Everyone loves the idea of the "next big thing" in fantasy -- so much so that the former "next big thing" is often overlooked and forgotten. Well, here's a tip to keep in mind: Last year's rookie trash can be this year's sophomore treasure.
As part of our ongoing series on drafting sleepers, let's examine the overlooked sophomores. Last year's phenoms who didn't quite pan out will come at a reduced price on draft day because of the disappointing numbers they produced a year ago.
Brett Lawrie exemplifies this well, although he wasn't technically a rookie a year ago. After a smashing second half in 2011, Lawrie was expected to produce huge returns as an elite fantasy third baseman at top-five if not top-three status. Instead, he was merely marginal, hitting .273 with 11 homers, 48 RBI, 73 runs and 13 steals, putting him 15th among third basemen in a standard head-to-head points league.
Owners who reached for Lawrie were left bitter. But that makes this the time to pounce on a talent like Lawrie, whose hype is in the past, whose luster is tarnished and whose draft position is now at a reasonable level.
Ah, but that player is still capable of going .290/30/100/100/20.
If you need further examples of how this draft strategy can pay off, take a gander at how the owners who drafted Chris Sale, Mark Trumbo, Aroldis Chapman and Paul Goldschmidt fared. All were sophomore monsters last season. Things tend to be easier the second time around in the league, and those guys crushed it relative to their draft position -- as did Kyle Seager, Freddie Freeman, Salvador Perez, Greg Holland, Trevor Plouffe and Mike Moustakas.
Here are the top overlooked sophomores to draft at a discounted rate this spring, listed by position: