either, which makes me question if they ever were, but Vargas himself blames health for the poor showing.

"Coming into the spring with a broken finger and then in the middle of the season getting hit on the hand again, I think that led to a lot of bad habits at the plate," Vargas said. "I was dealing with a lot of pain and that didn't fully allow me to be myself."

Could it be that Vargas was never right at the plate? It may be a moot point for drafts since the Dodgers haven't left a position open for him this time around. But he's working in the outfield now, where they have more vulnerabilities.