Sometimes mistakes aren’t all that bad.
We’re not reinventing penicillin here, but stumbling across two sleepers while doing research that really had no beginning point is one of those beneficial mistakes.
While reviewing my elite 5×5 hitters post I mistakenly thought Rays outfielders Carl Crawford and BJ Upton were each expected to score 100 runs. The question, then, which hitter will benefit in the RBI category?
The truth is, Crawford and Upton are 30-steal locks. The only players that benefit from that are Crawford and Upton.
Luckily for us, I didn’t realize my mistake until after most of the research had been done. Two Rays players stood out as potential super values in 2010 drafts.
First let’s talk about the more likely sleeper.
Pat Burrell hit just 14 homers, scored 45 runs and drove in 64 in a disappointing 2009. He only had 412 at-bats and his home run to fly ball rate was half what it was in just about every other season in his career. If he’s good enough or finds himself bathing in the awesome of a hot streak, Burrell could find himself with opportunities for more runs and RBIs than a lot of experts give him credit for.
Considering all that, we should all lean on his optimistic projections rather than the middle-of-the-road ones. That puts him at 70/25/75/0/.250. That’s not great, as a DH, Burrell can only fill your UTIL slot, but he’s probably about as good as anybody else you’ll be picking in the last round.
The next Rays sleeper is a really deep one.
Currently the fourth option in right field and the backup to Upton in center, Fernando Perez has got plenty of competition.
However, Perez could give the Rays a third outfielder with 30 steals if given the opportunity.
The three sets of projections used to compile the elite 5×5 lists under review here at Chinstrap Ninjas in recent weeks have Perez going for 50/5/25/20/.260. Minor league statistics portend greater things for the 27-year-old, if he’s given an opportunity — like Matt Joyce and Gabe Kapler really not working out in right field, maybe?
Perez put up 33-, 32- and 43-steal seasons in the minors to go with .288, .308, .307 averages and 123, 84 and 86 runs.
The issue here, again, is opportunity. As with any late-game sleeper, you remember the name Fernando Perez — either for at the end of your draft or for when he gets that opportunity mid-season.
Who are your late-round sleepers for 2010?