SleepersMarch 16, 2007


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Sleeper Watch
Building on Bradley

By Matthew Robertson

Milton Bradley finally grew up in 2006. At 29 years old, Bradley’s Albert Belle-like outbursts appear to be a thing of the past. Under the mentorship of Frank Thomas last year, Bradley showed that he could indeed become the player everyone knew he could be.

He hit a healthy .300/.386/.482 with 11 HR, 44 RBIs, and 8 SB after the All-Star break (even with an August where he batted .223/.330/.394). He carried that impressive trend through the postseason and even though he had a weak division series, he was the main weapon in the ALCS. In the league championship, Bradley batted a blistering .500/.500/.944 and was the chief contributor for the A’s during the series against Detroit.

There are a numerous reasons why fantasy owners to pay more attention to Bradley besides his strong second half and postseason performance. One reason to focus more on him would be because Bradley is a pending free agent. Many players perform their best when a payday is possible. The switch hitting Bradley is slated to bat third (prime fantasy slot) in Oakland’s lineup in front of newly acquired Piazza and a healthy Eric Chavez. Mike Kotsay and his bad back will vacate the #2 spot and possibly allow Oakland to insert a better table setter in front of Bradley, which should allow him to see better pitches and thus more RBI opportunities. Accordingly, Bradley will move to centerfield, a position he very much enjoys playing. Also, Bradley has had a fantastic Spring Training. Bradley is currently being drafted as the 55th outfielder on average. A player such as Coco Crisp is routinely being taken 20 spots higher in most drafts. Bradley is a player that will help in every offensive category and could be a steal. While he likely will not catapult your fantasy team into immediate contention by his lonesome, Bradley has 25/25 talent and is capable of hitting over .300 with close to 100 RBIs. Predicting a career year in 2007 for this talented outfielder who has the tools and motivation is a solid bet.

 

 
Matthew Robertson is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Matthew in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Havok1517.
 
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