Here are some sleeper prospects from the American League East for 2018. For purposes of this exercise, a “sleeper prospect” is a player who did not receive a grade higher than C+ on the pre-season organization prospect lists, but who has a significant chance to boost their stock in 2018.
I will try to make clear if each player is a short-term “could contribute soon” type or more of a long-term speculative investment for fantasy owners.
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: Yefry Ramirez, RHP; Age 24, from the Dominican Republic, acquired from Yankees for international bonus slot money last summer, went 15-3, 3.47 with 117/49 K/BB in 124 innings in Double-A, fastball 90-95, plus change-up, average slider, chance to reinforce major league staff later this year.
BOSTON RED SOX: Roldani Baldwin, C: Age 22, from the Dominican Republic, hit .274/.310/.489 with 14 homers, 19 walks, 73 strikeouts in 368 at-bats in Low-A, also hit 35 doubles; threw out 33% of runners though rest of defense needs work, understandable as converted infielder; watch power production as he moves up, won’t be in majors soon.
NEW YORK YANKEES: Brian Keller, RHP: Age 23, 39th round pick in 2016 from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; 3.13 ERA in 144 innings in Low-A/High-A, 157/28 K/BB, would get more attention in other systems; low-90s fastball, plus change-up, average curveball that flashes above-average, throws strikes, great find that low in the draft.
TAMPA BAY RAYS: Drew Strotman, RHP: Age 21, fourth round pick in 2017 from St. Mary’s; posted 1.78 ERA in 51 innings in NY-P with 42/9 K/BB, just 29 hits allowed; dominant in short-season A-ball, velocity has increased from low-90 into mid-90s and has command of slider and change-up, in most systems he would be a candidate to move quickly but the Rays have so much ahead of him it may take longer.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS: Jordan Romano, RHP: Age 24, 10th round pick in 2014 from Oral Roberts but born in Ontario; 3.39 ERA in 138 innings in High-A, 138/54 K/BB, just two homers allowed, Tommy John survivor; fastball 92-96, plus slider, change-up and overall command need work but even small improvements would go a long way, watch his K/BB ratio.