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One of the most common questions I get asked leading up to the start of any regular season is, “Who are your sleepers this year?” While I love discussing Fantasy Sports with the all of our readers/listeners/people I find myself repeating myself far too often. So, I’ve decided to go ahead and periodically profile my top sleepers for this upcoming Fantasy Baseball Season and post them right here for all to read. This way the discussion can go from “Who” are my sleepers to “Why am I buying on these guys?” Also, I’m not going to be a bitch and give you names of players that will be on everybody else’s sleepers list. The following is another edition of my 2014 Fantasy Baseball Deep Sleepers:
Player: Peter Bourjos
Age: 27 on March 31st
2013 Stats: (Angels) 175 AB’s, .274/.333/.377, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 26 Runs, 6 Steals
Current ADP: 286.53 (NFBC), 278.15 (MockDraftCentral)
Peter Bourjos has been around forever or at least it seems that way. Yet, he is just about to turn 27 years old and only with his second professional organization. He is the son of former Giants and Orioles big leaguer Chris Bourjos. Injuries have limited the younger Bourjos’s plate appearances the past couple of seasons. He appeared to breakout in 2011 when he was the Angels everyday centerfielder and racked up a .271 BA, 12 HR, 43 RBI, 72 Runs & 22 steals. He also led the American League in triples that year with 11 and finished second in the league in defensive range factor in centerfield.
3. Run Scoring Ability
The biggest attribute Bourjos has is his speed. Many scouts believe he is the fastest player in baseball at least until Billy Hamilton arrives full time. He stole 141 bases in five years of minor league play including a 50 steal season in 2008. His speed is useful in a number of ways however besides stealing bases. Bourjos hits the ball on the ground over half of the time he puts it in play. This is death to players with below to above average speed. However, with 3.8-4.0 seconds home to first base time from the right handed batters box, Bourjos is able to take advantage of those ground balls in ways many other can’t.
As much as his speed helps on the basepaths it is probably most important defensively. Why does this matter? That’s why the Cardinals signed Bourjos in the first place. He is so good defensively that he will remain in the lineup even during struggles at the plate.
It comes down to a simple equation for Bourjos this season. The more that he plays the more plate appearances he will receive. The more plate appearances he gets the more chances to get on base. The more Bourjos gets on base the more bases he steals. The more bases he steals the more runs he will score.
2. Playing Time
Since he played in 147 games in 2011, Bourjos has been limited to just 161 games the following two seasons for all of the following ailments: wrist surgery, hamstring pull, jammed thumb, right shoulder soreness, right hip sprain & gastrointestinal issues. That is quite a list for a single player to have gone through and hence why he isn’t being trusted by Fantasy owners.
In 2012, Bourjos got usurped by a hot shot prospect by the name of Mike Trout. Trout’s emergence pushed Bourjos down in the lineup and eventually out of a job. The Cardinals just so happen to have a hot shot prospect of their own in Oscar Taveras who is coming off of a injury plagued season. There is fear that if Taveras has a good spring he will do the same to Bourjos as Mike Trout did two seasons ago.
The biggest hole in Bourjos’ game is his inability to take walks. A player with his kind of speed must find ways to get on base by any means possible. Whether he takes walks, gets hits by pitches or bunts his way on he will only realize his true potential if he can get on base at least 33% of the time.
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