Here we are. Spring Training is in full swing. The Padres-Dodgers two-game series in Korea is just nine days away. Fantasy Baseball draft season is upon us! This will be my final contribution to Sleepers, Breakouts and Busts this offseason but I think there's a little bit of something for everyone.

As I've always mentioned, Fantasy Baseball sleepers come in many different shapes and sizes. For example, below I've provided an undervalued player, two injury bounce backs, this year's Nico Hoerner and a post-hype sleeper. Make sure to target any and all of these names in your upcoming drafts! 

Teoscar Hernandez
LAD • RF • #37
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By most people's definition, Teoscar Hernandez is not a sleeper. Everybody knows who Hernandez is. He's a well-established player and is getting paid $23.5 million by the Los Angeles Dodgers this season. I do, however, think Hernandez is undervalued and that people are sleeping on his upside in this lineup. What's most enticing with Hernandez might be the fact that he's out of Seattle. Nothing against the Emerald City but Hernandez revealed he didn't see the ball well in T-Mobile Park last year. The numbers back that up. Hernandez hit just .217 with a .643 OPS at home last season while batting .290 with an .835 OPS on the road. Hernandez will now call Dodger Stadium home, the second-best ballpark for right-handed power, according to Statcast.

Hernandez is still standout in terms of quality of contact, too. Last season he posted a 91.3 MPH average exit velocity with a 13.8% barrel rate, which ranked 81st and 88th percentile, respectively. Hernandez is still pretty damn fast, too, as his sprint speed ranked in the 82nd percentile. Of course, he's not perfect. The plate discipline has always been a concern. Hernandez is an impatient hitter who chases pitches outside of the strike zone often. Even with that, he's posted 25-plus home runs in each of the last four full seasons. Can Hernandez get back to his breakout 2021 numbers? Probably not, but I do think he's still capable of popping 30 home runs with 8-10 steals and gaudy counting stats in that Dodgers lineup. Target Hernandez as your OF2 on draft day and he might just deliver OF1 numbers. 

Yu Darvish
SD • SP • #11
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Maybe I'm giving Yu Darvish too much credit because of his name value but how many times have we seen this play out? Darvish's career has been filled with ups and downs but it's generally been a profitable strategy to buy Darvish when the market is down on him. Well, he's going outside the top 170 picks and is currently the SP50 in average draft position. Last season was a disappointment for Darvish as he posted a 4.56 ERA to go along with a 1.30 WHIP but there are reasons for optimism. His 3.74 xERA and his 3.92 xFIP tell us he was a bit unlucky last season. He allowed more home runs despite holding opposing batters to a 6.8% barrel rate, his best since 2020. 

The stuff still appears to be intact, too. Darvish posted a 112 Stuff+ last year, the 11th best among starting pitchers with at least 130 innings last season. For the most part, his velocity was on par with 2022, when he posted a 3.10 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. Of course, there's injury risk (he's a pitcher after all) but I think that's already baked into his price. Darvish was shut down in August last season with bone spurs in his right elbow. Even with that, there have been no limitations on Darvish this spring. He's made two starts and so far, so good. Darvish has allowed two earned runs over 5.1 innings with nine strikeouts to zero walks. By all accounts, Darvish's arm is fine and he's aiming to be ready for the Padres' two-game series in Korea next week. You have to weigh the upside vs. risk with any pitcher and I believe Darvish still has enough left in the tank to outperform this ADP pretty easily.

Nestor Cortes
NYY • SP • #65
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Much like Darvish, I believe you're getting Nestor Cortes at a discount, likely because of injury concerns. Cortes was limited to just 12 starts last year due to a strained rotator cuff in his left shoulder. Don't get me wrong. That's a serious injury for any pitcher but you're getting Cortes outside of the top 200 picks. This time last year Cortes was going 100 picks earlier in drafts! The reasons the Fantasy industry liked Cortes so much last year are still intact. Cortes pitched in 50 games (42 starts) throughout 2021 and 2022 and posted a 2.61 ERA, 0.98 WHIP with an impressive 20.5% K-BB ratio. Last year that came crashing down and my guess is most, if not all of that was due to the shoulder injury.

Cortes doesn't blow the opposition away with velocity or amazing stuff. He keeps hitters off balance by commanding his pitches and changing his cadence. His command was compromised last season and that's how Cortes wound up with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. While his ERA and WHIP are inflated this spring, too, he's got 13 strikeouts to just two walks over 10 innings and has built up to 62 pitches. Most importantly, Cortes needs to get through spring healthy. The fact that he's thrown this many pitches already and his shoulder has responded well is a huge positive. Projections love Cortes, too. The great ATC projections constructed by Ariel Cohen have Cortes projected as the SP33 in just 129 innings this season. For reference, Cortes is being drafted as the SP65 in average draft position. There's risk that the shoulder injury returns but if Cortes comes anywhere close to that 2022 production, he's a huge steal at this draft cost.

Maikel Garcia
KC • 3B • #11
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I think players comps are fun for Fantasy Baseball. One comp I've continuously made this offseason has been comparing Maikel Garcia to Nico Hoerner. Hoerner is coming off a massive season where he hit .283 with 43 steals and 98 runs scored. If Garcia hits his 90th percentile outcome or better, I believe he has a similar upside. Garcia performed well in his first taste of the majors, batting .272 with 23 steals in 123 games. While Garcia strikes out more than Hoerner, he hits the ball harder and sprays line drives to all fields. Garcia's 91.8 MPH average exit velocity ranked in the 87th percentile while his .274 expected batting average ranked in the 82nd percentile. Batting average, check. 

What about the speed? Garcia provided 27 steals between the minors and majors last season. He also provided 35-plus steals in each of 2021 and 2022 in the minors. Garcia ranked in the 73rd percentile in sprint speed and the Royals like to run. They had the third most steals in baseball and we know stolen bases are mostly based on intent. Speed, check. What about runs scored? Garcia was mostly the team's everyday leadoff hitter from July on last season. While it's not a certainty, there's speculation Garcia will return as the Royals' leadoff hitter here in 2024. Theoretically, if he's hitting for batting average and stealing bases while leading off for an improved lineup, Garcia should score lots of runs. Runs scored, check. I believe everything is there for Garcia to have a Hoerner-esque impact this season and he's going outside the top 250 picks in ADP. 

Masyn Winn
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Masyn Winn profiles as a clear post-hype sleeper in Fantasy Baseball. He was rated as a consensus top-50 prospect this time last year, was promoted late in the season, and fell flat on his face. In 37 games with the Cardinals, Winn hit just .172 with two homers, two steals, and a .467 OPS. How has the Fantasy Baseball market responded? Winn's ADP is currently 361.4. He probably won't even be drafted in most 12-team leagues. I think that's a mistake.

Winn was great in the minors last year, batting .288/.359/.474 with 18 home runs and 17 steals across 105 games at Triple-A. When you consider his age-to-level production, it's even more impressive that Winn did that as a 21-year-old. A big reason Winn was ranked as a top-50 prospect is his defense. While we normally don't care much about defense for Fantasy, I think it matters here. Winn's defense is so good that it will keep him in the lineup every day. That's especially helpful for those in deeper leagues where playing time is so important. Lastly, while Winn's numbers in the majors were very bad, he did some things well. The plate discipline was above average. Winn struck out in just 19% of his plate appearances and didn't chase pitches outside of the strike zone often. His sprint speed also ranked in the 92nd percentile, according to Statcast. There's a sneaky power-speed combo here for a player who will play every day.