There is a debate in the fantasy baseball world over the exact definition as to what a fantasy baseball sleeper is. Whether you want to view sleepers as rookies coming up from the minors or veterans who haven’t gotten a chance to prove themselves yet, well, that’s up to you.
The easiest way to view it though, is as a player who is statically predicted to be significantly better then their previous year, or simply a player that hasn’t found his opportunity yet, and is set-up in a situation where he has a great chance for success.
One of the key indicators for finding fantasy baseball sleepers is to look at second half numbers. While you can tell a lot about a player from their consistency over an entire season, or seeing how they begin the year, some of last year’s hottest players will generally have great finishes, which will leak into the following season.
That means if a guy starts playing after the 2009 All-Star break and finishes the season strong, he could be viewed as a real gem heading into 2010, despite not being on the fantasy radar entering the 2009 fantasy season.
These stats can easily be found on a number of websites. One good resource is yahoosports.com. This site allows you to look at a player and then under the player there is also a tab called split stats. It will show a players stats from after the All-Star break to the end of the year, along with a number of other useful stats and situational numbers. This can give you a different perspective of how a player might perform in different situations.
Now that you understand and know where to look for player’s second half numbers, you should know what things you should target when looking at these numbers.
One thing specifically to look at is when a player has a high average in the second half of the season. This can tell you a number of things about the player.
Perhaps the player was a rookie and is just starting to get comfortable in the second half of the season, or maybe a player was injured in the first half and became healthy in the second half. Knowing the players, the teams, and the reasoning behind the depth chart’s current status is important to your entire draft, let alone predicting correct fantasy sleepers.
These second half numbers can go a long way in showing potential for a player in the future. Another key indicator to consider when assessing a player’s value is their status on the depth chart (as previously mentioned), along with the status of the players around them.
This can be due to various things such as trades or being pulled up from the minors. You want to think, “Will your player be moved up into a more favorable batting position? Could this cause him to get more RBI’s and runs? Or was he moved to an undesirable position where he might not get as many RBI’s and runs from his previous years stats?” These are a few key questions you need to regularly ask yourself, both in before your fantasy draft, as well as throughout the fantasy baseball season.
These tips are merely reminders of the important aspect of drafting and managing a team: attention to detail. Anyone can get lucky and stumble upon the hot pitching hand or the guy who hasn’t struck-out in five weeks. But if you’re active in your pursuit for the sleepers, both before, during, and after your draft, you have betters odds at building a very valuable team full of guys no one else saw coming.
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