2014 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Undervalued Players: Hitters

by Tim Heaney and Nicholas Minnix on March 25, 2014 @ 12:00:00 PDT


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When using 2014 fantasy baseball rankings, identify promising assets. In fantasy baseball drafts, sleepers and undervalued players will allow you to make the most of your picks.

C Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks

Even with struggles versus southpaws, Montero hadn't batted lower than .266 from 2009-12 before his .230 last year. Don't let an injury-riddled 2H negate this cleanup hitter's stable track record. -TH

C Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals Breakout Player

High grounder rates mask his titanic average fly-ball distance, which justifies his seemingly overachieving HR/FBs. If his knees hold up, a 20-HR performance remains a realistic achievement for this breakthrough candidate. If you're not going to pay for one of the position's top three, Ramos could be the most profitable alternative. -TH

Arizona Diamondbacks 2B Aaron Hill
Hill doesn't belong in discount rack

C Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati Reds

The departure of Ryan Hanigan and Dusty Baker clears Mesoraco's path. He'll have more AB (middle of the order?) and increased chances to harness his latent power at Great American Ball Park. He's a C2 who could enter the C1 tier by season's end. -TH

2B Aaron Hill, Arizona Diamondbacks

A fractured bottom hand cost the RHB two months' worth of games last year. Other than his disappearance in the SB column, Hill's 2012 success carried over when he did suit up. Lock in 20 HR for a full campaign. BA indicators say his last two seasons (positive) override the disappointment of the previous two. If he steals 10-plus bags, he won't fall far short of Jason Kipnis' yield. -TH

2B Daniel Murphy, New York Mets

His knees -- and in turn, SB, relatively -- look sturdy. Murphy has overcome a weak BB/K to establish a sound BA make-up. He's 29, so the power growth isn't outlandish. At leadoff, there's ample value in his quiet statistical diversity. -TH

SS Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

Don't go getting sentimental. It's the fact that he's healthy, even if he'll be 40 in June. The Captain tried to come back from a broken ankle way too quickly last year. A .275 to .290 average, double-digit homers, plenty of runs and a handful of steals aren't sexy, but they're cheap. -NM

2B Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals

A bad July BABIP was followed by a strong finish that showed his keen eye and penchant for hard contact. He'll compensate for the SB deficiency with stealth plate thunder that's starter-worthy in deep mixers. -TH

2B/3B/OF Kelly Johnson, New York Yankees

He's the Bronx Bombers' best option at the hot corner in lieu of a suspended Alex Rodriguez. Johnson has 20-homer power under normal circumstances. Even if he platoons, the possibility of 450 at-bats plus Yankee Stadium's short right-field porch is too alluring to pass up late. -NM

2B/OF Emilio Bonifacio, Chicago Cubs

The fact that he's on track to add third-base qualification to that already helpful profile gives you more reason to speculate. When he plays, he takes bags. He'll probably face lefties as their hot cornerman until Mike Olt or Kris Bryant is ready. In 300 AB, he can log 25 swipes. -TH

2B/SS Nick Franklin, Seattle Mariners Sneaky Sleeper

The competition at shortstop has been legit, although it's not close. Brad Miller holds the edge, of course; he's better defensively and a good hitter. Franklin took time to adjust at each of his farm stops, so his 2013 MLB struggles are no surprise. He has a lot of upside with the bat and is a big-time trade chip, however. He could easily find ABs, one way or another. -NM

2B/SS Josh Rutledge, Colorado Rockies Sneaky Sleeper

DJ LeMahieu holds the edge at the 4, but he's heavily reliant on good BA fortune that isn't sustainable. Rutledge, last year considered the future of Colorado's keystone, isn't far from re-emerging. He found plate success when he lowered his hands during his swing last year, and any continuity there will recapture his promising 2012 line. -TH

SS Chris Owings, Arizona Diamondbacks Sneaky Sleeper

Didi Gregorius' glove may say he's the better real-life choice for this shortstop battle. The 22-year-old Owings is the favorite, though. He's much rawer (especially with contact) but can offer double digits in homers and 20 bag thefts in a full season. For an MI, that's worthy of a mixed bench spot. It's possible that Arizona will trade one of their two shortstops (Gregorius is the rumor), too. -TH

Next page: Sleepers, undervalued at corner infield (1B, 3B, CI), in outfield (OF)

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2014 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Undervalued Players: Hitters | Pitchers

2014 Fantasy Baseball Busts and Overvalued Players: Hitters | Pitchers

About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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