Cactus League update: Finding fantasy sleepers

Mat Gamel could raise some eyebrows for the Milwaukee Brewers now that Prince Fielder is gone. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Spring training is under way! What better time to snuff out potential fantasy baseball sleepers. Unless you are a walking baseball encyclopedia, there are some names you may or may not have heard that could impact this season. I have been scouring the Internet, taking in as much as I can to give you some of the players raising eyebrows in their respective camps. Some of these guys could break the roster, some could be June call-ups, while others may be just guys you may have written off as fantasy trash that may, in turn, surprise you with a big season.

So, let’s dive in!

Erasmo Ramirez — If you were wondering why the Mariners traded Michael Pineda, this guy is one of the reasons. He is one of four minor-league pitching prospects who could have a major impact sooner rather than later. In his Cactus League debut, Ramirez threw three shutout innings, which has him in position to possibly secure a starting spot in the rotation. Last year in triple-A, he sported a 5.32 ERA, 3.84 FIP, .362 BABIP, 7.44 K/9 and a 2.76 BB/9.

Nick Hundley — This was a guy who had some “sleeper” status last year, and he is doing the same this season. He is hitting .467 thus far and could be a steal in drafts if he continues. While his Cactus League numbers jump out, his 82-game stint in the majors does not. His K% was 24% and his BABIP was .362. The stat that stood out for me was his ISO (.189). I am not ready to buy this guy, but he should catch your eye as a possible catcher sleeper.

Matt Moore — I really love Moore. I keep on reading how he is going too high in drafts and is overrated … those guys are idiots. From the absolute highest projections I have seen, we are talking about a 1.29 WHIP and a 3.95 ERA with at least 150 strikeouts, and that was at the absolute worse. So far, he has been really impressive in spring training.

Mike Minor — On one hand, I really hate that Minor has quietly demanded a trade if he does not make the rotation. I hate whiny bitches; it’s just a rule I have. On the other hand, he has been dominate in spring training and should be a part of the starting rotation. He is quickly becoming a guy I want to target in my drafts. I broke his advanced stats down a little more in this previous article.

Mat Gamel — No Prince Fielder? No problem. This post-hype prospect has rededicated himself to becoming the star we have seen he could be. His minor-league numbers project this guy to be an absolute stud. He has definitely shown flashes thus far; I for one am keeping an eye on this guy throughout spring training.

Chris Tillman — A lot of good reports are coming out about this guy in spring training. His velocity is up 5-7 MPH, his delivery has become more consistent, and he is in the best shape of his life. In his last outing, he threw three scoreless innings. His BABIP (.348) and xFIP (4.83) point to a pitcher who was a bit unlucky last season; however, his K/9 (6.68) needs to be higher, and it should with the increase in velocity.

Danny Duffy — Another pitcher I liked coming into the season is having a very good spring outing. In two perfect innings against the Reds, Duffy struck out five batters in a row. I broke his advanced stats down on my $1 pitcher All-Star team article.

Trevor Bauer — Another guy I love coming up the farm system very quickly is Bauer. I even drafted him in my minor-league draft. He was very impressive in his spring debut, striking out four and grounding out the other two in two innings of work. There is some speculation he may be slated for the bullpen this season, which would kill his fantasy value for this year, but keep an eye out for this guy.

Chris Withrow — This guy could be up sooner than expected this season. He was dominate in his spring outing and could be a midseason call up. He possesses a decent K/9 (7.13), but command is an issue (5.25 BB/9). Definitely keep him tucked away on your radar though.

J.P. Arencibia — This guy has very good power for a catcher and he is trying to improve it this year. He has modified his swing, and it has been paying dividends thus far in the Cactus League. He was one of my $1 All-Stars.

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