Baseball’s right around the corner, which means fantasy draft season is in full swing. I’m sure you’ve realized by now that ESPN and Yahoo projections– save for the first 50 to 100 slots– are totally worthless. In the late rounds, it’s up to you to find your own sleepers. “The guy nobody but you believes in,” as that DraftKings commercial you’ve seen 1,000 times says. The Diamondbacks, have plenty of sleepers, so here is a quick rundown of guys to consider:
Welington Castillo: The three positions every good fantasy team needs to have production from are second base, shortstop and catcher.
Good offensive catchers are especially rare breed in today’s game. The only truly elite one is Buster Posey. So if you can’t get somebody like Posey or Kyle Schwarber, Welington Castillo is an option with a tremendous upside. After his trade to the Diamondbacks, he batted .255/.317/.496 with 17 home runs and 55 RBI in just 80 games. It’s probably unrealistic to expect similar power numbers this season, but anything even remotely resembling last year could make for a solid fantasy starter. He is currently ranked as the eleventh-best catcher on Yahoo and fourteenth on ESPN. Castillo should be a starter in every league with at least ten members.
David Peralta: Peralta has trended exponentially upward since making his MLB debut two years ago. Last year, in his first full season, Peralta batted .312/.371/.522 with 17 home runs and 78 RBI. He also hit 26 doubles and led the National League with ten triples. If he still has room for offensive improvement, he could become an elite option by season’s end. He is ranked 166th overall onYahoo’s rankings and 57th overall on ESPN’s— making him one of Yahoo’s best-kept secrets. He should be owned in every league.
Patrick Corbin: Corbin was an All-Star in 2013 before missing all of 2014 and half of 2015 recovering from Tommy John surgery. That year, he went 14-8 with a 3.41 ERA and a solid 3.30 strikeout-walk ratio. Corbin could be in line for more wins this year than he had in 2015, with the Diamondbacks’ offensive improvements. He is ranked 163rd overall and 50th amongst starting pitchers on Yahoo, and 55th amongst pitchers on ESPN. Corbin is a great option for deeper leagues.
Yasmany Tomas: Expectations were high for Tomas after signing a monster deal out of Cuba in 2014. But after disappointing with a .273/.305/.401 line in 118 games last season, he is flying somewhat under the radar going into this season. This is a risky pick, but the potential is there for a much better 2016. Tomas is ranked 270th overall on Yahoo and 194th overall on ESPN, so Tomas represents a bench option with an upside at the moment.
Brad Ziegler: Ziegler is coming off of a career year in which he recorded a 1.85 ERA and 30 saves. The ERA may be hard to replicate, but this year’s revitalized roster should give him a few extra save chances. He is the 23rd-ranked reliever on Yahoo and the 19th-ranked reliever on ESPN, and is someone who should be owned in all leagues.
Jean Segura: The 2013 All-Star was traded to the Diamondbacks last season after back-to-back poor seasons. Segura has batted just .252/.285/.331 since 2014, but could benefit from a change of scenery. He is ranked 224th on Yahoo and 158th overall on ESPN. He should not be started in any format with less than twelve teams, but is a solid bench option with a big upside in deeper leagues.
Paul Goldschmidt: Okay. Maybe Paul Goldschmidt is not much of a sleeper. But if you are in a rotisserie or head-to-head categories league, Goldschmidt is the best overall player. He boasts elite numbers in the runs (103), batting average (.321) home runs (33) and RBI (110) categories. He can also steal the occasional base– he had a career-high 21 steals last year and has had at least 15 steals in each of his three full seasons. Goldschmidt is ranked second to Mike Trout on both Yahoo and ESPN, but Goldschmidt had a higher batting average, more RBI, more steals and just one less run scored than Trout did last season. I’m going with Goldschmidt (although Trout isn’t exactly a bad option either).