Baseball season is right around the corner and it’s time to uncover some late round sleepers for you to consider, or perhaps even push up a few rounds. Admittedly, one of the players in the list is starting to creep up the board, but the other three guys in this list all have an average draft position (ADP) outside of the top 300!

What reliever in the American League East has an excellent opportunity to rack up saves and post a K/9 above 13.0? What outfielder for the Marlins is worthy of a late round flier? There is a Chicago outfielder no one is talking about that could hit 30+ home runs in 2019, but who?

All that and more lies ahead….

Matt Barnes

Barnes’ ERA in 2018 was only a few ticks better last year than it was in 201, but his FIP (2.71) and xFIP (2.83) surely say otherwise. He walked a few more batters, but his K/9 jumped from 10.72 to a whopping 14.01 last year! Why did the strikeout rate jump? Part of the equation is the fact that Barnes threw his curveball harder, and the effects were notable.







Curve (2017)






Curve (2018)






His fastball remained effective and the alterations to his curveball led to his best season as a professional to date. Furthermore, he ranks in the 90th percentile or better in the following categories: Fastball velocity, K%, xBA and xSLG. Assuming Craig Kimbrel doesn’t have a change of heart and inks a deal with the Red Sox, I believe Barnes gets the first look as the team’s closer and his ADP is going to fly up the board should that be announced. If your league is drafting, capitalize on this.

Lewis Brinson

Brinson is an uber-talented player, but last season’s stat line is quite the eyesore. The 11 home runs and 42 RBI will do, but that .199/.240/.338 slash line for a consensus top-20 prospect is worrisome. Brinson has plus speed and had stolen quite a few bases in the minors, but he stole just two bags last year on three attempts. He has all the tools and could breakout in 2019, and if the start of spring training is any indication, he could be poised for a big year. With a full season of work and he’s similar to last season, you’ll get near 20 home runs with a handful of stolen bases and a batting average around .215-220.

However, if he can put things together, and actually attempt more stolen bases, you could have a 20/10 or even 20/15 guy on your hands. Keep in mind that Brinson is only 24 years old and has plenty of maturing to do at the big league level, but in Miami, he’s going to get every opportunity to work through all the kinks. It is encouraging nonetheless that near the end of last season, he was chasing less pitches out of the zone, making harder contact and his average exit velocity was a few notches higher. His home park isn’t favorable for home runs, but Brinson has plenty of pop in that six-foot-three-inch frame of his.

He’s barely inside the top 500 picks at time of writing, and there’s one thing for sure… There are few players as “toolsy” as Brinson locked into big league starting gigs at that price. Take a flier on him.

Kevin Pillar

While not being the most impressive player in reality, Pillar makes for a nice addition to most fantasy squads, as he will post double-digit home runs and stolen bases, all while avoiding being a detriment to your team’s batting average. His elite defense keeps him in the lineup every day, but it’s starting to slip, and if that trend continues, Pillar could find himself phased out as the season gets deeper and the Blue Jays fall further out of contention. However, if he produces, and at least in the early part of the season, he’s locked into a spot. He was one stolen base of going 15 bombs and 15 bags last season, and per ATC projections, Pillar will reach the 15/15 club in 2019. Per that projection system, there are 24 players that will be in that club by seasons end. Of those 24….

Eleven have an ADP within the top 30.

Five are between 30 and 100.

Six are between 100 and 200.

One is between 200 and 300.

One is outside of the top 300.

Pillar’s current ADP is a steal for someone projected to be in the 15/15 club by the end of the year. There are some questions about playing time as the season goes on, but he’s still an above average defensive player and that will keep him in the lineup a bit longer. Pillar is a cheap power and speed guy that can be had in the later rounds of most drafts.

Daniel Palka

Palka is a favorite of mine, but if he didn’t carry such risk, his average draft position would be much higher. When Palka makes contact, it’s hard, loud, and it usually goes pretty far. Here are a few of Palka’s metrics, per Statcast, and where he ranked amongst qualified hitters.




Max Exit Velocity



Average Exit Velocity



% of Balls Hit Above 95mph






If you question whether or not the power is legitimate, don’t. It is. Last year, his launch angle was comparable to Giancarlo Stanton , his max exit velocity was higher than Mike Trout and J.D. Martin ez, and his percentage of balls hit above 95 miles per hour was higher than Joey Gallo and Manny Machado . Additionally, he barrels the ball at the same rate as Machado. The power is legitimate, but the real concerns with Palka are that his .240 batting average may not be sustainable, as indicated by his .228 xBA and if he cannot eat into that ginormous 34.1 percent strikeout rate, it could be a nuisance for fantasy owners. Additionally, he could find himself in a platoon situation, albeit the larger side, because he hit just .200 with 34 strikeouts in 75 at-bats against southpaws.

He should open the year as an everyday outfielder and even with a potential platoon, he’s one of the few guys at his ADP (currently 320.63, per NFBC) with the potential for 30 home runs.