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We are gathered here today to continue our discussion everyone’s favorite fantasy buzzword, the “sleepers.” Not only that, but we’re tabbing these guys as deeper sleepers with a focus on the outfield position for American League teams.

The outfield is always complicated by having so many options that you feel like there's always another guy waiting for you later in the draft. While we're here to help those of you identify those late targets, don't let the upper class pass you by either! Now, let's discuss some folks beyond the top 325 picks per NFBC ADP data for drafts completed between 3/1/18 and 3/15/18. With the draft season approaching its crescendo, it's time to make sure you have some later targets at the ready.

Be sure to also check out our famous Draft Value and Sleepers List, and download the free app for iPhone and Android. Without further ado, we dive in...

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Deeper Sleepers at Outfield (AL)

Mikie Mahtook (DET, OF)

Mahtook is set to be Detroit's everyday left fielder in 2018, and while he doesn't look to be their leadoff man to open the year (we'll get to that guy in a little), he still has some sneaky-good upside to offer in all departments. As much as I dislike splicing seasons up, I think it's worth looking at his year from June 25 on since that's when he really started to see regular time in the outfield, consistently appearing in center for the Tigers. Anyway, he produced a .287/.349/.469 slash line with 43 runs scored, 27 RBI, 10 doubles, six triples and eight homers while coming up as successful on all five of his steal attempts in 281 plate appearances.

Tease that out to roughly 600 PAs and you've got a neat 90-18-60-12-.285 roto line. Not too shabby for the 87th outfielder going off the board, I'd say. Now, we do have to note that Mahtook was briefly moved into the leadoff and two-hole spots in the lineup and that's where many runs came from, and it looks like he's currently stuck batting seventh or so. This could change, but don't go in projecting him for such counting stats (especially with Detroit's lineup weakened compared to much of '17) and instead buy the HR/SB/AVG potential.

Dustin Fowler (OAK, OF)

Guess whose ADP lines him up right behind Mahtook? Yup, it's Fowler! The rookie suffered heartbreak and a ruptured patella tendon in his knee in the first inning of his Major League debut with the Yankees thanks to an exposed power box on the wall at Guaranteed Rate Field. That event overshadowed the reasons why he was called up in the first place, as he hit 13 homers and swiped 13 bags in just 70 Triple-A games.

There's more of a counterweight to his value than just coming off of an injury, as he's in a crowded Oakland outfield and will cede at-bats to Boog Powell at first. My belief is that Fowler's superior bat will force Oakland to play him more, but this does require him to start off hot. Unlike Mahtook, Fowler should have a good shot at leading off and getting those precious additional plate appearances that come with it when he does play, but his low walk rates (usually in the 4-5 percent range in the Minors) may limit his appeal there depending on how his aggression at the dish is working out. The margin for error may be smaller than others, but at OF88 I'm not sure you can ask for a better power-speed dart throw.

Jorge Soler (KC, OF)

Soler just recently turned 26 and should have all of the playing time he could ask for on a rebuilding Kansas City squad that will be without Jorge Bonifacio for 80 games as he serves a suspension.  This will be Soler's chance to show that he's capable of playing in the bigs, rather than just feasting on Minor League pitching. He did feast in '17 though, bashing 24 moonshots in just 74 games (327 PAs) with a .267/.388/.564 slash line, but he still struck out 25.1 percent of the time and carried a terrible 23.5 percent pop-up rate.

The fleas are apparent, but he's also the 93rd outfielder coming off of the board and has 30-HR upside despite the poor hitter's park and surrounding lineup. Those who speed and average early in 5OF formats would be wise to target some late pop and save the environment with Soler Power.

Leonys Martin (DET, OF)

Ah, so we've finally made it to the guy I alluded to in the opener to Mahtook's blurb. For whatever reason, Tigers manager Rod Gardenhire has been slotting Martin in at leadoff all Spring Training long despite him posting a terrible .232 OBP in 138 MLB PAs last year, but he did have a .306/.346/.492 line in 388 Triple-A PAs. What helps Martin is his plus speed and defensive prowess in center, but he'll need to bring back his ability to drive the ball in the bigs.

The biggest difference that I see between in Minor and Major League stats is a 10-percentage-point discrepancy in line-drive rate. His 24.6 percent mark in the Minors helped fuel a .376 BABIP, whereas his .207 BABIP in the Majors was outright terrible, especially for a guy with his wheels. To be fair, I highly doubt that mark sits as low in 2018.

He's currently 11-for-39 (.282) in Spring Training with an .804 OPS, two homers and a steal. The 30-year-old doesn't need to reclaim his 2013-14 prime form to be valuable here, as it was only two years ago when he smacked 15 homers and stole 24 bases. My worry is that eventually Gardenhire's hand would be forced to move him from the leadoff spot if he hits around .240, but we can take the present value and use him until a waiver darling shows up, or just hope he shines.

 

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