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Posted By Josh Souder On Mar 16 2010 @ 8:11 am In Fantasy | 7 Comments


Every season a couple new stars emerge or some rebounding vets return to form, and hopefully they will be a majority of your late round draft picks.  There is nothing that can ruin your fantasy roster quicker than a major injury to one of your top draft picks.  Rolling the dice on a couple of these younger players with upside or some vets returning from injury later in the draft could end up saving your fantasy season.  

Some of the guys listed below may not be considered sleepers any more, but they could slide to you at just the right pick in the draft.  The key to every draft is to snag talent later than where it should be.  Targeting late round prospects with upside will help you feel more comfortable about passing on big name talent at the deeper positions.


Advice - Keep Joe Mauer, Brian McCann, and Victor Martinez high on your board due to the lack of talent at the catcher position.  Nothing can ruin your team faster than a catcher hitting below .250 and notching under 400 plate appearances.  Considering that catchers are often injured, target these players later in the draft as not only backups, but snatching more potential catching talent off the board.

Matt Wieters comes into the season as a high profile catching option at one of the thinest positions.  Though Wieters is no longer a sleeper, he could live up to his potential in his second season in the majors.  If you are unable to lock up Mauer, McCann, or Martinez, make sure you immediately target Wieters.  He definitely has the potential to hit .300 and mash 20 dongs for the O’s.

Miguel Montero should be still on the board much later in the draft, so if you insist on waiting to draft a catcher, he is a solid option.  Montero hit .294 last season with 16 homers in 425 at bats.  Don’t hold you’re expectations too high, but he could be a decent late flyer that has the potential to hit .300 and 20 HR’s.

Buster Posey is only 23 has a ton of upside.  Keep an eye on this young player, who has consistently batted over .320 in the minors.  Posey will get his shot this season to lock down the Giant’s catcher position and he is a good hitter with solid power.  He’s still most likely a year away from producing, but keep him on your radar.


Advice - This is a deep position where solid talent will be available later in the draft.  There are at least twelve first basemen on the board that have the potential to hit .300 and 30 HR’s.  Shoring up other positions and waiting on a first basemen is a solid strategy to pursue.

Kendy Morales had a breakout year for the Angels last season, hitting .306/34/108.  Morales is still only 26 years old, so the upside is there for improvement.  He mashes right-handed hitters and will continue to do so this season.  Let him slide down the board and target him later in the draft.

Joey Votto has proved that he is a very good player.  At only 26 there is still plenty of room for improvement, which is exciting considering his .310 average over the last three seasons.  His home runs have increased annually, as well as his RBI’s, so expect those numbers to continue to climb.  Votto could turn out to be a late round steal.

Justin Morneau is capable of putting up great numbers, though recent injuries have devalued his stock.  When healthy, Morneau is capable of hitting .300/30/100.  He’s still only 28, so he should be able to recover from that lower stress fracture in his lower back.  Keep an eye on his recovery, as he could turn out to be a clutch source of power and average in a solid Twins lineup.

Carlos Pena will not help your batting average, but he’s more than capable of hitting 40+ homers again.  He’s notched over 100 RBI’s the last three seasons and should do so again in a very potent Tampa Bay lineup.  Expect his average to be higher than last season, but don’t expect anything above .280.

James Loney reminds me of a much younger Derrek Lee.  Loney is not a great source of power, and his batting average has slowly declined each season, but he has a sweet swing and obtains the potential to hit .300 plus.  Loney’s walks were up last season and his strike outs were down, and sitting at age 25 leaves a lot of room for improvement.  Don’t forget that he hit .331 two years ago either.

Todd Helton is aging fast, but he has proven to be one of the best hitters in the game, or at least in Colorado.  Two out of the last three seasons he has hit at least .320.  He’s not a source for power, and being 36 doesn’t make him too attractive, but he still has some of the best eyes in the game and should finish over .300 once again this season.  I wouldn’t recommend having him as your starting first basemen though.

Billy Butler is only 23 and is coming off of a great 2009 campaign.  He notched over 600 at bats last season for the Royals, finishing with a .301 average, 21 HR’s, and 93 RBI’s.  Being in the Royals lineup doesn’t rise his stock, but given his age, there is a ton of room for improvement.  The floor for Butler is .300/20/100, which isn’t bad considering his youthful upside.

Chris Davis is another young stud who has tremendous power.  Despite hitting .238 last season, he did hit .327 in the minors in 2009 and .285 in the majors in 2008.  Davis mashed 21 dongs in 391 plate appearances, but that number should go up with his average the more this kid gets to play.  Davis is only 24 and should get plenty of time to shine in a good lineup in a hitters ballpark.  

Daniel Murphy is a player to keep your eye on.  The Mets gave him 500+ at bats last season and he led the team in home runs.  Now he did only have 12 dongs, but he also had 38 doubles and will be hitting in the heart of the Mets lineup.  Murphy has .300 potential and is still only 25 years old.


Advice - Second base is a surprisingly deep position this season.  There are at least ten second basemen that should hit over 20 HR’s this season, at least five that could hit over 30 once again, and around nine that are capable of stealing 20+ bases.  That being said, there are also about 15 second basemen available that could hit over .300 this year.  Keep that in mind when drafting a second basemen, as most likely two will be available much later in the draft that can supply you with average, homers, and steals.

Robinson Cano is having an excellent spring and will be hitting in a very potent Yankees lineup.  His numbers have been relatively consistent over the last three seasons, with his best year coming in ’09.  He’s still only 27, so there is no reason those numbers can not continue to climb.  Considering that he hit .320/25/85/103 last year, that is very encouraging.  He’s not a speed demon, but he will get plenty of plate appearances and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him reach over .330/30/100/100 this season.

Aaron Hill had a break out season last year, mashing 36 dingers and clubbing in 108 RBI’s.  Whether or not that is the ceiling for Hill, I’m willing to take that risk.  He’s still only 28, so he definitely has some years left under his belt.  He won’t slide under anyone’s radar this season, but to draft a second basemen with potential to hit .300/30/100/100 is worth a slight risk.  Don’t invest too much in Hill, but don’t let him slide too far down the board either.

Ben Zobrist will be listed to play multiple positions this season once again, which makes him a very valuable pick.  Have him somewhat high on your board because of that note, because it gives you some flexibility when drafting your team.  Zobrist is one of those players that has power and speed, and he will be hitting in an excellent Tampa Bay lineup once again this season.  His numbers have gone up every season, and there’s no reason why those numbers can not continue to rise.  Zobrist has potential to achieve .300/30/100/100/20.

Alberto Callaspo is a younger player with .300+ potential.  He’s reached that mark the last two seasons and will play multiple positions as well this year.  He’s not the best fielder in the game to say the least, but that won’t hurt your fantasy lineup.  His power and speed numbers will not help, but his batting average and run potential won’t hurt either.  Don’t invest too much in him, but if you’re desperate for an infielder later in the draft, he’s not a terrible option.

Clint Barmes is getting older, but at least he’s still playing in Coors Field.  What his average will look like remains a coin flip (.290 in ’08 and .245 in ’09), but his 23 homers and 12 stolen bases makes him worth a late look as infielder insurance.  Any hitter playing half of their games in Colorado is worth a look.

Martin Prado is still a young hitter, but he has proven to become a .300 hitter.  At age 26, it’s hard to say he’s reached his ceiling, and considering that he’s averaged .309 the last three years is encouraging.  He doesn’t have tremendous power or speed, but he should hit over .300 once again this year.

Chris Getz is young and has plenty of speed.  At age 26, we have yet to see his best numbers, which remains encouraging after a solid rookie campaign.  He was able to snag 25 bases last season, so that number should rise along with his batting average.  He has potential to hit .300 and steal 30 bases.


Advice - Shortstop is an extremely thin position this season, so keep that in mind when drafting your fantasy squad.  After Ramirez is off the board, the talent runs dry very quick, so target some of these sub-par options sooner than later.

Troy Tulowitzki had an excellent ’09 and should be taken pretty quick in most drafts.  Not only does he play in Colorado, but he batted near .300 with 32 dongs and 20 stolen bases.  I’ve seen him go in the first round after Ramirez was taken, and if he can better his numbers from last year, he will be worth that high of a pick.  Troy’s only 25, so the upside is there, and he’s more than capable of hitting .300/30/100/100/20 this season.  If he slides in your draft, snag him quickly.

Alcides Escobar is only 23 years old and very fast.  If he’s able to get to the plate over 500 times this season, he could easily steal over 30 bases.  He’s definitely not a power hitter, but his average should be floating around .300.  Could become the next Jose Reyes if given the opportunity and this should be the year he’s given just that.

Asdrubal Cabrera is also another young shortstop who is only 24 years old.  Cleveland has been sticking with the youngster for a couple years now and he’s consistently gotten better.  In 500+ at bats last year, he hit .308, scored 81 runs, and stole 17 bases.  Given his youth, those numbers should go up this season.

Elvis Andrus is very young and very fast.  At 21, his potential is exciting, given the fact that he was able to swipe 33 bases last year.  The more at bats this youngster gets, the better his average should be, and he is definitely a threat to steal 50+ bases this year, which makes him a great late round infielder option.  

Everth Cabrera is another speedster with youth, sitting at the prime age of 23.  He stole 25 bases for San Diego last season, and that number should increase with more at bats this year.  While playing minor league ball in Asheville in ’08, he stole 73 bases, so you know the legs are there.  If he could churn out a .300 batting average this year, he could easily snag 50 bases and score close to 100 runs.

Ian Desmond is another young talent who will look to score the National’s starting SS gig this season.  He’s a talented young hitter with speed, and Washington needs all the help they can get.  Christian Guzman is 32 and Desmond is 24, so you do the math.  Keep an eye on this young stud.


Advice - This is another position to where I am somewhat comfortable with the top 8-12 guys on the board.  If I do settle with the guys who slide down the board, I most likely will grab two with potential.  Evan Longoria has become the new A-Roid at this position, and Mark Reynolds has the potential to hit 50 home runs and strike out 250 times, but if you’re unable to grab one of the top guys at this position, target these players.

Ryan Zimmerman is definitely not a sleeper, but he could be the fifth third baseman taken in your draft.  He’s still very young, 25, and had a breakout year last season, hitting .292/33/106/110.  Those numbers should increase this year, despite playing for the Nationals, and he’s capable of posting .300/40/120/120 numbers (which is excellent if four other 3B are drafted before him).  He’s a big kid with a ton of upside and played excellent after the break, which hopefully means there’s a lot more to come.

Pablo Sandoval is only 23 and posted great numbers last year for San Fran.  He proved that he can hit for average and power and should definitely be high on your radar considering his age and potential to play multiple positions.  Drafting guys like Sandoval and Zobrist will allow you to be much more flexible when filling out your roster come draft day.  Sandoval’s a big boy and could turn out to be one of the best hitters in the game.  Don’t let him slide.

Chone Figgins now has a fresh new start in Seattle and is always a source for average, runs, and stolen bases.  Playing with Ichiro will only help his chances to produce good numbers.  He is 32 years old, but he was able to make it to the plate 615 times last season.  His average is consistently sitting around .300 and he’s usually good for about 40 stolen bases.  He is also capable of playing multiple positions.

Gordon Beckham is another young talent, 23, who consistently hit over .300 in the minors.  The upside for this kid is huge and this could be the season that he breaks out as one of the leagues best young players.  During his rookie campaign for the Sox, he hit 14 dingers in 378 at bats, so the power is there.  He doesn’t have blazing speed, but he should be able to reach double digits in the stolen bases category.  Don’t be surprised if he hits over .300 this year to go along with 20+ home runs.  Tremendous amount of talent here.


Advice - There are plenty of outfielders that will be sitting on the board later in your draft that can either get you a .300 average, 30+ homers, or 40+ stolen bases, and quite possibly all three.  Keep that in mind when drafting your team.  Now considering that you will have to start at least three in your lineup, it will be hard to pass on guys that you know for a fact will mash this season, but don’t jump the gun.  There will be guys left in the last round of the draft that can still hit for .300 and possibly drop 30 bombs.  Not to mention, there is always solid outfielder talent that emerges throughout the season that can be scooped up in free agency.

Curtis Granderson should see a boost in his stats now that he is a Yankee.  He’s no longer considered a sleeper due to his hype and the fact that he hit 30 homers and stole 20 bases last season, but we’ve yet to see his average where we’d like it to be.  Don’t forget that he did hit .302 in ’07, so the potential is there, and if it returns this year in a new uniform, he’s a poor man’s Matt Kemp.  He’s jumping up on age now, 29, but his best years should be still ahead of him.  He has 40+ homer potential if he gets his average back up, and he’s always capable of stealing 20+ bases as well.  There’s not too many guys with .300/40/20 potential in the league, and this could be the season he puts it all together.

Grady Sizemore was a player that was selected in the first round of many drafts last season, only to disappoint with an injury plagued ’09.  But he’s still young, 27, and could slide in some drafts because of that sub-par ’09.  He’ll never be considered a sleeper again after hitting 33 dongs and stealing 38 bases in ’08, but he is definitely worth the risk if he slides down the board in your draft.  His average has never been too high, but he can help you everywhere else.  Sizemore could be a candidate for rebound player of the year if he can get back to form.

Josh Hamilton has battled injury and addiction, but still remains one of the best young hitters in the game.  After a breakout campaign in ’08, his stats dramatically fell off in ’09, but the potential is still there.  Once considered the top prospect in the game, Hamilton is more than capable of hitting .300/30/100/100 once again.  If he can stay injury free this year, a big if, he should be right back in the mix.  Worth a risk if he falls down the board.

Nick Markakis has established himself as one of the better young hitters in the game.  He’s reached the plate over 600 times the last three years in Baltimore and has consistently produced solid numbers.  At 26, there is still room for improvement, but at least we know that his floor seems to be around .300/20/100/100.

Adam Lind produced a stellar season for the Blue Jays last year, hitting .305/35/114/93.  Also 26, there is still room for him to get even better.  People may chase after a bigger name like Jason Bay, but I’d wait a round or two and snag Lind if possible.  He won’t fly under the radar, but he has proved himself to be a solid young talent with upside.

Justin Upton is one of the best young players in the game.  At age 22, his numbers last season were scary.  .300/26/86/84/20 for a guy his age should have him on your radar.  Don’t be afraid to draft him too high, but because of the depth at outfield, he could slide down the board as well.  He’s having a great spring so far for Arizona and should improve on all of his numbers this season.  You’ll be hearing his name for years to come, so if you’re starting a keeper league, have him very high on your board.  Don’t let this kid slide too far.

Nelson Cruz emerged last season as another 30/20 guy.  He also hit .330 in ’08, despite only getting to the plate a little over one hundred times, but at least you know the potential is there.  Chances are, his average will sit around .260 once again this season, but his homers and stolen bases could also increase as well.

Denard Span seems to be a lock to bat over .300 and steal at least 20 bases.  The power is not there, but the potential is (still only 26 years old).  He’s a great hitter with a lot of upside and solid speed.

Shin-Soo Choo is a great all around player.  He hit .300/20/86/87/21 last season, so the potential is there.  At age 27, he should improve on those numbers with more at bats in the majors.  Despite playing in a pitcher’s park, he can still get you all of the stats you need.

Carlos Gonzalez has speed and plays in Colorado, so he will hit some homers.  He mashed 13 dingers in 278 at bats last year, as well as hitting .284 to go along with 16 stolen bases.  And he’s only 24.  He could be poised for a breakout campaign in 2010, so keep him on your watch list during the draft.  He definitely has the potential to be the steal of the draft, especially if he hits over .300, tags 30+ homers, and steals 30+ bases.

Andre Ethier proved to be quite clutch last season, seemingly becoming the Dodgers ninth inning hero.  His average dropped last year, but his homers went up, so if he can put it all together, he could be primed for a big 2010.  Hitting next to Kemp won’t hurt him at all either.

Michael Bourn should be a lock to lead the league in stolen bases this season, automatically making him a solid pick.  He needs to keep his average up, and if he can get it above .300 this year, expect him to make a run for 100 stolen bases this season.  That means plenty of runs, but he definitely will not help you with HR’s or RBI’s.

Hunter Pence is only 26 and has the potential to become a perennial all-star.  This guy is the complete package and if he puts it all together, he could really help your fantasy team.  He has the ability to hit above .300, and should chase 30/100/100 this year and possibly steal 15-20 bases.  Definitely a solid young talent with a ton of upside.

Nyjer Morgan will get plenty of at bats in Washington this season, which means even more stolen bases.  He hit .307 and swiped 42 bags last year, which seems to be his floor.  If you need some speed, this is your guy, and he should compliment it with an average above .300.

Adam Dunn has proven he can mash.  He’s averaged nearly 40 dongs a season over the last three years, and there’s no reason he can’t tag another 40 in 2010.  If your team is lacking HR talent and he’s still on the board, he’s definitely worth a look, despite his low batting average (.267 in ’09).

Jay Bruce is a great young player with a ton of upside (hit .363 in AAA-Louisville in ’08).  Bruce is only 23 and proved that he has some power at the plate.  His average has been terrible his first two years in the league, but if he can raise it even a little bit this season, he could be in store for some monster numbers.  

Rajai Davis stepped it up in Oakland last season, hitting over .300 and stealing over 40 bases.  If given the opportunity to play everyday, he could steal 60+ bases.  His average is a coin flip, but if he can keep it above .300, he’ll be a late round steal (literally).

Jason Kubel will be that guy sitting on the board later on in your draft.  He’s still young, 27, and Minnesota loves this guy.  He posted good stats last year (.300/28/103), and though his homers may go down, his average should go up.  Having Mauer mashing the ball all over the field will only help him produce solid stats once again.

Garrett Jones really stepped it up for Pittsburgh when they had him in the lineup.  He’s still under 30, so he could improve on those solid numbers he racked up last year.  If given 500+ at bats, this guy could get you .300/30/100/100/15 numbers.

Juan Rivera put together quite a solid campaign in ’09, hitting .287/25/88/72.  He is 31 and will not steal you any bases, but the Angels are locked on this guy, and you should be too.  Very capable of hitting .300/30/100/90.  Not bad for a very late pick in the draft.

Brett Gardner has the potential to emerge as an everyday player for the Yankees if he gets an early hot bat or if one of their studs gets injured this year.  The Yankees love his speed, and at age 26, he should only continue to get better.  Everyone knows about the Yankee youngsters, and there is a reason they kept this kid around.  He’s a great ball player with potential to hit .300 and steal 50 bags if given the opportunity this season.

Adam Jones has been a top flight talent since entering the league, but has yet to reach his true potential.  At age 24, there’s a lot of upside with this kid and he could be the steal of the draft.  Despite playing for a sub-par O’s squad, they have a lot invested in this young talent and this could be his break out season.  He’s more than capable of hitting .300/30/100/100/20, making him a draft day steal if you scoop him up late.

Seth Smith should get more at bats this season, and the fact that he plays in Colorado should immediately place him on your watch list.  Still somewhat unproven at 27, he definitely has potential to hit .300 and mash 20+ dongs.  Keep him on your radar.

Julio Borbon is primed for a break out campaign in 2010.  Only 24, this guy can’t remember the last time he didn’t hit over .300.  He has tremendous speed and is very capable of stealing a ton of bags if he’s in the lineup everyday.  In less than 200 at bats last season, he hit .312 and stole 19 bases.  A ton of talent here.

Cameron Maybin should be a player to watch very closely.  Only 23, this kid has an enormous amount of potential.  He has yet to put it all together, but when he does, he should be a very solid player.  Keep him on your radar this spring.

Michael Brantley has a ton of speed and is only 22.  If given a chance to play everyday, he could supply a solid amount of steals.  Keep him on your radar.

Kyle Blanks is a beast.  This guy will usually hit a homer every 15 at bats or so, and if the Padres get him into the lineup everyday, he should easily hit 30+ in 500+ at bats (despite playing in San Diego).  He’s around 6-6/285, so you know this guy has some meat behind his swing.

Jason Heyward is a future all-star.  He’s only 20 and is having one helluva spring.  This kid has a ton of potential and the Braves need him in their everyday lineup sooner than later.  He’s been receiving a lot of attention thus far, so chances are somebody will take a chance on him, just make sure that somebody is you.  Still a couple years away from his true potential, but if he even comes close to that potential this season, you score big.


Advice - Putting together a solid pitching staff is extremely important to your fantasy team, but this is also a position where plenty of talent will be floating around later in the draft.  Keep an eye on the free agent market throughout the season to acquire young arms that make it to the bigs and shine.  There’s nothing worse than wasting a high draft pick on a starting pitcher who is done for the season after April, and there is nothing better than drafting a guy in the last round that turns out to be one of your aces.  Don’t forget how many teams Cole Hamels and Brandon Webb ruined last year versus guys like Felix Hernandez and Josh Johnson, who could’ve been scooped up a little later in the draft.

Josh Johnson is no secret to fantasy baseball players, but considering the pitchers that most likely will be taken before him, he could slide to you at just the right pick in your draft.  He’s 26 and has Cy Young award winning talent.  His ERA should hover round 3.00, but he should also make a run for 20 wins and 100+ K’s if all works out for him in Florida.

Felix Hernandez is another guy that won’t stay on the board long, for obvious reasons.  This ’09 Cy Young contender tore it up last season, winning 19 games, posting a 2.49 ERA, and fanning 217 batters.  He has lived up to the hype, but he still might, and I say might so be careful, slide just a little in your draft.  Considering his upside, make sure you have him high on your board.  If he even comes close to the numbers he produced last season, he’s worth the higher pick.

Jon Lester will most likely get snagged off the board early by a Sox fan, and for good reasons.  Anyone that has seen this kid pitch is well aware of his talent and upside.  Playing for the Sox means that the wins will be there, and though his ERA will hover around 3.00, his strike outs totals should go up once again this season, which could place him close to 250 this year.  He’s only 26 and if his arm holds up, he’s a great pick.

Adam Wainwright is definitely no longer a sleeper after his stellar ’09 campaign, but he is listed here strictly because of his upside.  At only 28, he could staple himself as one of the best pitchers in the game for the next couple of years.  There’s no reason why he can’t win 20 games, have an ERA in the low 2′s, and fan 200+ batters, making him a top five pitcher when all said and done.  The reason he is considered a sleeper pick of mine is because there will definitely be five pitchers chosen before him in most drafts.

Ricky Nolasco let plenty of fantasy owners down last season with a 5.06 ERA, but don’t forget his ’08 numbers.  He has a very live arm and is only 27 years old with a ton of upside.  This power pitcher will get you plenty of K’s, and could rebound to even better those ’08 numbers.  If he slides in your draft, snag him up.

Chad Billingsley had a rough season last year, compared to his seasons in the past, but remember he’s only 25 and has a ton of potential.  The Dodgers should win plenty of games this season, and plenty of those wins should rest on his arm alone.  He has 200+ K potential and should rebound from his sub-par ’09 campaign.

Yovani Gallardo is only 24 and is a great young pitcher.  If he continues to stay on track, this could be a breakout season for the youngster.  If he can lower his ERA, he will turn out to be a great pick that should get you 15+ wins and 200+ K’s.

Clayton Kershaw could soon become a CY Young winner, and this could be the year he does it.  This young arm is only 22, he’s a southpaw, and he’s playing for a great team in Los Angeles.  The strikeout potential is there and you have to love his 2.79 ERA in ’09.  If he can build onto that success, watch out.

Max Scherzer is another young pitcher with a lot of upside.  He’s averaged at least one strike-out per inning in the bigs and should better his ’09 stats this year.  Don’t bet the farm, but if he’s still hanging around in your draft, he’s definitely worth the risk.

Tommy Hanson broke out last season and proved to the league that he has the stuff.  At age 23, the sky is the limit for this youngster.  Atlanta always seems to discover talented young arms, so add him to the list.  He has everything you’re looking for, so if his arm holds up, he could be the steal of the draft.

Matt Cain surprisingly lowered his ERA below 3.00, so hopefully that’s a sign for more good things to come.  His K totals aren’t bad, so if he can win some more ball games and keep his ERA around or below 3.00, he will turn out to be a solid pick again this season.

Scott Baker is a better pitcher than his numbers show.  He has a ton of talent and should win close to 20 games this season in Minnesota.  His K totals won’t be extremely high, but if he can lower that ERA to around his ’08 season, he’ll be another solid pick.

Matt Garza has a strong arm and has yet to reach his potential.  Maybe this is the season, as the Rays are definitely hoping so.  Tampa Bay has a really solid team this year, meaning the wins will be there for him.  His ERA should be lower this year as his strike outs should continue to rise.  Solid talent here.

Brett Anderson is a 22 year-old southpaw who learned a lot in his first year in the bigs last season for Oakland.  They have very high hopes for this young pitcher and his number will only improve with time.

Jonathan Sanchez has improved every season, so if that trend continues, he could be in store for a solid 2010 campaign.  He will get you plenty of K’s, so if his ERA continues to drop, he could turn out to be a great pick.

Stephen Strasburg is tearing it up this spring and should be moving up your board very quickly with every pitch.  We all know the hype, and he will be playing for the Nationals, but this kid has the potential to be the best pitcher in the game.  Maybe not this season, but if his arm holds up, he will be a first round pick in many drafts to come.  High risk-high reward.

Scott Kazmir was once considered one of the best young pitchers in the game, so don’t forget that he still is.  Hampered by a terrible ’09 season, he’s still only 26 and is playing for a great Angels organization.  If he can put his stuff back together this year, there’s no reason why he can’t return to the pitcher he was once supposed to be.  And there’s no better place than SoCal for him to do so.

Carlos Zambrano is having a good spring and could be in store for a solid 2010 season.  Though he battled injuries last year, he should rebound to post usable stats this go around.  If he can stay healthy, his arm should help out your squad.

Homer Bailey is still very young and showed some promise at the end of last season.  If he lives up to his potential this year, he could be a late round steal.

Dallas Braden throws a hittable ball that you can’t really hit.  If he can rebound from a foot infection he suffered last season, there’s no reason why he can’t post a solid 2010 campaign.

Ricky Romero is a young southpaw with some upside.  Romero should be hanging around there later in your draft and is definitely worth a late look.  His ERA has never been too low, but his K’s are always up there.  Could be a decent sleeper.

Marc Rzepczynski is another young southpaw with a ton of upside.  He will definitely get you some K’s with his junk, and if given more opportunity (which will happen due to Halladay’s departure), he could produce some great stats.  Only 24 and he was extremely solid in the minors.

Rick Porcello is posting good spring numbers and had a decent 2010 considering his age, 21.  His ERA should continue to drop, but he won’t get you too many K’s.

Jon Niese is another top prospect who will get his chance to really show off his stuff for the Mets this season.  They have very high hopes for this 23 year-old pitcher, and if all works out well, he could turn out to be one of the best pitchers in New York this year.

Jeff Niemann has the potential to be a pretty good pitcher in the bigs.  Nothing about him is incredibly mind blowing, but he’s a good arm on a good team, so the potential is there.

Bud Norris is a power pitcher with a ton of upside.  He’s still young, 25, but he has all the tools to be a successful pitcher for the Astos this season.  He made his cameo last year and proved what he was capable of in September.  Great young arm here.

David Price will be on everyones radar because of the hype machine that started roaring years back.  Remember that he is only 24 and is still one of the best pitching prospects in the game.  He may not live up to that potential this season, but if he does, he’ll be a great late round steal.

Erik Bedard is a great pitcher when he’s able to make it to the mound.  He’s aging quickly, but when healthy, he can post you some great numbers.  If he can get that shoulder back on track, he always capable of getting you a ton of K’s.

Madison Bumgarner is one of the best young prospects in the game today, sitting at the young age of 20.  Keep an eye on this guy, and if he happens to come through this year, he will be a great pick up.  In most leagues, he will not get drafted, so keep him on your radar.


Advice - There won’t be too many relief pitchers that turn out to be sleepers right off the bat in 2010, but they will emerge as the season transpires.  My recommendation is to target at least two top relievers that are a lock for at least 30 saves, preferably Broxton and Papelbon.  If you target some of the sleepers listed above, snagging both of those guys is a possibility.  Otherwise, you can roll the dice on these guys, hoping that they keep their jobs and post solid numbers this year.

Andrew Bailey is still a risk considering that he’s playing in Oakland and has only had one solid season in the bigs, but his age is worth the dice roll.  His ERA and WHIP were outstanding last year, and when he took over the closer role, it was lights out.  Not a true sleeper any more, but if he’s able to hold down the farm in 2010, he could be a great pick.

Rafael Soriano is always a risk to get injured, but you have to love his new location in Tampa Bay.  If he can hold the job all year long, he could be in line for a ton of saves as a Ray.

Trevor Hoffman is hard to call a sleeper, but considering he’s 42 years old, people will pass on this elder.  Whether or not he will be able to match his ’09 season, if he even comes close to it, he’ll be a solid pick but once again.

Brian Fuentes doesn’t have pretty numbers, but he sure got a ton of saves, 48, as the Angels new closer last season.  The job is still his to lose, so as long as he doesn’t do just that, he could post 40+ saves once again.  His ERA and WHIP is terrifying as a closer though.

David Aardsma stepped into the Mariners’ closing job and had an excellent 2010.  Whether or not he’s as good as his numbers proved to be last season, he’s more than capable of producing similar stats once again this year.  Nobody can ignore his numbers in ’09 (38 saves/2.52 ERA/1.16 WHIP/80 K’s).

Bobby Jenks has steadily declined in production every season, but if he can rebound to form in 2010, he’s more than capable of posting a sub-3.00 ERA and 30+ saves for the Sox.

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