James Loney for 25 HR's? When? Maybe he will have 1 career year in which he hits 25 HR's, maybe. He's a groundball/LD hitter. Not a good combo for hitting HR's. He his a whopping 13 HR's in 595 AB's last year. He's never displayed much HR potential in the minors, and he plays in the NL West with monster ballparks such as AT&T and PETCO. Loney has been compared in the past by some scouting sites as a John Olerud type due to his smooth line drive doubles swing, so I again ask, how can anyone project him as a 25 HR type hitter?
On the flip side, I would say Sandoval's value will be tied to him catching, not playing 3B. Very few people will be drafting him to exclusively play 3B, though his versatility is nice. Pablo Sandoval will hit over 20 HR's in the near future. AT&T park certainly will make his ceiling about 25 HR's, but unlike Loney, Sandoval has displayed some power potential. Last year while playing AA for Connecticut, a team with a spacious and pitcher friendly ballpark, Sandoval hit 8 HR's and 13 doubles in 175 AB's. He also hit 3 HR's and 10 doubles in 145 Major League at bats while being moved all over the diamond, and making the leap from 175 AA at bats to the Majors. That's a total of 11 HR's and 23 in 320 AB's. Not bad for a 21 year old (he'll be coming into the season age 22 while Loney will be coming into the season at the age of 24 for anyone wondering). Loney's high water mark for HR's in AA was 9 in 500 AB's. He has no more then 16 HR's in a season, and has done nothing to shed the label of a line drive doubles and average type hitter. I appologize for digressing, but the silly statements had to be put to bed.
As far as sleepers, I certainly like the suggestion of Adrian Beltre and Hank Blalock as sleepers. The question surrounding Hank is always health. He's likely a late flyer that could pay mid-high round returns if he can stay healthy. He's got a fantastic lineup around him, and his ballpark is a hitter's haven.
As far as Beltre, he's a steady contributor, who has displayed when motivated he can put up one heck of a fantasy season. He's averaged about 25 HR's and roughly 90 rbi's a season over the last 3 years with about a .270 BA and an XBA the last three year's considerably higher, so the basement isn't too bad. The ceiling, though unlikely to be reproduced, is very high. If I'm not mistaken, this is a contract year for Beltre, and his last contract year was pretty magical (2004: 104 runs 200 hits 48 HR's 121 RBI's 7 SB's and a .334 BA). I certainly don't think he'll match those numbers, and playing in SAFECO with a pathetic lineup doesn't help, but he has set the ceiling rather high, and I will probably aim to get him in most leagues I'm in.
There's not a lot of anything to use for Sandoval, statistically. He spent 3 1/2 years in A ball, 1/2 a year in AA ball, zero games in AAA, and had 145 AB in the majors. Not really enough to conclude anything either way, though B-Chad pulled some good stadium info on his AA team. Imagine a player hitting 8 HR in 175 AB, half of which were in, say, Nationals Park. Could be fluky, like Podsednik's inexplicable 12-HR power burst in '04, or it could be the start of a decent power trend for Sandoval.
Rocinante2: you know Rocinante2: its easy to dismiss the orioles as a bad team ofanrex: go on Rocinante2: i'm done Rocinante2: lmao
Whether we dwell on Loney or not, a sleeper 1st basemen thread could prove useful and should probably be started. If I don't see one on here tomorrow I might start one. I do like James Loney, and will take a look at that article, but the majority of the leagues I'm in also include many more stats then the standard 5x5 league heightening his value.