A couple of thoughts on fantasy baseball as we head in to the final stretch before the regular season (really) gets underway. Hope this is helpful for anyone still waiting to draft…
Guys Who I Went All In For:
- Joey Votto: I had the 10th pick in the draft and I took JV as my lineup cornerstone. The big debate here was Votto or Prince Fielder. I also the had option for going for a position pick (taking a Jose Reyes/SS) or a toolsy outfielder (Justin Upton and Carlos Gonzalez went shortly after my pick). JV had a “down” year last year and still had better numbers than say, Adrian Gonzalez, who went two picks ahead of Joey. I expect a huge year: A batting title, 35 home runs, and lots of runs and rbis on a team that competes for (and probably wins) its division.
- Madison Bumgarner: I honestly think that Giants fans will have heated debates after this season about who is the best starter on the Giants. Madbum will have a huge year, push himself into the elite, and hopefully the offense will score enough runs to pump up the win total.
- Brandon Morrow: He’s going to have great run support but he’s going to have to do battle with some tough lineups. That said, the kid is nasty and could see his strikeout total run upwards of 230. You can get him in the 10-12 round range and I think that is a bargain for a guy who is top 15 material.
- Honorable Mention: I tried hard to get this guy and didn’t, but I really think Matt Wieters is going to have a great season in 2012.
Guys I Avoided
- Buster Posey: I love Buster and I hope he has a huge year. But he went in the 5th round and that is way too much risk for me. Again, I hope he is great and I am rooting for him to lead the Giants back to the promised land, but I just don’t want him on my fantasy team.
- Aging Infielders on the New York Yankees: Sorry A-Rod, Jeter, and Tex…you may still have decent seasons but I have low confidence in you guys and I don’t want to root for you to do well…don’t want you on my team.
- Prince Fielder: Going back to first round dilemma, there are plenty of reason to like Fielder…lineup protection with Miguel Cabrera…better overall lineup in Detroit…expectations to live up to. But I am wary and here’s why: he was motivated last year, had the protection of Ryan Braun (NL MVP), and a pretty decent lineup. And he had a good year, don’t get me wrong. But he’s in a bigger ball park, with a LOT of expectations. We’ve seen some pretty spectacular big contract flops recently (see Carl Crawford/Jason Werth), and I don’t think Fielder will have that kind of downswing, but I’m hesistant and a lot more confident in JV.
The Market Inefficiency
When I first started playing fantasy, the late rounds were all about stockpiling prospects and young guys who might break out for the first time. But now, I’ve found that some of the best late round picks can be spent on proven commodities coming off down years or coming back from injuries. Last year, I was able to take James Shields in the 2oth round. He had an amazing season and went in the 6th round in my draft this year. There are plenty of similar gems this year:
- Johan Santana: Don’t expect the Santana of old, but he’s had a great spring and seems on track to have a solid season. I’m hoping for 12-15 wins, 170 ks, 3.50 ERA, and 1.20 WHIP. I got him in the 18th round, which could be a huge bargain! Not bad for a 5th starter.
- Adam Dunn: I have never been a Dunn fan, but even if he only hits .230 and produces 30 home runs, how can you not love that from a 20th round pick. He doesn’t even fit in my current starting lineup but has the potential to lead my team in home runs. I really do think he will bounce back…not all the way to his 40 home run/elite masher days, but more than good enough for how long he is available in the draft.
- Honorable mentions: I didn’t draft these guys, but Clay Bucholz and Phil Hughes are both available pretty late. Phil Hughes didn’t even get drafted in my league. Both represent major bargains if they bounce back…lots of cheap wins and good ratios if they are on their game.
Good Luck in Fantasy this year!