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Saturday Sleepers: What is a Sleeper?

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What is a “sleeper”?

In the prospect game, the concept of sleepers and breakouts is used to identify players who are off the radar. So much attention is paid to prospect rankings, which center around the top ten prospects in any system. This leaves a lot of potential MLB players out of the mix. Even with a top 30 ranking, there are going to be future MLB players who are left out.

A sleeper can be someone who everyone else is sleeping on as a potential MLB player. It can also be a player with the talent to be a top prospect, who is currently sleeping in terms of his production. Whether the player decides to wake up and maximize his ability, or followers start to wake up to the ability of the player, the central concept of a sleeper is that they have the opportunity to be seen as better than their current ranking.

This year, I’ve put more focus into the “sleeper” label. I’ve been running a “Saturday Sleepers” series, highlighting an off-the-radar player. Some of these sleepers are already inside my own top 30 rankings. Some of them aren’t even inside my top 50. In each case, I’ve seen talent or an ability that could get a player to the majors, and with a higher ranking than they have. Some of the players still remain sleeping.

In my latest prospect rankings, I included a sleeper tier. That group is meant to highlight players who can still improve upon their current rankings and status.

Sleeper Tier

Here are the players who made my sleeper tier. I’m not a fan of individual numbered rankings. I believe the separation of value between any two players in this tier is minimal. On any given day, I would rank the group below in a brand new order, based on what I’m prioritizing that day. I would probably drop Carlos Caro to the bottom of this list for a true ranking. He was a late addition to this tier, and I listed him pretty high up.

These are the sleepers in the system, per my latest rankings.

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Tim Williams
Tim Williams
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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