Sleepers awoken

Every year it happens and this year is no exception: There are a few players who start off as great values where they are drafted early in the offseason but by the time March rolls around, these players are everybody’s favorite picks and are snatched faster than cupcakes at a child’s birthday party.

While these players are great players with inspiring potential for the upcoming season, I feel too many people are looking too far into what these players might possibly do as opposed to what they most likely will do.

Here is a list of a few of those players whose hype trains are being boarded a few stops too early:

You drafted me when? (Icon/SMI)

Julio Borbon

In the 12th round, where Borbon is taken on average in drafts, he is a decent pick. However I’ve seen him go as high as the eighth round, which is like buying a seed and expecting a tree to grow, instead of simply buying the tree itself for the same price. That was a bad metaphor—I’m aware—but nevertheless he most likely will bat around .275 with a handful of home runs and about 30 to 40 steals.

When taken in the eighth round, his ceiling of a .300 average and 40 steals is needed to justify the pick while that line is much closer to Shane Victorino‘s average line and he can be taken around this time as well.

Brett Anderson

I love Anderson as much as the next guy, but I admittedly loved him more when he could be drafted comfortably around round 16. Now the word is clearly out and I’ve seen him go as high as pick 108, which would be fine assuming he throws 200 innings with a 3.75 ERA and 175 strikeouts.

Even though I certainly believe he is capable of posting those type of numbers based on what he did last year as a 21-year-old, taking him there means picking him over an impressive array of pitchers with more proven track records. I find that difficult to do.

Elvis Andrus

There is certainly a lot to like about Andrus—his name, his slick fielding abilities, his youth, his position—to name some of the attractors. However, I think people are forgetting what his 2009 line looked like, allow me to remind you:

| R  | HR | RBI | SB | AVG  |
| 72 |  6 |  40 | 33 | .267 |

And his 2010 line probably won’t look much different from that. Maybe a few more runs (though he is slated to bat ninth), bump the steals total up to 40 and the average to .275 at the highest. At his current Yahoo ADP of 115, I would begrudgingly take him, but people are actually drafting him significantly above that. I’ve seen him go as high as pick 80 and there is a small chance to get good value in return at that position.

Concluding thoughts

The bottom line is to always look at things objectively and not get swept up when the hype builds around certain players, even if their name is Elvis and you have a clever team name planned if you get them.

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  1. Jon E said...

    Borbon lingered in my draft until 18th round and I took him there. He’s my “bench speed” option if a couple of other picked higher aren’t producing steals. I have Dexter Fowler as well, though it feels redundant. Missed out on Brett Anderson….a took him 2 picks in front of me, I took David Price instead.

  2. Jonathan Sher said...

    Paul -

    I agree the excitement and hype on all three players has sometime pushed their draft sports above what is warranted.

    Fortunately, I am in a deep auction league with keepers that requires owners to get players BEFORE the hype machine revs. I picked Andrus in our reserve draft before the 2008 season and Borbon in the reserve draft before the 2009 season and now have both on my active roster for about one-third to one-quarter the price they’d get at auction.

    In a mixed snake draft two days I go (my first) I picked up someone who I think will come close to matching Andrus in steals—Everth Cabrera—and did so in the 21st round in a 14-team format. And I did so more for insurance—I earlier picked up Jose Reyes after he dropped to the 45th pick.

  3. Jeremiah Oshan said...

    I was just shocked to see all three of those guys go really early in a draft I just did. CarGon was the 85th player taken, Anderson was 98th and Andrus was 121st. It’s not that I think these players are going to be bad, although I really have my doubts about Andrus’ offensive numbers, it’s just that I’m shocked at the kind of players that get passed on in order to take these guys. I got Marco Scutaro more than 100 picks after Andrus and I gotta believe that Scutaro represents Andrus’ upside at this point.

  4. Pochucker said...

    The hype train gets worse every year. I start planning in november and its just amazing to see the progression in hype and resulting adp of guys like Cargo, Brett and Nolasco.

    I did manage to get Borbon in 15th rd and use him as part of my DH/U rotation . Depending on h2h matchup for the week I will use two of the four. Borbon/Matsui,H/Blanks/Pence

  5. Deano said...

    Seems more like last years sleepers to me.  These are sophomore slumps or not?  Boubon could show more pop than than the avg. speedster, Anderson should be a good fantasy 3rd starter, and Andrus is the most proven of a bunch of speedsters: E. Cabrera and A. Escobar for example.

  6. Kampfer said...

    I have seen many reach for Anderson… This year I reached for CarGo Bruce and Anderson, and Anderson seems to be the most “awoken sleeper”, albeit with the most risk.I can see him better the 3.5 ERA mark, but 200 inning seems out of possibility. I doubt if he is a good bet to stay in one piece after the huge jump in inning pitched.

  7. Tim George said...

    I think Anderson has the body and style to really allow him to pitch alot of innings. He has great control for a young pitcher and that should limit blowup innings. He’s a big pitcher with solid mechanics and that should help to keep him healthy and hold up to the grind.  From all reports and seeing him in spring, he’s lost alot of weight and in shape for the first time in his life.

  8. Paul Singman said...

    @Jonathan—Wow that’s impressive to grab these guys so early. I’m curious who you took this year (or plan to take)

    @Josh—You’re right, a high .280s-to-.290s average seems more reasonable based on what Borbon did last year and also in the minors. He still seems like a riskier version of Shane Victorino with a little less power to me.

    @Jeremiah—I agree I’d definitely rather have Scutaro late rather than reach for Andrus… however, Andrus is young and will only go up from here, plus he has speed that blows Marco away. Marco had a nice year last year and even though the move to the Sox might keep him “juvinated,” in the context of his career he had a career year last year. With performance and age regression Scutaro is looking at a similar average, maybe a couple more home runs, and obviously Andrus has the large speed advantage. Calling Scutaro Andrus’ ceiling was probably exaggerating a bit. Andrus is definitely the better pick but around pick 100 I agree to stay away.

    Having said that, welcome to the THTF crew wink

    @Deano—These three players did end up all being rookies last year who had impressive debuts and that’s probably not a coincidence. As fantasy baseballers we are attracted to upside and want to own the breakout players, whether they make the best picks or not.

  9. Sorbil said...

    Borbon will disappoint.  Take a close look at that minor league average last year.  15% of his hits were bunts.  His BABIP is awful for other GB and really awful for FB (pops out a lot).  .270 is reasonable

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