While the top fantasy baseball assets provide the floor for your team, finding sleepers in the later rounds is key to determining your ceiling.
Hunting for sleeper candidates, by definition, is a volatile task. For every sleeper that does turn into a great pick, there are two or three that go nowhere. However, this process is can be the difference between a first-place finish and stumbling to a losing season. That makes it crucial to hit on your sleeper picks.
With that in mind, here are our top 10 fantasy baseball sleepers for 2020.
10. Renato Nunez, 1B, Baltimore Orioles
The 2019 season was not an exciting one for Baltimore Orioles fans, but there were some bright spots. Renato Nunez racked up 90 RBI and swatted 31 home runs, and that power looks to be sustainable. He notched career-highs in both hard-hit rate (36.6 percent) and fly-ball rate (46.3 percent), elevating him to a .216 isolated power (ISO) in his first season as a full-time player in the majors. The 25-year-old has some obvious holes (.244 batting average and 23.9 percent strikeout rate in 2019), but we already know he's a good bet for big power numbers, while improvements in other areas would be icing on the cake. That makes him one of our top sleeper first basemen for 2020.
9. Alex Verdugo, OF, Boston Red Sox
One of our top outfielder sleepers, Alex Verdugo could see some expanded playing time in his new home with the Boston Red Sox He slashed .294/.342/.475 in 377 plate appearances in 2019, notching a .341 weight on-base average (wOBA) and a respectable .181 ISO. Adding in a low strikeout rate (13.0 percent) makes him a very intriguing fantasy option with the potential for an increased role in the 2020 season.
8. Matthew Boyd, SP, Detroit Tigers
Matthew Boyd's 4.56 ERA from 2019 wasn't anything special, and was worse than his 2018 mark of 4.39. His underlying numbers show that he's primed for a breakout season, though. His 30.2 percent strikeout rate ranked ninth among qualifying pitchers, and he did that while cutting his walk rate down to the lowest mark of his career (6.4 percent). He also checked in with an elite 3.61 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA), which put him 11th among qualifying pitchers. Boyd isn't an especially deep sleeper pitching option, but he's got the upside of a potential ace.
7. Anthony DeSclafani, SP, Cincinnati Reds
Going a bit later in drafts, Anthony DeSclafani doesn't carry the same upside, but he still offers plenty of value. He has a bad tendency to get taken yard, but he flashed some improved strikeout stuff, and 2019 saw him post career-best marks in both strikeout rate (24.0 percent) and swinging-strike rate (10.1 percent), while his WHIP fell to a career low 1.20.
6. Jon Berti, SS/OF/3B, Miami Marlins
Eligible across plenty of positions, Jon Berti pops up on our list of top third base sleepers for 2020. He stole 17 bases and scored 52 runs in just 73 games in 2019, and that level of production should afford him some more playing time in 2020. With an 8.4 percent walk rate and .273 batting average, Berti does a good job of getting on base and positioning himself to continue producing strong numbers in both steals and runs.
5. Tommy Edman, 2B/3B, St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals didn't promote Tommy Edman to the majors until June last season, but he made the most of his opportunity. Playing in 92 games, Edman slashed .304/.350/.500 with a .357 wOBA, racking up 11 homers, 59 runs, 36 RBI and 15 steals. That well-rounded production is reflected in his 2019 Triple-A numbers (7 homers, 39 runs, 29 RBI and 9 steals in 49 games), and the 24-year-old has a huge ceiling in 2020.
4. C.J. Cron, 1B, Detroit Tigers
C.J. Cron spent much of 2019 nursing injuries, but his power still made him a solid contributor, with 51 runs scored, 78 RBI and 25 home runs with a .216 ISO across 125 games. The 30-year-old is also just one season removed from hitting 30 bombs with a .240 ISO in 2018. A .253 average in 2019 and .329 career wOBA doesn't make Cron an overly exciting pick, but he's an inexpensive source of power late in drafts.
3. Garrett Hampson, 2B/OF, Colorado Rockies
Garret Hampson finished with a paltry .292 wOBA and .137 ISO in 2019, but he brings upside in a couple of areas. First of all, his home park is the most hitter-friendly in the MLB. He didn't take advantage of the thin air at Coors with many homers in 2019, but he did put up a 37.4 percent fly-ball rate, showing some potential in that area. He also swiped 15 bags, and Statcast data had him with the fourth-fastest sprint speed in the MLB in 2019. Among players with 15-plus steals in 2019, Hampson checked in at 14th in steals per plate appearance. This baserunning upside makes him a great option if you're looking for a sleeper for stolen bases.
2. Kevin Newman, 2B/SS, Pittsburgh Pirates
Kevin Newman doesn't look to offer a ton of upside, as a ground-ball hitter that doesn't offer much in terms of power (.138 ISO in 2019) or walks (5.3 percent walk rate). He doesn't strike out much (11.7 percent rate in 2019) and he slashed a very solid .308/.353/.446 with a .339 wOBA in his first full season in the majors. You're not going to write home about his 12 homers, but 61 runs, 64 RBI and 16 steals while hitting for a strong average gives him a nice floor in the middle infield spots.
1. Avisail Garcia, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Avisail Garcia has had an up-and-down career in the majors, but his power-speed combination is always going to be intriguing in fantasy. He set career highs in both homers (20) and steals (10) while playing 125 games for the Tampa Bay in 2019, also bringing his hard-hit rate to a career-high 40.1 percent (up from 38.2 percent in 2018). Now hitting in a powerful Milwaukee Brewers lineup that should give him plenty of potential for runs and RBI, Garcia could be in for a huge jump in fantasy value.
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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.