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5 First Base Draft Sleepers for Fantasy Baseball

Spencer Torkelson - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Injury News

Everybody loves some sleepers! If your fantasy baseball draft is not already done, it is fast approaching - so it's time to talk about fantasy baseball sleepers:

In this series, I will go through each position and give you five names at each slot to consider scooping late in the draft or to just put on your watch list for a possible early-season pickup.

We are focused on standard-sized leagues here, so I will not go past pick 500 or so in the ADP very often during the series. Most of my picks will be guys behind drafted between picks 250 and 400 or so, and we'll keep things primarily short and sweet. Let's get to it.

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Triston Casas, Boston Red Sox

ADP: 224

Casas is turning heads this spring with a .359/.419/.590 line and two homers in 43 PA (stats as of March 20). In the last two years in the minors, he has slashed .276/.388/.483 with a low 20% strikeout rate and a nice 15% walk rate. That has come without a ton of power (25 homers in 688 PA) or speed (just seven steals), which keeps his fantasy upside down a bit.

The reason to draft Casas is that he looked pretty good in his short time in the Majors last year (a .197 batting average but a nice .358 OBP and five homers in 95 PAs last year), and at the fresh age of 23 - there's lots of time for him to add power. He seems poised to make the Red Sox team out of camp, and there have even been reports that he could serve as the team's primary leadoff hitter (they really don't have much going for them at the top of that lineup right now).

Don't get your hopes up too high for Casas, he's probably not a 20-homer or 15-steal guy at this point, but he could get you a little bit of everything even if he doesn't take a huge step forward talent-wise.


Wil Myers, Cincinnati Reds

ADP: 237

Myers has not been fantasy-relevant for standard leagues since 2017 when he hit 30 homers and stole 20 bags. The last several years have been rough for him, but now he's back in the conversation after signing with the Reds this offseason. He should be an everyday player for them, and we know what Great American Ball Park can do for hitters. Fly balls went for a .292 batting average (the fourth-highest) and a .919 slugging percentage (the third-highest) in Cincinnati last year, so there are a lot of extra hits to be had by playing there.

Run Scoring Park Factors, 2022

Park Park Factor
COL +25%
CIN +23%
BOS +19%
LAA +8%
PHI +6%

There hasn't been a single year where Myers hasn't put up at least a decent barrel rate (he's been around 7% the last two seasons), and he still has the ability to steal some bags. If he's an everyday player for the Reds (which he should be), there are plenty of ways he can turn into a quite useful fantasy option at first base. He should probably be drafted in all leagues.


Spencer Torkelson, Detroit Tigers

ADP: 297

Torkelson was the first overall pick of the 2020 draft by the Tigers. It did not take him any time at all to have success in the pros, as he slashed a nice .267/.383/.552 in 2021 while working his way all the way up to AAA.

That set the expectations pretty high for Torkelson in 2022, but it wasn't a great year for him. He made the team out of camp and struggled mightily in the Majors with a .203/.385/.319 slash line with just eight homers in 404 PAs. He also struggled after the demotion, hitting just .229/.348/.389 in 155 PAs back at AAA.

It's tough to really punish a player in his early twenties for struggling on his first go at Major League pitching, so we should be willing to give Tork another shot this year. The silver lining is that his plate discipline was pretty good at the highest level last year with a solid 25% chase rate while 73% of his swings were at pitches in the zone (the league average is 69%). There's no questioning the talent here, so it will be fun to see how big of a step forward Torkelson can make in 2023.


Isaac Paredes, Tampa Bay Rays

ADP: 300

The most appealing thing about Paredes for fantasy is how many positions he's eligible at (1B/2B/3B). He's another young player (24) that has a good amount of job security this year and has shown some upside in the Majors.

Last year, the batting average was not there (.205) in the Majors, but he managed 20 homers in only 111 games. He hits a lot of fly balls (28%) and pulls the ball as well (49%) - which is a key to unlocking homers even if you're not hitting the ball all that hard (his 6.4% barrel rate last year was below average). He also showed a nice ability to make contact at a high rate (84%) last year, so there are plenty of ways he can be useful for fantasy this year.

Paredes should hit 20+ homers this year if he stays in the lineup all year, and that's perfectly useful in and of itself, especially when he can do that for your team at three different positions.


Carlos Santana, Pittsburgh Pirates

ADP: 543

There is almost no upside with the Santana pick, so please do not get excited about drafting him. In fact, you won't have to draft him in a standard league situation since you can see it takes 500 picks before the average league drafts him.

That said, Santana is better than he's given credit for in OBP leagues. He has a walk rate above 12% every year of his career and a career .359 OBP.

The changes to the rules about shifting should raise his batting average a bit as well, and the Pirates will be playing him nearly every day.

You could see a season where Santana hits 20 homers, drives in 75 runs, and maintains a .350+ OBP. That's a pretty good season for a first baseman that you can have for free.

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