Every year in the deep recesses of drafts, an overlooked leviathan, or three, emerges from the darkness to carry owners to the Promised Land. Last year, Michael Morse, Ian Kennedy and Michael Pineda fit the definition. This season isn't lacking in similar candidates. Below are eight true Rip Van Winkles that could catapult your fantasy baseball team to great heights in 2012:
Francisco Liriano, Min, SP
Y! ADP (12-team round): 243.8
Y! AAV ($260 budget): $1.7
For owners who paid an exorbitant price a season ago, Fransucko awarded them with a giant, smelly pile of insufferable numbers. His five-plus ERA and blue whale-sized WHIP cost many Liriano loyalists plenty of roto points. Appropriately, his stock plummeted. However, the southpaw appears to have rediscovered his mojo this spring. Over the past few weeks, Twins management has toyed with his mechanics and emphasized efficiency in order to work its once prized ace later into games. So far, so damn good. Healthy again and brimming with confidence, Liriano's slider looks restored, again mystifying batters like it did when he whiffed 201 two years ago. Through 22 Grapefruit innings, he's struck out 26 while walking a mere four. If he can carry over that success into the regular season, he's a shoo-in for Comeback Player of the Year, and a mighty fine SP3 diamond-in-the-rough in mixers. Adios Mr. Hyde.
Fearless Forecast: 181.1 IP, 13 W, 3.87 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 198 K