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BALLER MOVE: Draft target ~pick 200

CURRENT ADP: ~215 overall

ANALYSIS: There is a multitude of reasons to like what Lourdes Gurriel has to offer at his currently very low draft price. The 25-year-old shortstop from Cuba is entering just his second MLB season after spending 2017 and about half of 2018 accelerating through Toronto’s minor league system. He definitely impressed in his brief taste of the big leagues, hitting .281/.309/.446 with 11 home runs, 35 RBI, 30 runs scored, and one steal across 249 at-bats. His positional eligibility, secured path to playing time, and proven power-speed category production all point to Gurriel being a major sleeper to target for the upcoming fantasy season.

As with most rookies, Gurriel struggled with adjusting to the elite pitching and patience required at the plate at the Major League level. His 0.15 BB/K, 3.4% walk rate, 22.4% strikeout rate and .309 OBP stand out as his most glaring issues. However, despite the walk and strikeout problems, Gurriel compiled impressive fantasy stats and advanced metrics in his 249 at-bats. His .281 batting average and .446 slugging percentage both ranked in the top-12 among second basemen and shortstops in 2018, and he had a .322 and .293 batting average in AA and AAA, respectively. Additionally, Gurriel ranked 36th in hard-hit percentage at 45.1%, 58th in average exit velocity at 90.3 MPH, and 127th in barrels per batted ball event (ahead of Alex Bregman and Justin Turner). Projection site Steamer has Gurriel pegged for a .266/.301/.428 slash line in 2019, adding 20 home runs, 70 RBI, 70 runs scored, and seven steals. That doesn't make a league-winner but it is nice high-end middle infielder to tab in the later rounds.

Gurriel is being overlooked in early drafts, going on 212th overall on average. For that reason, plus those listed below, he qualifies as a bona fide fantasy baseball sleeper. First, and probably most important, is the matter of Gurriel’s positional eligibility. He qualifies at both second base and shortstop, two positions that appear top-heavy but not necessarily deep. In early drafts, Gurriel is being drafted at 214th overall (2B18/SS26) and is ranked 199th overall (2B24/SS22) on RotoBaller.


Check out RotoBaller's entire fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!