Saturday, March 24, 2012

2012 Starting Pitching Sleeperz™

All ADP values from ESPN. Analysis based on 5x5 roto, mixed, non-keeper 10 or 12-team leagues. In these league formats I almost never pay for the elite aces. Too much variability, no reason that the second tier of guys can't reach the top level. Last year Verlander was drafted 8th among starters. You can afford to take chances, especially in the back end of your rotation, there will be plenty of replacements and matchup plays available during the season. Focus on low WHIP, high K pitchers who will throw innings, don't try and chase wins.

Zack Greinke (ADP 46)
Voted most likely to be this year's Justin Verlander.

Yovani Gallardo (ADP 63)

C.J. Wilson (ADP 66)
Move to Anaheim will cement his status as a fantasy Ace.

Madison Bumgarner (ADP 83)
Ready to take the next step.

Matt Garza (ADP 113)
Cut down on the fly balls in 2011, a huge help at Wrigley.

Jordan Zimmermann (ADP 122)

Brandon Beachy (ADP 135)
10+ K/9? Yes, please.

Max Scherzer (ADP 143)
Unlucky last year, ERA should be under 4 with plenty of K's, still has upside.

Cory Luebke (ADP 148)
Looks like an ace waiting to happen.

Brandon Morrow (ADP 174)
A 200 K guy with a 1.30 WHIP who might take the next step.

Ted Lilly (ADP 188)
Good old boring underrated Ted Lilly.

Chris Sale (ADP 198)
Great stuff, only 22 years old and becoming a starter. They couldn't possibly let him throw more than 150 innings.

Mike Minor (ADP 212)
Probably won't make it even to 180 IP but should have a lot of success when he does pitch.

Gavin Floyd (ADP 215)
Good old boring underrated Gavin Floyd.

Vance Worley (ADP 218)
Just looks promising all around.

Bud Norris (ADP 219)
Good high K back end starter with upside. Walks/WHIP may be a problem - think Jonathan Sanchez circa 2010, but with an ERA over 3.

Ryan Dempster (ADP 219)
Good old boring underrated Ryan Dempster. Rotation filler, 200 IP, 180 K, 1.35 WHIP, 4 ERA.

Jake Peavy (ADP 224)
Health is the problem but could be worth a flier. This ADP is a little high, but if he slips go for it.

John Danks (ADP 227)
Solid mid-rotation fantasy starter. Good K's, decent control. Take him over Peavy.

Jonathon Niese (ADP 230)
Good K rate and improving control points to good things ahead. Reaching his prime.

Jhoulys Chacin (ADP 234)
Just a little more control and he's golden. Back end fantasy starter with upside.

Erik Bedard (ADP 260)
Hey, when he pitches, he helps your fantasy team.

Edinson Volquez (ADP 260)
I'm saying there's a chance. Big ballpark helps...just a little better control and we could have something.

R.A. Dickey (ADP 260)
Back end filler, low K rate but doesn't walk guys. No Ulnar Collateral Ligament to tear

Homer Bailey (ADP 260)
Steadily improving pitcher, post post hype sleeper, chance to break out.

Mike Leake (ADP 260)
K rate is just OK but he's a pretty good pitcher and improving.

A.J. Burnett (ADP 260)
Sneaky back end fantasy starter, nobody likes AJ, but move to NL and away from Yankees helps. A couple less walks and he's fantasy gold.

Brian Matusz (ADP 260)
Are you feeling lucky? Don't look at last year's disastrous stats, great post hype sleeper potential if you can take a total flier on someone. If only he wasn't in AL East. If not this year, maybe next but I have high hopes for him.

Friday, March 23, 2012

2012 Outfield Sleeperz™

Sleeperz™ are players that should outperform their average draft position / price. Analysis based on 5x5 roto, mixed, non-keeper 10 or 12-team leagues. All ADP values from ESPN.

Adam Jones (ADP 86)
Most people assume he has reached his ceiling, but there is still a chance at upside here without much risk. AJ can help you in every category, he's in his prime, playing for a contract, probably batting cleanup, in a hitter's park and a somewhat decent lineup. At this price I like him better than Alex Gordon (ADP 61).

Cameron Maybin (ADP 149)
Maybin is a 5 tool talent, 25 years old with 300 major league games already under his belt. As good a candidate as any to take a step forward in 2012. Should be able to improve on his .264, 9 HR / 40 SB performance from last year. Park and lineup are negatives but if all else fails, at least he will get you 35 steals. I like Maybin over Drew Stubbs (ADP 123).

Jason Kubel (ADP 193)
If he can hit 20 home runs at Target Field, think of what he can do in the high desert. Unfortunately with his move to the NL he has to play defense, which could result in more injuries or getting benched now and then for a good glove. Worth a shot at this price in case he can bust out a .275 20 HR / 80 RBI kind of season. He's hit a lucky .300 in the past as well.

Delmon Young (ADP 200)
People expect too much of Delmon because of the hype early in his career. He's just 25 years old and in a great position to thrive in 2012. Two years ago he hit .296 with 21 HR and 112 RBI playing at pitcher friendly Target Field. That average was not BABIP inflated, Delmon is a legitimate high average hitter. Now he's in his prime, in a better park, hitting behind two All-Stars and a .285 20 HR / 85 RBI season is very realistic. Even if he only hits 15 homers, at this price that is a tidy profit.

Colby Rasmus (ADP 200)
Average will not be great but Rasmus has real power and some speed. Good hitters park and good lineup. 25 years old with room to grow.

Matt Joyce (ADP 211)
Not flashy but a reliable .265 20 HR / 10 SB guy in a good lineup is a value at this price.

Denard Span (ADP 222)
I liked him better a week ago when he was going undrafted in 10 team leagues. He seems over his concussion, and legitimate leadoff guys are hard to find period, never mind this far into the draft. He's not exciting but he'll at least help you in runs, average and steals (don't expect 20 steals however).

J.D. Martinez (ADP 226)
Don't reach for him but he should give you a good avg, with 15 HR power. The runs and RBI will be a question considering the lineup the AAAstros are putting out there.

Jose Tabata (ADP 226)
Textbook post-hype sleeper breakout candidate, a good contact hitter with realistic 30 steal / 10 HR potential, should bat leadoff and score a good number of runs.

Alejandro De Aza (ADP 227)
De Aza is an older, more injury prone version of Tabata, but in a better lineup. Ideally he hits leadoff, stays healthy and puts up a .280, 10 HR / 30 steal season with a lot of runs scored. Or, he could get platooned or injured.

Dyan Viciedo (ADP 260)
Has the LF job to himself, is young with plate discipline issues but a legitimate shot at 20 HR with a .270, and his lineup and park are positives.

Chris Heisey (ADP 260)
More of a deep league special, but if Heisey got to play every day, he would mash 25 homers with an OK batting average and a little speed. Right now battling with a similar player in Ryan Ludwick. Unless you are in a deep (12 tm+, 5 OF) league, he's just a guy to keep an eye on for now.

Overvalued at OF:
Alex Gordon (63), Drew Stubbs (123)

Monday, March 19, 2012

2012 Catcher Sleeperz™

All ADP values from ESPN. Analysis based on 5x5 roto, mixed, non-keeper 10 or 12-team leagues.

Jesus Montero (ADP 187)
Depending on the rules in your league, Jesus should become catcher eligible soon enough. Just don't forget about him if he is listed at DH, he is going 10th among catchers but should be at least the 8th best catcher. I would take him over Yadier Molina or Alex Avila. He should be safe for .280 with 20 HR, with RBI dependent on the much-maligned Mariners lineup, which I believe will improve this year.

Ryan Doumit (ADP 260)
Deep league or 2 catcher league, you can take a chance on Doumit, who is now DH'ing which could help him stay in the lineup, and more opportunity if Mauer or Morneau goes down. One of the few with a chance to produce like a top 12 catcher if everything works out.

Devin Mesoraco (ADP 260)
Another deep league special, this rookie has the skills to eventually be a good hitter, but he's probably just too young right now, and it's not yet clear if he will get at bats. Remember his name for later.

Overrated at catcher:
J.P. Arencibia (ADP 218)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

2012 Shortstop Sleeperz™

All ADP values from ESPN. Analysis based on 5x5 roto, mixed, non-keeper 10 or 12-team leagues.

Erick Aybar (ADP 143)
Finished last year 8th among shortstops, and now being drafted 13th. The Angels lineup has added a guy named Pujols (and hopefully, a guy named Kendry). So if Aybar continues to bat leadoff, there is no reason he can't improve on last season's 71 runs scored. He will help you in steals and runs and won't hurt you in the other categories.

Emilio Bonifacio (ADP 172)
I'm not a big believer in Bonifacio's hitting skills, but his position flexibility and speed plays in roto leagues, and he could be batting second in an improved lineup. If he can keep up his improved walk rate from last year, he'll be a value. Consider him a steals specialist at a very thin position who can fit your team if you have power at other positions. Don't expect the same batting average as last year.

Yunel Escobar (ADP 214)
The love for Marco Scutaro has apparently gone too far, because I'd rather wait 42 picks and get the same stats from Yunel. .280/10/5 is boring but you could do worse in your middle infield spot.

Zack Cozart (ADP 260)
Going undrafted in 10 team mixed leagues, Cozart appears to have the starting gig and seems recovered from his injury. Has the power / speed combo and upside to help in your middle infield spot. Batting average could be a problem but .250 should be his floor.

Overrated at shortstop:
Jimmy Rollins (52), Marco Scutaro (172)

2012 Third Base Sleeperz™

Third base is brutal this year in terms of uncovering fantasy value. Because the position is so thin, most third basemen have become overpriced or at best, fairly priced. Expect to pay a premium and feel free to reach for the guy you want. Or, you can squeeze just a little but of value out of the Sleeperz™ below.

All ADP values from ESPN. Analysis based on 5x5 roto, mixed, non-keeper 10 or 12-team leagues.

Emilio Bonifacio (ADP 172)
I'm not a big believer in Bonifacio's hitting skills, but his position flexibility and speed plays in roto leagues, and he could be batting second in an improved lineup. If he can keep up his improved walk rate from last year, he'll be a value. Consider him a steals specialist at a very thin position who can fit your team if you have power at other positions. Don't expect the same batting average as last year.

Mike Moustakas (ADP 199)
The most likely third baseman to take the jump to the next level. I'd like him better after pick 200 but the dearth of good third baseman has inflated his price. Classic post-hype sleeper, who I loved last year and was overshadowed by Eric Hosmer. Might need another year of seasoning at the major league level but should be able to at least equal Kevin Youkilis production, about a hundred picks later.

Mat Gamel (ADP 225)
Gamel has been a hot prospect for what seems like forever, but he is finally getting his chance as the starting first baseman (with 3B eligibility in fantasy). His problem has always been his glove at third base, which won't be an issue this year. He's done all he can do with the bat in the minors, he's out of options and the Brewers will be very motivated to stick with him.

Overrated at third base:
David Wright (35), Kevin Youkilis (90), Martin Prado (162), David Freese (185)

2012 Second Base Sleeperz™


Howie Kendrick (ADP 114)
Getting no love from drafters after finishing last year as the 6th-ranked second baseman. Maybe it's because he doesn't stand out in any one category, but he's in his prime, contributes in every category and the lineup has improved around him. He'll give you similar stats to Brandon Phillips but 60 picks later.

Jason Kipnis (ADP 185)
What's not to love about Kipnis, he might be the steal of the draft at this ADP. Power and speed with a batting average that won't hurt you. He's young, so there's risk, but I expect at least a 15/15 season with a .270 average. His runs & RBI will determine the difference between him and Brandon Phillips or Ben Zobrist.

Jemile Weeks (ADP 194)
Rickie's little brother is a popular sleeper after hitting .300 last year with 22 steals in only 90 games. He finished ranked 12th among second basemen despite the short season. While he probably won't hit .300 and has very little power, he should hit .290 and swipe 30 bags. The Oakland AAA's lineup won't help his counting stats, but those steals really add up in roto leagues. Should finish the year as a top 10 second baseman but he's being drafted 15th.

Jose Altuve (ADP 237)
The poor man's Jemile Weeks. Worth a flier for your MI spot. After Altuve, the position gets really thin and you'll have to go with Aviles, Giavotella or Tyler Greene, who probably have no place in a 12 team mixed league.

Overrated at second base:
Brandon Phillips (ADP 53), Ryan Roberts (155), Dustin Ackley (171)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

2012 First Base Sleeperz™

Sleeperz™ are players who should outperform their draft position.

My analysis is based on 5x5 roto, non-keeper, 10-12 team mixed leagues. ESPN Average Draft Position in parentheses.


Adam Dunn (ADP 203)
Yes, last year was an epic disaster, and he killed me personally in a big money league. But last year's failure is this year's discount. Over the seven seasons before 2011, Dunn's minimum was 38 home runs, and he plays in arguably the best hitters park in baseball. Everyone is in love with Paul Goldschmidt (ADP 190), but wait another round (or two) and get the guy who's already put up monster power seasons at the major league level seven times. If you can live with the low batting average, there is a lot of value here. Let Goldschmidt do it once before paying for it.

Kendrys Morales (ADP 212)
I loved Kendrys in 2009 and he rewarded me with a monster season. He continued in 2010 before his ridiculous fluke injury. The thought of him batting 5th every day behind Phat Albert has me drooling. The only thing that can derail it is health, so keep an eye on the latest updates. If Kendrys is healthy I don't see Vernon Wells or Bobby Abreu stealing many of his at bats. Kendrys gives you the power/batting average combo that is hard to find. The only player this late with a shot at .300/30/100.

Ike Davis (ADP 213)
Another guy whose value has been kept down because of fluke injuries. Forget the Valley Fever, he has experienced no symptoms and seems fine. At this price I like Ike and the new dimensions at Citi Field will help his power. His underlying numbers are so solid, and he has room to grow. .275/20/80 floor.

Lucas Duda (ADP 215)
Good stick and the shorter fences help. In certain leagues you may be able to handcuff him to Ike Davis. If Duda gets to play he is a cheaper version of Gaby Sanchez (ADP 170). His underlying stats aren't that different from Ike Davis, maybe with less upside, and his glove could hurt.

Brandon Belt (ADP 233)
Playing time is the issue but if he plays, he's the poor man's Goldschmidt - not the same raw power but going 40+ picks later. This might be a year early on Belt so don't reach for him, but you have to like his approach. He knows how to take a walk, which ends up translating into roto numbers sooner or later.

Justin Smoak (ADP 260)
Of all the first basemen going undrafted in 10 team leagues, The Smoak Monster has the best shot at fantasy relevance. Not much positive about his stats the last two seasons, but the pedigree is there and his lineup has improved. Textbook post-post-hype sleeper.

Overrated at first base:
Michael Young (ADP 81), Freddie Freeman (ADP 122) , Adam Lind (ADP 135), Carlos Lee (ADP 141), Ryan Howard (ADP 158)