Fantasy Baseball: Key Players to Watch
Bottom line: Spring training performances and pre-season buzz can be deceiving, but make sure to monitor these 5 players below in the opening weeks of the season to see if they may be the ultimate sleepers for 2013:
Hyun-Jin Ryu - SP, Los Angeles Dodgers - Owned in 47% of yahoo leagues
When the Dodgers roll the dice in free agency, recent history suggests you’d be smart not to roll it with them. But Ryu had a fantastic spring (3.29 ERA, .183 Opponent Avg. in 27.1 innings) and whether the team disappoints or not this year, it would be a shock if they didn’t at least give their starters some run support.
Yonder Alonso - 1B/OF, San Diego Padres - Owned in 9% of yahoo leagues
No one expects much from San Diego this year, but those usually tend to be the years they surprise us. Well if a surprise is in store, it will likely have a good deal to do with Firstbaseman Yonder Alonso. Chase Headley opens the season on the DL, so the Padres will be relying on Carlos Quentin and Alonso to drive in a good bulk of runs. We’ve seen what Quentin can do at the top of his game, but we’re still waiting to see if Alonso can bud into a consistent middle-of-the-lineup guy. Last year he hit a respectable .273, but didn’t do much in the power department. This spring, however, he hit 5 homers in 69 at-bats, so keep an eye on him.
Andrelton Simmons - SS, Atlanta Braves - Owned in 59% of yahoo leagues
Simmons is one of the more popular sleepers of 2013 for a variety of reasons. First off, he’s going to begin the season leading off in front of a talented Braves lineup that includes the Upton Brothers, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman. Second, he’s a short stop - the weakest overall fantasy position. And third, he hit a solid .289 in 49 games with the Braves last season. If he can hold down the leadoff spot in Atlanta with something close to .289, while notching a hefty amount of steals, you’ll want Simmons on your roster.
Jackie Bradley - OF, Boston Red Sox - Owned in 29% of yahoo leagues
Another name with a lot of buzz going into the 2013 season, Bradley hit .428 this preseason and likely played his way into the Boston starting lineup. If the Sox can find their way back into relevance this season, they’ll need some unlikely heroes to step forward, and who better than the 22-year-old Bradley?
Julio Teheran - SP, Atlanta Braves - Owned in 68% of yahoo leagues
In 26 innings this spring, Teheran allowed only 7 hits and 3 earned runs while striking out 35 batters. Opponents hit .082 against him. Granted it’s only spring and in his 7 career regular season games he’s posted an ERA of 5.68, but there’s undoubtedly some serious sleeper potential if the Braves lineup lives up to the hype.