When digging deep into preparation for upcoming drafts, late-round veterans can have some of the best upside in regards to return on value. With that said, lets return to the batter's box to find riches as we inch closer to Opening Day
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'...
Michael Morse, 1B (MIA)
Mock Draft Army ADP: 259.7
It seems like ages ago that Morse entered the stage for the Nationals and smashed 31 home runs with 95 RBI while hitting over .300. Well, that is because it was. In fact, he has yet to reach 500 at-bats since his breakout 2011 campaign. Now four teams later Morse is trying to salvage what is left of an injury-plagued career.
Now a member of the Marlins, Morse will join an up-in-coming lineup where he will be responsible for hitter cleanup behind one of the league's best in Giancarlo Stanton. Although that solely isn't enough to move him up draft bards, this big righty still has a lot to offer as a complimentary piece in most fantasy formats.
A season ago Morse was able to log 438 at-bats in which he slashed .279/.336/.475 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI. More importantly he didn't sustain any serious injuries. However, his reason for not finishing the season with over 500 at-bats lies solely his inability to man the outfield for the Giants on a regular basis as he managed to be one of the worst at his position in the league. Now with the Marlins, Morse will be the team's everyday first baseman, which is a much more reasonable position for him to man at this point in his career.
Now that the playing time appears to not be an issue, Morse will need to find a way to stay healthy and if he does he is going to be productive in both the home run and RBI categories as he has never been effected by playing his home games in pitcher friendly environments. Since 2011, Morse has logged a HR/FB rate of over 10.0 percent in each season and unless his approach changes at the age of 33, that is something that can be counted on heading into 2015. So really what it comes down to is plate appearances, which is certainly not in the bag considering he played in over 130 games just once over the last three seasons.
Outside of his laundry list of injuries, Morse has also been able to keep solid righty/lefty splits, outside of his 2014 campaign in which he hit just under 50 points higher against right-handed opposition. Knowing that this issue did not appear prior to last season, prospective fantasy owners should expect more of a return to an even split given his track record. With a clean bill of health, a solid surrounding cast and a secure spot in the Marlins starting lineup, he appears on track to finally get back to being an everyday fantasy option.
According to recent mock draft results, Morse is still not receiving much love outside of deep league formats, which can be expected considering his history. However, if you were to take a chance on him in the late rounds it is not out of the realm of possibility that he will be an everyday starter by season's end. If healthy Morse is a lock for 20-plus home runs and a solid batting average, which puts him in the discussion in standard leagues as a solid outfield or first base option.