Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia decided to retool his batting order this off-season and the changes could be beneficial to fantasy baseball owners looking for a mid- to later-round “sleeper”.
» Kole Calhoun, RF, Los Angeles Angels (current ADP: #194):
Kole Calhoun had a cup of coffee with the Angels in 2012, but he really put his name on the fantasy baseball map in 2013.
The rookie was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake City on July 28 and immediately made an impact, showing flashes of power and the ability to get on base.
During August he slashed .259/.343/.482. His incredible SLG% was boosted by the five home runs he hit that month, which led all American League rookies.
In just a few weeks, you could see he was already making adjustments at the plate, batting .307 over 101 at bats in the following month of September.
Sure, he had a high BABIP (.346), but his K-rate also dropped from the previous month, going from 19.2% to 17.9%.
He ended up finishing his rookie campaign with 8 HR, 32 RBI, and 29 runs scored in 195 AB.
As the projected leadoff hitter in Anaheim this season, Kole Calhoun has an opportunity to head a lineup featuring Pujols, Hamilton and arguably the best player in baseball, Mike Trout.
Hitting in front of those guys will allow him to see a lot of pitches, and if he can replicate any form of his 2013 numbers, he could be in for a big season.
Having swiped just 45 bags in his minor-league career, fantasy owners shouldn’t be expecting too much in the stolen base category, although he did steal 20 with High-A Inland Empire in 2011. That’s not what you’re drafting Calhoun for, though. Getting him for his $4 auction price will allow you to spend more in other places and still give you his high upside in runs, home runs and batting average.
2014 Projections: .281/.349/.428, 17 HR, 70 RBI, 75 R, 12 SB
» Missed any of my earlier picks? Please click here for links to all the sleepers I’ve covered from each team so far.