If you looked at my Sleepers 2.0 and thought, "Ha! Maybe in a league for 4-year-olds," well ... that wasn't very nice. But I have you covered anyway!
We're going a bit deeper here. How deep? Beyond the top 300 in consensus ADP, according to FantasyPros. OK, so I may have fudged it a little for a couple in the 290 range, but it's forgivable given that I have 40 names in all, more than ever before. Be amazed!
And honestly, it was hard to whittle it down that much. I would have liked to include more prospects in here, like Colton Cowser, Curtis Mead and Michael Busch. What it ultimately came down to was the urgency of stashing the player right now.
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But of course, not all of these players will be worth stashing in every league. A sizable percentage of leagues don't even draft 300 players. That's what makes these deep sleepers. But even if you know your draft will end before you can get to more than one or two, you'll want to keep an eye on the rest as possible early-season waiver claims.
I would say that the highest-priority of these picks for me are Garrett Mitchell, Oscar Colas, Jake Fraley, Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, Brandon Pfaadt and Matthew Boyd, not necessarily in that order. Spoiler alert, I know.
Just for posterity, I'll point out that last year's deep sleepers included Alejandro Kirk, MJ Melendez, Jose Miranda, Jeremy Pena, Steven Kwan, Jesus Luzardo, Nestor Cortes and Reid Detmers. And that list was only 30 names long.
LAA L.A. Angels • #14 • Age: 23
There's been surprisingly little fanfare surrounding this rookie's ascension to the starting role, but he's a remarkably disciplined hitter, slashing .283/.416/.544 at Double-A last year while also homering 26 times in just 104 games.
OAK Oakland • #23 • Age: 25
The prize of the Matt Olson deal has no one standing in his way now that Sean Murphy is in Atlanta, too, and should provide good pop while logging plenty of at-bats. He slips through the cracks because he's DH-only to begin the year.
Mitch Garver DH
TEX Texas • #18 • Age: 32
Like Langeliers, Garver is DH-only right now. Unlike Langeliers, we already know what he can do if he can just stay healthy. Splitting his time between DH and catcher, where he should regain eligibility soon enough, should help with that.
SD San Diego • #12 • Age: 24
After stalling out at Triple-A the past two years, where he hit .296 with 29 homers and an .875 OPS in a combined 162 games, Campusano is finally in line for a backup job, and it may not be long before he overtakes Austin Nola as the starter.
Matt Mervis 1B
CHC Chi. Cubs • #79 • Age: 24
A quiet spring took some of the air out of the hype balloon, but after he rocketed through the system last year, leading all minor-leaguers in total bases, it seems like only a matter of time before the 24-year-old moves Eric Hosmer aside.
Brandon Belt 1B
TOR Toronto • #13 • Age: 34
In the two years prior to last year, Belt hit .285 with a .988 OPS, and now he's out of San Francisco and with a team that just moved in its right field fence. Hopefully, last year's knee surgery did the trick.
Darick Hall DH
PHI Philadelphia • #24 • Age: 27
The potential Bryce Harper fill-in has continued to show monster power this spring, but without the past strikeout issues. He credits the work he put in with hitting coach Kevin Long on being more selective and waiting for his pitch.
KC Kansas City • Age: 25
After showing the ability to hit for average and power in the minors while also providing a little bit of speed, Massey suffered from some bad home run luck upon reaching the majors. But he's really been turning heads this spring.
MIN Minnesota • #95 • Age: 23
The French Emperor of Walks has reached base at a .437 clip in the minors the past two years and is one of the breakout stars of the World Baseball Classic. The Twins have left themselves pretty thin on the infield, too, having dealt away Luis Arraez and Gio Urshela.
Brett Baty 3B
NYM N.Y. Mets • #22 • Age: 23
This top prospect has gotten lost in the shuffle for a team firmly in win-now mode, but he's a disciplined hitter who made hard contact even against fellow lefties in a brief showing last year and has only Eduardo Escobar standing in his way.
CIN Cincinnati • #7 • Age: 25
A bit like Jonathan India in that he relies on pronounced pull tendencies rather than natural strength to generate power, Steer is nonetheless in a perfect environment for that, and the Reds haven't once wavered in their commitment to him at third base.
David Villar 3B
SF San Francisco • #32 • Age: 26
The late bloomer has earned the admiration of the Giants front office after hitting 36 homers between the majors and minors last year and is in line to be one of the few everyday players on a team that generally prefers to mix things up.
COL Colorado • #44 • Age: 24
Even with him being the obvious beneficiary of the Brendan Rodgers injury, there has been little attention paid to Montero, who hit .310 with 15 homers and a .933 OPS in just 65 games at Triple-A last year. He's having a strong spring and will get to enjoy all the advantages that come with playing at Coors Field
CIN Cincinnati • #94 • Age: 23
He may not have ultimately secured a job this spring after being teased as a Joey Votto replacement, but he made a lasting impression with the same sort of impact power that generated 32 homers and 114 RBI in 122 minor-league games last year.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #91 • Age: 22
It's down to him and Anthony Volpe for the starting shortstop job, and of the two, Peraza is the superior defender and the one who got the call last year. He profiles for decent pop and good speed and would probably be flying up draft boards if not for the role uncertainty.
Elvis Andrus 2B
CHW Chi. White Sox • #1 • Age: 34
The 34-year-old isn't a breakout candidate, of course, but he looked rejuvenated after signing with the White Sox last August, contributing nine homers and 11 steals in 43 games. He's worth a shot once shortstop has been picked clean in deeper leagues.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #11 • Age: 21
The spring sensation may beat out early favorite Oswald Peraza and is the superior talent, offering more power and speed upside along with superlative on-base skills. No matter who wins it, it won't be long before they're both starting.
Brice Turang SS
MIL Milwaukee • #72 • Age: 23
The prospect has come on strong late in spring training to make one last push for the second base job, where his 15-homer, 30-steal upside would be a welcome addition.
Esteury Ruiz LF
OAK Oakland • #1 • Age: 24
The thrice-traded speedster is in line for the center field job and put up bonkers numbers in 114 minor-league games last year, batting .332 with 16 homers and 85 steals. You can ignore the exit velocity concerns at this price.
Wil Myers RF
CIN Cincinnati • #4 • Age: 32
The move to majors' most homer-friendly ballpark presents the former standout with one last chance to make good. The hope is it will be as transformative for him as it was for Brandon Drury last year.
MIL Milwaukee • #5 • Age: 24
This athletic marvel appears to be a shoo-in for the center field job, and though his swing isn't optimized for power, it's showing up enough to make 15 homers a reasonable projection. That's to go along with, what, 40 steals?
Oscar Colas CF
CHW Chi. White Sox • #76 • Age: 24
After a three-year hiatus, this globe-trotting slugger made quick work of the minors last year, batting .314 with an .895 OPS. He's also made the right field competition a no-brainer this spring with better-than-expected bat-to-ball skills.
Adam Duvall CF
BOS Boston • #18 • Age: 34
Power is difficult to find late, and while it's basically all Duvall brings to the table, he should bring it in big measure at Fenway Park, where his towering flies to the pull side should play perfectly. He's just a year removed from a 38-homer season, remember.
Jake Fraley LF
CIN Cincinnati • #27 • Age: 27
Though a knee injury slowed him early in the year, this former Mariner really took to his new hitter-friendly environment after returning to action in July, batting .295 with 11 homers and a .903 OPS in 53 games. And he's been showing off his wheels this spring.
MIN Minnesota • #19 • Age: 25
He's been slow to recover from a particularly invasive wrist surgery, but one that will hopefully address the persistent soreness once and for all. In the meantime, the Twins will keep first base warm for a guy who, even through the soreness, slashed .359/.465/.641 in 35 games at Triple-A last year.
Sal Frelick SS
MIL Milwaukee • #79 • Age: 22
The 2021 first-rounder is about as safe as prospects get thanks to superlative contact skills that saw him bat .365 in 46 Triple-A games last year. It won't be long until he's batting atop the Brewers lineup, making a considerable stolen base contribution as well.
Blake Sabol RF
SF San Francisco • #2 • Age: 25
The Rule 5 pick has given the Giants every reason to keep him around, showing patience and power this spring, but what's most fascinating is he'll likely be their backup catcher in addition to playing some left field and DH.
HOU Houston • #84 • Age: 25
A surprise standout with a .302 batting average, 24 homers, 12 steals and .942 OPS between two minor-league levels last year, Dirden has all but sewn up the fourth outfielder job this spring. And the way Dusty Baker raves about him, it's not crazy to think he could eventually wrestle away the center field job.
CHC Chi. Cubs • #19 • Age: 25
Wesneski lacks the eye-popping arsenal that would place him high on prospect rank lists, but the dude just knows how to pitch, throwing strikes, coaxing weak contact and missing bats at a respectable clip. He's continued this spring what he started in September.
Kenta Maeda SP
MIN Minnesota • #18 • Age: 34
He hasn't generated the interest most established hurlers do coming back from Tommy John surgery, but Maeda has a history of high strikeout rates and low WHIPs. He should fare better on contact now that the juiced ball is gone.
Drey Jameson SP
ARI Arizona • #99 • Age: 25
He may not ultimately secure the fifth starter job after making a strong impression last September, but he'll remain at the doorstep with a fastball that pushes triple digits and a wipeout slider.
Bailey Ober SP
MIN Minnesota • #17 • Age: 27
The right-hander seems perfectly suited for a post juiced-ball league, his fly-ball tendencies likely to yield a low opponent's batting average to go along with a microscopic walk rate. He's tempting the Twins to go six-man amid reports of improved velocity.
WAS Washington • #1 • Age: 24
It's easy to forget he had a 1.50 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 10.7 K/9 through nine appearances last year before his velocity and control slipped and he was eventually shut down with an elbow injury. You may have heard this before, but it's too early to give up on MacKenzie Gore.
ARI Arizona • Age: 24
The most impressive of the Diamondbacks' fifth starter contenders this spring, Pfaadt had a 2.63 ERA at the same pitcher-killing affiliate (Triple-A Reno) where Drey Jameson had a 6.95 ERA and Ryne Nelson a 5.43 ERA. He also led all the minors in strikeouts.
PIT Pittsburgh • #59 • Age: 23
After taking it easy on Contreras the last two years, the Pirates seem ready to turn him loose this year. He's performed admirably in the majors so far but has the upside for more strikeouts with his high-spin arsenal.
Kyle Bradish SP
BAL Baltimore • #39 • Age: 26
Bradish turned heads last year with a couple of near no-hitters against high-octane offenses, but his low strikeout totals were a rightful reason for skepticism. He's been working in a changeup more this spring, though, and when paired with his already excellent fastball, the whiffs are piling up.
Cody Morris SP
CLE Cleveland • #36 • Age: 26
He hasn't gotten to pitch this spring because of a (mild) lat injury and remains a relief risk due to persistent injuries, but he's still an intriguing talent in an organization known for bringing out the best in pitchers. He had a 1.64 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 14.4 K/9 the last two years in the minors and had a swinging-strike rate on par with Cristian Javier upon reaching the majors.
Matthew Boyd RP
DET Detroit • #48 • Age: 32
Back from flexor tendon surgery and armed with a new changeup grip that should take some of the predictability out of his arsenal, Boyd has been a bat-missing machine so far this spring. He piled up 238 strikeouts in 2019, remember.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #86 • Age: 27
Injuries have created an opening for this repeatedly passed-over ex-prospect, and he's taken to it with renewed ferocity this spring, his pitches all demonstrating superlative spin rates.
ATL Atlanta • #85 • Age: 24
Jared Shuster deserves an honorable mention here, but I have a sneaking suspicion the favorite for the fifth starter job is actually Dodd, a left-hander who had a 69 percent strike rate and 16 percent swinging-strike rate in the minors last year.