Most of the fantasy baseball drafts happen the same way across the country. The owners are excited during the first few rounds as the top tier players are selected. Slowly the talent pool begins to dwindle and owners have a harder time finding the players who can help bring home a championship. This is when you need to dig deep and find those hidden gems or sleeper selections to round out your fantasy baseball team. Here are five players who should make an impact in 2009 and will be available in the final rounds of your draft.
Coco Crisp (Outfielder – Kansas City) – Fantasy Baseball Draft 2009
This is one of those times when a change of scenery is going to do wonders for the former Boston Red Sox outfielder. Crisp will be one of the starting outfielders for the Kansas City Royals in 2009 as he tries to bounce back from a disappointing season. In 2008, he maintained a .268 batting average with 55 runs, 7 homeruns, 42 RBI’s, and 20 stolen bases. Coco Crisp’s numbers should improve in 2009 thanks to receiving more at- bats along with hitting in a more productive spot. Look for him to raise his bating average to .275 while recording 85 runs, 12 homeruns, 45 RBI’s and 25 stolen bases. There is a chance he may even break the 30 stolen base barrier if the Royals let him run more. If you are looking to add a solid fourth outfielder to your team, make sure to pick up this sleeper in the late rounds of your fantasy baseball draft.
Andy LaRoche (First base – Pittsburgh) – Fantasy Baseball Draft 2009
During the 2008 regular season, Andy LaRoche had a .270 batting average with 66 runs, 25 homeruns, 85 RBI’s and 1 stolen base. Had it not been for his DL stint during the season, LaRoche would have made a run at his career highs in homeruns that he set in 2006. The expectations for LaRoche in 2009 are a .270 batting average with 70 runs, 24 homeruns, and 85 RBI’s. LaRoche is the perfect addition to your team if you missed out on one of the top tier first basemen in your fantasy baseball draft. Make sure to take a flier on him in the later rounds because of his potential to hit 30 homeruns with a .280 average.
Khalil Greene (Shortstop – St. Louis) – Fantasy Baseball Draft 2009
If you are looking for a shortstop with power potential, Khalil Green is the perfect sleeper. His 2008 baseball season was cut short after a freak injury occurred at home. This resulted in a lesser than stellar .213 batting average with 30 runs, 10 homeruns, 35 RBI’s and 5 stolen bases. As a result of the poor showing, Greene left San Diego and wound up in St. Louis to take over the shortstop position. The expectations for Green in 2009 are a .250 batting average with 65 runs, 19 homeruns, 75 RBI’s and 5 stolen bases. If you decide to take Greene in the later rounds of your fantasy baseball draft, you can be sure to count on an improvement in 3 of the 5 major statistical categories thanks to his new surroundings.
Chris Volstad (Pitcher – Florida) – Fantasy Baseball Draft 2009
Year after year, the Florida Marlins seem to find a way to bring up young arms from their minor league system and Volstad is the man to keep an eye on in 2009. While pitching in only 15 games for the Marlins in 2008, he compiled a 6-4 record with a 2.88 ERA in 84.1 innings and 52 strikeouts. Though he is not expected to put up those impressive numbers during an entire first season, he should be in line to earn the second spot in the rotation. In 2009, Volstad should be able to rack up a 12 win season with 180 innings pitched, 3.91 ERA and 110 strikeouts. These numbers would make Volstad the perfect fourth or fifth pitcher on your team. Keep an eye on him during your fantasy baseball draft and make sure to scoop him up in the final rounds before anyone else does.
Matt Wieters (Catcher – Baltimore) – Fantasy Baseball Draft 2009
When it comes to Baltimore Orioles top rookie, Matt Wieters, there is no reason why you should not select him in your fantasy baseball draft. Wieters showed in the minor league system that he was quite capable of hitting the ball. In 2008, he maintained a .355 batting average with 27 homeruns and 91 RBI’s. But can this rookie catcher translate his skills at the plate to the major league levels? For 2009, Wieters is projected to hit .277 with 47 runs, 15 homeruns, and 56 RBI’s as his first year in the majors. Though he is a developing prospect, Wieters is worth a look as a backup catcher in the later rounds of your fantasy baseball draft.
Remember, when it comes to your fantasy baseball team, the championship is not won and lost by your star player. Rather it is by the sleeper selections in your fantasy baseball draft along with the waiver wire signings you make during the regular season.
Statistics courtesy of CBSSportsline.com/fantasybaseball