Fantasy baseball sleepers, breakouts and busts

From ESPN - February 13, 2018

The draft is the most exciting date on the fantasy baseball calendar, as the decisions you make during the draft set the table for your season.

Are you prepared to find the hidden gems that will set your team apart? Have you scouted the next superstar waiting to rise to the top of the Player Rater? Can you navigate the player pool and avoid the busts that will leave you with regrets all season long?

Below, our experts predict the players they consider to be sleepers, breakouts and busts for the 2018 season. Here's a quick guide to what we mean by these categories ...

Sleeper: A player set to exceed the value implied by his average draft position. Each analyst has provided an early-round sleeper, a midround sleeper and a sleeper you can find at the end of your drafts.

Breakout: A player poised to enter the upper echelon of the fantasy game via a big step forward, reaching a new level of play for the first time in his career. Our analysts have picked an early breakout player who could deliver first-round value, a midround sleeper who could return value of a top-50 player and a rookie who could jump straight to fantasy stardom.

Bust: A player who will disappoint relative to his average draft position. Our experts have picked players set to disappoint as expected first-round selections, disappointments in the early to middle rounds and rookies who wo not live up to expectations.

Yoan Moncada: Moncada boasts power, speed, plate discipline, a middle-infield starting spot and a place near the top of a potentially interesting lineup, all at age 22. OK, he could have been better last year, but he was still a rookie. This is a 20-homer, 30-steal profile, at least, and even if he hits only .260 or so thanks to the strikeouts, that makes him a top-100 player with the potential for considerably more, considering he can contribute in every offensive category. The breakout is still coming! -- Eric Karabell

Manuel Margot: Margot always profiled as a leadoff option with stolen base potential, and then in his rookie season, he swatted 13 home runs in 126 games as well. The Padres should score many more runs than they did in 2017, and Margot at the top is key as a potential five-category option. Margot was not supposed to hit for much power, but the underlying figures show that his rookie power was legit. Margot is certainly capable of more than 30 stolen bases, with expected gains in batting average and runs pending as well. -- Eric Karabell

Bryce Harper: Harper has achieved historic numbers, with 150 home runs before turning 25, but he is a risk in Round 1. Durability is a problem, but the numbers are inconsistent as well. Sure, Harper could hit 50 home runs ... but he has topped 30 once in six seasons. He could win a batting title ... but he has hit .275 twice. Finally, Harper attempted all of six stolen bases last season. It would not be surprising if Harper matches his 2015 MVP campaign and tops Mike Trout in value ... but it is fair to point out that Harper has reached expectations in only one of his six seasons for fantasy. -- Eric Karabell


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