If you are playing in a fantasy baseball keeper league this year there is no better position to gamble on a sleeper pick than first base. While you may get lucky on a starting pitcher or two, chances are most pitchers you land as a sleeper pick will have ERA’s in the 5.00’s their first time around the league. First basemen on the other hand are usually power hitters capable of helping a fantasy team out right away. Here then are the five top first baseman sleepers to keep your eye out for this season. You will be hearing from these players for the next few years to come.
Kendry Morales (Angels)
Morales can flat out hit. Don’t believe me, look up his minor league stats. In his last three stints at Class AAA Salt Lake, he has hit .320, .341, and .341. He also has his fair share of power. The problem with Morales is he has not gotten enough major league at bats on a consistent basis to show what he can do. That problem has been taken care off with the departure of Mark Teixeira; with first base open, look for the Cuba born Morales to come into his own. Just 26, Kendry should be headed for his peak years. In 2009, +15 homers, 80 RBIs, and a .290 average are within his reach. Consider yourself lucky if Morales retains his sleeper status before the draft, and take him if you can.
Micah Hoffpauir (Cubs)
Hoffpauir was having a season for the ages at AAA Iowa in 2008, in just 71 games Micah hit .362, with 25 homers and 100 RBI’s before being called up to the parent club. In the majors, Hoffpauir continued his torrid pace by hitting .342 with 10 extra base hits in just 73 at bats. This 6-3, 215 lbs lefty can also play left and right field, and it’s only a matter of time before the Cubs find him at bats. In keeper leagues, Hoffpauir is worth taking a flyer on. At 28, he should be right in the middle of his prime years, and capable of putting up decent numbers.
Joe Koshansky (Rockies)
Koshansky is a big 6-4, 225 lbs left handed power hitter playing in Colorado; need we say more? With Helton suffering from continual back problems, the future at first base could be his. Brought up for two stints (July and September) last year, Koshansky hit 3 homers and a total of 6 extra base hits in just 38 at bats. In the minors, Joe has accounted for 83 homers and 309 RBI’s over the past three seasons. If we are talking sleepers in a keeper league, few will have more upside than Joe Koshansky.
Jeff Larish (Tigers)
Yes, the Tigers have Miguel Cabrera at first base, but they also have an aging Gary Sheffield at DH. Chances are the left handed power hitting Larish will find his share of at bats in Tiger town. Last three minor league seasons, Larish has hit 67 homers. In 104 major league at bats last year, he hit .260 with 2 homers and 16 RBIs. He may get at bats out of position, but Larish will make for a good sleeper pick in 2009.
Gaby Sanchez (Marlins)
Sanchez is a 6-2, 225 lbs, 25 year old right handed hitter who’s time as come to make a move to the majors. While he still has to earn himself some playing time, Sanchez has hit well in the minors, collecting 111 extra base hits and 23 steals over the last two season. In a very brief call up last season, Sanchez got 3 hits in 8 at bats (two of them doubles). In all, he is the type of sleeper to keep an eye out for in keeper leagues; the type of sleeper that is going to fly under the radar this season.