Sleepers fall into a few categories. Guys who disappointed last year who could bounce back; players who have a solid pedigree who just haven’t broken out yet, and the ones that have broken out who no one trusts to repeat. The last group is usually the least interesting. You’ve presumably seen their best. Seems like the only mystery there is is their (palindromic stutterer!) downside. It’s prolly why 50% of marriages end in divorce. The first category of those that could bounce back are the relationships where you’ve broken up a dozen times, walked in on your ex while she was sniffing Ambien off some guy’s chest named Bob and Bob is hung like Bojack Horseman. But, ya know what, you’re gonna give her one more chance to bounce back to some of those fun times you had eighteen months ago. The 2nd group is the rando you met at the bar who was doing shots of Tito’s, who seems like she’s gonna be so much fun, but you really don’t know why her and her friends keep calling you, “Door Number Three.” The third group is the one you’ve had fun with it, you don’t see anything wrong with it, but there’s gotta be some downside so you’re going back to the “Bob boffer” or being “Door Number Three.” It never occurs to you that maybe a solid, safe bet who you already had fun with is worth just sticking with. The third group is where Paul DeJong resides. Last year, he had 25 HRs and hit .285 in only 417 ABs. Okay, but how about the “Bob boffer?” So, what can we expect from Paul DeJong for 2018 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
Boring isn’t bad is the biggest takeaway from the Paul DeJong sleeper. A straight repeat of last year gives Paul DeJong 25 HRs and a .260 average (because his BABIP was high; we’ll get to that). If he had a full season last year with 25 HRs and .260, he would’ve had 75 runs and 80 RBIs. Give or take, probably, or thereabouts. The preceding sentence contained three hedges in six words, can you spot them? 75 runs and 80 RBIs would’ve gave DeJong nearly identical stats to The Gregorius D.I.D. On our Player Rater, Didi ranked ninth for shortstops. So, Paul DeJong would’ve been a top ten shortstop in his rookie year, assuming he didn’t hit one more home run in 70 more at-bats (Didi missed time too). It’s also assuming DeJong wouldn’t have hit one more home run or had more runs or RBIs, if he would’ve had 150 more at-bats (a full season). None of this is even mentioning his speed. No, he’s not a burner, but he did have 13 steals one year in the minors, and seems closer to a three-to-five steal guy than a zero-to-one steal guy. There’s little to pass on with DeJong or for Grey to poop on, but can he be Colonel Mustard? He hit 16 HRs in only 289 post-All-Star Break at-bats, but he did hit a bunch of ‘Just Enough’ homers. I’m not confident in saying he’s going to hit a ton more homers with an extra 150 ABs in 2018. He did hit 13 homers in only 48 Triple-A games, so he does elevate the ball, and gets to his power. My guess is his strikeout rate (28% last year) will come down a little, he’ll hit for a little less BABIP, and his 20% HR/FB% will come down a hair. Which makes him a push-push-push in the Busch. So, is his last year repeated good enough for you or do you want a Bob boffer? Play it smart and go for last year again. For 2018, I’ll give Paul DeJong the projections of 74/26/82/.267/3 in 561 ABs.