MLB, *Fantasy

Fantasy baseball: Last minute infield sleepers for before (or after) your draft

3/27/14 in MLB   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

Mar 19, 2014; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners shortstop Brad Miller (5) hits a triple against the Milwaukee Brewers at Peoria Sports Complex. The Brewers won 9-7. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY SportsIf you're one of those people who waits until the last minute to do your fantasy baseball prep, it's not too late.

There are still drafts going on, despite the fact that the Dodgers and Diamondbacks have already played a series down under.

If you've already drafted but you're not happy with your team, we've also got a few good suggestions to help you salvage your team, too.

There are always great sleeper options both late in the draft as well as on the waiver wire. We're going to take a look at a few of them today, and tell them how and why they might be able to help your team. These aren't guys who will most likely finish in the top 10-20, these are guys who are available very late in the draft (or off the waiver wire) but could still provide you with good enough numbers to keep you afloat, or possible help you win. Not the best players on your team by any stretch, but certainly some of the best bang for your buck.

If you're looking for great value late in your draft, here are a few infielders who are being drafted pretty late (or not at all), and could be solid players:

Yan Gomes, catcher
Sep 28, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Indians catcher Yan Gomes (10) walks in from the bullpen before the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsAccording to ESPN, Gomes is going undrafted in most leagues. He's available in about 89% of ESPN leagues, and 45% of Yahoo! leagues. Last year, Gomes was an AL Rookie of the Year candidate, hitting .294 with 11 HR, 45 runs, 38 RBI and even 2 steals. He did that in only 293 at bats, which is about half a season. He's got the full-time catching job in Cleveland now, so he'll get a lot more at bats. His numbers may dip slightly due to the rigors of a full MLB season, but he's a guy who won't hurt your team's batting average, like most catchers, and he can put up some pretty good numbers in other categories as well. He's good for at least .275 average, 75 runs, 20 HR, 70 RBI and a couple steals. For a catcher, those numbers are great, particularly if you can get him as a free agent.
Other late-round options: Jason Castro, Wilson Ramos

Justin Morneau, first base
He's a familiar name, but Justin Morneau hasn't really been a huge factor lately, fantasy-wise. If you somehow miss out on the plethora of stud 1B available in the first 10-12 rounds or if you have an injury issue at some point, Morneau could be your savior. He's not going to match the numbers of guys like Goldschmidt, Cabrera, or even Eric Hosmer, but he's hitting in Colorado there, and there's a good chance that his career gets a rejuvenation of sorts. He's owned in only 25% of ESPN leagues, and 51% of Yahoo leagues. He had a decent season last year, despite a complete power outage in September after he went to the Pirates. He could be good for a .270 average, 70 runs, 25 HR and 85-90 RBI in Colorado. Still, you really don't want to have to resort to an emergency option at a position like 1B. A better option would be to snag one of these late-round options as a backup, and draft a stud 1B in the early rounds.
Late-round options: Brandon Belt, Brandon Moss, Mike Napoli, Jose Abreu
Mar 21, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (18) works out prior to the game against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Neil Walker, second base
Last year, Walker hit 16 HR, drove in 53, scored 62 runs and maintained a .251 average. That's not otherworldly, but it'll get the job done at 2B without dragging your stats down like an anchor. He should put up similar numbers this year, and he's available in 71% of ESPN leagues and 59% of Yahoo leagues.
Late-round options: Daniel Murphy (usually the biggest steal of every draft), Aaron Hill, Jedd Gyorko
Other potential free agent options: Alex Guerrero(if/when he's called up), Brian Roberts

Chris Johnson, third base
He's available in 52% of ESPN leagues and 32% of Yahoo leagues. That's despite finishing 2nd in the NL in 2013 with a .321 batting average. He's also good for around 50-60 runs and 70 RBI. He's a guy who would provide premium value in late rounds or free agency. He also has 1B eligibility in Yahoo leagues, but you'd have to be in a bad spot to consider playing him there.
Late-round options: Will Middlebrooks, David Freese, Todd Frazier

Brad Miller, shortstop
The Mariners SS has hit extremely well everywhere he has gone. He's having an amazing spring training, hitting .439 against mostly AAA/MLB talent. He's got decent pop, and should hit 20 HR along with a good average, and 70-80 runs and RBI. He's available in 76% of ESPN leagues, but only 24% of Yahoo leagues. He could end up being one of the better shortstops in baseball this year.
Late-round options: Xander Bogaerts, Jonathan Villar
Potential free agent: Stephen Drew (if he signs with a team)

Tomorrow, we'll look at outfielders and pitchers. Hopefully, this can help you out when you're trying to navigate through the team-building process. Good luck!
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