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With positional rankings in the rearview and opening day right around the corner, I thought it was due time to talk about some sleepers for the upcoming season. Apparently Childs had the same idea.

He ran down a list of players to watch for 2006 in his fantasy column on Tuesday, so I figured I'd follow suit. Like Childs, I'm not keen on the term sleeper. With so much information out there, very few players slip under the radar any more.

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But here, in no particular order, are a handful of players who will surprise in 2006 and could come at a relative value on draft day. We'll begin with a couple of hometown guys.

Daniel Cabrera, Orioles: His eye-opening World Baseball Classic performance certainly raised his profile, but he's still under-appreciated. Six-foot-7 pitchers who throw triple digits don't come along every day. If he can keep his emotions in check and learn a little something from Leo Mazzone, he'll make big strides in 2006.

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Chris Ray, Orioles: For a guy with a solid grip on the closer's job, Ray hasn't been getting a lot of love on the fantasy front. But he shows enough composure and misses enough bats to thrive in the role for years to come.

Justin Morneau, Twins: Some will be scared away by his .239 average a year ago, but I'm inclined to chalk up last season's struggles to injury. It's his impressive minor league resume and his 19 homers in 2004 that really grab my intention.

Garrett Atkins, Rockies: He's already an above-average hitter - he led all rookies with 89 RBIs last season – with good gap power. Very soon, that's going to translate into more home runs, particularly at Coors Field. He'll come close to doubling the 13 HRs he racked up last season and bat better than .300.

Angel Berroa, Royals: You'd could happily wade through a draft without selecting any Royals, but Berroa is a surprisingly solid second-tier shortstop who combines speed and power. He's a better hitter than he's shown the past few years and, at 28, is due to take a step forward.

Nick Johnson, Nationals: Just a hunch, because Johnson has reached the unofficial breakout age (27) and has yet to live up to his promise. Maybe he's simply another over-hyped ex-Yankees prospect, but I suspect he's in for a career year.

Dallas McPherson, Angels: Injuries ruined his coming out party last season, making him one of the most disappointing players in the game. But I refuse to believe that a guy who's two years removed from a 40-homer minor-league season simply forgets how to hit. With better health and improved pitch selection, he'll have the year everyone expected in 2005.

Willy Mo Pena, Red Sox: Why the Reds felt the need to get rid of this guy, I'll never know. But I do know this – they'll regret it. Pena probably won't hit for average, but could easily hit 25 HRs. Willy Mo, meet Green Monster.

Fernando Rodney, Tigers: Reminds me of Armando Benitez with his mound demeanor and nasty stuff. Rodney fared well in a brief audition as the closer last season and should be fully recovered from 2004 Tommy John surgery. If you're not a Todd Jones believer – and I'm not – this is the guy you want.

Matt Cain, Giants: Was every bit as good as Zach Duke late last season, minus the lofty win total. Rookie pitchers are always risky, but his past strikeout numbers (176 K in 145 2/3 IP at Triple-A Fresno) indicate future success. Teammate Noah Lowry had a similar stretch late in 2004 and put it all together in the second half last season.

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