Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fantasy Baseball 2008: Bargains!

Yes, I know many of you have been waiting patiently to post about Fantasy Baseball. With opening day only 10 days from now, it's crucial to know who you should be investing in and who you should not be putting stock into on draft day. This is not a list of sleepers, rather it's a list of players who should either be targeting and avoiding on draft day. No, you're not going to likely land A-Rod at #5 or #6 as many of us did last year, but just like last year there are bargains to be had even in the first round so let's start there.

UNDERRATED (Draft Day Bargains)

1. Johan Santana (SP - Mets): Who has been fantasy baseball's most consistently productive player the past five years? No, it hasn't been Alex Rodriguez nor Albert Pujols. On the surface, 2007 may have looked like an "off" year for Johan the Great with a 15-13 record and a 3.33 ERA, but in reality it wasn't too much off his norm. Most of that record was due to some awful run support, particularly Justin Morneau forgetting how to hit the final 2 1/2 months of the season. He was also a little unlucky as a much higher percentage of his flyball's went over the fence last year. His K/9 ratio was the second-best of his past five years at 9.7, so he obviously still has his stuff. And now he's moved to arguably the hardest park to hit in in the National League, Shea Stadium. With the Mets, expect him to make a run at 20 wins, and an ERA perhaps as low as 2.50. On CBS Sportsline drafts, he's currently getting picked 9th on average, my projections have him ending 2008 as the #2 ranked player behind A-Rod. If you have the 6 or 7 spot, do just like last year and grab Johan if he's available and thank your lucky stars!

2. Miguel Cabrera (OF - Det): Another guy who has swithced leagues. "Miggy" has moved from a very poor offense to one of the most potent in baseball as a Detroit Tiger. He should fit in nicely and since he's only 25 years old, there's still lots of room for growth. Something like 40 homers, 150 RBI's and a .335 batting average is not out of the question. It's entirely possible that he out-produces A-Rod this year... Currently, he's going #10 on average on CBS Sportsline drafts. Needless to say, if he's avaiable a few spots before that, it wouldn't be a bad idea to grab him!

3. Scott Kazmir (SP - TB): Don't let the team this 24 year old plays for deter you. After a slow start this ace got it all together in the second half last year, posting an amazing 143 strikeouts, a 2.93 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 111 innings. With Johan Santana now in the National League, look for he and Erik Bedard to be the top two fantasy pitchers in the American League. Unlike that 4th round pick that Bedard would cost you, Kazmir can be had on average with the 73rd pick in CBS Sportsline drafts. If healthy, he could make a serious run at 275-300 strikeouts. Don't be afraid to take him with your 6th or even 5th round pick - he will be more than worth it!

4. Aramis Ramirez (3B - Cubs): Why does this guy never get any respect? Is it because A-Rod. Miggy and David Wright get all of the spotlight and hype when it comes to thirdbasemen? I don't know what it is, all I know is that when healthy this guy is EXTREMELY productive, yet he can be had for a fraction of the cost of the aforementioned players, going 43rd right now on average in CBS Sportsline drafts. Here's what Aramis has averaged the past five years: 32 HR, 104 RBI's, a .298 batting average. In other words he gives you third round production with a 5th draft round draft pick and at a scarce position to boot!

5. Andruw Jones (OF - Dodgers): This would seem like a no-brainer pick to many of you, I'm sure. Here's a player who AVERAGED 46 HR and 128.5 RBI's, 101 runs scored and a .262 batting average in 2005 and 2006 with the Braves. 2007 was a contract year for Andruw and he tried to play through nagging injuries the ENTIRE season. Watching the Atlanta Superstation, it sounded like a broken record hearing Chip Carey talk about Andruw's latest injury. In watching Braves games last year, it seemed to me that was just part of the problem. Andruw looked a little smaller to me - I found out recently he actually had taken off 20 pounds prior to the 2007 season. He also seemed like he was trying too hard much of the time, chasing balls that he normally wouldn't. You put it all together and what you got with him last year was a complete DISASTER!: 26 HR, 94 RBI's, 83 runs and a putrid .222 batting average. In the off season, Andruw put the 20 pounds of weight back and and switched coasts, moving to Los Angeles. Contrary to popular belief, Dodger Stadium is not the power-sapper many make it out to be. Shawn Green posted 91 home runs in the 2001-2002 seasons as a Dodger and Adrian Beltre (another underrated guy this year) posted 48 of them in 2004. Last year, it took a third or fourth round pick to get Andruw. This year, he's going on average around 97th in CBS Sportsline leagues. Don't be afraid to grab him a round or before that. Outfield is not as deep as it once was, and you may never again find a likely 35-40 HR source so cheaply!

In my next blog, we will look at some of the most overvalued players for the 2008 Fantasy Season.



LP said...

Thanks for the Bargains. I printed this page up today. I have my draft in 2 weeks. So im sure this will help me out a ton. Do you have any openings in any of your leagues for a novice like me?

Richard said...

We took Andruw at 122 in our league!

John C said...

Thanks, Richard... In my CBS Sportsline leagues, he went from anywhere between 83 and 117, so you got a nice bargain!