There’s going to be guys who are sleepers for friends and family leagues and there will be sleepers for deep leagues, and there might be sleepers for both. Imagine Nelson Velazquez won’t fall into the Both category. He feels to me like a guy who will get a lot of helium in those “We’re Smart” leagues. They’re not actually “Smart” leagues, but if you play in a deep league, you think you’re smart. I’ve said many times that I think shallow leagues are just as hard. Or just a shard if glass is reading. In shallow leagues, it’s a nonstop debate if a guy is producing enough, even if they’re supposed to be great down the road. In “smart” leagues, you usually can’t do anything after your draft that makes much of a difference. That doesn’t make things smarter. With that said, I think Nelson Velazquez will be appreciated readily in “smart” leagues but shouldn’t only be in “smart” leagues. This guy is a dumb league guy too! Wait until you hear what he did last year (at the age of 24!), you’re gonna blow your freakin’ lid, smarties and dummies alike! In Triple-A and the majors combined, he hit 33 homers, stole seven bags and, holy schnike balls, I see why those smarties are in on this guy. Let’s see if we can convince the dummies! So, what can we expect from Nelson Velazquez for 2024 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

PSYCHE! I began to roll out my 2024 fantasy baseball rankings on the Patreon. Don’t wait for the rankings to come out next month. Anyway II, the Nelson Velazquez sleeper:

In 32 games, as an 18-year-old in Rookie Ball, Nelson Velazquez hit eight homers and stole five bags. In 109 at-bats! As an 18-year-old! I get it, it was Rookie Ball. But I bring it up because I want to impress on you that this whole power/speed thing wasn’t some super random thing this past year. He doesn’t have blazing speed. He actually stole zero bags in the majors, which was why I combined his Triple-A stats with his MLB ones in the opening, and why I went back to Rookie Ball. He has five career MLB steals in 130 games (347 ABs). Not sure he can get to 20+steals in the majors in one year (though, with the rules changes, I guess anything’s possible), but a full year in the majors and 10-12 steals feels doable. Realistically, 5-7 steals.

His batted ball profile is fly ball over fly ball over fly ball. His Launch Angle is 14.4, and, honestly, I looked at his fly ball rate (47.3%) first, and thought his Launch Angle was going to be even more absurd. He hits the ball into the air. Since he hits the ball 400+ feet, that’s prolly not a bad thing. Think it’s important to expose some of you to how the ball flies off his bat:

That reminds me of Adolis Garcia. Power doesn’t get much easier. One more because I love this stroke of his:

The opposite way like that? C’mon. He also reminds me of Jorge Soler. That’s Marcell Ozuna too. How is that guy going as late as 300 overall? If he qualified, he would’ve been 20th in the league for wOBA. There’s no duds in the top 20 of wOBA. Is it the contact? His K% was 31.6% as a 23-year-old rookie, then came back last year and was 28.5% at 24. If he can get that down to 26.2% then that’s the same as Soler the year he hit 48 homers for the Royals, when he hit .265, at 27 years of age, after having a high of 12 homers in the majors. Guys get better. Nelson Velazquez gets better and he’s going to be a top 10 outfielder. Going around 300th overall! Why? His xSLG was .579. That would’ve been 8th in the league if he qualified, between Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. In front of Matt Olson, just after Corey Seager. Nelson Velazquez is a stud. He had 49.1% Hard%. If he qualified that’s about the same as Tatis. His Barrel% was 21.4! Judge would’ve been the only one better. And Ohtani would’ve been behind him. If you’re sleeping on Nelson Velazquez, you better have a valid excuse like your wife kicked you out of the house. For 2024 fantasy, I’ll give Nelson Velazquez projections of 71/31/83/.244/6 in 519 ABs with a chance for more.