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Saturday, January 18, 2014

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: YAN GOMES CATCHER CLEVELAND INDIANS

                                                               Yan Gomes

The big news of the day was the revelation that Cleveland Indians catcher/1B Carlos Santana would be moving across the diamond to third base for the 2014 season.  With the Indians not happy by any means with Santana's defense behind the plate while at the same time interested in having 2013 surprise Yan Gomes get on the field more, the move makes sense on all fronts.  With Santana now playing most of his game in the field and not while donning a catching mask, the fallout from this move makes Gomes a very interesting fantasy baseball sleeper for the 2014 season.  Let's dig in and find out where Gomes could be headed.

As far as Gomes' 2013 season was concerned, let's examine the stats in order to establish a starting point to the rest of this post.

.294 11 HR 38 RBI 45 R 2 SB in 293 at-bats.

When looking at this numbers, it is easy to see why Gomes generates some intrigue going into drafting season.  With catcher annually one of the weakest positions in fantasy baseball, we are always on the lookout for sleeper options who can supply some nice bang for the buck and at the same time allow us to spend early picks on more stable investments.  Clearly Gomes has nice power in his bat as 11 home runs in only 293 at-bats is a terrific ratio.  Gomes would have approached 20 home runs if he had gotten 400-plus at-bats and that mark is very impressive for any catcher.  In addition, the .294 average was also very good, again especially for a catcher where .250-.260 averages are the norm and often even worse.  No doubt Gomes surprised more than a few pitchers last season as a new kid on the block.  Over a full season in 2014, Gomes is likely to see the average slip a bit, especially when you consider he has a bit of a high K rate (67 whiffs in those 293 at-bats).  However with the additional playing time will come more home runs, runs, and RBI and Gomes even has some speed to grab 5-8 stolen bases which is a nice bonus from a catcher.  Add it all up and what you have here is a very interesting and cheap fantasy baseball catching option.

As I have said countless times, you want to draft your catcher in the middle rounds at the earliest given the volatility at the position and the increased risk of injury.  Thus looking for sleepers such as Gomes is always the way to go when addressing this position and the new everyday Cleveland backstop surely qualifies under such a title this season.

2014 PROJECTION:  .273 19 HR 67 RBI 63 R 5 SB

Be sure to check back for more of the starting pitching rankings as we move forward through the week.  Let us hear your thoughts.

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