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Sleepers for Your Consideration

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Kind of feels like a holding pattern, waiting for the minor league season to start.

Here are three sleeper prospects for your consideration. These guys, unlike our friend Dirk Vadjer, are all real of course.

In no particular order:

Zach Ward, RHP, Minnesota Twins: Ward had a disappointing season in Class A last year, going 5-17 for Fort Myers. His ERA was 4.08, his K/BB 107/37 in 130 innings, 133 hits allowed. The Won-Loss record reflects poor defensive support; he didn't pitch as badly as that. His GO/AO was 2.64 and he gave up just five homers. Ward still has the strong sinker/slider combination, and it will be interesting to see what he does in Double-A, especially if he gets a better defense behind him. He's still an intriguing prospect, if overshadowed by others in the Twins system.

Dustin Richardson, LHP, Boston Red Sox: Former Texas Tech lefty drafted in the fifth round in 2006, holds a career record of 13-8, 3.22 with a 167/65 K/BB in 162 innings so far. Tall and lanky, 6-5, 195, hits the low 90s but is still working on his secondary pitches. He's a good athlete with basketball experience, almost made the Texas Tech hoops team as a walk-on during an ESPN "reality show." Could be a breakthrough candidate this year.

Sergio Romo, RHP, San Francisco Giants: Romo's numbers in the California League last  year were sick: 1.36 ERA, 106/15 K/BB ratio in 66 innings, 35 hits allowed. He doesn't receive much attention because he's short (5-11), doesn't have a blazing heater (87-90), and relies on command of his junk pitches (curveball, splitter, slider, changeup) to succeed. We need to see what he does at higher levels, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him emerge as a middle relief candidate very soon if he can keep this up. At age 25 he needs to prove himself quickly.