This article originally appeared on www.RotoBaller.com: Fantasy Analysis: Early Post-Post-Hype Sleeper Breakouts.
Remember when Chris Davis was a huge prospect? Remember how we got excited about him in 2008 and how quickly we forgot about him after that? He hasn't forgotten. And now, at age 27, this dude is producing like a top-shelf stud. In his last 160 games (139 last year/21 this year as of 4/24/13) his line looks like this: .284 BA, 86 R, 165 Hits, 40 HR, 107 RBI. Davis is a prime example to never forget about players hyped years before they have a chance to hit their prime….and he’s putting those who gave up on him from ’09-’11 on bended knees praying for patience. Other young arrivers to the show have reached maturity and they're clamoring to join your team.
Clay Buchholz impressed the fickle fantasy baseball community in his second major-league start on September 1, 2007, with a 9K no-hitter against the Orioles. He immediately climbed the 2008 fantasy draft boards and promptly fell on his face. He’s pitched two shutouts since ’07, both against the Orioles (’10 & ’12). But this guy is only 28 years old and, judging by his progress from last season into this one (especially against the long ball this season), appears to be honing his craft. He entered 2013 with an ominous 666 innings pitched (666.1 to be exact), but he's erased any thoughts of a curse with 29 K in 30 IP, a 0.90 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 4-0 record, while giving up only one homer so far. Buchholz was somewhere around #90 on most SP draft boards in early March. As of today, he’s easily in the top five. It’s time to start believing, folks-- not just in Buchholz, but in the Sox in general.
Homer Bailey was #5 on Baseball America’s list of top prospects in 2007, touted as “The next great Texas fireballer in the tradition of Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens.” So far, those comparisons haven't hit their mark. But the soon-to-be 27-year-old began his emergence last year in his sixth MLB season (13-10, 3.68 ERA, 168 K). When all is said and done, he may be the best #3 starter in the league this season. Find the unbelieving manager who owns him in your league and make your pitch.
Justin Upton makes this list, but nobody needs to hear what he’s done so far this season. After his breakout 30/20 season in 2011, he moved into the top 5 on most draft lists. Last season’s regression from our expected production made him a steal in many leagues this season. If you have him, keep him. If not, figure out a way to get him, especially in keeper leagues. He’s only 25 years old, and already has 117 HR and 83 SB to go with a career .278 BA on his six-year résumé. This guy is going to be a beast for many years to come.
Here's some quick hits on possible trade targets, and some guys to sell off if you can:
Mitchell Boggs's window as the Cardinals closer has closed. If you need a closer and Edward Mujica is available, pounce!
David Freese is struggling mightily with the wood, but don't count the 2011 World Series MVP out just yet.
Tim Lincecum is going to rebound into his former self at some point this season. Count on it and trade while the picking is easy.
Carlos Gomez did some work last week and has his average up to .300.
Trade J.P. Arencibia and his 7 HR today for his perceived value. If you can get Desmond Jennings cheap, complete the transaction.
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