Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Starting pitcher sleeperz for 2011

Because there are so many starting pitchers, and because pitching performance is so volatile from year to year, there are always plenty of bargains. In mixed leagues, I almost never pay for the top aces, since it's quite possible to build a staff of underrated starters. Focus on low WHIP, high strikeout pitchers and hope that the wins come.

In mixed leagues, here are 33 underrated starters to choose from. Investigate them and decide for yourself. Don't reach, just let them come to you and voila, you'll have your bargain pitching staff. Number in parentheses is the player's ESPN Average Draft Position. I put an asterisk next to my favorite sleeper picks.

Tier 1
Justin Verlander (40)
Ubaldo Jimenez (48)
Cole Hamels (60)
Dan Haren (62)
David Price (69)
Matt Cain (77)
Francisco Liriano* (88) - 28 years old, can still get better
Max Scherzer* (101) - struggled early in 2010, still finished with awesome numbers. About to break out.

Tier 2
Brett Anderson (134)
Colby Lewis (145)
Hiroki Kuroda (148)
Dan Hudson (150)

Tier 3
Brandon Morrow (165)
Josh Beckett (167)
Ricky Nolasco (169)
Jhoulys Chacin* (175) - lots of K's, good command, everything points to more improvement this year
Madison Bumgarner (179)

Tier 4
Ricky Romero (193)
Brian Matusz* (198) - has the pedigree, and showed improvement throughout his rookie year in the AL East
Jake Peavy (207)
James Shields (209)
Gio Gonzalez (211)

Tier 5
Ian Kennedy (213)
Jordan Zimmermann (220)
Javy Vazquez* (224) - back in the NL East, where he racked up 238 K with a 1.08 WHIP in 2009
Gavin Floyd (233)

Tier 6 (after pick 260):
James McDonald
Scott Baker
Erik Bedard
Mike Minor* - youngster has the pedigree, lots of K's, very few walks, great situation
Derek Holland
Homer Bailey

Monday, March 14, 2011

Outfield Sleeperz for 2011

Here are some outfielders that should outperform their price, based on ESPN average draft position (ADP). Based on a 5 x 5 redraft league.

Player (ESPN ADP):

Nick Markakis (137) - better lineup this year. Unsexy but valuable, and if he adds a few HR you're golden.

Rajai Davis (143) - comparable stats to Juan Pierre, Michael Bourn, or Brett Gardner, but 30 picks later.

Travis Snider (180) - 30 HR, 10 SB upside

Jason Kubel (208) - expect slight BA rebound. Can bench vs lefties

Jose Tabata (217) - a little young but upside

Dexter Fowler (226) - a little young but upside

Julio Borbon (227) - slated to start in CF, speed to burn

Coco Crisp (230)

Seth Smith (237) - Hawpe is gone. More PT. Can bench vs lefties

Will Venable (260) - power/speed upside for deep leagues

Peter Bourjos (260) - should get you 10 HR, 20 SB. Glove will keep him in the lineup

Michael Brantley (260)

Alex Gordon (260) - someday he'll be productive. Too bad it won't be at 3B

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Infield Sleeperz for 2011

Without further ado, let's get down to business. These are my picks for the top sleeperz of 2011. Sleeperz are players who outperform their price. In other words, they are significantly underrated by average draft position (ADP). I prefer auctions, but dollar values are very hard to compare from league to league due to keeper inflation and different scoring systems. For the purposes of my analysis I am assuming 5 x 5 rotisserie, 10 or 12 team mixed non-keeper leagues.

First base (ESPN ADP):

Prince Fielder (25)
Kendry Morales (75)
Ike Davis (211)
Justin Smoak (231)
Matt LaPorta (260)

Second base:

Brandon Phillips (60)
Ben Zobrist (96)
Aaron Hill (113)
Gordon Beckham (128)
Chone Figgins (130)


These guys are all pretty close, just ranked in order of ADP. In other words, I'd much rather have Lowrie at 260 than Hardy at 208.
J.J. Hardy (208)
Ryan Theriot (219)
Asdrubal Cabrera (220)
Yunel Escobar (224)
Jed Lowrie (260)

Third base:

Casey McGeehee (90)
Mark Reynolds (154)
David Freese (226)
Danny Valencia (260)
Moustakas (260) - probably starts in AAA


Kurt Suzuki (218)
Chris Iannetta (223)
J.P. Arencibia (231)
John Jaso (260)
Jesus Montero (260) - if he plays