Fantasy Baseball: Five key sleeper first basemen to target late in drafts
To help with your fantasy baseball draft prep, Dalton Del Don will examine potential draft bargains at each position. His catcher sleepers are here. First base is up next.
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Spencer Torkelson, Detroit Tigers
Torkelson was the first pick in the 2020 draft after a prolific three years at Arizona State as college baseball’s best hitter. His bat looks ready after a successful first season across the minors last year (30 homers over 431 ABs), and he’s expected to be fully recovered from an ankle injury that cut short his stint in the AFL. Torkelson’s ADP currently sits in Round 20 in Yahoo leagues; Steamer is projecting 29 homers and 77 RBI over just 130 games (with a 129 wRC+ for the rookie).
The fact Torkelson is also 3B eligible makes him even more enticing in fantasy leagues, where he’s looking like quite the sleeper.
Rowdy Tellez, Milwaukee Brewers
After struggling while dealing with inconsistent playing time in Toronto (62 wRC+), Tellez hit far better (112 wRC+) after getting traded to the Brewers. His average exit velocity last season would’ve ranked top-20 had he qualified, and Tellez will benefit from the universal DH. He doesn’t have big splits throughout his career; in fact, Tellez’s batting average is 23 points higher versus left-handers. Available after Round 20 in Yahoo leagues, Tellez is a sleeper who’s just entering his prime at 26 years old and slated to hit in the middle of Milwaukee’s lineup.
Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins
Sano is admittedly a batting average risk, but he hit .250/.343/.504 after the All-Star break last season, including 15 homers over 240 at-bats. He also sported the lowest K percentage of his career while ranking in the top 3% of the league in Barrel%, average exit velocity and max exit velocity; he was also in the top 1% in Hard Hit%. Finally settled in at first base, Sano is a dark horse to win the home run title, yet his Yahoo ADP is just barely inside 250.
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Jesus Aguilar, Miami Marlins
Aguilar had a wild stat line last season, recording 93 RBI while scoring just 49 runs; either way, it was very helpful to fantasy managers in fewer than 450 at-bats. He’ll likely never return to being the star hitter he was in 2018 (35 homers, 108 RBI, 135 wRC+), especially while calling home to Miami’s pitcher-friendly park. But Aguilar should continue to be plenty productive while hitting cleanup for the Marlins, so let him fly under the fantasy radar while you scoop up 25 homers and 100 RBI around pick #250.
Triston Casas, Boston Red Sox
Casas is a deep sleeper ticketed to open the season in the minors, but he’s one of the game’s better-hitting prospects with good power potential. Boston’s projected starter at first base is Bobby Dalbec, whose 34.4 K% would’ve been the second-highest mark in the league last season if he qualified. Dalbec’s plate discipline improved over the second half, but he still finished with a bottom-20 BB% to go along with the near league-worst K rate. It wouldn’t be a shock if Casas quickly took over as the Red Sox’s first baseman.