Fantasy Sleepers Featured — 05 April 2012

There’s only one thing I love more than scouring the fantasy baseball Waiver Wire for the next impact player.

Scraping what’s off the bottom of the Waiver Wire barrel.

In this weekly sleeper column I’m going to try to find the guys that are owned in less than 10 percent of leagues that could help your roster.

Every year a few of these guys end up in the top 100. Finding one means being able to trade a stud or shore up a severe weakness. Those things lead to finishing in the money.

Even if you don’t pick these guys up right away, make sure you keep an eye on the box scores because these guys will be owned a lot more in a month.

(The number in parenthesis is the percentage a guy is owned in a standard Yahoo Sports! league. Only guys owned in less than 10% of leagues will appear in the column.)

Darwin Barney, 2B, Chicago Cubs (1%)

Barney isn’t on a great team, but he is sitting in a great spot in the order. Batting second, Barney, who put on 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason could be a sneaky contributor. After being hyped pre-spring, he delivered by hitting .404 with 10 doubles and 15 RBI in just 57 ABs.

Chris Davis, 1B/3B, Boston Red Sox (1%)

Davis is the ultimate boom or bust guy (a lot like free swinging teammate Mark Reynolds, except a lot less owned). He has absolutely torn up the minors in past years, 24 homers and 66 RBI in 193 abs in AAA in 2011 and 14 homers and 80 RBI in 398 ABs in 2010. But in the majors last year, he struck out 63 times in 199 abs. He is still only 26 though and the Orioles clearly don’t mind the strikeouts.

Casey McGehee, 3B, Pittsburg Pirates (4%)

McGehee was bad last year. Real bad. Awful. He was also a popular sleeper because he posted 23 homers, 104 RBIs and finished 82nd overall the year before. Owners are justifiably punishing him for his .223 BA by ignoring him this year (and he’s in Pittsburg). I believe in sticking around past the hype sometimes, especially when the risk is this low.

Jason Bourgeois, OF, Kansas City Royals (1%)

After going to the Royals in a spring training trade, Bourgeois hit .375 and stole seven bases in 10 games. Last year, he stole 31 bases despite being limited to 230 ABs by injuries. The Royals also toyed around with him at 2B late in the spring, which could mean more playing time and eligibility.

Jesus Guzman, 1B/OF, San Diego Padres (1%)

He was sneakily productive last year in limited playing time notching 33 runs, 44 RBI and nine steals while batting .312. His spring numbers were right in line with that and he will be batting in the middle of the Padres’ order. Fun fact: He was signed by Seattle back in 2000 when he was just 16 years old.

Brian Matusz, SP, Baltimore Orioles (1%)

Another sleeper last year that failed miserably, Matusz showed up last year out of shape and it showed. He was horrible and then hurt. The 25-year-old seems to be refocused this year and won a job in the spring by posting a 22:3 K:BB ratio.

Fernando Rodney, RP Tampa Bay Rays (1%)

This isn’t because he’s especially good, but Rodney could be in line for saves in the TB bullpen while Kyle Farnsworth is hurt. Most people believe it will be Joel Peralta, but trying to figure out managers can be an exercise in futility sometimes. Could get some cheap saves here.

Glenn Perkins, RP, Minnesota Twins (1%)

Perkins is next in line for saves in Minnesota. He could get the job by Matt Capps’ ineffectiveness or because the Twins are so bad they trade their closer. He is just a speculative saves guy.

AJ Burnett, SP, Pittsburg Pirates (12%)

I know this is cheating because he’s owned in 12 percent of leagues, but he is close the threshold and I really think he could thrive getting out of New York and back to the National League.

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Douglas Elish

Doug Elish is new to MLBSoup.com after spending four years as the Sports Editor of the LaPorte (IN) Herald-Argus and two years as a writer for the NWI Times. He has been a all-around fantasy sports addict for 12 years.

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