2023 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: 12 post-hype sleepers, including Riley Greene, Josh Jung and Alex Kirilloff
You know those prospects that you hear about years in advance, the hype builds and builds until they finally reach the big companies… only to crash in their faces? What happens after the air is released from the balloon? They are thrown aside never to be looked at while they are in fact do something.
That’s what this list is for, to remind you of what could have been and what else could be. I would not say that any of these players is my priority sleeper. If they were, they would appear in my Sleepers 1.0. But in a sense they truer sleeping because they don’t rise to the hype anymore.
You still have to consider this “what if” scenario, this chance of a delayed payout, which does happen sometimes. Just look last year’s listwhich included Tony Gonsolin, Jesus Luzardo, Alejandro Kirk, Triston McKenzie and Nate Lowe.
Your draft may end before you have a chance to consider any of these players (well, all but the first one, which is a special case), but they are a great option to bench in deeper leagues. And don’t be surprised if one of them gets high with a big spring.
He’s still the best-known of these players and the unmistakable pick in every league, but the two-time best prospect in baseball has gone from a 3-4 round pick last year to a 7-8 round pick this year. Usually things go the other way. The problem is this: Is Vander Franco hitting the ball hard enough at an average 18th percentile exit rate to generate power in a league with the ball after squeezing? As impressive as his contact skills were, he hit just .417 and his xSLG was even lower. ADP is reasonable if he keeps doing it, but this year he will be only 22 years old. And him Max the exit rate, which often better reflects a player’s strength, was the 85th percentile. A big step forward is left to a player whose pedigree is unmatched.
Riley Green’s disappointing rookie season may have been the biggest inspiration for new dimensions at Comerica Park. In case you missed it, the Tigers are closing in and lowering the fences for what used to be the deepest center field in baseball, and while the change isn’t dramatic, it could make a difference for Green in particular. His expected home runs by venue last year saw Comerica Park in last place, and according to Statcast, most venues would have brought in twice as many as the five he actually hit. Those new measurements would give him three more, which is important considering a sample of 93 games. He still needs to climb higher, but growth is usually the expectation of a former top-five prospect entering his second season in the big leagues. Many seem ready to throw it away.
Josh Young was supposed to be a big hope for an increasingly thin third base position last year, but then he tore his upper lip on his shoulder before the lockout even ended, and when he returned he only had 31 games to prepare. to his big… league debut. A major league mistake, as it turns out, because the 25-year-old was eaten alive, especially the sliders, knocking out an embarrassing 38.2 percent of the clip. Guess what? He still high hopes for third base, which, as “thinner and thinner” would imply, has become even thinner. The Rangers have already put him on the job, and it is hoped that rust has exacerbated his problems in the past year. After all, strikeouts were never his problem in the minors, where Jung was a .322 hitter until last year.
Aaron Ashby was the darling of all analysts last year, praised for his excellent groundball and sweeping performance. Well, both have waned in the past year, as has his confidence in his best serve, the slider. It doesn’t help that his long-awaited transition to the rotation was interrupted twice by shoulder problems, and he’s already behind schedule this spring with shoulder fatigue. Because of this, and the Brewers bringing in Wade Miley to complete their rotation, Ashby is fast becoming a minor figure in fantasy baseball drafts… which could make now the perfect time to invest if you’re a patient person who knows how to get around IL spot. Attrition is a guarantee, and by the time Ashby is ready to leave, the Brewers may very well roll out the red carpet for him. Let’s take another look at that slider, Jack.