Friday, February 19, 2010

AL Central Fantasy Sleepers

The AL Central underwent a lot of changes this off season, but there are still a bunch of guys that can help you in your fantasy draft if you draft them properly.

White Sox
Gavin Floyd/ John Danks SP I put these two together because they are very similar. They both had outstanding 2008's and sub-par 2009's. If you are the gambling type, there is no reason not to give them another shot. They are low in the rankings after the off year, but the talent is still there. I'm not a huge Danks fan, but Floyd has great talent and could be a big winner again if you regains command.
Gordon Beckham- 2B This is actually a warning as opposed to me telling you to draft him. I believe that everyone is prematurely drinking the Beckham koolade. He had a great impact last year after his recall. He hit 14 home runs, drove in 63 runs while hitting .270 in his first 103 major league games. However impressive these numbers are, I still feel he is vulnerable to a sophomore slump. He is currently a top 10 third basemen according to ESPN's rankings and will be even higher at second base once he acquires eligibility there, yet he is only 103 games into his career. I need to see a little more before I draft him in the first 10 rounds.

Nick Blackburn SP Over his last 7 starts, he went six plus in six games and gave up fewer than three in each of those starts. He is a low strikeout guy, but he will deliver wins and low peripherals. Definitely a guy worth taking late and holding on to to see if he develops into an ace.
Scott Baker SP He had poor stats for 2009 but he was dealing with injuries and was actually very good over the second half. I think that he has a similar value as he did going into last year but you can get him far later. Great value here with huge upside.
Joe Mauer C How can a second round guy be a sleeper? Because he should be a first round guy, thats how. He puts up great stats and considering position scarcity, I think he is going to be an enormous value. Plus, he will singlehandedly win you the average category or make up for a guy like Jack Cust or Mark Reynolds.
Also, Kevin Slowey and Francisco Liriano- I really like both of these guys to bounce back from injury in big ways. Liriano could put up fourth to fifth round value that you can grab late in the draft.

Grady Sizemore CF People seem to have forgotten exactly how good Grady is. After an injury-plagued 2009, people are dismissing him as a has-been. He is the 27th ranked player on ESPN. However, if you look at his 2008 and before, there is no reason to think he is done. In 2008, he hit 33 homers and swiped 38 bags. He also drove in 90 and scored 101 runs. He has scored as many as 134 runs in a season as well. He is still risky coming off injury, but if he gets back close to where he was, 27th overall is far too low.
Fausto Carmona SP Dont laugh. Yes, Fausto was wretched in 2009. He wasn't much better in 2008 if we're being completely honest. However, in 2007, he was very good. He posted 19 wins and stuck out 137. This is basically a lottery ticket pick, it he gets his form back, you look like a genius, if not, you're out a 25th round pick or less.

Ryan Raburn UTL He will probably give you several different positions of eligibility and he will get enough at bats to make a difference for you this season. He hit .291 with 16 homers in limited duty last year. More regular at-bats should help those numbers.

Luke Hochevar SP Luke has unbelievable talent and has teased it for a while now. He got 25 starts last year and is penciled in as the number three in KC this year. If hes going to stick its going to be this year. Honestly I think he is a year away from a Greinke like explosion and perhaps we can expect pre-breakthrough Greinke like numbers, 13-10, ERA around 3.50, and 150 K's. Great value in the last round or undrafted.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

AL East Fantasy Sleepers

Its never too early to start thinking about the baseball draft. I looked at some of the AL East rosters looking for some sleepers, here are some potentials.
Nolan Reimold OF I think there is a good chance that Reimold emerges this year as a legitimate power threat. He brings a solid average, .279 last year and his power is developing. I look for 25 HR's and 75 RBI's over the course of the year. A lot of value for a late round guy.
Nick Markakis OF Last year he was consensus second round pick and I think there is still some talent left in this guy. I think he still is a second rounder. He is going to slide this year, but I think he is going to explode in his post hype year.
Brian Matusz SP Top pitching prospect for the Orioles. There is a lot to like about this kid, he is tall and lanky and averaged almost 5 strikeouts per start in his first year in the bigs, great potential for improvement there.
Daisuke Matsuzaka SP After pitching in only 12 games last year, I think there is a good chance that he bounces back this year. If you can get him late I think you should grab him. I would imagine he will be closer to his 2008 numbers of 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA than he would be to his stats from last year. This year's Chris Carpenter style lottery pick.
Clay Buchholz SP The much heralded prospect for the Sox finally arrived last year; this year he is here to stay. He is one of the most talented pitches in baseball and with an appropriate amount of innings this year, he could work his way towards ace status.
Travis Snider OF Classic case of wanting to grab a guy before he explodes. He is penciled in to hold down right field for the Jays and will have every chance to show what he can do. Another middle to late round guy that you cannot count on, but if you are filling your bench, you might as well give this talented youngster a look.
Brandon Morrow SP Another very talented youngster for the Jays. He came over in the Halleday deal and has the potential to be an ace. He has been wildly inconsistent so far in his major league career but I think if he realizes his potential this year you could be looking at 15-9, 3.50, 170K's. You could do worse in the late rounds.
Jeff Niemann SP Surrounded by such talents as Matt Garza and David Price, Niemann was overlooked lat year as was quietly the Rays best pitcher. There is nothing flashy about him, he just gets the job done. He lacked fantasy value last year with a low amount of strikeouts, but I think those will develop this year as he has another year of experience. He's not an ace, but you could certainly count of him to lower your ERA and WHIP.
Wade Davis SP In 6 starts at the end of the season, Davis was great. He recorded 2 wins, and ERA under 4 and a WHIP of 1.27. He figures to be the 5th starter this year and if he keeps his strong start up, I think he could be a top 20 pitcher. Definitely a guy you want.
Kelly Shoppach C He was aquired as a backup for Dioner Navarro but I have a feeling he is going to outhit Navarro and take the job. He only hit .214 last year, but his playing time was spotty. He hit .261 and had 21 bombs in 2008 so there still is hope for him. A great option if your looking for a backup catcher or are in a deep league.