Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies
Rodgers has battled injuries in the past, but he’s a former top-three pick who hit .350 during his final year in Triple-A. Slated to hit second in the Rockies lineup, Rodgers is especially interesting because he calls Coors Field home. Coincidentally, he hit far better on the road last season (.873 OPS) while failing to take advantage of MLB’s best hitter’s park (.723 OPS at home).
Nonetheless, Coors Field has increased run scoring by 34 percent over the last three seasons; Great American Ballpark is second over that span at 16%. Rodgers is 2B/SS eligible, just entering his prime and hitting in paradise, yet he’s going after Round 20 in Yahoo leagues.
Torres is coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons but is two years removed from slugging 38 homers over 144 games as a 22-year-old. And while he failed to meet expectations last year, Torres still managed 23 homers/steals in 127 games while hitting 15 points higher than the league’s collective batting average. Torres is still just 25 years old and should benefit from a full-time move to second base (while 2B/SS eligible in fantasy).
Last year in the NFBC Main Event, Torres had an ADP of 58. His current Yahoo ADP sits at 175+ (and likely sinking further with the Yankees' recent additions to their infield). He’s starting to look like a real bargain.
Madrigal was a former top-five pick with excellent bat control who could quickly find himself hitting atop the Cubs’ lineup. Of course, Madrigal hasn’t provided much power/speed in the majors, but he stole 35 bases during his last stint in the minors. Moreover, his career .317 MLB batting average is quite an outlier during a time in which the league hit .244 last season. Madrigal is a deeper sleeper for those searching for cheap speed and BA help.
Cesar Hernandez, Washington Nationals
Hernandez has traded steals for power, as he hit a career-high 21 homers at age 31 last season. He remains awfully cheap in drafts for a second baseman who just slugged 20+ homers and recorded 80+ RBI, especially one now slated to hit leadoff:
Hernandez had 18 homers over just 374 ABs before struggling after the trade to Chicago last season, but he should be locked in as Washington’s starting second baseman in 2022. Nationals Park also typically boosts power.
Vidal Brujan, Tampa Bay Rays
Brujan enters the year without a clear spot in Tampa Bay’s Opening Day lineup and coming off a season in which he was MLB’s worst hitter (-63 wRC+). But that came in an incredibly tiny (and meaningless) sample (26 ABs), and the speedster stole 44 bases (with 12 homers) over 389 ABs in Triple-A (including 29 SBs after getting sent back down on 7/22). With stolen bases decreasing league-wide and becoming more of a premium in fantasy baseball, Brujan is a sleeper.
THE BAT X projects 18 homers/steals in fewer than 250 ABs (and a 100 wRC+), while ZiPS is projecting 38 steals for Brujan, who’s often undrafted in Yahoo leagues.