Nobody needs to tell you who the top hitters are in the National League, but after you’ve grabbed a few All Stars, you still have to fill out your roster, and even if you don’t get the next superstar, you at least need players who won’t hurt you. Here are my deep sleepers for NL only Fantasy Leagues.
- Corey Dickerson – You can get Corey cheap this spring, but if he follows the career arc of many Rockies outfielders, not for much longer. He was not considered a big prospect on his way through the Rockies system, but all he did was rake. Two minor league skills that translate very well to the big leagues are plate discipline and batting average, and Corey has them both. Add his above average power and age, and Corey has tremendous upside potential as a later round flyer. Reality Check? Drew Stubbs was brought in during the offseason and while he strikes out too much to be a great hitter, he is already a great defender, which will cut into Dickerson’s playing time.
- Emilio Bonifacio – There is a lot of talk about both Billy Hamilton (not a sleeper) and now, even Dee Gordon (not secure in a job), but one player not being talked about who can get you a lot of steals in a limited role is Mr. Bonifacio. No, he’s not going to hit for a high average or power, but given the make up of the Cubs, he will get 400 ABs. The last time he did that, he stole 28 bases. Not bad for a guy you can probably grab for a dollar or two at the end of your draft. Reality Check? The Cubs could be motivated to trade him to the AL if their numerous infield prospects seem ready for mid-season call ups.
- Devin Mesoraco – You can almost punt catchers in NL only leagues, but if have the chance to grab a guy with some upside, playing in a hitter’s park, with a clear hold on his job, and some pop in his bat, then do it! I would not be at all surprised if Mesoraco has a better year than Evan Gattis at a fraction of the cost in your league. Reality Check? Devin has yet to live up to his prospect pedigree and if he starts too slow, he could be stuck in the eight hole all year.
- AJ Pollock – AJ doesn’t stand out in any one category, but he will consistently do something to help your team, whether to steal a base, or hit a few dingers. He also makes contact often enough to see his batting average go up and a .280 season is entirely possible. I fully expect 15 homers and 20 steals as well. Guys like this are great for filling out your roster and I like him over similar guys whose path to playing time is not as clear. Remember, a batter has to get to the plate to do anything for you. Don’t be surprised if Pollock starts 150 games this year. Reality Check? AJ could bat too low in the order to get you many RBIs.
- Scooter Gennett – In limited time last year, Gennett showed his hitting tool at the big league level, but he is far from a household name. I don’t believe he will ever hit .324 again, but a batting average around .290 is entirely inline with his hitting profile. With Rickie Weeks already having injury issues in the spring and the Brew Crew desperate to make some sparks at the top of their lineup, this kid has a real chance to entrench himself at second base for Milwaukee for years to come. Think of him as a young Omar Infante – he’ll have some solid numbers but won’t be a perennial all star. As long as you don’t overpay, he’s a great pickup. Reality Check? Rickie Weeks is the incumbent and is capable of going on a tear for months at a time, which could relegate Gennett to the bench or even the minors.
Good luck in your draft!