Here are some sleeper prospects from the National League Eastern Division 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.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
ATLANTA BRAVES: Thomas Burrows, LHP: Age 23, fourth round pick in 2016 from University of Alabama; posted 2.16 ERA, 92/25 K/BB in 67 innings in Low-A, just 48 hits; high strikeout rate due to low-90s sinker and power slider combo; command needs some sharpening but can rise quickly to big league pen if that happens; effective against both left-handed and right-handed hitters, giving him closer potential.
MIAMI MARLINS: I was going to say Trevor Richards but he was just promoted to the majors and profiled by Ricky Keeler. Instead we’ll go with Ben Meyer, RHP. Age 25, drafted in the 29th round in 2015 from the University of Minnesota; posted 2.02 ERA in 111 innings between Low-A and High-A, 134/23 K/BB, just 81 hits; fastball 89-93, touching 95; mixes in decent slider and change-up, throws strikes with everything; velocity has picked up since college, something of a late-bloomer.
NEW YORK METS: Corey Oswalt, RHP: Age 24, seventh round pick in 2012 from high school in San Diego, California; posted 2.28 ERA with 119/40 K/BB in 134 innings in Double-A, 118 hits; soft-tosser when drafted, velocity has picked up into low-90s with some sink, complete arsenal of secondaries with curve and change keeping hitters off-stride; impressive command and good mound presence, should be up later this year.
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: McKenzie Mills, LHP: Age 22, 18th round pick by Washington Nationals in 2014 from high school in Marietta, Georgia; came to Phillies last summer for Howie Kendrick; 3.22 ERA in 122 innings in Low-A/High-A, 134/22 K/BB; mechanical tweaks and physical maturity boosted fastball into low-90s and improved command of solid curve and change; live-armed lefties live forever.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS: Kelvin Gutierrez, 3B: Age 23, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2012; hit .288/.347/.414 with two homers, 19 walks, 59 strikeouts in 222 at-bats in High-A, missing much of season with ankle injury; superior defensive third baseman with above-average range and dramatically improved reliability; hasn’t tapped his raw power yet but hit .350 in Arizona Fall League while showing signs of improved strike zone judgment.