My methodology is to look at age, pedigree, performance and career progression over the last few seasons with any significant improvement in 07 (emphasis in second half). My definition of a sleeper is a player/pitcher who drastically outperforms his draft position or cost. While it is still very early and I do not have enough data to determine where these guys will go in the draft, I thought it would be fun to start discussing.
Scott Kazmir - TB tweaked his mechanics in the first half. You should focus on 06 and second half 07. Still a slight injury risk but expect a Cy contender this year especially if TB is able to field a better team.
Matt Cain - 07 numbers make him look much worse than he actually was due to his horrendous teammates. Turned it up in the second half and with a little luck, should easily be a top 20 pitcher with a potential to be top 10.
Phil Hughes - devastating leg injury affectively killed his season while pitching a no-hitter in Texas. Former top prospect in baseball, his season was overshadowed by other rookie phenoms namely Lincecum, Gallardo, Dicek, Joba, Buchholz, etc. His status hasn't changed but his perceived value should be significantly lower than that compared to 2007 breakout pitchers.
Dustin McGowan - I contemplated on leaving him off but his upside is too high not to. Armed with absolutely filthy off speed pitches and a 95+ heater, this former top prospect has been under the radar due to injuries and inability to locate his pitches. Something clicked Post ASB and he finished the season with a bang. He could end up being everyone's favorite sleeper so he may no longer qualify by draft time so be careful not to overpay.
Kevin Kouzmanoff - was abysmal in pre ASB but turned it around completely. .317/.366/.524 post ASB is much more in line with his MiLB numbers and suggests what he is capable of going forward. Petco is still a pitcher's park but it isn't as bad for right handed hitters. 3B is a deep position so he should be available later in the draft.
Adam Jones - absolutely broke out as a 21 yo at AAA in 07. Remains to be seen if he gets a chance to play or not but his power is real and he should continue to grow under the right circumstances. Playing time is key.
Matt Kemp - wasting away on the Dodgers bench, he is by far the most talented OF on the team (including Andrew Jones). Again being held back by Dodgers management, playing time is key for this rising star. 30-30 candidate if given a chance.
Stephen Drew - his 07 numbers are not impressive on the surface. However, 100/60 K/BB is pretty impressive for a 24 yo in his first full MLB season. Park and the young exciting lineup are in his favor. His amateur and MiLB numbers are very impressive. Should turn some of those 28 2B into HRs in 2008.
Josh Fields - you can pick this guy apart when looking at his stats. He Ks too much and doesn't make good contact. But if you are looking for cheap power, then this is the guy to have off your bench. His playing time is questionable with a crowded OF and Crede blocking him at 3B. In a full season, you can chalk up 30 HR. He did display some speed in the minors but hasn't shown this ability yet in the big leagues.
Lastings Milledge - former top 10 prospect in all of baseball. Has amazing tools and showed some promise with limited playing time. With a starting role and some seasoning, expect him to be a good power/speed guy off the bench but will still go through some growing pains.
Wily Mo Pena - hard to believe this kid is still only 26 going into 07. Again, limited with playing time in his career, he finally has a chance to show what he can do with a full time gig. He put up an impressive .293/.352/.504 after the trade to the Nats. In a more hitter friendly Nationals Park, expect more of the same from this young slugger.
Daric Barton - most people like this kid but not fantasy owners due to the lack of power he displayed in his young career. He won't hit 40 HRs but based on his brief MLB stint, I think he has a real shot at 20 as soon as 2008 based on the fact that he hit 47 2B and 13 HR between AAA/MLB in 2007. He is a near lock perennial .300 hitter with some power potential. If he can turn some of those 2B into HRs.
Zach Greinke - no I never joined the fan club but he did spend quite some time on my roster both at the beginning and at the end of the season. This junk baller was very impressive both during and after his bullpen stint, upping his velocity to upper 90s. He still figures to go through some growing pains but is only 24 in 2008 so you can still expect him to make a dramatic turn around one of these days.
"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." ~George Carlin