All statistics are taken off of Yahoo! Sports. This sleeper list is comprised of players who will outperform their projections and be a valuable fantasy pick for your team. Check here for top 10 Fantasy batters to draft for 2011. Top Ten Baseball Closers for 2011 Fantasy Draft. Top Ten Fantasy Starting Pitchers to Draft.
#10. SP Vin Mazzaro, Kansas City Royals
Mazzaro is in his third year in the Majors and his first with the Royals. Slated as the third starter in the Royals rotation, Mazzaro should continue to improve as he did in his second year with a 4.27 ERA after logging a 5.32 ERA while starting 17 games in his rookie year in 2009. His record went from 4-9 to 6-8, and with the Royals solid bullpen and his improvement in strikeouts to walks, he should be able to earn 10-12 victories and make for a nice last round pickup.
#9. CF Cameron Maybin, San Diego Padres
Maybin has the center field job all to himself in San Diego after playing a career high 82 games last season in Florida. Maybin has had trouble in his limited playing time, but showed his potential last season with 9 steals, 46 runs, and 28 RBI playing about half of the season. I am worried about San Diego not having a consistent and talented hitting coach, but Maybin is worth a very late round gamble at least for potential steals and runs.
#8. SS Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals
Although Desmond had a solid 2010 season, I still consider him a sleeper and you should be able to get him in the 10th-13th round range or later. Desmond hit .269 with 65 RBI, 10 home runs, 59 runs and 17 stolen bases, which is hard to come by at the short stop position. Desmond will be a part of a better lineup in Washington and should increase those numbers significantly.
#7. 2B Neil Walker, Pittsburgh Pirates
If Pittsburgh hopes to change around their fortune, it will start with young players like Walker and Pedro Alvarez (mentioned later). Walker played in 110 games in 2010 and batted .296 while putting up 66 RBI, 12 home runs, and 57 runs. Hard hitting second basemen are hard to come by, and Walker has the form to keep up his quick start. Walker could be in the top five of second basemen for the 2011 season, draft him as such.
#6. SS Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs
You may have heard of Starlin Castro due to hitting a home run in his first plate appearance and the fact that he had 6 RBI in the game. Castro is still a sleeper for the 2011 season, but will be a constant high pick among short stops after this season. Castro finished with a .300 batting average, 41 RBI, 56 runs, and ten stolen bases. Castro will make a good pick for your shortstop spot with an all around game.
#5. 3B Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates
Alvarez made his rookie debut in mid June of 2010 and put up very solid power numbers in a bad lineup. What is impressive about Alvarez is that he shook off early struggles, as he went from a .222 batting average on August 1st, to end the season with a .256, 16 home runs and 64 RBI. Give Alvarez a whole season to work with and you’re looking at over 100 RBI and around 25-30 home runs.
#4. CL Chris Perez, Cleveland Indians
Perez may fly under the radar due to his current position in Cleveland, but don’t overlook this closer who would be a great 2nd closer for your team. Perez recorded 23 saves, 61 strikeouts, and had a very nice 1.71 ERA. He should give you very good numbers across the board, even though Cleveland will most likely remain in the AL Central gutter.
#3. SP Brett Anderson, Oakland Athletics
Anderson is set for a huge breakout year as a future dominant pitcher. In 19 starts last season Anderson was 7-6 with a very impressive 2.80 ERA. Possibly more impressive than his win count is that he had 75 K’s to only 22 walks. Anderson will have a great 2011, look for 14-15 wins, 175+ K’s. and a 3.20 ERA.
#2. RF Mike Stanton, Florida Marlins
There is a lot of potential in Stanton although he had some rough spots in the 100 games he played last year. While racking up 123 strikeouts and a .259 batting average, he did have 22 home runs and 59 RBI. The Marlins will not have a great lineup this season and Stanton will not get much protection, but you will want to draft Stanton as he could easily put up 30-35 home runs and over 100 RBI this season.
#1. SP Daniel Hudson, Arizona Diamondbacks
Hudson had a great second year although he only started 14 games and was traded during the 2010 season from the White Sox to the Diamondbacks. In those limited starts Hudson went 8-2 with a 2.45 ERA. In the three starts with the White Sox Hudson had an awful 6.32 ERA, but rebounded when he was traded to a more pitcher friendly ballpark and had a 1.69 ERA with the Diamondbacks. Hudson is a great sleeper for the 2011 season.