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Sleepers & Busts: Chris Capuano, Drew Storen

The mock-drafting masses continue to provide this space with fodder for posts, and that'll only increase as soon-to-open Spring Training camps inch closer to Opening Day, so let's continue on with the analysis of potential Draft Day hits and misses. As always the standard disclaimer: The terms "sleeper" and "bust" are relative to average draft position (courtesy of MockDraftCentral.com).

Chris Capuano, SP, Dodgers
ADP: 273

With a deep pool of starting-pitching talent around the Majors these days, the middle and late rounds are loaded with potential value picks among the ranks of the hurlers. That's good news for bargain hunters, as there are some useful but unsexy arms who've in turn been bumped to the back end of drafts (or aren't being drafted at all).

One such fellow is Dodgers lefty Chris Capuano, who could turn out to be an end-of-draft steal relative to where he's going off the board -- or, more accurately, not going off the board -- in many mocks. The southpaw's current ADP of 273 puts him in the late 22nd round, although he's only being drafted in a measly 3.7% of leagues.

Capuano's injury history -- he didn't appear in the Majors in 2008-09 -- and his underwhelming surface numbers in 2011 are probably the culprits for his lack of respect so far in mocks, but that's to our advantage. The left-hander's 11 wins, 4.55 ERA and 1.35 WHIP weren't much to write home about last season, but he actually posted a fine 3.60 SIERA to go with strong strikeout (8.13 K/9) and walk (2.56 BB/9) rates, so there is hope for fairly significant improvement for his ERA in 2012.

Certainly, it'd be easier to more confidently predict such a correction if Cap had stayed with the Mets and pitched roughly half of his ballgames at cavernous Citi Field, but the move over to the Dodgers isn't a substantial downgrade by any means. The 33-year-old will now reside at Dodger Stadium, which stifles right-handed power, a bugaboo for Capuano throughout his career. He'll also get a couple starts at AT&T Park and Petco Park, against the weak lineups of the Giants and Padres.

It's been my observation that there's a tendency among many fantasy owners to burn out or simply shut it down by the time the last couple rounds of a draft roll around. Heck, I'd be lying if I said I haven't fallen victim to it myself. Resist the urge as much as possible, because while expectations should be relatively tempered, there are still useful players to be found in these rounds. Someone like Capuano won't make or break your season, but that doesn't mean he can't exceed the value of what you'll pay for him in the late 22nd, especially when someone like Guillermo Moscoso is actually going ahead of him in drafts.

Drew Storen, Nationals, CL
ADP:  82.2

Drew Storen is being drafted, on average, in the late sixth round. That's too soon.

Perhaps mockers are chasing the ghost of Craig Kimbrel circa 2011. Or, perhaps Kimbrel's insanely high draft position (59, late fourth!) is causing a chain reaction, whereby the other closers are going too early. Whatever the reason, it's worth noting that while Storen looks to have a strong career ahead of him as a perennial top-10 closer, he's not someone worth reaching for -- not to this extent, anyway.

There's two primary factors that make Storen a reach for me: saves and strikeouts. While the right-hander's 43 saves in 2011 were surely a boon for his owners, it's nearly impossible to predict how that'll translate this season. Take, for example, Jonathan Papelbon. Pap enjoyed his finest season last year by SIERA (1.58) but finished with a mere 31 saves. What's to blame for the discrepancy? Blind luck, mostly. If there's a formula out there for predicting saves, I haven't seen it. So while mock drafters are likely paying for Storen's 43 saves, there's a chance they won't get 43 saves.

As for the strikeouts, Storen was no slouch in that department in 2011, posting a solid 8.84 K/9. But he's far more of a well-rounded pitcher than he is K King, which bodes well for his long-term prospects of prosperity but makes him less attractive as a potential overreach on draft day. Again, for comparison's sake, Kimbrel's ridiculously high ADP of 59 makes some sense coming off a season in which he posted a whopping 14.84 K/9.

It's hard to figure why Storen is going so early at this point, but the fact is that he's the second stopper flying off draft boards, after only Kimbrel. Meanwhile, Ryan Madson, who profiles similarly to Storen, is languishing till 144, and strikeout types Jordan Walden and Sergio Santos are sitting ducks at 158 and 172, respectively. Don't be afraid to pass on Storen.



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