One way to find a good sleeper is to find a good player on a bad team and compare him to a player of equal caliber on a good team. Very likely the player on the lesser team will be drafted much later. The funny thing about one player who fits into this category is that his numbers are almost identical to a certain Rookie of the Year who according to several optimistic projections has a chance to hit 44 homers.
That player is from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and his name is Jonny Gomes. To lead off this sleeper article, I’d like for you to compare some stats:
Player A – 52 R, 22 HR, 63 RBI, 0 SB, .288 AVG in 312 AB
Player B – 61 R, 21 HR, 54 RBI, 9 SB, .282 AVG in 348 AB
Player A is Ryan Howard, who has made the jump from fantasy sleeper to fantasy overrated in just one off-season and is now being drafted above guys like Paul Konerko and Richie Sexson.
Player B is Gomes. In only 30 more AB, he hit just as well, and was maybe even more valuable with his extra SB.
But the real difference here is average draft position. Howard is ranked 41st at Yahoo, and Gomes is 100 spots down the list at 143. Even the Cafe is fooled – in the rankings, Gomes was ranked about the same as Jeff Francouer and Aaron Rowand, while Howard is just a notch below Sexson. In one of the Cafe’s mock drafts, Howard was picked at 59 and Gomes was at 144, being passed over for guys like Rocco Baldelli and Brad Wilkerson (two fine sleepers in their own right, but not as good as Gomes).
Now, this is not a crack against Howard, who will become a great MLB hitter, and probably will hit 35+ jacks with tons of RBIs and suns in the stacked Philly lineup. But because he plays in Tampa Bay, and because of his high strikeouts (luckily for us, not a common fantasy stat), Gomes should be almost as good, and can be had for a Wal-Mart Clearance price.
Grab Johnny Gomes after the tenth round and get some awesome production at a dirt-cheap, bargain-basement price.
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