Last week, we talked about some fantasy baseball sleepers for the 2013 season. Since that time, two more potential sleepers have found spots on our fantasy baseball radar: San Diego Padres infielder Jedd Gyorko and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Shelby Miller.
Gyorko has been destroying the ball during Spring Training. In his first 21 at-bats, he has six hits (.286). Three of those have gone over the wall for home runs, including one for a grand slam. He already has nine RBI and four runs scored.
This is no fluke for Gyorko. Over the last three years in minor league ball, he has a cumulative .319 batting average with 62 dingers and 19 stolen bases. He has never finished a minor league season with a batting average lower than .302. He also batted .302 in spring ball last year with the Padres.
Gyorko qualifies as a third baseman in Yahoo fantasy baseball leagues, but the Padres are taking a long look at him as a second baseman. While he has played third base for most of his professional career and during his college days at West Virginia, he does have a little bit of playing time at second base under his belt, so it’s a distinct possibility that he latches on in San Diego at the keystone position.
San Diego’s hesitation with calling Gyorko up to the bigs and installing him as their second baseman comes from a concern about his defense. But of course, fantasy baseball managers don’t care about a player’s defense. As long as he can beat out Logan Forsythe for the starting spot, he becomes an instant value to fantasy teams, especially when he becomes eligible at 2B – a position that isn’t very deep – in fantasy baseball leagues.
One of the top prospects in baseball, Miller has quickly ascended the ranks within the Cardinals system since St. Louis made him a first-round pick in the 2009 draft. Now he’s looking to land a spot in the five-man rotation for the 2013 season.
Miller got a taste of the bigs late last season, throwing 13.2 innings over the course of six games. He piled up 16 strikeouts, earned a win, and gave up just two runs for a 1.32 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP.
He earned his first major league start on Oct. 3 against the Cincinnati Reds and went six innings, striking out seven and allowing a solitary hit and no earned runs.
Miller is only 22 years old and was drafted straight out of high school, so he doesn’t have the seasoning yet that many pitchers have by the time they make it to the majors. But he has already shown the ability to perform admirably against MLB talent.
If he makes the Cardinals’ final roster and you’re willing to swallow the inevitable implosion on occasion, he could be end up being a low-risk-high-reward starting pitcher in your fantasy baseball lineup.
As with Gyorko, Miller comes with some flexibility, too, as he currently only qualifies as a relief pitcher in Yahoo fantasy baseball leagues. Give him a few starts, and you’ll have a guy that you can plug into both SP and RP spots in your roster.
And as always, if you need a great fantasy baseball team name, you know where to find us.