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WHO GOT THE BAT
by Michael Russell
Not talking here about baseball's new wunderkind class here: Correia,Bryant, Kyle Seager's younger brother, Sano, Franco, Peterson, Lindnor, Schwarber, Buxton and maybe now Gallo. Hardly "sleepers" anymore, are they? No, let's look instead at a few others who just might be available in those critical mid/late rounds of our 2016 drafts...and who just might come through for you in a big way, just as the late round likes of Chris Davis, JD Martinez, AJ Pollock, Dee Gordon and so many others have in drafts of yore.
No doubt you have a few candidates in mind as well....so let's just see how your 2016 Sleeper team stacks up against this one.
Seems like there are plenty of decent catchers to fill out most 12 team, single catcher leagues, so I can't say I dwell much on backstops....especially since dual-position guys like Schwarber will be long gone and the likes of Gattis and Santana stand to lose their catching eligibility in 2016.
One catcher who should keep C/1B in most leagues next year, giving him the potential for more Abs, and you the luxury of drafting elsewhere, in earlier rounds is Oakland's STEPHEN VOGT. His 18 HRs, 71RBIs and .261 BA could make him a strong, late round value.
JUSTIN BOUR, MIA...23 HRs in only 409 ABs (.262 BA). Figures to be smack in the middle of what could be a potent Marlin line-up that welcomes back the long ball artist formerly known as Mike Stanton.
Honorable Mention: CJ CRON, LAA. As an everyday 1B/DH, why can't this guy be good for a 25+ HR/ 75 RBI/ .270 BA year? And lest we forget, what about a healthy MATT ADAMS, STL or ADAM LIND, MIL, who prospered in his first season as a Brewer?
ROUGNED ODOR, TEX...OK, so maybe this guy's not much of a secret these days, but he sure strikes me as a very solid mid-rounder, maybe even higher. After a slow start, that included being sent down for a spell, Odor smacked 16 HRs in 421 ABs and at just 21, should continue growing into his considerable power potential.
Honorable Mention: CESAR HERNANDEZ, PHI, swiped 19 bags while hitting .272. Best of all, you can slot him in at 2B, MI, SS, 3B, CI or U in most 2016 leagues. Pretty handy guy! And lest we forget, DJ LEMAHIEU, COL, hit .301 with 25 steals.
JED GYORKO, SD... Also eligible at 2B, Gyorko's lowly .247 BA with 16 HRs in 421 ABs can be a bit deceiving. From Aug. 1, he hit .260 with 11 HRs in only 215 ABs. It is true we've been down this road before with Gyorko only to be severely punished as owners. Still, middle infielders who have 25+ HR, 75 RBI potential don't just grow on trees, do they?
Honorable Mention: EUGENIO SUAREZ, CINN. This guy surprised by belting 13 HRs in only 372 ABs while hitting a solid .280. What happens when a healthy Zack Cozart returns next spring? Stay tuned.
JUNG-HO KANG, PIT...While a severe knee injury threatens his availability for opening day, this former Korean League MVP cracked 15 HRs (421 ABs) while hitting .287 in his MLB debut. His dual-eligibility at SS gives him plenty of added value. Just might be worth a stash even if you have to wait a bit.
Very Honorable Mention: DANNY VALENCIA, OAK...18 HRs in only 345 ABs says it all. Used to be known as as a platoon, lefty killer, but in '15, he flourished from both sides of the plate on his way to a .290 BA. Also OF eligible. Gadzooks!
JONATHAN SCHOOP, BAL...Tailed off in Sept. but still launched 15 HRs in just 305 Abs (.279 BA), and just 23 years old.
LOGAN FORSYTHE, TB...With 1B and 2B eligibility in most leagues, Forsythe had a career year, contributing across the board (.281 BA, 17 HRs, 9 SBs, 69R, 68 RBIs). Maybe not a preferred starter in 10-12 team leagues, but a pretty darn useful utility option at 1B, 2B, MI, CI or U when those inevitable injuries strike.
DELINO DESHIELDS, TEX... Hit .261 atop the Ranger line-up with 83Rs and 25 SBs in just 425 ABs.
ENDER INCIARTE, AZ... Hitting high in the Diamondback order, Ender swiped 21 bags to go with 71 Rs and a .303 BA. Only 24, he's a good bet to better those stats in '16.
BILLY BURNS, OAK... A's lead-off tallied 70 Rs with 26 SBs, posting a surprisingly high .294 BA. Best of all, he ended, at least for one season, our historic angst over Coco Crisp's endless injuries.
ODUBEL HERRERA, PHI...One of the few bright spots for the Phillies. At 23, he hit .297 with 16 SBs.
RANDALL GRICHUK, STL...Youngster belted a whopping 17 HRs in just 323 ABs while raking at a .276 rate.
MICHAEL CONFORTO, NYM...9 HRs in 174 ABs. #10 overall draft pick just beginning to pay big dividends for the Mets. This 22 year-old can only get better!
STEPHEN PISCOTTY, STL...23 year-old hit .305 in 233 ABs with 7 HRs, plus 3 round trippers in the Cards abbreviated playoff run. Can anyone else say "Matt Carpenter redux?"
Frankly, many of those already profiled here could fill the bill as your DH... but if any of these three ageless wonders--all subject to pronounced Fantasy age discrimination-- should fall you way late, well...
DAVID ORTIZ, BOS...37 HRs/ 108 RBIs/ .273.
MARK TEIXEIRA, NYY...31 HRs in just 392 ABs plus 79 RBIs/ .255.
ALEX RODRIGUEZ, NYY...33 HRs/ 86 RBIs/ .250.
Hope your off-season is a great one and look forward to seeing you behind the batting cage in February!
Now follow this link to read Michael Russell gives a 2016 SLEEPER breakdown of the