You shouldn’t need me to explain what a sleeper is, but when distinguishing it from a breakout, as we’re wont to do this time of year, subtleties in interpretation can make for disparate criteria.
So I’ll keep the definition as broad as possible: A sleeper is a player who deserves more love than he’s getting. There’s some overlap with “breakout” there, of course, but the criteria for a breakout is theoretically narrower.
I draw this distinction mostly to remind you that this isn’t a complete and exhaustive list of all the players we like and that others exist under different labels. It isn’t even our complete and exhaustive list of sleepers but merely a first foray into that preseason staple. In the weeks and months ahead, Frank Stampfl, Chris Towers and I will eventually break out our own separate lists, complete with more names, but in the here and now, we’ve combined our powers to give you sort of a sneak peak into what we’re thinking.
Here are five sleepers from each of us, summed up in our own words: