2022 Sporer Sleepers Vol. 1

What are sleepers? Do they even really exist anymore in the information age? The term is definitely bastardized to the point where you might come across a “sleeper list” that is littered with picks inside the top 150. It could just be semantics of defining “sleepers”, but guys taken that high just don’t qualify.

For me, sleepers don’t start until player 300 in 15-team leagues (~200 for 10-teamers, ~240 for 12-teamers). There isn’t a perfect cutoff, but it is fair to tab anyone going after the 20th round as a “sleeper”. We saw the likes of Tyler O’Neill (303 ADP last year), Logan Webb (322), Cedric Mullins (348), and Emmanuel Clase (399) among the major sleeper hits last year.

I’m using the NFBC ADP and putting a start date of 1/1/22 for this first version of Sleepers. And yes, the Vol. 1 in the title does mean there will be more than one of these articles over the remainder of the winter!

Luis Patiño | Tampa Bay Rays, SP | 302 ADP

Patiño enjoyed a nice development season with 77.3 IP in the majors and 29.3 IP at Triple-A. He showed flashes of his upside, highlighted by a 6-start run during which he posted a 3.41 ERA and 1.26 WHIP with 30 Ks in 31.7 IP. A mid-to-high 90s heater and strong mid-80s slider make him hell on righties (.594 OPS) but the lack of a bankable third pitch is a big reason for his platoon problem against lefties (.830 OPS). He is still just 22 years old, though, so there is still time for the third pitch to come together. Patiño could reasonably reach 150 IP this year and that slider could generate more than a strikeout-per-inning. The ratios will depend on his development against lefties and ability to reign in the homers, but I’m happy to pay up for the potential.

Rowdy Tellez | Milwaukee Brewers, 1B | 310 ADP

I was excited about Tellez coming into 2021 in hopes that some of his strikeout gains from 2020 would hold and pair up with his excellent power. He struggled badly in 151 PA with Toronto (62 wRC+, 4 HR), but picked it back up in 174 PA with Milwaukee (112 wRC+, 7 HR). He did indeed show that 2020’s strikeout improvements weren’t a fluke as he struck out just 20% of the time (28% in his first 482 PA in MLB). He doesn’t really need a platoon either with a career .264/.314/.441 line in 242 PA, though Mike Brosseau is kind of a perfect partner (.851 OPS in 229 PA vL). Tellez should be good for a mid-20s HR season as an expectation with the ability to take off and hit .270 and 30+ HR.

Ha-Seong Kim 김하성 | San Diego Padres, 2B-3B-SS | 355 ADP

I’m still in on Kim. His first year stateside was a flop (70 wRC+) in a part-time utility role, but the former KBO star is just 26 years old so I’m willing to give him some time to develop. He showed glimpses of his power and speed and while I don’t think he will match the 30 HR/21 SB he posted in the 2020 KBO season, but he can put up a double-double in a super-utility role and even push for a 20/20 season if he finds a full-time role.

Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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1 year ago

Pleased to see Patino’s name getting some tread. I’m hopeful an updraft boosts him enough that I can collect on a trade. Right now, I’m out. The failure to produce called strikes at an acceptable rate is limiting his ability to stay in the fight. In combination with a limited arsenal, Patino needs to find an identity. The introduction of a sinker or two-seam might be a nice start. However, it will fall down to improvement, comfortability, and adeptness in executing his changeup. He can’t stand up if he can’t face lefty bats. He’s young enough to figure this out as he experiences more and learns more. But until I see some growth I’m not fiddling with a Rays SP that can’t produce yet.

1 year ago

Was just about to post something similar to your last thought. While who he “is” is definitely a thing to consider, who the Rays think he is and/or how they will deploy him is just as important. Tough to get too hyped until we know what kind of usage/leash he’ll get.

1 year ago

A pitching identity. Not himself literally. He hasn’t progressed beyond FA and SL. He is without how he goes about getting outs. Does he favor GB or FB? Is he vertical or horizontal? Is he precise or effectively wild? How does he utilize his SL, swings and miss or called strikes? What complements does he have to improve his FA and SL> These are the questions he hasn’t answered yet on the field. When he does, he is going to be very strong.