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2023 Fantasy Baseball: Hitting sleepers being overlooked in drafts

Your definition of fantasy baseball sleeper might vary, but the following list of hitters contains undervalued options when compared to ADP.

For even more overlooked players, check out Dalton Del Don's list of 30 sleepers, one for each MLB team.

Milwaukee Brewers: Jesse Winker

Jesse Winker headshot
Jesse Winker
LF - WAS - #6
2022 - false season
456
AB
.219
AVG
14
HR
0
SB
.688
OPS

Winker dealt with injuries as well, but he might be 2022’s best example of how switching home parks can destroy a hitter’s fantasy value. After being dealt to Seattle, he finished with 10 fewer homers than his previous season in Cincinnati despite playing 25-plus more games and significantly increasing his fly ball rate. Winker’s HR/FB% went from 20.7% in GAB to 9.7% last season. He deserves a fantasy boost now that he'll once again be hitting in an extremely friendly park for homers.

Tampa Bay Rays: Josh Lowe

Josh Lowe headshot
Josh Lowe
RF - TB - #15
2022 - false season
181
AB
.221
AVG
2
HR
3
SB
.627
OPS

Lowe was one of the bigger waiver-wire busts last season, wasting a bunch of FAB with an ugly .221/.284/.343 line and a 33.3 K%. But this is a former first-round pick who recorded a 151 wRC+ last season in Triple-A, where he also hit 36 homers and stolen 51 bases the past two years (705 ABs). Tampa Bay didn’t add anyone after losing left fielder David Peralta during the offseason and has a spot in the lineup for Lowe if he’s ready to finally hit major-league pitching. His K rate will always carry batting average risk, but Lowe’s power/speed potential remains highly intriguing in fantasy leagues.

Chicago White Sox: Elvis Andrus

Elvis Andrus headshot
Elvis Andrus
SS - ARI - #18
2022 - false season
535
AB
.249
AVG
17
HR
18
SB
.707
OPS

Andrus was quietly one of only 21 players who went 15/15 last season. He accomplished it while playing most of the season in one of baseball’s best pitcher’s parks in Oakland before moving to Chicago. In fact, Andrus hit more home runs for the White Sox than he did the A’s last season, despite just 33% of his at-bats coming with Chicago.

Andrus is 34 years old and clearly will regress in 2023, but if we prorate his stats with the White Sox over 600 ABs, we’d get: .271-83-30-93-36 (no one went 30/30 last season). Andrus re-signed in Chicago, which has increased homers by 22% for RHB the past three years. He isn’t being drafted as a top-35 shortstop in Yahoo leagues.

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Cincinnati Reds: TJ Friedl

TJ Friedl headshot
TJ Friedl
CF - CIN - #29
2022 - false season
225
AB
.240
AVG
8
HR
7
SB
.750
OPS

THE BAT X projects Friedl for 15/10 in fewer than 425 ABs and a wRC+ (104) higher than Riley Greene, Jake McCarthy and Oscar Gonzalez, among others being drafted far higher in fantasy leagues (including teammate Jake Fraley, with a 98 wRC+ and an ADP 50+ spots higher).

Great American Ballpark has increased home runs for left-handed batters by a staggering (and MLB-high) 63% the past three seasons.

Cleveland Guardians: Josh Naylor

Josh Naylor headshot
Josh Naylor
1B - CLE - #22
2022 - false season
449
AB
.256
AVG
20
HR
6
SB
.771
OPS

Detroit Tigers: Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows headshot
Austin Meadows
LF - DET - #17
2022 - false season
128
AB
.250
AVG
0
HR
0
SB
.675
OPS

Meadows has averaged 30 homers, 81 runs scored and 98 RBIs during odd-number years throughout his career, so numerologists should expect a big 2023 bounce-back after he hit zero homers last season.

In all seriousness, Meadows is reportedly down 15 pounds and fully recovered from last year’s injuries and off-field issues. He’s also slated to hit cleanup, is still just 27 years old and should benefit from Comerica Park changing its dimensions in the offseason; Detroit decreased HR for LHB an MLB-high 39% the past three seasons but should be more hitter-friendly after moving in the CF/RF fences.

Los Angeles Angels: Jared Walsh

Jared Walsh headshot
Jared Walsh
1B - CWS - #21
2022 - false season
423
AB
.215
AVG
15
HR
2
SB
.642
OPS

Walsh might be the cheapest source of 30 homers now that he’s back healthy and playing in one of baseball’s best parks for lefty power. Angel Stadium has boosted home runs for left-handed batters a whopping 32% the past three seasons.

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San Diego Padres: Ha-Seong Kim

Ha-Seong Kim headshot
Ha-Seong Kim
SS - SD - #7
2022 - false season
517
AB
.251
AVG
11
HR
12
SB
.708
OPS

Kim posted a lowly 70 wRC+ in his first season in the majors but bounced back (105 wRC+) last year while providing terrific defense. He’ll be San Diego’s starting second baseman with Jake Cronenworth moving to first, and Kim might be the cheapest fantasy middle infielder (who’s also 3B-eligible) capable of posting a 15/15 season.

Seattle Mariners: Kolten Wong

Kolten Wong headshot
Kolten Wong
2B - BAL - #16
2022 - false season
430
AB
.251
AVG
15
HR
17
SB
.770
OPS

Wong is barely going in the top 250 picks of fantasy drafts despite being one of only eight middle infielders who went 15/15 last season. It’s a downgrade in home parks to be sure, but Wong is in a nice role slated to hit leadoff ahead of Julio Rodríguez.

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