Posts tagged FANTASY BASEBALL
Posts tagged FANTASY BASEBALL
Letting Go, it’s Hard to Do #sadtrumpet #michaelbolton
Checking Norichika Aoki’s stats, having targeted him in every singedraft…
Anyone interested in a yahoo fantasy baseball league let us know. Wayne Brady may or may not be in the league as well
anyone interested in a Yahoo Fantasy baseball league (H2H) send your info along here, on twitter @duckfromthepond or email duckscheckemails@gmail[dot]com. semi-serious league with serious trash talking, we hope. get on it.
A truly devastating blow to baseball fans everywhere, from Eckman Acres to Casa de Pablo.
ADP is a beautiful, terrible thing. We as humans love to rank things and it can cloud our judgement to see an arbitrary list. ADP is an incredibly useful tool, as it pools and averages where others are taking players you might be thinking of taking. You know and I know that just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t make it right. ADP is a barometer, not law. You know this, I know this… but that doesn’t mean every jabroney in your league knows that. There’s at least one in every draft. Someone who takes Chone Figgins in the 4th round. Who asks if Martin Russell is still available. Who tries to draft a retired player. Even the smartest fantasy owners fall victim to ADP (Hand raised. That sentence makes it sound like a virus). Between the bimbos and the braniacs drafting with you, you’re all going to at one point rely on ADP as some kind of deciding/tie-breaking factor. So here are some players not to forget about in 2012. It’s crazy to think everyone can get a superstud to start at first,it’s a matter of numbers- everyone can’t have Pujols or Votto - just as it’s crazy chasing Amy- it’s just a matter of statistics (and gender preference, but I mean, just watch the movie. C’mon.). We don’t all get what we want, just ask the Rolling Stones, but sometimes, just sometimes, we get what we need. And what you need is good value. The Prince Fielder move has brought another titan to the ranks of 3B, but after the top two tiers, there are a ton of question marks. Unless you’re in a 4 person league, you’ll probably need to be thinking about how to finagle value out of you 3B/CI position late in a draft. Be smart, let someone else take Brett Lawrie in the 5th or 6th round. Don’t get me wrong, he will have every shot at going 20-20, but people are taking him ahead of Matt Cain, Buster Posey, James Shields and Michael Young, not to mention fellow 3B Aramis Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. All proven fantasy commodities. So go ahead and reach, just remember… wait for it… only fools rush in (am I killin’ it or WHAT?).
As always, much love to Mock Draft Central, where you can get all kinds of ADP reports by signing up.
P.S. Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry? In what bizzaro world does that happen? Is he funny or something?
There are 7.5 Third Basemen in the top two ‘levels,’ in my book, now with the inclusion of Miguel Cabrera. Longoria and Cabrera are elite talents who can anchor a team, with David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman excellent options as “1A’s.” After that you have Alex Rodriguez, who is in that category- if he stays healthy (hence the half mentioned before). Then there’s Aramis Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval who are nice parts for your team and contribute across categories. Everyone else is a combination of injury risk (Youkilis), upside (Lawrie), or single category stuffers (Reynolds). Most leagues are larger than 8 teams, so you’ll likely have to be creative at some point in some league with the position. There’s some potential huge windfall late in the drafts at third base. And let’s be honest, you shouldn’t settle for Mark Reynolds. Unless you love watching major leaguers miss pitches by a foot. Then be my guest.
I have already written about both of these gentlemen at length (Gamel here and Alvarez here), as for some reason I have a good feeling about the pair (call me Flo Rida). They’ve maintained similar ADPs and both have that feel of post-hype sleeper-dom. It’s easy to forget, especially in Gamel’s case, just how highly touted and thought of these guys were coming up before their more recent scuffles. Instead of taking Ryan Roberts (ADP 195) who, sure, is an interesting player not only because he is covered in tattoos, wait a few rounds and snag one of these guys. Or swipe them off waivers if they’re hanging around and you have a need.
Ty Wigginton (PHI) - ADP 257
Ty Wigginton has averaged an extra base hit every 11.2 plate appearances for his career. Turns out, that’s pretty good. Wigginton is a very solid player who is stepping into some serious at bats in Philadelphia. Ryan Howard has suffered a setback. Placido Polanco is, well, Placido Polanco. Wigginton can also play second (if Utley is hurt), and outfield, where he will likely get a few at bats. He’s listed at 1B, 3B, OF in most leagues, which is valuable in and of itself. But coming in with an ADP around 257, he’s an equally valuable chip to gamble on as the aforementioned post-hype sleepers, just more boring veteran than sleeper. Wigginton won’t hit .300. He won’t drive in 100 runs. But given even 400 AB, he has demonstrated the ability to hit for a playable average (.250-.270) with extra base power. His OBP will be below average. I know I threw a bunch of mixed signals at you just there but consider this: Citizen’s Bank Park is a banbox. Wigginton is a utility man with the opportunity for an above-utility number of at bats. As a draft wears on, you would be wise to pay attention to how many multiple-eligibles are left, because Ty Wigginton can give you serious bang for your buck (seriously, he hit 23 homers in 386 AB in 2008. That’s nuts.).
Ian Stewart (CHC) - ADP 393
I find the lack of faith in Stewart very interesting. So, sure, maybe Theo Epstein is not quite the genius we all thought he was, but he didn’t grab this guy for nothing. Stewart, despite his many flaws in the majors, has undeniable power. Click the link, look at his ISO averages in the minors, look at his output in the majors- the kid can mash. So why would someone take Miguel Tejada or Jose Lopez ahead of him? Don’t even get me started on Danny Valencia, who at MDC, is going over 100 spots ahead of Stewart. What does Valencia bring to a fantasy team, pray tell? I’ll give you a minute…
… time’s up, it’s nothing. Stewart, as late as he’s going, is a treasure trove of power given the opportunity. Imagine him hitting in Wrigley in prime slugging conditions. In significant time when he was sent down to AAA in 2008 and 2011, Stewart put up ISO’s of .327 and .316, respectively. Even is his sporadic and taciturn MLB time, he’s hit a homer ever 26 plate appearances. The Cubs are in rebuild mode, for sure. But that may actually be just what Stewart needs. Given the opportunity, he could be the cheapest 25 homers you come across if you play your cards right. We’re past the days of steroid-induced 50+ homer seasons occurring all over. If you can get a power threat like Stewart this late in a draft, I suggest you jump on board.
So there you have it, the Filene’s Basement of 3rd Basemen. Which type of flyer to take really has a lot to do with how your team shakes out. If you have relatively solid 3B situation, maybe you want to roll the dice with a post-hype sleeper like Mat Gamel or Pedro Alvarez. If you’re going into a season with Chipper Jones as your 3B, maybe it makes more sense to go for the solid production and flexibility of a guy like Wigginton or go crazy and draft Juan Uribe. Golly do I love me some Juan Uribe.
ADP is a beautiful, terrible thing. We as humans love to rank things and it can cloud our judgement to see an arbitrary list. ADP is an incredibly useful tool, as it pools and averages where others are taking players you might be thinking of taking. You know and I know that just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t make it right. ADP is a barometer, not law. You know this, I know this… but that doesn’t mean every jabroney in your league knows that. There’s at least one in every draft. Someone who takes Chone Figgins in the 4th round. Who asks if Martin Russell is still available. Who tries to draft a retired player. Even the smartest fantasy owners fall victim to ADP (Hand raised. That sentence makes it sound like a virus). Between the bimbos and the braniacs drafting with you, you’re all going to at one point rely on ADP as some kind of deciding/tie-breaking factor. So here are some players not to forget about in 2012. It’s crazy to think everyone can get a superstud to start at first,it’s a matter of numbers- everyone can’t have Pujols or Votto - just as it’s crazy chasing Amy- it’s just a matter of statistics (and gender preference, but I mean, just watch the movie. C’mon.). We don’t all get what we want, just ask the Rolling Stones, but sometimes, just sometimes, we get what we need. And what you need is good value. Second Base, for a while, was exceedingly top-heavy position to draft. Then slowly (see what I did there? Those words don’t go together!), the bottom rose up. There is value to be had at second throughout the draft, so be alert. You don’t want a bargain to pass you by… while you were sleeping… (boom, nailed it.)
As always, much love to Mock Draft Central, where you can get all kinds of ADP reports by signing up.
Second Base may not wow you for fantasy purposes. Sure there is some elite talent in the likes of Cano, Kinsler and Pedroia, but after that you’re worried about Utley’s health, Rickie Week’s health, or, sigh, Dan Uggla. But have faith, there are a unique combination of rising young talents and forgotten veterans just waiting to contribute to your team. Admittedly, some of the second basemen lower in drafts do not offer the same impact across the board as, say, Cano, but if you miss out on the top there are a slew of guys who can contribute to a variety of categories for you. If you’re looking for some pop from your second baseman and are thinking of taking Dan Uggla, wait a tic, there’s value to come (like Danny Espinosa or Jason Kipnis).
Jemile Weeks (OAK)- ADP 150.55
The younger Weeks is sandwiched in-between two other high-value picks, the aforementioned Espinosa (ADP 147) and Kipnis (ADP 165). I’ll delve into them briefly. They’re hot sleepers for most prognosticators and deservedly so. Espinosa is an awesome snag for 20-20 in 2012 (he came close in 2011), but he still has some holes in his swing and shouldn’t be trusted to hit above .250. Kipnis, on the other hand, also has solid 15-20 homer potential with less speed but a higher average.
Weeks is a very different type of player. Sometimes I think my judgement is skewed on the entire Weeks family due to our buddy Tim’s infatuation with both brothers (it’s intense.). But I’ve seen Jemile with my own two, borderline superhuman, eyes, in addition to sorting through both his minor league and 2011 numbers, and he’s a unique talent for fantasy, especially in leagues where people are reaching for Ackley or are inexplicably drafting Neil Walker (ADP - 141 - I just don’t get it). He’s a solid hitter and runs extremely well. He was impressive if unspectacular in 2011, but imagine these hypothetical numbers: 30 doubles, 10 triples, 30 steals and an average around .300. Add on his solid eye and manageable K rate and you’re looking at a very productive player at a very reasonable price. If, by some miracle, the Oakland offense outperforms your local little league team, Weeks could also be a real quiet source of runs. Even if the A’s stink (likely), Weeks’ ‘individual’ stats, so to speak - triples, steals - will be high production at a low slot. Orlando Hudson was a pretty valuable chip in fantasy for a while back in the day, and Weeks could put up comparable, solid numbers with a lot more speed. Keep an eye on Jemile and for the love of OshKoshBaGosh don’t draft Neil Walker.
Marco Scutaro (COL) - ADP 253.7
I know, I know, he’s listed as a SS all over, but it is both documented and common sense that he’ll slide over to second in Colorado. Unless you thought he was unseating Tulo after the deal. Silly Goose. You may be reading some of the names on these lists thinking, what the hell kind of league is he in to be looking at Marco Scutaro? It happens, people. Our Ducks on the Pond League has 16 people in it, and when you get that large, you need to find production at value. Scutaro is an excellent example. Sure his numbers with Boston were fairly tame by fantasy standards but this is an issue of both value and situation. Scutaro won’t win any foot races or batting titles but he hits productively and gets on base. Given the proper at bats, he has shown excellent doubles power and in a good lineup, always seems to score runs. He hits line drives and doesn’t strike out often. And now he’s in Colorado.
The days of guys suddenly adding 25 homers at Coors are gone (Sorry, Vinny Castilla), but that doesn’t change the park dimensions. With his solid eye and those gaps, it’s not unreasonable to think Scutaro could push 40 doubles if he stays healthy. He’ll probably hit somewhere around .275 and have an OBP around the .340-.350 range. And Colorado has a good lineup, one which he figures to be a sparkplug for (hitting second, according to RotoChamp). I don’t care what a projection says, if that lineup hits and he’s in that spot, he’ll score 85+ runs. With double digit-ish homers (in the 7-12 range), isn’t he a steal over a guy like Cliff Pennington in a similar rank (ADP 252)? Isn’t a safer value pick than Allan Craig (ADP 239), a sleeper for many, but who’s a guy that has struggled to find his way into the lineup? Maybe that was LaRussa’s doing, but for my money, Scutaro is worth taking a look at as your draft winds down. Or in a larger league, as you scramble in the teens to find a MI.
This last one is going to make you wonder what I’m on but…..
Freddy Sanchez (SF) - ADP doesn’t even really count but: 445.65!!!!!!!!!
Seriously! Where’s the love! Sure lately the man has been more delicate than a house of cards but he’s a very good hitter when healthy (‘professional hitter’ is the term many people with real blogs use). So let us assume he stays healthy enough for 450-500 AB, which isn’t outside the range of projections (except for RotoChamp, those Debbie Downers). Given that amount of time, he has demonstrated the ability to hit for a good average with a bunch of doubles. If you can take a guy who could hit .300 with 30 doubles with the last pick of your draft, wouldn’t you? More importantly, people based on ADP at Mock Draft Central are taking Brett Hayes and Jamey Carroll ahead of Sanchez. Take the flier to fill that MI position. Seriously, Jamey Carroll?
Second Base provides more interesting options than I can remember in years past. Though it might seem like a Giants bias, discussing Aubrey Huff in the 1B ADP post and Sanchez here is more due to my surprise at their ADP’s than any affinity towards San Francisco. Not everyone winds up with Cano. In deeper leagues, you often need to backup your backup. There are sleepers and there are fillers, second base can provide you with both. There’s a crop of youngn’s in Espinosa, Weeks, and Kipnis who could soon be considered top-tier. There are also some old stalwarts who are probably worth a flier in the latter rounds. Sure someone like Scutaro might be boring. But sometimes boring helps you win. Otherwise, Placido Polanco would have been out of a job a long time ago.
But if you want some excitement, there’s always Juan Uribe…
Chasing Amy (1997), folks, get with my 1990’s program.
ADP is a beautiful, terrible thing. We as humans love to rank things and it can cloud our judgement to see an arbitrary list. ADP is an incredibly useful tool, as it pools and averages where others are taking players you might be thinking of taking. You know and I know that just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t make it right. ADP is a barometer, not law. You know this, I know this… but that doesn’t mean every jabroney in your league knows that. There’s at least one in every draft. Someone who takes Chone Figgins in the 4th round. Who asks if Martin Russell is still available. Who tries to draft a retired player. Even the smartest fantasy owners fall victim to ADP (Hand raised. That sentence makes it sound like a virus). Between the bimbos and the braniacs drafting with you, you’re all going to at one point rely on ADP as some kind of deciding/tie-breaking factor. So here are some players not to forget about in 2012. It’s crazy to think everyone can get a superstud to start at first,it’s a matter of numbers- everyone can’t have Pujols or Votto - just as it’s crazy chasing Amy- it’s just a matter of statistics (and gender preference, but I mean, just watch the movie. C’mon.). We don’t all get what we want, just ask the Rolling Stones, but sometimes, just sometimes, we get what we need. And what you need is good value. And to watch Chasing Amy. Don’t try to attain the un-attainable, you low pickers, you. You’re chasing the unnecessary. Settle. So go. Go now, and be ready for the alternative to fall into your lap.
As always, much love to Mock Draft Central, where you can get all kinds of ADP reports by signing up.
First Base is a solid, deep position in fantasy this year. 4 of the top ten players in fantasy are first basemen, with Prince Fielder just outside the top ten list. That’s a strong showing. There is a lull, then another cluster of really solid options with upside in the mid-rounds (helllllllo Ike Davis ADP 175). This is a position that even a fantasy noob can pick. ’Names’ like Carlos Pena and Aubrey Huff, Todd Helton and Derek Lee litter the later rounds- all known entities in various stages of decline. Though you may miss the big guns through either draft position or human error (Egads! You passed on Paul Konerko? For shame, sir or madame), there are a bevvy of players to put your faith behind, for a variety of reasons. Some are older guys coming off down years, some are coming off injury, some are simply too boring to really stand out- there are lots of first basemen to have faith in in 2012, depending on your rationale. I’m here to remind you of a few guys you already knew about, because they’re simply going to outperform their draft slots.
Freddie Freeman (ATL) - ADP 122
The thing with first base, as I said, is that it is loaded with draftable players. Therefore, this game of value is more comparison shopping than dumpster diving. Freeman is an excellent example. Mike Morse (ADP 77) and his tantalizing power is being drafted several rounds earlier than the young Bravo, yet there is an argument to be made that Freeman is the more desirable player (in keeper leagues, this is a common sense, as Freeman is 7 years younger).
50 spots later is a lot. I will admit to two things; 1) I distrust Mike Morse. It might be his late breakthrough, I may just have a healthy skepticism of late-onset power hitters maintaining a high average. 2) The sophomore slump is very real and very relevant. It happens. The fear with Freeman is that his production will take that all-too-familiar sophomore stink. Here’s where the projections get helpful/interesting. Bill James, Rotochamp, and ZiPS all foresee Freeman maintaining a similar level of production. This rarely happens, in my experience. Clearly, the prognosticators believe in his consistency. The three options, to get obvious, for Freeman’s 2012 season are to regress, remain close to the same, or improve. Overly simple, sure, but true. He could regress- but the experts don’t seem to be worried about that. He might remain neutral, which is what the projections point to. Or he may improve, as good young players often do.
So here’s how I see it- normally, I would be more concerned with a rookie’s second season. Even the best players experience those year two blues. The experts (much more intelligent and invested in projecting in both James’ and Szymborski’s case) seem confident in his ability to maintain that 20 homer - 80 RBI - .285-ish average. So there’s our baseline. Given that, and playing the hypothetical that Morse’s power drops slightly, an owner could get an equally valuable player 50 slots later. Not bad, in my book, and that’s assuming Freeman remains as-is, not taking that next step towards his potential (.300 average, 20-25 homers, 80-90 RBI, .375+ OBP) his minor league numbers suggest.
Gaby Sanchez (MIA)- ADP 198
Sanchez is a classic example of the fantasy/reality divide. A manager would greatly his durable, if unexhilarating numbers. Who wouldn’t want a guy who will play 150-160 games, hit 20-ish homers, knock in 70-80 runs, and hit around .275? The fact that these numbers come from relatively uneven monthly splits and he plays solid defense mean absolutely nothing to us in fantasy baseball. Wait, scratch that. Have you looked at the splits? His months jump all over the place! No wonder he’s not consistently owned! Thinking back on the Marlins teams for the last two years, however, that’s not entirely his fault- the team itself was up and down offensively. So the new-look team in Miami could be the best thing that happened to Sanchez since his parents gave him an ambiguous name. Jose Reyes completely alters the dynamics of that offense. Hitting behind Reyes, Han-Ram, and Mike Stanton (throw in Emilio Bonifacio and Logan Morrison too), with proven 20 homer power, Sanchez is bound to fall into ample RBI opportunities and that team will put up more than a few crooked numbers on the board.
Everything about Sanchez is solid. Solid can be boring in fantasy baseball. But you need solid players to build a championship team (both in reality and fantasy) and it takes relatively minor improvements to go from solid to game-changer. For example, let us say the Miami Marlins turn out to be an improved offense, as many predict. Even if Sanchez treads water in his development, he’s hit 19 HR and scored 72 runs (that is weirdly consistent, right?) the past two years, so pencil him for about the same numbers there. In a better offense, it follows he’d score more runs AND with more men on base, see more pitchers from the stretch i.e. not at their best. Given his solid plate discipline, you would expect either more walks or a few more RBI. But be honest, you don’t want to hear about the boring. So let’s give him some minor, realistic improvements based on an improved lineup with improved consistency. His BABIP has been .299 & .287 in 2010 & 2011, respectively and his batting average was .273 and .266 those same years. Based off his minor league numbers, an uptick in BABIP of very reasonable proportions (say a shade over .300) could point Sanchez towards being a .300 hitter rather than a .270 one. That’s a start. His already excellent batting eye means he’ll walk, have a good OBP and generally swings at good pitches. Think about his line with minor improvements or, at the very least, improved consistency - 30-ish doubles, 20+ homers, 80-90 RBI, 80-ish runs, an OBP around .375 and a .290 average - none of these are ridiculous numbers. Doesn’t that sound like a pretty worthwhile player to own?
People are drafting Mark Trumbo, Paul Goldschmidt, and Ike Davis well ahead of Sanchez. I like Davis as a sleeper a bunch for 2012 and Trumbo/Goldschmidt have undeniable power upside. But when it comes to drafting this type of player, I like to think about both the basement and the ceiling. At best? You get an absolute steal of a first basemen at nearly pick 200. At worst? You have a guy on you bench who is going to have 2 or 3 hot months and likely end up with 17-20 HR, 70-80 RBI and a solid OBP. The risk is minimal, the reward is there. There’s little danger of Sanchez suddenly dropping off in a category or two making him a detriment to your team, but if you want to roll the dice and see Trumbo or Goldschmidt hit .211 with 20 homers and 200 K’s, by all means, ignore me. It’s all about being realistic, folks.
Aubrey Huff (SF) - ADP 256
Aubrey, Aubrey, Aubrey what are we going to do with you.? If we follow his career, he’s due for a nice bounceback year. His numbers since 2007, when he turned 30, yo-yo pretty reliably. For example, his HR totals from 2007 on? 15, 32, 15, 26, and a measly 12 last year (despite these ups and downs his 162-game average for homers is 24). You cannot deny the pattern of up and down, resulting in 2012 being an up year. As always, one must be reasonable about expectations. Admittedly, Huff is old. His numbers are not going to be what they once were and he will likely continue to lose at-bats to younger players (see; Belt, Brandon). However, over these past 5 yo-yo years, his advanced stats do not differ wildly, leading me to believe he’s a decent player who has often rode the wave of statistical fluctuation.
That was a fun phrase to write but really means very little, so let’s be more simple. I think Aubrey Huff is closer to a 20 homer guy than a 10 homer guy, closer to a .290 hitter than a .260 hitter. Given the opportunity in 2012, you could do worse fishing for a first baseman at the bottom of a draft/ top of the waiver wire. But OH, the at-bats. Bill James projects him at 391 AB. Rotochamp says 405 AB. These are not unlikely numbers. Huff is a guy to monitor in spring training, because if he genuinely looks old, those AB numbers may turn out to be overestimation. My point in including him on this list is the converse. If Huff has a solid, healthy camp and figures into a regular lineup rotation spot, he could end up with 450-500 AB very easily. With that many at-bats, he could provide 20-ish homers, right? Right? If this were a telecast, the producer would now be cutting to a room full of Giants fans slowly shaking their heads. Luckily, this is fantasy baseball, so the potential for snagging a 20-homer guy in the last round or off a waiver greatly outweighs the more realistic mindset of reality. Again, a nonsense sentence that only holds significance if you play fantasy.
All this being said, if you’re going into a baseball season with Aubrey Huff as your starting first baseman, you are in serious trouble. But it’s always nice to have a back up plan.
This is merely a public service announcement. You all know Morneau and Morales were excellent, near-elite first basemen. They are also both attempting to overcome uniquely challenging situations but appear right on schedule. There is no game with their ADP, as caution is perfectly warranted. Morales faces not only recovery from that crazy-horrific leg injury but a logjam of big ol’ power hitters in Anaheim. Morneau has been battling concussion symptoms ever since he got his noodle rocked in 2010, in addition to the nagging injuries that have sprung up during his comeback(s). Morales will eventually be back in the lineup, it is just a matter of time and his comfort level. I will be watching closely and reading reports carefully as he makes his way back to the bigs, because he has serious pop in his bat, regardless of other categories. Morneau is a scarier case, as he has faced numbness in his fingers and surgeries on important parts of his body (neck, wrist, knee). I hope Morneau gets well, because he is not only a fantasy asset, but by all accounts a real good guy, but if I had to put money on who would have a more productive season, I’d pick Morales. having Pujols in your corner as you try to regain your swing can only help.
First Base is both top-heavy and deep. There are ample fill-ins, sleepers, and prospects who could step up big for whatever reason in 2012 (They always do.). I highlighted names I kept coming up with in fantasy drafts, but know that this is a very narrow list. Carlos Pena (ADP- 222) could hit you 30 bombs. James Loney (ADP-240, and often overlooked) could turn a corner. Anthony Rizzo (ADP - 330) could make Theo Epstein look like a genius for re-obtaining him. Heck, Chris Davis (ADP-300) could make the leap to 40-homer superstar. That last one will truly be the sign of the 2012 apocalypse and I’d love to see the Vegas odds, but you get my point; first base is crucial but also manageable. You can’t be frustrated if you don’t get a top-tier guy. You just have to dig a little deeper. There’s no sense lamenting over something you could have never had in the first place. Just ask Ben Affleck. And for god’s sake, go watch Chasing Amy.
ADP is a beautiful, terrible thing. We as humans love to rank things and it can cloud our judgement to see an arbitrary list. ADP is an incredibly useful tool, as it pools and averages where others are taking players you might be thinking of taking. You know and I know that just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t make it right. ADP is a barometer, not law. You know this, I know this… but that doesn’t mean every jabroney in your league knows that. There’s at least one in every draft. Someone who takes Chone Figgins in the 4th round. Who asks if Martin Russell is still available. Who tries to draft a retired player. Even the smartest fantasy owners fall victim to ADP (Hand raised. That sentence makes it sound like a virus). Between the bimbos and the braniacs drafting with you, you’re all going to at one point rely on ADP as some kind of deciding/tie-breaking factor. So here are some players not to forget about in 2012, as I’m betting they outperform their average draft positions. Here’s to hoping ya’ll find your Rachel Leigh Cooks, you Freddie Prinze Jr.’s, you.
Catcher is a tough position to read into ADP-wise. Mock drafts reflect real leagues and they can have multiple catcher positions. There’s a reason back-up catchers are back-ups- there’s a dropoff in quality in both fantasy and reality when you get past your starting catcher. That being said, ADP still reflects how people value a player, so it’s worthwhile to compare. Buster Posey (59.7ADP) and Joe Mauer (79.9 ADP) might be the ‘names,’ but they’re injury risks, to say the least. Wait a few rounds and grab Matt Wieters (97.8). Better yet, wait an additional round and take Alex Avila (108.5).
Avila is a really good hitter. He has an excellent Line Drive rate (21.7%). He has a solid K:BB ratio (131:73), especially for a catcher. And he has good “gap power”/ is a good “doubles hitter” - I’ll let you choose the saying you’re more comfortable with, they both mean the same thing to me. He’s everything you should look for in a fantasy catcher - be reasonable, folks, don’t ask for more. He’s also the last catcher I’d draft in the first 15 rounds. Honestly. The position is such a mix of uncertainty, over-rated-ness, and mediocrity that my feeling is if I don’t get a select few catchers in the first half of the draft at a value pick (meaning a round I feel comfortable in - I’m not taking Napoli in the 4th round, despite my affection for him). Knowing that, there are plenty of players to target as you get down to you final picks who could yield a big return as your starter. Here’s a few I’d target as the draft(s) dwindle on…
Chris Iannetta (ANA)- ADP 238
I don’t have any reason to always think on the upside of Ianetta. Maybe it was those years of the Red Sox pursuing him. Who knows. Year after year though, I consider him (quietly) a sleeper. His power is legitimate. He’s a pretty good receiver and Mike Scioscia always gets good production from his catcher rotation (what Jeff Mathis? oh, shut up Jeff Mathis you’re bringing us all down.). Kidding aside, Scioscia does understand the ins and outs of catching. The question is whether Scioscia or the potential of a great lineup the Angels could trot out helps him more. He has a good eye, has demonstrated power at every level and has never really had the opportunity to shine. In the last few rounds, I’m giving him a shot.
Devin Mesoraco (CIN) - ADP 243.4
There is a reason he was not part of that Latos deal (and another prospect, Grandal, was)- the Reds think they have the real deal with Mesoraco (so does Keith Law). He has what scouts like to toss around as an ‘advanced approach’ at the plate. He has a strong arm. In 5 minor league seasons he has demonstrated the ability to hit for a good combination of average and power. Everything in the minors points to him being a starting catcher capable of hitting around .300 with 20 homers. Toss into that mix that good eye and the ability to run a little bit (leading to doubles, not singles) and Mesoraco should be able to have a .850+ OPS. In a good lineup, scoring a bunch of runs, that sounds like a very draftable catcher. If you’d rather take Ryan Doumit (235), by all means do, I’ll be happy to snag Mesoraco as the draft closes and laugh when you are in that wonderful situation where Doumit is playing drop-ably bad and you have no viable alternative. Just sayin’.
Ryan Lavarnway (BOS) - ADP 344.3 (listed as a DH on MDC)
You may say I’m being a homer with this one. You’re only partially right. Jarrod Saltalamacchia actually showed a lot of promise for the Red Sox last year. He posted a .215 ISO (measure of power, read about it) and seemed to grow a bit more comfortable as the season progressed. That being said, he didn’t put up particularly exciting numbers, save for the power. Lavarnway can match that power by every account. He showed excellent power throughout the minors and looked powerful in his 43 AB for the Red Sox in 2011. OK, that was a reach. Hyperbole aside, Lavarnway seems to project as a similar type of player to Saltalamacchia in the worst case scenario. Throw in Kelly Shoppach (hah.) and Jason Varitek (double hah.) and the question with the Red Sox becomes a matter of playing time. If Lavarnway gets 350-400 AB, it is now unreasonable to see him hitting 15-18 homers, conservatively, with a better average than Salty (.235). He’s worth a flier as a last pick of the draft in my book.
There you are, some ideas for Costco-priced catchers. I did the thinking for you, all you have to do is remember. Catchers are like relievers when it comes to drafting in my book - if you don’t get a sure thing early, move on and look for talent elsewhere. It’s not worth extending yourself out of desperation to fill the catcher position on your roster just because you already have someone at another spot. So hunt the bargain bin, look like a genius, and remember to tell your friends who told you to draft and start Lavarnway this year.