Death of a Sleeper
by Eddie Mayrose

While we welcome the arrival of a new season,  there was a pall cast over the Graham household during the month of December with the news that Moonlight’s favorite sleeper, Jason Kubel, had signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Long a fixture on every Moonlight Fantasy roster, Kubel now moves to the National League where the lack of a DH and a crowded Arizona outfield will likely reduce his AB enough to keep him off most mixed-league rosters.

For now, Kubel is listed as the starting left fielder for the defending NL West champs and, given the money they’re paying him, will likely begin 2012 in the middle of the D’Backs lineup.  However, it’s a stretch to think that his rickety knees will hold up over the course of a full season.  Gone are those DH “days off” when Kubel got a chance to rest without missing AB’s.  Now, he’s a strong candidate to, at least, be left out of Sunday games, as well as many day games after night games.  All of this idle time could cost our boy as many as 75 AB; assuming he stays healthy for the entire campaign.

We all have our favorite sleepers- those guys that provide us with a safety net during the draft as positions become thin.  Bobby Carr, co-owner of the 40-Kane Fantasy Baseball League’s Master Batters, recalls his affinity for Tigers’ 2B Lou Whitaker.  “He was always there late in the draft for me.  His numbers were more than adequate, especially when I picked him, and knowing he’d be available allowed me to take productive players at other positions.  I used to joke that he posed with my family for our Christmas card picture.”

It was no different for me with Kubel.  I started following him as he rocketed through the Twins’ chain as their top hitting prospect; more so even than Justin Morneau,  Then, after a crippling knee injury nearly cost him his career, his comeback made him one of my favorite players.  He became a .300 hitter and 100 RBI guy on three Fantasy Championship teams, never for more than a 16th round pick.  Between Kubel and Johan Santana, the first Minnesota prospect I picked up out of the minors, I’ve become quite the Twins fan.

Make no mistake, Kubel will, absolutely, be a part of my 2012 roster despite the new uniform.   I owe him that much.  Besides, there’s always the possibility that the move out of Target Field will increase his offensive production.  It just won’t be as much fun now that he’s no longer a Twin.  Speaking of which, neither is Michael Cuddyer or Delmon Young.  Can any team dump three 100 RBI guys and not feel it?  I don’t think so.  It’ll be a long year in Minnesota, especially in the town of Chisholm, Moonlight’s hometown.

 Moonlight Graham’s Top Ten Fantasy Sleepers

1 – Paul Goldschmidt  Arizona Diamondbacks 1B

2- Jemile Weeks Oakland Athletics 2B

3- Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels OF

4- Jesus Montero Seattle Mariners C

5- Matt Moore Tampa Bay Rays P

6- Brett Lawrie Toronto Blue Jays 3B

7- Jose Tabata Pittsburgh Pirates OF

8- Anthony Rizzo San Diego Padres 1B

9- Devin Mesoraco Cincinnati Reds C

10- Bryce Harper Washington Nationals OF

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