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2011 Draft Sleepers: American League East

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Here is a look at some sleepers from the 2011 draft. Qualifications: I'm not writing about anyone drafted earlier than the sixth round. That's arbitrary but I'm trying to look for players who didn't get a lot of hype but who can surprise us. I'm also trying to avoid players who got massive above-slot bonuses; they aren't really sleepers.


BALTIMORE ORIOLES: Trent Howard, LHP: Drafted in the seventh round from Central Michigan University. 6-2, 200 pound lefty, age 21, average velocity but changes speeds well, throws strikes, and did well in the New York-Penn League for Aberdeen, 3.48 ERA with a 45/14 K/BB in 41 innings, 37 hits. Has the pitchability to move through the farm system quickly, though ceiling is that of a fourth starter or long reliever.

BOSTON RED SOX: Travis Shaw, 3B-1B: Ninth round pick from Kent State, son of Jeff Shaw. Hit .262/.371/.446 for Lowell in the New York-Penn League, hit eight homers and drew 34 walks in 202 at-bats. Left-handed power bat, grinder type with mediocre glove, but has enough power and patience to be interesting.

NEW YORK YANKEES: Justin James, OF: Son of Dion James, drafted in the 12th round from Sacramento Community College. He is very raw, has some swing issues, and hit just .230/.348/.311 in the Gulf Coast League, but he'll already take a walk, hits left-handed, and has speed/power potential in a large 6-5, 230 frame.

TAMPA BAY RAYS Cameron Seitzer, 1B: Drafted from the University of Oklahoma in the 11th round, son of Kevin Seitzer. Big 6-5, 220 pounder with a pretty swing, he didn't show the expected power in college this year but that changed in the Appy League with 11 homers and a .285/.407/.498 mark. He has excellent plate discipline, but we need to see him at higher levels. Also watch teammate Taylor Motter (SS-3B, 17th round, Boston College), a solid gloveman who hit .314/.425/.479 with 23 steals.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS: Eric Arce, OF: Some unusual background here. Arce was drafted in the 27th round in 2010 by the Blue Jays, from high school in Lakeland, Florida, but did not sign. He was planning on attending Florida State, but changed his mind and re-entered the draft pool for 2011. The Jays picked him again, in the 25th round. He hit .267/.427/.587 between the GCL and Appy Leagues, with 14 homers, 40 walks, and 52 strikeouts in 172 at-bats. Short, stocky but strong at 5-9, 205, he's very patient and has obvious power potential. Catcher in high school and has defensive limitations, but bat is intriguing.