In the second installment of the grading process, it’s helpful to look at those sleepers I, Albert Lang, just nearly missed on – basically guys who were a push. These are players who were almost successful sleepers picks but walked too many, gave up too many HRs or just swung and missed a ton.
Dan Uggla – This is the most miraculous push in the history of the world. After Uggla’s horrendous start to the season, he rebounded to bat .234 but with 35 HRs.
Jimmy Rollins – Consensus had Rollins as a top 5 option. Rollins is 6th at the position. However a bigger pre-draft split was where he should fall overall. I thought Rollins could push 15-20 HRs and 25-30 SBs, but rest on the low end of each. He had 14 HRs and 28 SBs. We also saw his average stay below .275. If you drafted Rollins in the top 50, you are probably somewhat disappointed.
Colby Rasmus – Rasmus was a tricky player to write about all year. I liked him, but the hype was a little ridiculous. While I would rather have Nick Swisher, I thought Rasmus was capable of hitting .260 with 20-25 HRs and 15 SBs. Petty squabbles in St. Louis and poor health have Rasmus at 14 HRs, five steals and a .235 average. I was clearly wrong on my projection.
Jason Bartlett – I thought Bartlett could get back to batting .275 (didn’t happen: .251), but I also thought he was a good bet to reach 20 – 30 SBs (he has 23). It’s a wash, but with how bad the SS position has been, he’s been a useful figure in 2011.
Nick Swisher – God it is disgusting how dirty good Brian Cashman is – he absolutely stole Swisher from Kenny Williams. Still, the entire fantasy community also seems to sleep on Swish, as he was the 33rd consensus OF. Well, he is the 31st OF, so they were closer in terms of ranking.
Gio Gonzalez – I had Gonzalez as the 42nd best SP, consensus put him around 49, and he will end up about 46th overall. So maybe I overvalued him…or maybe not. I predicted a 4.00 ERA and 1.35 WHIP with 200 Ks. Right now, he has bested my ERA prediction (3.41 ERA) and come very close to meeting my WHIP prediction (1.37 WHIP). He has 177 Ks, so he’ll likely fall a tad short of 200.
Will Venable – While, technically, I had Venable ranked higher than most people, I still warned against the hype I saw building. Specifically, I said that his ceiling of a .320 OBP and the amount of balls he swings at out of the zone wouldn’t get him anywhere near the 30 steals he approached last season. Well, he currently sits at 26 – whoops. I did add in the caveat that we could see some weird things with the Padres this year, i.e., that in the absence of any real offense, their players would be running silly and that could artificially buoy Venable’s SB number. So, I was sort of correct in my Venable assessment.
Mark Reynolds – It’s so weird to be wrong about a known commodity. I had Reynolds buried on the draft board (22nd 3b), whereas consensus had him a bit higher. I believed he was a .240 hitter with 35 HRs and 10 SBs. He has actually batted worse (.222) and has 36 HRs and just 6 SBs, but has come in as the 6th best 3b for the year. What a dreadful position.
Edwin Jackson – Partly because he was born in Germany, partly because I believed in the Chicago White Sox pitching coaches, I thought Jackson would have a nice year. I expected an ERA in the 4.25-4.50 range with 170 Ks. He has fallen short of the Ks (he has just 146) but his ERA has been a nice surprise (3.85). Sure the WHIP is miserable, but he wasn’t that bad of a pitcher.
Chris Iannetta – I had Iannetta as a sleeper for the millionth year in a row, expecting a .250 hitter with 15 HRs (with upside as well). Well, Iannetta has batted just .236 this year but does have 13 HRs. He hasn’t helped at all down the stretch though and has really sputtered out. It would be nice if he batted anything other than eighth, but you have to play the cards you’re dealt.