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2013 NL Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Picks

Updated on April 17, 2013

Who will be the Adam LaRoche of the 2013 fantasy baseball season? Adam was taken in the 19th round in my National League fantasy baseball league draft, basically an afterthought pick due to his injury plagued 2012 campaign, but he amazingly went on to have the best season of his career, posting 30 homers and 100 RBI. The following is a list of sleeper candidates to help you find the Adam LaRoche of the 2013 fantasy baseball season.

Adam Eaton, OF, Arizona Diamonbacks

All he has to do to be successful is get on base. Eaton was a .355 career hitter in the minors over 1,200 at bats and also stole as many as 44 bases in a season. More importantly, he had a amazing .459 OBP in his minor league career. If he can come close to this number he could become the lead-off hitter the Diamondbacks have been desperately seeking the last several seasons. With the unloading of Chris Young to the A's, the centerfield position is now Eaton's to lose. In 22 games last season the 23 year old batted .259 with 2 homers and 2 steals. He also showed a good knowledge of the strike zone collecting 14 walks to go along with a .382 OBP. However, it appears Eaton will miss the first 6-8 weeks of the season with a sprained elbow so draft him only if you have room on your bench to stash him away while he mends. Projected Stats: .290, 4 hr, 75 runs, 30 rbi, 20 steals

Juan Pierre, OF, Miami Marlins
Juan Pierre, OF, Miami Marlins | Source

Juan Pierre, OF, Miami Marlins

The perennially under-appreciated Pierre, just signed by the Marlins, is one of the best kept secrets in fantasy baseball. It's a shame he has not been a starter the last few seasons because when he plays he performs and produces, but mysteriously it never seems to be enough to keep him in the lineup. He stays in great shape and he should be the keystone at the top of the order for the Marlins in 2013. After their recent fire sale he is now the second best player on the team behind Stanton. He stole 37 bases last season in only 439 plate appearances with the Phillies and has stolen over 20 every season he has played. I predict the .297 career hitter will start in center and will steal close to 40 bases in 2013. Projected stats: .275, 1 hr, 80 runs, 30 rbi, 35 steals

Homer Bailey, SP, Cincinnati Reds

It appears the wonder prospect has finally arrived. Lost in the Reds' post-season collapse was the maturation of Homer Bailey into a big time starting pitcher. At the end of last season he had what endurance bikers call "the revelation" which is the term used when an their performance suddenly jumps up several levels. The 26 year old Bailey finished 2012 with 33 starts, a 13-10 record, 3.68 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 208 innings pitched, and 168 strike outs, all career bests. The highlight of his year had to be his no hitter against the Pirates on September 28th. He won't be among the top NL starters in the draft and may be available after round ten. Be sure to target him if he falls in the draft as he will build on his impressive season with another great campaign in 2013. Projected Stats: 15-10, 200 innings, 180 strike outs, 1.21 WHIP

Norichika Aoki, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

In 2012 everything turned out okay for Aoki. The first year Japanese player started out slowly, but with an injury to Matt Gamel opened the door for steady playing time. He took the bull by the horns and quietly put together a solid season for the Brewers by contributing in all categories while simultaneously limiting his strike outs. In my opinion he is one of the unsung heroes of the head-to-head format along with Prado and Scuturo. This may be difficult for many to believe, but Aoki's year end point total was better than Brandon Phillips, Ian Desmond, Jason Kubel, Joey Votto, David Freese, and Dan Uggla to name just a few. The 30 year old Aoki finished 2012 with 520 at bats and batted .288 with 10 homers, 37 doubles, 81 runs, 50 RBI, 30 stolen bases, 43 walks, and only 55 strike outs. As I mentioned earlier, he contributes in all categories and is fairly slump proof so let others draft Uggla, Freese, and Kubel while you sit back and wait for Aoki. I will be targeting him in my fantasy drafts and you should be too. Projected Stats: .280, 10 hr, 90 runs, 50 rbi, 25 steals

Jonathan Lucroy, C, Milwaukee Brewers
Jonathan Lucroy, C, Milwaukee Brewers | Source

Jonathan Lucroy, C, Milwaukee Brewers

Another unsung Brewer makes the list. Most will look at his numbers and move on to the more brand name NL catchers like Posey, Molina, or McCann, but if not for a freak accident where his wife broke his hand, he would have been right up there in counting stats with the other big names. In spite of the injury, which cost him not only 6 weeks of playing time but also momentum and strength in his hand, he still finished with a .320 batting average, 12 homers, 58 RBI, and .881 OPS in 346 at bats. Only 26 years old he should break out in 2013 with a monster season. Projected Stats: .290, 18 hr, 55 runs, 72 rbi, 2 steals

Logan Morrison, OF, Miami Marlins

Morrison had plenty of idle time to send out Tweets last season as a knee injury kept him on the bench quite a bit during the season. The balky knee derailed Morrison's 2012 campaign before it ever really got started. He had surgery in the spring and never really seemed physically right at any time during the year. He played in only 93 games and batted only .230 with 11 homers and 36 RBI before being shut down for the season in August. He is one of the few players left standing after the recent Marlin fire sale. He is only 24 years old, but we've just learned that his knee may not be completely ready for opening day. So, proceed with caution and watch his progress during the spring before you decide to draft him. He has yet to play a spring training game and he may not be ready until mid-April. Proceed with caution as at this point he is looking more like someone to stash on your bench. Projected Stats: .263, 18 hr, 60 runs, 65 rbi

Ross Detwiler, SP Washington Nationals

The tall left hander was the fifth starter in a dominant Washington rotation and consequently played under the radar in 2012. However, the 26 year old performed well and finished the season with 27 starts, 164 1/3 innings pitched, 105 strike outs, 1.22 WHIP, and a 10-8 record. With a fastball that regularly touches 96 mph he should be someone to look for in 2013. Target him in rounds 10-12 of your fantasy draft and look for him to approach 15 wins with a solid Nationals team. Projected Stats: 12-10, 175 innings pitched, 120 strike outs, 15 quality starts, 1.20 WHIP, 3.35 ERA

Josh Rutledge, 2B-SS, Colorado Rockies

Rutledge, who will be 24 at the start of the season, saw extended playing time for the Rockies down the stretch in 2012 and surprised many with his across the board offensive output. In only 277 at bats he hit .274 with 8 homers, 37 RBI, and 7 steals and put himself in the running for the Rockies starting second base job in 2013. Currently, he may only be eligible at short stop where he played the majority of his games last season (57). He only played 7 games at second but will likely play there with Troy Tulowitzki returning for duty at short. He could put up some nice numbers batting second in the potent Rockies lineup. Projected Stats: .272, 12 hr, 70 runs, 55 rbi, 12 steals

Justin Ruggiano, OF Miami Marlins
Justin Ruggiano, OF Miami Marlins | Source

Justin Ruggiano, OF, Miami Marlins

Due to an onslaught of injuries to the 2012 Marlins' roster Ruggiano found himself a starter for the first time in his career and ended up being one of the few bright spots in an overall dismal season for Miami. The 30 year old displayed an intriguing blend of speed and power last season and ended up hitting .313 with 13 homers and 14 stolen bases in only 288 at bats. He should be one of the starters in 2013, but there are concerns. First is his health as he seemed to struggle with nagging injuries, particularly his back last season. Disappointingly, the back injury flared up again this spring, but he appears to be ready for the start of the season. He also has yet to play a full season in the majors, but he was a .296 hitter in the minors with close to 3,000 at bats under his belt. If he plays full time I think he can cobble together a 20-20 season for the Marlins. Projected Stats: .280, 18 hr, 70 runs, 70 rbi, 15 steals

Starling Marte, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

When I first saw him play, the 24 year old Marte struck me as a younger version of Andrew McCutchen with his raw speed and power. If he comes anywhere close to McCutchen's level then Pirates fans will have something to cheer about for years to come. However, I have concerns that his manager, Clint Hurdle, will make his transition to the major league more difficult than it needs to be. Ideally, he should handle him like Joe Torre managed Matt Kemp his first few seasons. Torre batted Kemp 7th or 8th in the lineup and just left him alone to struggle and figure out major league pitching without have the pressure of batting at the top of the order. However, I don't see this happening with good old Clint. I'm sure he will bat Marte leadoff where he will undoubtedly struggle and end up being benched for underperformace or even sent to the minors for a spell and his confidence will suffer. Overall, I think he did pretty well last season in his short time up, but he is still a raw talent that needs time to develop. He showed flashes of brilliance, but also appeared overmatched at times, which is typical for a rookie. He finished the season batting .257 with 5 homers and 12 stolen bases in only 182 plate appearances. He also struck out 27.5% of the time. I think he will be a good source of steals and homers, something in the range of 15 homers and 20 steals, that is if Clint doesn't screw him up too much. Projected Stats: .256, 10 triples, 12 hr, 54 runs, 55 rbi, 25 steals

Matt Harvey, SP, New York Mets
Matt Harvey, SP, New York Mets | Source

Matt Harvey, SP, New York Mets

The Mets had a solid starting rotation last season and it appears they will have a good group again in 2013 with Harvey being one of the key contributors. In his rookie season in 2012 the 23 year old only went 3-5 but he had a 2.73 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 70 strike outs in only 59 1/3 innings. Look for him to build on these numbers and put together a solid campaign. He should be available in later rounds in most NL-only drafts and could be the steal of the draft. Currently, he's penciled in as the 4th starter, which means there won't be a lot of pressure on him to carry the team. Projected Stats: 12-10, 177 innings pitched, 190 strike outs, 18 quality starts, 1.27 WHIP, 3.05 ERA

Mike Adams, RP, Philadelphia Phillies

The lanky right hander returns to the NL with the Philadelphia Phillies after spending 2012 and part of 2011 with the Rangers. While with San Diego, the 34 year old Adams was one of the most dominant set-up men in baseball. His best season was probably 2010 when he recorded an amazing 42 holds (thankfully, I had him that year and he carried my bullpen), 1.76 ERA, 1.065 ERA, and 73 strike outs in 66 2/3 innings. He had some health problems last season which caused his ERA and WHIP to jump considerably. Adams underwent surgery in October to address the thoracic outlet syndrome (the same issue that resulted in Chris Carpenter's struggles). However, Phillie' GM Ruben Amaro assures us that Adams will be fine for the season. If he is ready to go he could be one of the steals of the draft, but he comes with risk so pay attention to his health in spring training.

Matt Carpenter, 1B-2B-3B-OF, St. Louis Cardinals

The 27 year old Carpenter played everywhere in 2012 (44 games at 1B, 33 at 3B, 21 at OF, and 5 at 2B), but it appears with his torrid spring (.382/.462/.588 slash line) and his surprising glove work that he will break camp as the starting second baseman for the Cardinals. Last year he hit a respectable .294 with 6 home runs and 46 RBI in only 296 at bats while playing everywhere. With one position to worry about and steady at bats I predict these his numbers will jump, plus his eligibility at so many positions only adds to his value. Projected Stats: .283, 8 home runs, 60 runs, 62 RBI

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