Deep League Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: First Base

Mike Kurland dives deep into the player pool to give you five first baseman he is in on going after the top 300 in ADP. Check it out.

Positional sleepers are incoming! We will be going position by position discussing players going outside the top 300 picks in drafts and breaking them down as to why they are good picks for your teams. If you play in deeper leagues this will help you with choosing that corner infielder or bench bat to help you with depth. Regardless, the goal here is to point out players that may not be getting a lot of attention early in draft season. Today we bring you a few names at the first base position.

Please note ADP is from NFBC DC formats from January 1, 2022, through January 28, 2022.

Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers

ADP: 305.13 – Min. 258/ Max 353

Before being traded from the Blue Jays to the Brewers, Tellez posted a .209/.272/.338 triple-slash with just four home runs and ran into playing time issues with. He was not a regular for them anymore but once he was traded the playing time picked up and the production followed.

With the DH likely happening in 2022, Tellez should gain more at-bats and overall playing time. If he can remain serviceable against LHP then there is a chance he avoids the platoon but even as a platoon bat, he should reach at least 500 plate appearances and could bring good power production without tanking your batting average. Hard to find that skill set as late as he is going.

Yoshi Tsutsugo, 1B/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

ADP: 309.56 – Min. 277/ Max 342

Yoshi Tsutsugo is similar to Tellez in that it took a change of scenery (in this case two) last season for him to finally show what he could do. When he came over from Japan the hype was there and production as well. The power and everything finally came together in Pittsburgh where he re-signed and should find every day playing time in the middle of the order again.

Prior to landing with the Pirates to finish the season, Tsutsugo was designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays which led to being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was then released in August. This was not without merit as Tsutsugo just .155/.256/.194 with a 33.1% strikeout rate combined between his time with the Rays and Dodgers.

What many might not have noticed is that he did hit .257/.361/.507 with 10 home runs in Triple-A for the Dodgers and possibly was beginning to figure it out prior to being released. Then the Pirates scooped him up and he finished the season looking like a changed hitter.

Bobby Bradley, 1B, Cleveland Guardians

ADP: 403.59 – Min. 349/ Max 498

If you are looking for late power production, look no further. Bobby Bradley has as much power potential as anyone. Bradley had a max exit velocity of 114.2 MPH which was inside the top 8% of the league. Among players with at least 25 plate appearances, Bradley ranked 23rd in Brls/BBE% with 16.8%. This is up there with names like Salvador Perez and Franmil Reyes for reference. He ranked 40th overall in Brls/PA at 9%. This was in line with names like Luis Robert and Corey Seager. Again, this skill to barrel balls regularly will help with the power production.

The issue is the swing-and-miss he has in his profile will not be friendly to your batting average so you need to build that up prior to rostering him. He hit just .208 with a 35.5% strikeout rate in 2021 and has had strikeout issues all throughout the minors as well. You will notice when you look at his plate discipline data he makes below-average contact across the board while having an issue with the swinging strikes.

YearO-Swing%Z-Swing%Swing%O-Contact%Z-Contact%Contact%Zone%F-Strike%SwStr%
2021 Production32.2%70.0%47.8%44.4%74.4%62.5%41.0%62.0%17.8%
2021 League Avg.31.3%68.9%47.2%62.4%84.6%76.1%42.1%60.6%11.2%

Just know when you draft Bradley he will bring the power but be ready to lose some batting average in the process.

Deep League Dart Throws

These are a couple of names going beyond the top 400 in average draft positions. They likely will be watch list players at best in shallower formats and reserve round picks even in deeper formats.

Nick Pratto, 1B, Kansas City Royals

ADP: 460.44 – Min. 387/ Max 521

Now Nick Pratto spent more time in Triple-A than Casas and has big-time power already in his profile. The difference here is the strikeout concerns. He has 27.9% of the time or more every season since 2018 and that could turn into more strikeout issues as he enters the MLB level. However, the power is legit and he could be at least as good as Bobby Bradley on the low end. He posted 36 home runs in just 124 minor league games in 2021 and where he makes up for the bad batting average is the on-base skills he brings and stolen base potential. He has posted at least a 10.4% walk rate in four of his five MiLB stops in his career and has double-digit stolen bases in every minor league season. This makes for an intriguing gamble late in drafts to speculate on.

Tristan Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox

ADP: 485.25 – Min. 356/ Max 603

Triston Casas is someone to watch entering Spring Training and early into the season. Bobby Dalbec has not proven he can take the first base job yet and if he starts off slow Casas can come up in short order and become the first baseman. At two stops last season, Casas posted 14 home runs and seven stolen bases while posting at least a .381 OBP. He also struck out under 20% of the time as well at each level. However, there is power he believes he can tap into and also might be changing his approach this season.

Young players changing their body type and approach is not always a good thing. It is too early to tell but if he taps into that power we could be in for a nice late-round power bat with good plate discipline. Considering he should start at Triple-A at the very least also means the ETA to a callup should be on the shorter end if he performs well out the gate.


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