February 14, 2023, 1:08 pm
Every year, the day after my fantasy baseball season ends (whether in disappointment or as a champion) I begin analyzing some players who may be undervalued in 2023. An essential part of winning both draft day and your league is capturing the most value possible in each selection. There is a way I deem the player’s value doesn’t equal their ADP, it’s based on the amount of upside the player has. Upside will be a common theme throughout this article. “Sleepers” can be identified as a few different things: undervalued, breakout candidates, rebound guys, etc. I’ll be providing you with my list of players who I believe are “sleepers” outside of the top-200 based on relevant ADP data.
You can look at so many different areas when evaluating players in fantasy. In the case of hitters, I try to put the most emphasis on barrel percentage, hard hit percentage, and ability to just put the barrel on the ball. For pitchers— the number of whiffs that the pitcher induces, the quality of contact that the pitcher allows, and that pitcher’s ability to throw strikes. So my picks in this article will reflect those metrics.
Bryan De La Cruz, MIA
De La Cruz is everything I’m looking for in a sleeper; he has great bat-to-ball skills and some untapped power potential that he showed in the 2022 season. Out of players with a minimum of 250 plate appearances, De La Cruz ranks fourth in the MLB in sweet spot percentage. According to BaseballSavant.com, players qualify for the stat for each time a batted ball is hit between 8 and 32 degrees of launch angle.
Another advanced metric that supported De La Cruz’s hitting is xBA which means expected batting average. As we know baseball can be a bit lucky at times, so the expected batting average can be a bit more precise when trying to figure out if a hitter is getting lucky with his at-bats or snubbed. In De La Cruz’s case, his xBA sits at .287 which ranks in the top-4% in the majors. He has produced solid contact with a 47.3 hard-hit percentage which would put him 37th in the league. His xSLG sits in the top-6% of the league, all of De La Cruz’s peripherals suggest he should have had a better counting-stats season in 2023. Take him in the later rounds.
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Trevor Rogers, MIA