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Five Fantasy Baseball Draft Sleepers: AL Central Mid-to-Late Round Value Picks

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Welcome to this ongoing series where we go division by division to analyze the best fantasy baseball sleepers on every team this year. We started with the AL East last week, so if you haven't seen that one yet, be sure to check it out. Next up will be the AL Central.

Despite the AL Central not being a very competitive division in baseball, that doesn't mean there aren't some elite players on these teams. Bobby Witt Jr., Dylan Cease, Luis Robert Jr., and Jose Ramirez all reside in this division. But all four players won't be featured on this list because they are going early in fantasy baseball drafts. 

Instead, in this article, we will identify the biggest sleepers going in the middle-to-late rounds on the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Guardians, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, and Detroit Tigers. So, let's dive in and find out which players are the biggest sleepers in drafts. 

 

Minnesota Twins: SS Carlos Correa

Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa is one of my favorite sleepers in the later rounds, especially since his average ADP is outside 200 on various platforms. Correa is coming off arguably the worst season of his career, where he hit a career-low .230 at the plate. He also only hit 18 home runs (his fewest in a full season since 2018) with 65 RBI and 29 doubles. 

But it was evident that Correa was not himself during the 2023 season, and that's because the Twins shortstop was dealing with a plantar fasciitis issue for most of the year. He first suffered the injury in May and then eventually tore something in his foot in September. Despite the 29-year-old not attributing that to his poor season, it definitely played a part. 

With Correa now fully healthy, he is in for a much better season in 2024. If you take a look back at his 2022 season, the three-time All-Star did a lot of things well. He hit .291 with 22 HRs and 64 RBI. Now, even when healthy, his numbers won't be overly impressive. But he has a ton of value later in drafts. He can hit for a solid average while contributing 20-25 HRs, 25-30 doubles, and walking at a decent rate (10.6% career walk rate). 

 

Cleveland Guardians: SP Triston McKenzie 

It's best to just forget Triston McKenzie's 2023 season. The Cleveland Guardians pitcher injured his shoulder during spring training and didn't make his season debut until June. Then, after just two starts, McKenzie experienced some elbow discomfort and missed the next two months before making just two more starts in September to end the season. 

But the right hander is someone that should be on your radar because of his upside in the later rounds. Just look at what McKenzie did in his first start of the 2023 season in June. He allowed just one hit and one walk to go with 10 strikeouts across five shutout innings. That's the type of pitcher fantasy managers would be taking a chance on -- a player going in the 15th round. 

In McKenzie's last full season in 2022, he was a solid fantasy option. He finished the year with a 2.96 ERA, 0.951 WHIP, and 190 strikeouts across 191.1 innings pitched. Other fantasy managers might have forgotten just how good the right hander can be in the majors because of his injury-riddled 2023 season. However, this is a pick that can really pay off. 

 

Chicago White Sox: OF/DH Eloy Jimenez 

If you are in a roto league and are in need of some power in the back half of your draft, Chicago White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez is a player to target. Injuries have always played a part in Jimenez's career, which has included playing 55 games in 2021, 84 games in 2022, and 120 games in 2023. 

But, when healthy, he is one of the most dangerous hitters for the White Sox. The right-handed slugger has also always hit for a solid average in his career, and that's a plus for anyone in roto leagues. Jimenez has a career .275 average and just hit .272 with 18 HRs, 64 RBI, and 23 doubles last year. He won't provide you with many numbers outside of those categories, but going outside the top 16 rounds makes him a solid sleeper option. 

Jimenez's career 162-game average is 33 HRs and 102 RBI. While he will likely not reach those marks in 2024, he can give fantasy managers somewhere between 20-25 HRs and 70-75 RBI with a solid .275 average. Those numbers are certainly possible for the 27-year-old this year, making him a high-risk, high-reward option later in the draft. 

 

Kansas City Royals: C Salvador Perez

Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez isn't the biggest sleeper on this list. But he is going late enough that he deserves to be here. The 33-year-old catcher might be past his prime, though he can absolutely still contribute at a high level at the plate. Perez's average ADP is 131, which makes him a fantastic sleeper at a thin position. 

If you want to wait on a catcher in fantasy drafts this year, Perez could be a solid option you can pivot to. Last year, he hit .255 with 23 HRs, 80 RBI, and 21 doubles. That is about on par with what the catcher put up the season before in 2022 (.254 average, 23 HRs, 76 RBI, 23 doubles). 

Perez won't contribute in many other categories, including walks -- where he has a career 3.4% walk rate. However, he'll almost always be at the top in every other category among catchers. In 2023, his .255 average ranked sixth, his 23 HRs were tied for third, his 80 RBI ranked second, and his 137 hits ranked third. The veteran still has plenty left in the tank to contribute at the plate. 

 

Detroit Tigers: OF Riley Greene

Entering his third year in the majors, there's a strong chance the 2024 season could be a breakout year for Detroit Tigers outfielder Riley Greene. Greene, the fifth overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, is coming off a year where the stats might have been underwhelming. 

He hit for an impressive .288 at the plate but only managed to total 11 HRs, 37 RBI, 19 doubles, and seven stolen bases. The average is a nice sign to see, and that could help him maintain value in fantasy drafts. However, he needs to provide more in other categories to be somewhat of a solid pick later in drafts. The Tigers outfielder is currently going around the 15th round in Yahoo leagues. 

The power hasn't necessarily been there for Greene so far in his short career. However, that power could finally show up for him in his third season. The 23-year-old has always hit the ball with a career 46.3% hard-hit rate. On top of that, the home run balls did show up for the outfielder in his minor league days. In 2021, he hit 24 total HRs in Double-A and Triple-A combined. This could be the season where he finally showcases his 18-22 HRs while hitting for a solid average. 

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