Jason Frasor - It looks like Cito, as is his wont, is going back to the well for Jason Frasor as the Jays' closer to start the season. Frasor improved his control by more than a full walk per nine innings from his career average during 2009, and lo and behold he turned in his best season as a big leaguer. I wouldn't put it past him repeating the feat as long as he can maintain that sort of control, which would likely place him in the upper half of closers throughout the league. He's pretty clearly worth a spot at this point, although grabbing Scott Downs and/or Kevin Gregg (in that order) as insurance is still recommended.
Tom Gorzelanny - Gorzo has been named the fourth starter for the Cubs coming out of spring training, and despite last year's struggles I'm intrigued by him as a sleeper choice. The combination of a return to his former velocity (a jump of over two miles an hour, which may not sound like much but trust me, it is) and the concurrent jump in his K rate (36 in 31 2/3 IP as a starter for Chicago) fairly leap off the page, and the tutelage from Greg Maddux this spring can't hurt a bit. I would definitely look at Gorzelanny in the later rounds/waiver wire portion of your preseason planning.
Jeff Clement - Looks like sleeper day today, as Clement is another guy on my end-game list. With Steve Pearce (an extremely similar player, BTW) having an option, owning less positional flexibility, and being a year older, Clement is the likely choice for playing 1B for Pittsburgh coming out of camp. We've used 219 major-league AB's to determine that Clement can't hit at the big league level, so color me skeptical that that's really set in stone. His minor league stats aren't fantastic for a first baseman (they were pretty darn good for a catcher though), but an ISO of .213 with a decent AVG and solid plate discipline is better than what the Pirates normally have had to work with of late. If left alone, Clement should be able to put up numbers that won't hurt you, and there's some upside (think 30-35 2B, 20-25 HR top-end) there as well.
Rick Ankiel - One of baseball's happy stories in 2008, Ankiel experienced what amounts to a lost season in 2009, falling apart in every facet of his offense. At age 30 but with significantly less experience than many of his peers age-wise, Ankiel certainly has the power to entice potential owners, and there aren't a lot of threats to his playing time to be found in KC. I wouldn't be surprised if Ankiel bounced back most of the way to his 2008 line, although he clearly does need to be platooned...something that caps his overall value. As a reserve he is a solid upside play, but he hasn't shown enough to justify a starting slot in any format for 2010 just yet.
Ian Kennedy - Continuing with the sleeper motif, Ian Kennedy is penciled in as the Snakes' 4th starter this spring, and his brief forgettable tenure in the Big Apple seems to have taken the lustre off of some truly impressive minor league numbers. Kennedy has averaged almost 10 K/9 in nearly 250 minor league innings, but has fallen into a habit of nibbling every time he has come up to the majors, resulting in walk totals prohibitive of success. The more I look at Kennedy's track record, the more I'm inclined to look at his prospects for 2010 in a kinder light. The BOB isn't the most friendly place in which to pitch, but I think Kennedy might be able to manage better than league-average performance this year, which is no small feat for a 24 year old with 12 big league starts under his belt. I'd be looking at him as a sleeper in all formats.
John Bowker - Spring training stats mean nothing, and offensive stats from Fresno don't mean a whole lot either, but John Bowker has caught enough attention over the last ten months or so to have removed the "definitely" tag from Nate Schierholtz as the starting RF for San Francisco. Bowker has performed very similarly to Schierholtz over the past couple of years, and he's a year younger, but he also has a minor league option available, so it isn't all that likely that he'll be breaking camp with any playing time outside of Fresno. However, he does have some power potential, and that, coupled with a solid chance at some playing time at some point this year, makes Bowker a solid sleeper in deeper formats.
Jaime Garcia - Jaime Garcia appears to have beaten out Kyle McClellan and Rich Hill (not exactly Spahn and Sain) for the Cards' 5th starter's job, and in the process he's created another sleeper for just about any format. The 23 year old is coming off of Tommy John surgery last year, but his A and AA stats from 2006-08 were excellent, and he appeared to be fully recovered in a short AAA stint last season. He has been very solid this spring (which means little, of course), but the healthy K rates at every step of the ladder certainly bode well for his potential production in St. Louis. I would definitely be a buyer.
Mat Latos - I don't think Latos even qualifies as a sleeper, since he's probably the only starter on the Padres with a likelihood of even sniffing a 4.00 ERA this year. Latos' ten-start MLB debut may have been pedestrian last year, but his stuff and minor league performances are/were nothing short of outstanding, and there's no reason to expect that he won't be the ace in San Diego for quite some time, starting right now. Of course, his elbow is already bugging him a bit this spring, but injury potential is part and parcel for all young pitchers. Latos is as good a bet as any young NL pitcher.
Ian Desmond - There is still a chance that Desmond breaks camp with the Nationals, but I think it's more likely that he opens the season in AAA waiting to see what happens with Cristian Guzman and Adam Kennedy as the keystone combo in Washington. Desmond does have enough speed to pick up 20-30 SB annually, but last year was really the first time that he offered anything to speak of with the bat. It could certainly be some growth as a player, but I want to see a bit more. I don't think he's worthy of "sleeper" status in most formats, although in the deepest of leagues he might be worth a flyer depending on your needs.
Tigers C - I really like Alex Avila, and Gerald Laird has shown barely north of nothing in his last 350 games in the majors, but it looks like there's a good chance that the Tigers are going to send Avila back to AAA for more "seasoning", as they expect that Avila would only get 1-2 starts per week behind the plate in Detroit. Avila is pretty clearly a far superior hitter to Laird already, and "catcher's ERA" has been studied ad nauseum and found wanting as a viable statistic, but Tiger management thinks that Laird "calls a better game" or something, and they make the decisions. Avila will have value at some point, and that point may very well be this year, but for the time being he is only worth a minor league or reserve spot if you have the ability to wait on him.
Tigers #4/#5 SP - Both Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman pitched decently this week, but Bonderman is still not missing bats quite enough and Willis is still having control issues (two balls were Nuke LaLoosh'ed to the backstop in his last start). Willis' velocity was up to 94, which in my mind gives him significant upside over Bonderman right now (pardon me while I backtrack completely from my thoughts last week). Missing bats is still the most important thing that a pitcher can do, and all three candidates for the back of the Tiger rotation are doing at least a fair job of that this spring. Willis has been the most effective but has been as wild as ever, Bonderman has been hit the hardest but seems to have the backing of management, and Robertson has probably been the most consistent but seems to be the least likely to get the job right now. All three pitchers have some upside potential in deeper leagues, but in the majority of formats I would steer clear of all of them at present.
Brewers #4/#5 SP - The Brew Crew still aren't much closer to solving the back of their rotation with just nine days to go in spring training, but Dave Bush looks likely to be the 4th starter, while Chris Narveson, Manny Parra, and Jeff Suppan (my opinion on the order) are still fighting for the last spot. Bush is what he is (one of my least favorite sayings...what else would he be), a slightly less than league average guy that sometimes is a lot worse than that. That makes him a necessary piece in the deepest of formats as a back-end guy, and makes him slightly more valuable than Tony Womack in most formats. Suppan, to me, is done. His BB and K rates have been heading toward each other for years, and they're about to meet. That's never good. Parra and Narveson are both intriguing lefties with some sleeper potential, but Parra seems to have a propensity for blow-ups while Narveson has been great in very limited big league exposure. If pressed, I would be comfortable with Narveson as a possible swingman on my team, while Parra is possibly worth a reserve spot depending on the depth of your league.
Brewers CF - I've gotta say that I've always loved Jim Edmonds, so recognize that bias right off the bat. Edmonds was awesome in a half-season with the Cubs in '08, took last year off, and now at 39 3/4 finds himself earning a bench spot with the Brewers this spring. There is nothing that makes me think that Carlos Gomez would be a better option for the Brewers in CF than Jim Edmonds, and I'm really rooting for Ken Macha to make that same assessment early in the season. If Edmonds has slowed in the field then it's a moot point, but I'm betting that he has enough that he'll slowly start to earn more playing time as the season progresses. Edmonds is probably only worth a reserve slot in the deepest of leagues right now, but the playing time situation bears watching in virtually all formats, as his upside is clearly sizable enough to warrant starting if he gets enough PT.
Twins CL - There's been plenty of talk about using Francisco Liriano as the closer for 2010 while Joe Nathan undergoes Tommy John surgery, but with 2 BB and 22 K this spring (and with Ron Gardenhire's recent comments), I have to think that Liriano is better suited for the open 5th spot in the rotation than for the 9th innings of games in which the Twins lead by 1-3 runs. My personal preference for the job would still be Pat Neshek, but Matt Guerrier and Jon Rauch are still the lead horses in that derby, with Guerrier owning a slight lead at this point. Any of the three are decent options for your bullpen if holds are rewarded, but if it's saves only you might want to hold out just a bit longer to see what develops. I would bet that Liriano is going to remain in the rotation, but he will stay an option for the 'pen as well.
Scott Baker - It's hard to call an ace a sleeper, but with Scott Baker's strand rate dropping significantly last year I think that he's being miscast as a mid-rotation guy, when in reality he's more of a #2 starter. He does give up a few too many homers, but short of Francisco Liriano he has more upside than any other Twin, and if Target Field plays as more of a pitchers' park as suspected, I wouldn't be surprised to see Baker outperform all expectations here in 2010. He'd be on a "try to acquire" list, if I had such a thing.