Five Deep Sleeper Teams for the ’09 MLB Season

I know this guy (I’ll stop short of calling him a friend but wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the phone if he called) that at the start of all the major sporting seasons will throw out his list of “sleeper teams” to watch out for.

What’s funny about this guy is that he knows if he’s wrong he’ll never be called out because hey, they were just sleeper teams anyways right? But if he’s right, well hell, he’ll look like some kind of sports sleeper team Nostradamus.

This is the same guy that’ll pick a No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 every year in the March Madness Tournament, so on the rare chance it happens he’ll have the opportunity to say that he called the upset of a lifetime. The funny thing is that he would have been wrong the previous 34 years of predicting 16’s over 1’s, but that would be beside the point.

Anyway, this piece is dedicated to him – the “Sleeper Team Guy.” For fans, there’s nothing like predicting a perennial loser (i.e. the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays) to rise from the ashes and make a postseason run no matter what sport it is. And with Opening Day right around the corner, I think it’s a perfect time to hand out some potential sleeper candidates of my own.

Below are five deep sleepers to make a postseason run this year in baseball. Most pundits assume that none of the five will finish better than third in their respective divisions, which is why I can get away with calling these teams “deep sleepers.” If any of them make the playoffs, I’ll wax poetically about it in my sleeper teams piece next year. If none even sniff a postseason berth, then in honor of “Sleeper Team Guy” don’t expect me to admit I was wrong. Yeah, that’s right – accountability is for losers.

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2009 MLB Preview: #19 Florida Marlins

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Offseason Movement: The Marlins made a series of trades this offseason, including sending first basemen Mike Jacobs to the Royals for reliever Leo Nunez, starting pitcher Scott Olsen and outfielder Josh Willingham to the Nationals for infielder Emilio Bonifacio, and closer Kevin Gregg to the Cubs for Jose Ceda. All three moves were made in hopes of helping the club down the road and get compensation for players that had already reached their ceilings.

Top Prospect: Cameron Maybin, OF
The Marlins essentially handed Maybin a starting job before spring training started – and for good reason. The 21-year old is one of the most exciting prospects in baseball and a rare five-tool player. Maybin has it all – speed, average, power – but he will need time to develop and patience should be shown. At least playing in Florida he’ll see some quality at bats and nobody is behind him so the pressure should be off.

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