Sleepers do not have to lose their meaning after your draft is done and the season has begun. Everyone hunts the waiver wire to find that replacement for an early injury or a late round pick that has you frustrated. A pre-draft sleeper may still be hanging around to be picked up, or a player’s early performance could peak your interest. These posts will reveal those players that are hanging without a team that you’ll want to grab before anyone else notices.

Matt Boyd was a pitcher on shortlist of players I considered writing about prior to the start of the season. Mostly going undrafted, Boyd stood out as a potential deep sleeper as he’s been gradually starting more games over the last few seasons. Many managers will not find his 5+ ERA or his being a Tiger enticing. He doesn’t have a sexy K or BB rate either. Despite those concerns, Boyd may have been one of the unluckiest pitchers last season. He’s only started two games so far this season, but so far he looks to be building off of last year’s basics…

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The season is now just days away… We all have either drafted or are just about to and Spring training positional battles are in their death blows as expected starters have gone down with injuries throughout. Certain players we were excited about are now sitting in one of those DL spots, and we need to find those few players that everyone overlooked during the draft, some that could be nabbed off the waiver wire in a few weeks. I found a handful of players that fit the bill, all of which Grey ranked in the late 200’s or much later. Give these guys a look and consider adding them to fill up those new empty spots before the rest of your league catches on!

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When trying to determine overlooked players for the upcoming season I always take a peek back in time. Last year’s sleepers can be a good start. They may not necessarily be the classically coined “post-hype sleeper” but players that were intriguing going in to last year and did fine. They can easily slip right in line again especially if they are young. Twins’ outfielder Max Kepler fits the bill. Still 25, now entering his third season in the majors, Kepler has established himself as a pretty okay player. Coming into 2017, many expected some sort of breakout. Unfortunately, his production in 2017 mimicked 2016 a little too closely. But why can’t 2018 be the year we all wanted 2017 to be for Kepler?

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I spent a good amount of time swimming through all of the hitter rankings and just had the opportunity to dive into the vast pool that is Grey’s starting pitching rankings. Sifting through this list is much more difficult due to volume. Number 30 on this list is much more impactful than number 30 on the 3B list. As I scrolled through to find a surprise Grey wasn’t too hot on, I mostly saw players he’s a tad bullish on. Trevor Bauer in the top 20, Ohtani at 21, those definitely piqued my interest. A few more in the top 30 like Luke Weaver, Kevin Gausman, and Drew Pomeranz had me thinking too. I also like these guys, but maybe not enough to push them up there. This is where I stumbled across the topic of this article, a player I felt should outperform all those mentioned above, Gerrit Cole.

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We all have “what ifs” in our lives. What if I was a few inches taller? You’d probably be writing about me right now, explaining why Grey has me outside the top 80 starting pitchers for this year. What if any other team drafted Mike Trout in that first round? He may have actually won a playoff game. These “what if” moments don’t come with second chances. They are a moment in time that cannot be changed. Some people are still in their “what if” moment trying to ensure that they come out on the right side of history.

The 2018 season might be Greg Bird’s third chance. First, he came up in August of 2015 and had a promising premier. In 2016, Bird missed the whole season recovering from right labrum surgery. Second, in 2017, he was back; another chance to start his career. After a month of misery the Yankees decided to put him down. Actually, he just bruised his right ankle. That’s nothing to worry about. He’ll take a few weeks off and be right back. Bird missed all of May, June, July and most of August before returning in September. Bird can’t seem to stay on the field due to injuries major and minor. However, in 2018 Bird is ready to take on his dreaded “what if.” A young highly touted prospect succumbing to injury after injury is a classic tale of sports tragedy, but Bird is ready to break out of his cage.

Evaluating Bird is a bit more difficult than the other players I have looked into already, since he has little play experience. He had a short stint as a rookie in 2015, but that was so long ago and before missing an entire season due to injury. The start of 2017 was similar. It was only a few games and the first few after missing a whole season. I would like to dig into just his return in 2017 and into the playoffs as that has been his most recent and consistent play time. It should be the most representative of future impact.

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I want you to take some deep breaths and clear your mind. Now, I want you to fill in that blank space with the MLB’s most boring baseball player. He’s a bit older, has been in the league a while but hasn’t done anything too notable. He’s more than likely a utility infielder that doesn’t have great speed. He hits reasonably well but can’t get past 20 home runs and can’t hit too close enough to .300. Nothing terrible though. He holds his own. He definitely doesn’t play for a contender, the A’s perhaps. His name doesn’t stand out nor does his number. He’s no Rougned Odor. In your mind’s eye, you have conjured Jed Lowrie, the MLB’s most boring baseball player.

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Ranking catchers is dumb. There are four or so that matter and then the rest are practically the same. Seriously, there are only four catchers from last year that met the minimum plate appearances to qualify compared to 2016’s eight and 2015 and 2014’s nine. Plate appearances matter in fantasy. You need your players to play often. Get a good catcher that plays regularly and puts up solid stats. You can slot him in and forget until you make the playoffs. After those guys though it’s the Wild West. Take the Dodgers. Yasmani Grandal had 482 PAs last year and had another solid year behind the plate. However, he’s a catcher, can’t DH and has a teammate named Austin Barnes. Barnes would play mostly against lefties but began taking more and more games away from Grandal. They both hit well overall last year, and as it stands now, they could easily split playtime. That isn’t a good sign for either player. The same goes for most other catchers too. They don’t play every day except for the select few. However, there is one that could, and his name is Evan Gattis.

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When the MLB started juicing the balls back in 2015 there were a few players we all expected to not reap any benefits. Elvis Andrus was on most everyone’s list. But those juiced balls found their way. Bartolo Colon even hit a homer! In 2016, Andrus produced a line consistent with his career averages, yet the following year he became the next member of the 20/20 club. 20 home runs! Andrus never had a season with more than 8, and that high mark was the year before. In 2014, he only hit 2 in 157 games. Most people, like Grey, should look at that inflated number questionably. However, Andrus, just like many other players recently, decided to hit for more power. You’re telling me a player that hit 2 home runs 3 years ago can just decide to be a 20 home run hitter? Yes I am, and yes they can.

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