FLB: 2005 Review: Breakouts
Updated: November 13, 2005, 8:48 PM ETBy Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN Fantasy Games
Fantasy owners love to talk about the big names, the Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero or Manny Ramirez types, but it's the lesser-known names, the breakout performers and sleepers, who generally win fantasy leagues. That 25th-round pick who developed into a 25-homer shortstop, or that 15th-round starting pitcher who became a 15-game winner, were probably the ones most responsible for your team's success this year, not the big names you picked up in your draft's first few rounds. In my last two columns, we took a look back at how some of those more notable names performed in 2005. This week, however, let's turn our focus to those breakouts and sleepers, the players who imprinted their names on the minds of many fantasy owners for years to come. The following 15 hitters -- and I'm excluding rookies, which we'll address later -- were all picked beyond the top 200 in preseason live drafts, but all of them finished among the top 150 on the Player Rater. Listed under each hitter is his final standing on the Player Rater, my 2005 preseason projection and his final statistics. We'll look at the pitchers next time.