We are getting closer. Next week pitcher and catchers will start to report to training camps throughout Arizona and Florida, which only means one thing; draft season is right around the corner.
Just like in the kitchen, preparation is key to successfully mastering your fantasy draft, with one of the main ingredients being finding value in the later rounds. In most cases we call these players "sleepers," but not all of these players are fresh faces that we have never seen before. In fact, the majority of the players we find in the later rounds we fine aging veterans on the decline, players returning from injury or players who have been up and down between the minor and majors still trying to find a permanent home. Whatever the case may be, these are the players that could be the difference in bringing home the trophy come September.
Since the term "deep sleeper" can mean a lot of different things, all players discussed in this series will hold an average draft position (ADP) of 250 or higher based off the most recent mock draft results of Fantasy Alarm's own Howard Bender and the Mock Draft Army. If you haven't checked out the Mock Draft Arm series,, be sure to give it a look as Howard continues to assemble some really good ADP information based on a series of mock drafts featuring experts from throughout the industry and fans alike. Now that we laid out the ground rules let's get cookin'...
Dexter Fowler, OF (CHC)
Mock Draft Army ADP: 257.1
In an effort to become a contender in the National League Central, the Cubs went out and traded for Fowler last month, who spent last season with the Astros. He will instantly be inserted into center field for the Cubs and will likely give his new team the leadoff hitter they have been missing the last few years. He has never been able to put it all together over a course of a full season, he is primed to have a breakout season as he enters the prime of his career.
In 505 plate appearances in 2014, Fowler slashed .276/.375/.399 with eight home runs, 35 RBI, 61 runs scores and 11 stolen bases, which was nothing special. However, now joining a more formidable lineup in the Windy City, he has some upside later in drafts if he can continue to get on base at a high clip. In fact, Fowler owns a career walk rate of 12.5 percent and has recorded no less than an a .369 on-base percentage over the last three seasons.
Let's face it. A good on-base percentage is not going to be the difference when it comes to a fantasy championship, so he is going got need to do more than draw an above average mark in walks, which means his power production is going to have to improve from previous seasons to take the next step in his progression. Considering his career-high in home runs ins 13 back in 2012, there isn't much promise in that area, although a drop in his line-drive rate (21.4 percent in 2014) could lead to more round-trippers than in season's past.
Whether or not you are buying into the change of scenery for this former top prospect in the Rockies organization there are things to like heading into draft season. The power increase would be nice, but we all know that the Cubs are going to score runs and sitting atop the batting order, along with a high on-base percentage is going to lead to solid production. Not only that, he could also get back to his base-stealing ways as long as he can remain healthy.
Although he may not be a standard league target come draft day, those is deep leagues will certainly want to keep an eye on him as the later round comes to an end, as his upside in his new uniform for lead to the best season of his career. Or, he could continue to be mediocre, but that late in drafts he is worth a shot.