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Fantasy Baseball Friday: Top Five Sleepers in 2015 AL Central

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Feb 23, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher

Justin Verlander

(35) pitches during Monday mornings workout at Joker Merchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

SP Justin Verlander, Tigers

Verlander is the biggest name on this list, having won the Cy Young and MVP awards just four years ago.

There has been a steady decline, however, in his numbers since then particularly due to the decrease in his velocity.

In his 2011 MVP season, Verlander averaged 95.0 MPH on his fastball according to Fan Graphs. His average fastball dropped to 94.3 MPH in 2012, 93.3 MPH in 2013, and 92.3 MPH last season. At 32 years old, it is conceivable to believe Verlander will never regain his plus-95 MPH fastball again.

The good news, though, is Verlander has looked good in spring training, coming into camp 12 pounds heavier than a season ago. Last year, Verlander came to camp underweight because of his offseason core muscle surgery.

Clayton Kershaw has taken over as the game’s top fantasy pitcher and by no means should owners expect Verlander to reclaim that title, but at his current ADP of 136.7 according to Fantasy Pros, owners could take him in the 13th or 14th round with little risk.

Then if he does have a bounce-back season, those owners will look awfully smart.

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