Before the draft there is always talk about sleepers. This year guys like Nelson Cruz, Chris Volstad and Josh Johnson come to mind. Now that we are in week two many owners will go into panic mode, cutting guys they had previously thought so highly about. In many roto leagues it is difficult to understand your teams weaknesses until the first month is complete (assuming its not H2H). Its ok to make some adjusments before then, but waiving guys simply because they are batting .200 is unjust. If this same hitter was playing well and went into a 2 week slump but it was June, you would never think twice about keeping them. Here are some names who have recently been cut, and might be your Diamond in the Rough.
Kelly Shoppach/Ramon Hernandez – Both catchers coming into the year were seen as sleepers. With Shoppach now in an opportunity to surpass last years AB’s, 20 hr is still a reasonable expectation. Hernandez playing in that little league park in Cincy should be able to hit just under 20hr. Now neither player is going to crack to the top tier, but in virtually all leagues, both guys should be owned.
Chien-Ming Wang – I think people forget that Wang had a major foot injury and didn’t pitch for quite a long time. I’m not the biggest Wang fan because of his lack of K’s but he should be owned in all AL-only leagues and deeper mixed (say 12 teams or bigger). If you recall, in 2007 Wang had an ERA north of 5.00 for the month of April. He finished the season with 19 wins and a 3.70 era.
John Maine – Maine didn’t come into the season as hyped as last season, but people were optimistic he could be a servicable 3rd or 4th starter depending on the league. He still has nice strikeout potential, and in match ups (assuming you have a bench) could be more valuable. Two very important points about Maine; good offense, great bullpen equals wins.
Billy Butler/Pablo Sandoval – Both of these portly men have been declared by many minds as very good hitters. One NL scout said Sandoval could flat out hit. Butler is a little different because he has played this tune before. No matter how disappointing the first week is, these guys don’t get cut. Both should hit about .285 reach 15hr and drive in 80 rbi.
These are just a couple names, and there could be others. In a 15 team mixed league I’m in one owner cut Kelly Johnson the second day of the season. Keep your eyes open on the waiver wire for players who can help your team. Chances are if you liked them a couple weeks ago, you should give them a chance to prove their worth.