The main goal of every fantasy baseball manager is to win their league. The big stars you draft in the early rounds form the base of your team but your fellow managers are also filling up their rosters with established stars. You’re not gaining that much ground early in your draft. It’s a fact of life that you win your leagues by making profit. That is, you get more production out of your draft picks than the other managers in your league do with theirs. That profit invariably comes with the late-round picks in every draft. Thus our endless search for fantasy baseball sleepers.
Sadly, I can’t guarantee that every one of the fantasy baseball sleepers listed below will pan out. They never do. What these players do though, is give you that opportunity for profit that could win your league for you. Not all of these players are super high upside plays but they do all offer pretty nice profit potential in relation to their cost. That’s 90% of our battle in identifying those sleepers that will help you win your league.
The season is not here yet, but why not get a head start and jump in a Fantrax Classic Draft contest? Get a jump on the season with a Best Ball league or maybe a Draft and Hold. Or put some green on the line with a new season-long league to try and conquer. There’s no better time than now to get your baseball on!
Fantasy Baseball Sleepers at Every Position
*The ADP numbers referenced below are taken from the FantasyPros Consensus ADP which collects data from six different sites. The data is updated regularly so my numbers may differ slightly from what you see there.
Logan O’Hoppe, LAA (ADP – 295)
If you read my 2023 catcher rankings, you know that I think we’re in the midst of a little bit of a catcher revolution. O’Hoppe is part of that. He hit 26 HRs in 360 Double-A at-bats between the Phillies’ and Angels’ systems. That came with a walk rate of over 15% and a K% of just over 16.5%. O’Hoppe got a brief five-game stint with the Angels and hit .286 in 14 at-bats. The projection systems have him appearing in 75-85 games, but if he gets off to a solid start in the minors, Max Stassi is not going to hold him back. If everything goes right, you’ve got yourself a potential 20-HR catcher who might be a bit of a plus in the batting average category. I’ll take that over the batting average drains elsewhere at the catcher position. The Angels may play some arbitration/Super 2 games, but O’Hoppe will be up before too long and become a solid catcher for your fantasy baseball teams.
Shea Langeliers, OAK (ADP – 381)
Langeliers had similar numbers to O’Hoppe last year, but there’s a little more swing and miss to his game. He also had a larger sample size at the big-league level and that swing and miss resulted in a 34.6 K% in his 153 PAs with the Angels. Langeliers also comes with a bit of a caveat in his position eligibility. Since he DHed in 24 games and caught in just 17, in some leagues he’s only UT-eligible to begin the season. You’re not going to draft a player like that in any mixed league, but he does make for a nice reserve-round pick if you waited too long at catcher… as I often seem to do.
First Base Sleepers
Joey Meneses, WAS (ADP – 199)
After his recent performance in the WBC Meneses’ ADP may start to creep up. It’s a bit surprising there wasn’t a lot more hype already considering his 13 home runs in 222 second-half ABs for the Nats last season. We do have to take smaller sample sizes with a grain of salt, but sometimes I think people go way too far in the opposite direction. They don’t want to be the guy who gets suckered in. Indeed Meneses may not be able to maintain the HR rate from last season, but he did pop 20 HRs in his 374 Triple-A at-bats as well. He’s not gonna hit .324 again but a .270 average with 25+ home runs at an ADP over 175 sounds like a nice profit to me.
Joey Votto, CIN (ADP – 364)
I thought fantasy baseball sleepers were supposed to be young up-and-comers. Not always. Votto had a terrible year in 2022 and he may not be ready to start the season. Still, we’re talking about a player who hit 36 HRs as recently as 2021 and hits in probably the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the Major Leagues. Votto is recovering from surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff that ended his 2022 season early. I’m not telling you to draft him as your starting first baseman or corner but later in the reserve rounds makes sense as a UT streamer when he gets healthy.
Second Base Sleepers
Brendan Donovan, STL (ADP – 258)
Don’t pay attention to Spring Training stats they say. I’m trying, but when those stats come with a stated objective and an obvious stance change, I do take notice. Donovan already has the plate discipline and approach in place. If he can become a 15-to-20-homer bat in addition, then he suddenly gets a lot more attractive. In fact, if you play in an OBP league this guy suddenly turns into a very nice option. Though I’m not sure I totally agree, many pundits are talking about how shallow the second base position is. If you get locked out on the upper tiers, Donovan is a very safe player with a decent floor and now suddenly might offer a higher ceiling than we thought.
Chris Taylor, LAD (ADP – 312)
It’s hard to find much to like about Chris Taylor’s 2022 season. His batting average caved and his strikeout rate spiked to a career-worst 35.2%. I’m not gonna give him a long leash but Taylor’s track record and his multi-position eligibility have me giving him a chance in 2023. It was just in 2021 that he popped 20 HRs and stole 13 bases. He’s another of those marginal base stealers who the new rules might benefit and he’ll be eligible at second base, outfield, and shortstop within the first few weeks of the coming season. I’m not drafting Chris Taylor as a starter but a reserve-round pick could net you a sneaky 20/20 threat that allows you plenty of lineup flexibility.
Vaughn Grissom, ATL (ADP-?)
What’s that you say? The Braves just sent Grissom down to the minors? Yeah, it’s disappointing to those of us who already drafted Grissom, but it creates a nice buying opportunity for our remaining fantasy baseball drafts. It would be one thing if Grissom disappointed this spring, but his offense was there and all reports were positive on his defense. I’ve got to believe this is a short-term move until the Braves deal with some roster and service time issues. I have no idea what Grissom’s ADP will be over the next week, but I’m still on board with him as a late-round flyer with a pretty sizeable upside. Despite his success in 2022, Grisson might be one of the most overlooked fantasy baseball sleepers of 2023.
Third Base Sleepers
Josh Jung, TEX (ADP – 218)
Third base has been a sore spot for many fantasy managers this draft season. Jung is a nice fallback position if you don’t spend up big on one of the elite options that go in the first two rounds of virtually every draft. Jung was not all that impressive in his big-league debut but remember, this was after almost a full year away from baseball due to a couple of pretty severe injuries. His minor league numbers paint a different picture than the 28.3 K% and 3.9 BB% he showed us in 2022 for the Rangers. Jung has typically done a nice job of taking walks and his minor league strikeout rates were in the lower 20-percent ranges. I’m not sure Jung has a huge upside but 18-to-25 HRs is within reach and his batting average shouldn’t be a hindrance to your overall offense.
Eduardo Escobar/Brett Baty, NYM (ADP – 336/353)
I’m not gonna try to read the minds of Mets management on this situation. I suspect that, due to his remaining options, Baty will start the year in the minors but one (or both) of these players is going to provide good production this season. Baty gets more hype because of his prospect status, but people seem to forget that Escobar popped 20 HRs just last season. Is it too much to try and roster both of these players and just run with whoever gets the Opening Day start? Baty likely offers a better all-around package, but his ground-ball tendencies likely cap his power output. Neither is likely to carry your fantasy team at any one point but at third base, we just need someone to hold down the fort. The winner of this competition will be fully capable of just that.
Oswald Peraza, NYY (ADP – 298)
You’d think a young prospect playing for the Yankees would get tons of hype. And there’s plenty to hype about Peraza, who hit 20 HRs and stole 35 bases combines between Triple-A and 18 games with the Yankees. His ADP is largely suppressed due to the looming threat of Anthony Volpe, another top prospect. I’m thinking Josh Donaldson may be the one who needs to fear Volpe if he doesn’t get off to a strong start. Peraza’s defense should get him the nod to start the season and a 15-HR, 25-SB season is not too farfetched. Peraza’s poor plate discipline likely limits his batting average but at this ADP there are going to be warts on every player. If you missed out on speed early in your drafts, Peraza is one way to gain a little back and not take a one-category wonder.
Elvis Andrus, CWS (ADP – 378)
Elvis Andrus is a washed-up 34-year-old has been. That is if you look at the numbers he put up in his 252-game tenure in Oakland. Then you see what he did once he left Oakland and joined the White Sox later in 2022 and the numbers look suspiciously like what he’s done for most of his career. Then if you really want to get crazy, try extrapolating his Chicago numbers out to a 162-game season. Now, I’m not saying Andrus is a threat to hit 30+ HRs or steal 30+ bases (maybe he is on the SB side) but I think we were writing him off a little prematurely.
If we look back at his last full season prior to his Oakland time (2019), that’s a realistic expectation for 2023. So is there room on your fantasy team for a middle infielder who’s gonna pop 12-17 HRs and steal 20-30 bases? Hopefully, you know the answer. The best news is that it takes nothing more than a reserve pick to give you a very nice safety blanket to cover both middle infield slots. Sounds like a nice Jose Altuve fill-in if you ask me.
Ramon Laureano, OAK (ADP – 234)
Laureano has never quite been able to repeat the success of his 2018-2019 seasons, but the power/speed package tools are obvious. The ballpark and lineup are not going to help, but reports are that Laureano desperately wants to get out of Oakland. I’m not sure that means anything as far as his power output but I think Laureano runs at every opportunity and if he stays healthy, 20+ home runs is very likely. At worst Laureano makes for a great fifth outfielder to take a shot on late in your drafts and if he falls flat, churn, baby, churn!
Michael Conforto, SF (ADP – 237)
In many of my drafts, I find myself looking for power late because I focused on stolen bases early. Conforto seems to be the guy I’m turning to in many cases. It seems like forever ago but it was just 2019 when Conforto popped 33 home runs. Injuries have taken him off the minds of fantasy baseball managers but all reports this spring are positive. Conforto is on of the few players the Giants won’t be platooning. His health is certainly a question mark but the opportunity is there for a 25-HR bat that won’t kill your team’s average and with full-time play the counting stats will pile up even in a mediocre San Francisco lineup.
Garrett Mitchell, MIL (ADP – 264)
Is it wrong that I was a little happy when Mitchell had a minor hamstring issue this spring? I thought it would dull some of the building sleeper hype. Alas, his ADP has been slowly creeping up. A look at his Baseball Savant page shows you why. Mitchell hits the ball hard, has 99th-percentile speed, and his defense will not be holding him back. As a bonus, he’s shown good plate discipline throughout his minor league career and should get on base even when the hits aren’t falling.
Mitchell has power but his extreme groundball tendencies have capped his home run output in the minors. He’s shown signs of changing that this spring as he hit just hit his fourth HR. What’s not in doubt though is his speed. With a full-time job and these new rules which seem to cater to base-stealers, Mitchell is a 40-SB threat who should produce a respectable batting average and is even more attractive in OBP leagues.
Oscar Colas, CWS (ADP – 303)
I’m a little surprised by the lack of hype around Colas. It’s not that he doesn’t have a few warts, but typically, a prospect with his minor league numbers would be getting talked about more. Yes, he’s going to strike out more than his fair share and that may mean some batting average risk, but I think this may be overblown a bit. Adolis Garcia has more speed but otherwise the hitting profiles seem very similar. There’s some very real power potential here and in his short career he’s been able to BABIP his way to excellent batting averages. That .350+ BABIP is likely to come down, but Colas still has value if his average can stay above .250. At his current cost, I’m all over Colas in all league types. At worst, he’ll be a churnable roster slot. At best you get a 25-30-HR bat with solid counting stats.
Josh Lowe, TB (ADP – 480)
Josh Lowe was terrible in 2022. He came with significant hype and he failed to deliver in every aspect of his game. The thing is, I’m a firm believer in talent, and Lowe’s Triple-A numbers once again showed the kind of talent he has. Lowe hit .315 with 14 HRs and 25 stolen bases in Durham and there’s no reason much of that can’t translate to Tampa Bay. Strikeouts will continue to be a problem, but if Lowe can get his K% down to even 25 or 26% the opportunity is there for plenty of playing time. The Rays outfield, other than Randy Arozarena is not going to keep Lowe on the bench if he’s producing. Jose Sire and Manual Margot both profile as fourth-outfielder types and right now they’re penciled in as starters. Lowe is probably not going to be drafted in 12-team leagues but he’s someone I’ll be watching early this season and I’ll be pouncing at the slightest hint of him making adjustments. The floor is in the minor leagues but a 20-HR, 30-SB ceiling is a nice reward for almost no investment.
Starting Pitching Sleepers
I covered most of my favorite pitching sleepers in this article, but here are a few more I’d be more than happy to roster in most any size league.
Reid Detmers, LAA (ADP – 197)
2022 was a tale of two seasons for Detmers. Despite a no-hitter, Detmers struggled in the first half with a 4.11 ERA and a 7.33 K/9. He looked like a fifth starter who might develop into an innings-eater type at best. Detmers got sent down, made some adjustments, and was a different pitcher when he came back. In the second half, he put up a 3.36 ERA with a 9.92 ERA. You want some better news? Detmers has seen a pretty sizeable velocity bump this spring. After averaging 93.3 MPH on his fastball last year, he’s been sitting in the 64-to-96 range this spring. Velocity isn’t everything but when you add it to a pitcher who already seemed to be figuring things out, I start to get excited. News travels fast during draft season and Detmers’ ADP has crept up into the Top 200 but I still think we might be looking at a No. 3 fantasy starter for the price of a No. 5.
Hayden Wesneski, CHC (ADP – 295)
Judging from my LABR and Tout Wars auctions, I may be too late on the Wesneski train. Though he’s not guaranteed of a slot in the Opening Day rotation for the Cubs, fantasy managers are buying into his dominant sweeper and the hitters this spring seem to be in agreement. Wesneski has struck out 17 hitters in just 12 innings and walked just four. Wesneski’s other offerings are not quite on par with that slider, but his command makes Wesneski’s ceiling a little higher than most thought. His innings are likely limited to the 140 range or so further limiting his value this season, but Wesneski is the perfect sixth or 7th starter who provided nice strikeout numbers when he does pitch.
Luis Garcia, HOU (ADP – 386)
You’d think a young 26-year-old pitcher coming off of a 15-win season who averaged a strikeout an inning and put up a 1.13 WHIP would receive a bit more hype. Yet here he is being drafted down by the likes of Bailey Ober, Zack Greinke, and Trevor Bauer, who is unlikely to ever pitch in MLB again. Yes, some of the expected stats point to a slight regression, but the wins are gonna be there and he’s at an age where he should be just reaching his prime. I think a small step forward is just as likely as his ERA slipping back a bit. Sign me up for this type of pitcher at this ADP that puts him in the reserve rounds of even a 15-team mixed league.
Got a few fantasy baseball sleepers of your own? Don’t be greedy, drop some names in the comments below. For more great analysis check out the 2023 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit!