This article is part of our Baseball Draft Kit series.
At the top of the draft, you are looking for the best players, the ones you think will hang the best numbers in the upcoming season. As you move through the rounds, health – and its proxy, age – becomes a bigger issue, but you are still picking from players who you know will have everyday jobs, rotation slots, or closer positions.
When you are looking for players who can be late-round steals or auction bargains, however, you are trying to find the intersection of ability and opportunity, and the latter is everything. You may know, just know, that the 22-year-old who had an .875 OPS at Double-A last year is going to kill it when he reaches the majors. If he is in an organization that prefers to pay a veteran to do his job rather than take the risk on a young player, your conviction gets you nowhere. The most frustrating part of fantasy baseball is not controlling the playing time of our charges.
So read these picks this year with the concept of opportunity in mind. There are as many sleepers as there are fantasy drafters, but only some of them have paths to a job on their team that can mean numbers for yours.
SP - Cleveland Indians
It feels as if we have been talking about him forever, but Bauer is just 25. He is coming off his first full season as a starter, a mix of successes – a 23-percent strikeout