Thursday, March 9, 2017

2017 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - NL East

Although baseball season is still a few weeks away, fantasy baseball season is here as draft rooms are opening and people are spending fake auction dollars on their favorite players. Everybody knows about the Mike Trouts and Clayton Kershaws of the world, so what you need to do stand out is find those hidden gems on each roster to propel yourself to fantasy greatness. I am going to go through each MLB roster to find at least one underrated player who will have you looking like a genius at the end of the season.

Today, after getting through the American League. We make our way to the National League, and just like Columbus before us, we will start in the NL East.

Atlanta Braves - Brandon Phillips
Probably not the sexiest pick for a young up and coming team, but sometimes you need to just go with an ol' faithful, and Phillips fits the bill. He'll give you about a .280 average with double digits steals and home runs. Since Atlanta isn't stacked offensively, that means he's probably hitting near the top of the order which will help those counting stats. He's a desperate choice for your top second basemen but is ideal somebody who can fill that 2B/SS role.

Miami Marlins - Adam Conley
He will pitch for the Marlins this year, and I read he got stronger this year. This was by far the hardest team, but since I had to pick somebody, I went with Conley, since I wasn't sure if I could count Giancarlo Stanton as a sleeper.

New York Mets - Travis d'Arnaud
d'Arnaud is a guy who isn't even getting drafted this year, but in 2015, he absolutely crushed the ball for a catcher. What happened in 2016? Injuries, mostly. His batted ball data cratered, and I don't think he has completely lost the ability to hit forever and ever. The guy has been able to hit at every level, and he even did it in the major leagues. I think he could be due for a big year this season as he could be a top-5 catcher if he can stay healthy and show that 2015 is the real d'Arnaud.

Philadelphia Phillies - Aaron Nola
Nola's results were worse last year, but his pitching was better as he had nearly ten strikeouts per nine innings, had about the same walk rate, and significantly lowered his home run rate. He was the victim of bad luck in more ways than one as his BABIP raised by about 50 points, and he only had a comically low 60% of runners left on base. When more people reach base by luck and they always find a way to score, then it's going to be pretty tough for a pitcher not to take a significant step back. If Nola's luck balances out, he's likely a top-20 pitcher this year, so yeah, you should draft this dude.

Washington Nationals - Shawn Kelley
I don't know who's going to be the Nationals closer, but if it's Shawn Kelley, then that's a pretty sweet deal as the Nationals are likely to win a lot of games and closing games isn't that difficult. He strikes out a good amount of guys, so snag him late and he'll probably perform as well as any other closer.

I'll admit, this division had a lot of, "Well, you gotta pick somebody" picks, but I can just about guarantee that one of these will be one of my three best sleepers on my entire list. It's your job to figure out which one that is (Hint: It's probably d'Arnaud).

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