When using 2014 fantasy baseball rankings, identify promising assets that others may ignore. In fantasy baseball drafts, sleepers and undervalued players will allow you to make the most of your picks.
C Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks
Even with struggles versus southpaws, Montero hadn't batted lower than .266 from 2009-12 before his .230 last year. Don't let an injury-riddled 2H negate this cleanup hitter's stable track record. -TH
C Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals BREAKOUT PLAYER
High grounder rates mask his titanic average fly-ball distance, which justifies his seemingly overachieving HR/FBs. If his knees hold up, a 20-HR performance remains a realistic achievement for this breakthrough candidate. If you're not going to pay for one of the position's top three, Ramos could be the most profitable alternative. -TH
C Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati Reds
The departure of Ryan Hanigan and Dusty Baker clears Mesoraco's path. He'll have more AB (middle of the order?) and increased chances to harness his latent power at Great American Ball Park. He's a C2 who could enter the C1 tier by season's end. -TH
C Dioner Navarro, Toronto Blue Jays
Hill doesn't belong in discount rack
Folks are understandably wary of this longtime backup. But the playing time alone has value in deep two-catcher leagues, even when Navarro's production falls short of last season's (.300/.365/.492) with the Chicago Cubs. Good offense, good ballpark, good situation. -NM
1B Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
What did fantasy owners expect from The Machine? Duct tape lasts for only so long. At some point, persistence becomes stubbornness. Pujols, 34, finally went under the knife, however; he's nearly as good as new. A .285-30-100 player is uncommon these days, and refurbished models come discounted. -NM
1B Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs BREAKOUT PLAYER
Detractors assert that he can't master LHPs. But he can hit their pitches out of the park; he sat among the leaders in HR against them by a LHB. He's shortening his swing and should gain more RBI opps with an improving club. He's no .300 bat, but he's not a .233 stick, as his K and chase temperance since 2011 have shown. With legit 30-homer promise, Rizzo is the next breakthrough first-sacker. -TH
2B Aaron Hill, Arizona Diamondbacks BEST BUY
A fractured bottom hand cost the RHB two months' worth of games last year. Other than his disappearance in the SB column, Hill's 2012 success carried over when he did suit up. Lock in 20 HR for a full campaign. BA indicators say his last two seasons (positive) override the disappointment of the previous two. If he steals 10-plus bags, he won't fall far short of Jason Kipnis' yield. -TH
2B Daniel Murphy, New York Mets
His knees -- in turn, SB, relatively -- look sturdy. Murphy has overcome a weak BB/K to establish a sound BA make-up. He's 29, so the power growth isn't outlandish. At leadoff, there's ample value in his quiet statistical diversity. -TH
2B Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals
A bad July BABIP was followed by a strong finish that showed his keen eye and penchant for hard contact. He'll compensate for the SB deficiency with stealth plate thunder that's starter-worthy in deep mixers. -TH
2B/OF Kelly Johnson, New York Yankees
He's the Bronx Bombers' best option at the hot corner in lieu of a suspended Alex Rodriguez. Johnson has 20-homer power under normal circumstances. Even if he platoons, the possibility of 450 at-bats plus Yankee Stadium's short right-field porch is too alluring to pass up late. -NM
Next: 3B, SS, OF and DH
2014 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Undervalued Players: Hitters | Pitchers
2014 Fantasy Baseball Busts and Overvalued Players: Hitters | Pitchers
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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