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5 Post-Hype Sleepers To Target In 2023 Fantasy Baseball

How many times do we buy the latest hot name and forget about last year’s flavor?  Out with the old failure and in with the shiny new toy…  It’s easy to forget about the once-hyped player, sometimes the struggles create a buying opportunity for the savvy owner.  Which players have failed to live up to the hype before, but now could be Post-Hype Sleepers in 2023 fantasy baseball?  Let’s take a look.

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Post Hype Sleepers To Target

Brendan Rodgers – Colorado Rockies (2B)

For some time Rodgers appeared to be the latest Rockie youngster who was never given a chance to shine in the Majors.  Rodgers finally got his opportunity in 2021 and again in 2022, but the numbers hardly backed up the hype.  In 996 PA over the past two seasons, he hit 28 HR with 0 SB while hitting .266 last season.  Those are hardly numbers that would excite anyone, and even more concerning is his showing an extreme split:

  • Home – .313 with 10 HR in 297 PA
  • Away – .218 with 3 HR in 284 PA

While Coors Field obviously plays a role, his 90.0 average exit velocity should play regardless of the ballpark.  That helps explain his 30 doubles. Can he make an adjustment in the number of fly balls (26.7%) and tweak his launch angle (4.6 degrees)?  Neither of his current levels is conducive to power numbers.

The Rockies hired a new hitting coach for 2023, bringing Yankees’ assistant hitting coach Hensley Meulens aboard.  Could a new voice help unleash some of the power waiting to emerge from the now 26-year-old?

While it’s not a given, there’s reason to believe that an adjustment will come in his third full season in the Majors.  Couple that with a solid approach, a willingness to use the entire field (31.3% Oppo%), and strong defense leading to opportunities in the lineup, and there’s reason to believe that Rodgers is a post-hype sleeper.

Andrew Vaughn – Chicago White Sox (1B)

Vaughn is coming off a season where he hit .271 with 17 HR, so it’s not like he was a complete non-factor.  So how is he a post-hype sleeper?  It’s easy to say that he hasn’t lived up to expectations having entered 2021 as a Top-15 prospect according to

One of the biggest issues he’s had is arguably being too passive, with a 63.2% Z-Swing% (swing percentage on pitches inside the strike zone).  That was the 18th-lowest mark among qualified hitters, though just consider Juan Soto owned the fourth-lowest mark.  That gives hope, though that’s not the only issue.

Where he really struggled was against sliders (.216 ABG) and curveballs (.212).  He was even worse as the season dragged on hitting .183 and .191, respectively, over the final three months.  Over his MLB career, he has not yet shown an ability to hit those pitches, and it’s that development that will ultimately prove his value.

Vaughn showed plenty of power, with an average exit velocity of 90.8 mph.  You can argue that he’s too patient, however, his 9.0% SwStr% and 48.4% HardHit% (17th among qualified hitters) show the potential to pair power with a strong average.  All that is needed is an adjustment against breaking balls.

He showed part of the potential upside, hitting .301 with 10 HR in the first half.  Those numbers weren’t buoyed by extreme luck (.333 BABIP, 13.2% HR/FB), so just replicating them over an entire season would raise his stock significantly.  At 25 years old would it be surprising to see him grow?  Would it be surprising to see him make the adjustments and tap into the power potential?

No one is saying to expect a 30+ HR season, but 25 HR with an AVG near .290?  In a strong lineup that would bring ample RBI from a player expected to step in and fill the void left behind by Jose Abreu.  He’s being drafted outside of the first 10 rounds, but he should provide that type of value and of all these post-hype sleepers, offers maybe the highest upside.

Alec Bohm – Philadelphia Phillies (3B)

Remember when Bohm was a highly touted prospect?  That ship has clearly sailed, as over 1,126 AB over the past three seasons he’s hit .277 with 24 HR and 142 RBI.  Those are not enticing numbers, especially from a position that’s generally viewed as a power spot.

The key is power, and there’s reason for optimism.  Just look at his Launch Angle over the past three years:

  • 2020 – 4.8
  • 2021 – 5.6
  • 2020 – 10.4

Along with a strong Exit Velocity (90.8 mph over his career) and that he’s poised to turn 27 in August, Bohm started showing a bit more power as the season progressed (3 HR per month in each of the final three months).  That pace alone would put him at 18 HR, so 20+ HR is not a crazy expectation.

Bohm struggled against breaking balls in 2022, something that hasn’t been the case throughout his career:

2020 – .381 AVG / .571 SLG
2021 – .323 AVG / .354 SLG
2022 – .249 AVG / .351 SLG

While the .571 SLG is likely unrepeatable, there’s reason to believe he’ll make the adjustment to start producing better against breaking balls in general once again.  He didn’t swing and miss consistently against the pitch type, with a 15,28% Whiff%.  That’s nearly identical to his ’21 mark (14.53%), while he made a vast improvement on offspeed pitches (14.72% to 9.95%).

Couple that growth with an improvement in his SwStr% (9.6%) and willingness to use the entire field (29.8% Oppo%), and all signs point up.  This could be the year that he finally lives up to the hype once bestowed upon him.  At the very least, he should provide Top 100 value at a fraction of the cost.  That makes him an ideal post-hype sleeper.

Ke’Bryan Hayes – Pittsburgh Pirates (3B)

We’ve talked about Hayes before, as he continues to hold value thanks to his ability to steal bases.  The problem is the lack of power (18 HR in 952 career AB) and low average (.261 for his career, .244 last season).

Before we write him off completely, his career 8.2% SwStr% shows there’s significant room for improvement in his 21.8% career strikeout rate.  However, he could use a little bit more aggressiveness inside the strike zone (63.5% Z-Swing%). The improvements in his Whiff% against offspeed pitches (15.00% to 8.37%) are key.  It shows growth, and with another full season and now 26 years old it could continue.

The plate discipline, as well as a likely improvement in his .307 BABIP, shows growth potential in his AVG.  Going hand-in-hand with that is the potential growth in power, with his average Exit Velocity of 91.0 mph.  The key will be an adjustment in his 5.2-degree launch angle, a similar growth we saw in Alec Bohm last season.

With his speed, he’s going to have value regardless, but with just a small adjustment he could finally reach the potential once bestowed upon him and be an ideal post-hype sleeper.

Seiya Suzuki – Chicago Cubs (OF)

There was a lot of hype surrounding Suzuki after his jump to the United States, but the production somewhat fell flat as he hit .262 with 14 HR over 446 PA.  While the strikeout rate was elevated 24.7%), his approach was strong (8.0% SwStr%, 25.6% O-Swing%).  Like Vaughn, he needs to work on his aggressiveness inside the strike zone (57.4% Z-Swing%), but that should come with more familiarity in the league.

He added 22 doubles and 2 triples last season. Plus his HR/FB by month shows the extreme fluctuation he showed throughout the year:

  • April (68 AB) – 15.4%
  • May (71 AB) – 0.0%
  • July (84 AB) – 19.0%
  • August (103 AB) – 6.7%
  • September (71 AB) – 22.2%

Just a little bit more consistency and a full season could lead to 25 HR as is.  With more aggressiveness and an improvement in his strikeout rate, he could combine that with a .280+ AVG as well.  While he may have failed to live up to the hype in ’22, things should improve.

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant,

Who are your favorite post-hype sleepers for the coming season? Drop some nuggets in the comments below. For more great analysis check out the 2023 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit!

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1 Comment
  1. Tom says

    This list did not do well this year. All of these players spent most of the season on a 10 team waiver wire, and on the bench in a 12 team league. A few nice weeks for a few and a few trips to the IL for others.

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