Tag Archive | "2b"

The Best in MLB by Position

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The Best in MLB by Position

Posted on 21 June 2012 by Dennis Lawson

Professional hurler of round objects.

One does not simply toss out names randomly when attempting to name the best player in baseball by position.  That is sheer folly.  It would take a number of fans beyond reckoning to determine such a thing by popular vote, and the end result would simply be the outcome of a somewhat predictable popularity contest.  Instead, this goal should be accomplished via a more scientifically acceptable means of quantification.  In this case, I consider both counting stats and advanced statistics in play for this exercise.

Browse through all nine positions using the buttons below.

RF - Carlos Beltran

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RF - Carlos Beltran (Cardinals, Age 35) - The .311/.396/.591/.988 slash line probably comes as a welcome surprise, but the 19 HR and 48 RBI has to be shocking to some.  If Beltran can maintain anything close to his current numbers, he could eclipse his best season based on WAR.  Doing so at age 35 almost makes you wonder what could have been for the oft-injured Beltran.  He only played in roughly 1768 regular season games during the first 14 seasons of his career, and he still managed to make himself the only switch-hitting member of the 300/300 club.

What say you, baseball villagers armed with pitchforks and corked bats?  Agree?  Disagree?  Ready for a verbal/written battle royal to push your pick(s)?  Bring it, because all my picks bring the challengers to the yard.

 

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Finding Keepers:  Arizona Diamondbacks

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Finding Keepers: Arizona Diamondbacks

Posted on 20 March 2012 by Mark Sherrard

After winning the NL West in 2011, one would think the Arizona Diamondback would have a lot of quality players on their team. And they would be right. But how many of them are potential keepers?

Let’s take a look:

SP Ian Kennedy broke out in a big way last season, leading the NL with 21 wins to go along with a 2.88 ERA and 198 K’s. His numbers are projected to regress a little in 2012, but he still should be a quality pitcher on any fantasy staff. However, he consistently lasts longer in drafts than he should. His ADP is 70.57. He is ranked: CBS #35; Yahoo! #52; ESPN #72.

SP Daniel Hudson also had a strong season in 2011, with 16 wins, a 3.49 ERA and 169 K’s in 222 IP. More of the same is expected in 2012, but like Kennedy, he is undervalued in fantasy leagues. His ADP is 84.70. He is ranked: Yahoo! #56; CBS #63; ESPN #85.

C Miguel Montero hit .282/.351/.469 in 2011 with 18 homers, a pretty good line for most players and even better considering he’s a catcher. He should continue his assault on NL pitching in 2012, with a .270-.280 average and around 20 homeruns. His ADP is 101.70. He is ranked: CBS #53; Yahoo! #66; ESPN #116.

OF Chris Young is unlikely to ever hit for a high average, but he has posted back-to-back 20/20 seasons and should be in line to do the same in 2012. His ADP is 122.82. He is ranked: CBS #88; ESPN #106; Yahoo! #147.

3B Ryan Roberts (aka “Tatman”) is another player who will not post a high batting average but can give you double-digit homers and stolen bases. He nearly missed a 20/20 season last year with 19 homers and 18 stolen bases. His ADP is 194.75. He is ranked: CBS #123; ESPN #165; Yahoo! #233.

When healthy, OF Jason Kubel can provide you with 20+ homers and a .270 average. However, health concerns may be keeping his value down. His ADP is 238.99. He is ranked: ESPN #199; CBS #227; Yahoo! NR.

2B Aaron Hill is not too far removed from hitting 36 homeruns in 2009, but he has been far too inconsistent since then. He could provide double-digit homers and steals, but he could also fall flat. His ADP is 232.09. He is ranked: CBS #197; ESPN #211; Yahoo! NR.

SP Josh Collmenter had a strong rookie year with 10 wins and a 3.38 ERA, but still needs to convince people that he is for real. His ADP is 248.13. He is ranked: Yahoo! #130; CBS #231; ESPN NR.

Best of the rest, but not keepers

OF Justin Upton had arguably his best season to date in 2011, hitting .289/.369/.529 with 31 homers and 21 steals. He would be an obvious keeper, if he weren’t being overdrafted in most leagues. His ADP is 9.56. He is ranked: ESPN #9; CBS #18; Yahoo! #28.

1B Paul Goldschmidt had a strong rookie campaign in 2011, hitting .250/.333/.474 with 8 homeruns in 156 at bats. However, as with most highly ranked prospects, his hype is higher than his production, leading many to overdraft him. His ADP is 144.17. He is ranked: Yahoo! #125; ESPN #182; CBS #240.

SS Stephen Drew had one excellent season in 2008, in which he hit .291 with 21 homeruns, and has not approached those numbers since. Combine that with him likely starting the year on the DL and owners should probably pass on him. His ADP is 150.10. He is ranked: ESPN #160; CBS NR; Yahoo! NR.

The Diamondbacks gave up top prospect Jarrod Parker to acquire the more proven Trevor Cahill over the winter. Cahill has posted a 3.91 ERA over 583 IP in the AL and should benefit from the move to the NL, but many are expecting too much. His ADP is 178.99. He is ranked: CBS #179; Yahoo! #201; ESPN #269.

Finally, RP J.J. Putz saved 45 games for Arizona in 2011 while posting a stellar 2.17 ERA in 58 IP. However, elbow issues caused him to miss time in the middle of the season and at age 35 you have to wonder how much longer he can keep it up. His ADP is 137.86. He is ranked: CBS #113; ESPN #142; Yahoo! #169.

Note: All ADP values are from Mock Draft Central as of March 14, 2012 and player projections are based on BaseballHQ.com.

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bmccann_braves

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Finding Keepers: Atlanta Braves

Posted on 14 March 2012 by Daniel Aubain

Most generic fantasy baseball leagues utilizing the ” keepers” feature are going to allow each team to keep “x” number of players from the previous year’s roster. I’ve seen most leagues keep five players per team and most of those leagues had 12 teams. So doing the math, we’re talking about 60 players for a league of that size. Following this logic deeper, players being targeted as keepers should probably be ranked somewhere within the top 75 players (top 100 if you keep a player based on position scarcity).

Now I’ve seen dynasty leagues with minor league systems in place or auction leagues that assign a value to each player you keep. I’ve even seen intricate formulas used based on what round or price you paid in the previous year to calculate the cost of keeping a player on your roster for another season. This kind of keeper article can’t possible address all the factors needed to call a particular player a keeper over another. So we’ll go with the “inside the top 100″ strategy because a player ranked much lower than that can probably be targeted during the redrafting rounds if you really want them on your roster for another season.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s take a look at which players on the 2012 Atlanta Braves should be considered “keeper-worthy”.

OF Michael Bourn consistently brings your team Stolen Bases (50+) and Runs (90+) with a Batting Average (.270+) you can easily live with on your roster. I was surprised to see how differently he was ranked on the big three fantasy baseball sites: ESPN #35; Yahoo! #50; CBS #74. In any format, Bourn is a no-brainer keeper.

C Brian McCann is easily a top 5 fantasy baseball catcher, netting you 25 HR and 99 RBI per 162 games played over his seven year career. You can expect another .270+/20+ HR/80+ RBI season and should definitely consider locking him up as a keeper for 2012. Here are his rankings on the big three fantasy sites: ESPN #69; Yahoo! #86; CBS #41.

2B Dan Uggla frustrated his fantasy owners in the first half of 2011 with a measly .185 BA but rewarded the ones who stuck around for the .296/21/48 second half. It’s hard to stay away from a top 5 second baseman with 30+ HR/90+ RBI/90+ Runs potential, even at the cost of a sub-.260 Batting Average. His fantasy rankings are as follows: ESPN #42; Yahoo! #103; CBS #103. I’d target Uggla as a keeper for his power numbers as a second baseman but would be pairing him up with a high average/stolen base guy to fill the holes in his game.

RP Craig Kimbrel is definitely the first closer coming off the board in drafts with an ADP of 57.73 and with good reason. His 14.8 K/9 and 3.97 K/BB ratios, 127 Strikeouts in 77 Innings Pitched and 46 Saves are enough to justify him as a keeper, for sure. So if you’re thinking of keeping a closer and own Kimbrel, do it. He’s ranked: ESPN #62; Yahoo! #114; CBS #39.

Best of the rest but not a keeper

3B/OF Martin Prado should chip in a dozen Home Runs and a .290 Batting Average but with an ADP of 190.22, you can easily target him late in the drafts if you must own him.

3B Chipper Jones has fantasy value but only in deeper or very shallow NL-Only types. You can hope for 125 games played and around 15 Home Runs. Hope. With an ADP of 234.88, there’s no reason to target him as anything more waiver help.

OF Jason Heyward let fantasy owners down in 2011 but look for him to turn things around in 2012. Look for a return to the 20 HR and 12 SB range for him. Unfortunately there is risk involved, so you wouldn’t want to use a keeper on him. His ADP of 109.90 means he should be on your radar by the 8th or 9th rounds and you’ll probably have a few owners steering clear out of fear.

NL Rookie of the Year runner-up 1B Freddie Freeman posted great numbers in 2011 and should be in line for more of the same (.280/80/25/80/5) but most sites have him ranked somewhere around the 15th-best option at first base. That’s not keeper-worthy but definitely a fine option at first base to target around the 10th round according to his ADP of 121.97.

SP Brandon Beachy burst onto the scene in 2011 with a 7-3 record, 3.68 ERA, 1.21 WHIP with a 10.7 K/9 and 3.67 K/BB ratios. With an ADP of 114.51, he should be a target to occupy a spot on your pitching staff, just not as a keeper.

SP Tommy Hanson missed the final eight weeks of 2011 with a rotator cuff injury and is coming into 2012 working on a revamped delivery. Nothing about this seems like positive news. Not only is he not a keeper, I’d be weary of drafting him at all this season.

Does your league use a unique keeper system that makes these or any other Braves’ players keeper-worthy heading into your 2012 drafts? If so, I’d love to hear all about it. Leave a comment so we can all appreciate the complexity some leagues use.

Please take a moment to follow me on Twitter @DJAubain and Full Spectrum Baseball @FullSpectrumBB.

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Finding Keepers:  New York Mets

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Finding Keepers: New York Mets

Posted on 11 March 2012 by Mark Sherrard

The New York Mets find themselves in a bit of a rebuilding year, after finishing 4th in the NL East in 2011. However, with low expectations comes lower perceived value, which means more opportunities for Finding Keepers.

Here is a look at some Mets players who could be undervalued in 2012 and end up keeper worthy.

After a strong rookie year, in which he hit .264/.351/.440 with 19 homers, 1B Ike Davis missed most of the 2011 campaign with an ankle injury. Add to that the speculation that he may have Valley Fever and many fantasy owners will steer clear of him. However, in 36 games last year, he did hit .302/.383/.543 and looked like he was well on his way to a breakout year before the injury. If he proves healthy this spring, snatch him up before someone else does.

2B Daniel Murphy is not a flashy guy, he will not get you a bunch of homeruns or stolen bases, but he did manage to hit a quiet .320/.362/.448 last year, while qualifying at 2B, 3B and 1B. His multi-positional eligibility might make him a bit more valuable to some, but moderate numbers in the counting stats might just keep his value low enough to be considered keeper material.

SS Ruben Tejada is another player who will not carry a team and will barely raise a blip on most owners radars. He offers no power and little speed, but his .284/.360/.335 line last year and multi-positional eligibility (2B/SS) make him valuable in deeper, NL only leagues. A couple bucks or a late round pick could net you a quality UT player.

OF Lucas Duda got some regular playing time last year and played well, earning the starting right field job for 2012. He has some power and with a .292/.370/.482 slash line in 2011, he showed that he can handle big league pitching. This might be the last chance to get him cheap, because I expect bigger and better things from him this year and into the future.

C Josh Thole is another under-the-radar kind of guy. He is not going to provide a lot of homeruns, but he will hit for a good average and will likely be undervalued in most leagues. He is your typical won’t hurt you second catcher and could be a good keeper in deeper leagues.

2B Reese Havens has been the second baseman of the future for the Mets ever since he was drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft. Problem is, he has not been able to stay healthy for a full season. He owns a career .269/.366/.463 line in 4 minor league seasons, but has hit .301/.379/.505 in AA. For those of you with reserve or minor league spots, you might want to consider taking a flier on Havens.

SP Johan Santana is coming off shoulder surgery, an injury that has felled many a quality pitcher, such as Brandon Webb. That alone will scare many owners off. However, he pitched well in his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday, topping out around 92 mph. If his changeup is still working, he could start back up where he left off in 2010. He should come cheap and, at age 32, he should still have a few good years left in him.

I am not sold on the rest of the Mets starting pitchers. Mike Pelfrey, Jonathan Niese and Dillon Gee have shown some flashes, but have not been consistent enough to be considered keepers. R.A. Dickey had a strong 2011 season, posting a 3.28 ERA, but at age 37 his better days are probably behind him.

Finally, OF David Wright is one guy who will likely be overvalued based on his name alone. His 2011 season was marred by back issues, which may keep his value down, but should also make you reconsider drafting him.

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Players with power and speed you should be targeting on draft day

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Players with power and speed you should be targeting on draft day

Posted on 09 March 2012 by Daniel Aubain

Standard fantasy baseball leagues use five basic statistics as offensive scoring categories (AVG, R, HR, RBI, SB) and finding the players who will contribute across most categories, if not all, should be your primary objective while those types of players are still available in the drafting pool. But what if I told you which of the two statistics  you should be paying attention to more than the others that would pay off dividends in all five categories?

Targeting players who provide both power and speed is a strategy sure to pay off, if done right. Only 24 players had 15 or more home runs and 15 or more stolen bases in 2011 and produced an average 5×5 line of .273/95/24/83/25. Not too shabby. It’s  quite the collection of players but some of the names on the list may surprise you.

The Elites (30/30 potential)

OF Matt Kemp (39 HR/40 SB), OF Jacoby Ellsbury (32 HR/39 SB), OF Curtis Granderson (41 HR/25 SB), OF Ryan Braun (33 HR/33 SB) and 2B Ian Kinsler (32 HR/30 SB) are serious candidates to go 30/30 in 2012. Kemp (ADP 2.18), Braun (ADP 4.65) and Ellsbury (ADP 9.30) are all being drafted in the first round, so you’ll probably only get a shot at one of these players unless Ellsbury were to fall to the turn (12th pick).

Imagine pairing up one of these first-round elites with a second-round pick of Kinsler (ADP 24.04). Personally, I’d go for Kinsler over Granderson (ADP 19.93) simply because of position scarcity. Coming out of the first two rounds of your draft with a cornerstone outfielder and elite second baseman who can combine to go 60/60-plus is how you start build a winning fantasy baseball team.

The Very Good (25/25 potential)

OF B.J. Upton (23 HR/36 SB), OF Justin Upton (31 HR/21 SB), 2B Dustin Pedroia (21 HR/26 SB), OF Carlos Gonzalez (26 HR/20 SB) and OF Andrew McCutchen (23 HR/23 SB) all came close to a 25/25 season in 2011 and nothing in their respective games suggest they can’t come close to or achieve these same numbers or better in 2012. OF Drew Stubbs (15 HR/40 SB) is a player who’s averaged 21 HR and 37 SB per 162 games played so far in his young career. A low batting average (.251 career average) and high strikeout rate (28.9% of the time) are red flags to his game but you shouldn’t ignore his 3-category potential (R, HR,SB).

This group, just like The Elites, is made up of outfielders and a second baseman. Dustin Pedroia (ADP 19.62) is being drafted before Kinsler, which means depending on your draft slot, you still have a shot to pair up one of these second baseman with your elite outfielder. CarGo (ADP 14.52) should be available on the turn and could easily elevate his game enough to join The Elites.

B.J. Upton (ADP 64.36) could be the biggest bargain of the bunch as a fifth or sixth-round target. He’s a similar risk to your batting average (.257 career average) as Stubbs but there’s no denying his fantasy eliteness when it comes to power and speed combos. If you’re targeting him for your team, just don’t get stuck pairing him up with other low-average hitters.

Justin Upton (ADP 9.40) and Andrew McCutchen (ADP 26.12) join Gonzalez as the players in this group most likely to take their game to 30/30 level of The Elites.

 The Good (20/20 potential)

OF Chris Young (20 HR/22 RBI), OF Jayson Werth (20 HR/19 SB), 2B/OF Ben Zobrist (20 HR/19 SB), 2B Danny Espinosa (21 HR/17 SB), OF Melky Cabrera (18 HR/20 SB), 2B/3B Ryan Roberts (19 HR/18 SB) and OF Shane Victorino (17 HR/19 SB) all showed the coveted 20/20 potential fantasy owners should be looking for in the draft.

This group includes the third, fourth and fifth second base-eligible players (of 24) as well as a shortstop and a third baseman, all at a significant discount than what you’ll be paying for earlier in the draft. Danny Espinosa is a batting average risk (.232 career average in the majors) but did hit .270 overall in the minors. If he can get that average up to an “acceptable” range (.260′s), Espinosa would be a steal (no pun intended) with an ADP of 147.19.

Chris Young (ADP 122.23) has averaged 24 HR and 21 SB per 162 games over his young career but his .240 career batting average brings a level of risk to your team’s scoring category (are we seeing a pattern here?). Jayson Werth (ADP 96.52) has averaged 29 HR and 20 SB over his last four seasons in a full-time role with an acceptable .267 batting average. Shane Victorino (ADP 72.95) has never reached the 20 HR mark in his career but has come close over the last two seasons (18 in 2010; 17 in 2011). He’ll be a free agent after this season unless the Phillies lock him up to a long-term deal, so we could see a career year from him. Ben Zobrist (ADP 78.79) has averaged 21 HR and 22 SB over the last three seasons in a full-time role, so continue to expect the same from him in 2012.

Melky Cabrera came close to a 20/20 season virtually out of nowhere, so it’s hard to gauge if this will be his new norm or simply a statistically anomaly. I’d bet for something on the higher end of a 15/15 season and with an ADP of 175.39, there’s little risk as a fourth or fifth outfield option.

Ryan Roberts is another “out of the blue” 20/20 threat but what makes him so attractive in fantasy baseball is his 2B/3B eligibility and relatively low risk (ADP 195.56) .

The Best of the Rest (15/15 potential)

SS Jimmy Rollins (16 HR/30 SB), SS Asdrubal Cabrera (25 HR/17 SB), OF Jeff Francoeur (20 HR/22 SB), OF Alex Gordon (23 HR/17 SB), 2B Kelly Johnson (21 HR/16 SB) and OF Johnny Damon (16 HR/19 SB) round out the list of 24 players who accomplished at least a 15/15 season in 2011.

Jimmy Rollins (ADP 88.70) has averaged 17 HR and 37 SB over his career, so his value is with his speed over power. The Phillies are looking old as a team, so expect Rollins to provide a majority of the offensive spark in 2012.

If you’re still looking for a value at second base, be sure to target Kelly Johnson (ADP 240.21) in the late rounds for his 20/15 potential. He could find himself near the top of the Blue Jays lineup and nothing about that would be bad news to his fantasy baseball owners.

Alex Gordon (ADP 61.01) has averaged 20 HR and 13 SB in has career so far, so 20/20 might be a stretch. That’s okay, though. Fantasy owners have been waiting since 2008 for a return to productiveness as a fantasy option and he finally came through. I’m waiting a year to see if he can duplicate or surpass his 2011 numbers.

I’m less than optimistic that Asdrubal Cabrera (ADP 75.67) and Jeff Francoeur (191.00) can reproduce (or exceed) their 2011 numbers since neither has a history of 15/15 or better. The only reason I’d be targeting these two players is because Cabrera plays a premium fantasy position (SS) and Francoeur comes at a low-cost draft position. Oh, and I guess Johnny Damon needs a job before he’ll be fantasy baseball-relevant in 2012.

Other Power/Speed Threats for 2012

2B Aaron Hill (ADP 231.49) had 36 HR in 2009 and 21 SB in 2011. Deeper league players should think about drafting him as late as possible and seeing what the month of April brings. Is 15/15 really out of the realm of possibility?

OF Jason Heyward (108.92) slumped miserably in 2011 but is a 20 HR/15 SB season out of reach for this 22 year old?

Per 162 games played over his young career, OF Adam Jones (ADP 74.38) has averaged 19 HR and 11 SB. Now is the time for him to step up and take his game into the 25/15 club. It would be a lot easier to invest a sixth-round pick in him if he weren’t on the Orioles.

OF Carl Crawford (ADP 40.95) flopped in his first season with the Boston Red Sox but still managed to produce an 11 HR/18 SB season. A wrist injury will slow the start of his 2012 season but I’m betting he returns to form with a season of at least 15 HR and 30 SB. His high draft position would scare me away from drafting him, though.

OF Alex Rios (ADP 216.40) produced a 21 HR/34 SB season in 2010 before dropping off to a 13 HR/11 SB season in 2011. Split the difference with a 17 HR/22 SB campaign in 2012? There’s not a whole lot of risk involved to find out the answer.

2B Brandon Phillips (ADP 60.38) missed the 15/15 club in 2011 by one stolen base. He’s averaged 20 HR and 22 SB per 162 games in his career and should see a return to those levels playing for a new, long-term deal.

OF Shin-Soo Choo (ADP 62.56) had back-to-back 20/20 seasons in 2009/2010 before and injury-riddled 2011. Look for him to return to form in 2012. Teammate 2B Jason Kipnis (ADP 165.18) had 7 HR and 5 SB in 36 games played in 2011, so a 15/15 season seems realistic for 2012.

1B Eric Hosmer (ADP 54.02) produced a 19 HR/11 SB season in just 128 games in his rookie season and could provide a 25 HR/15 SB during his sophomore campaign. That kind of power/speed combo is rare for first basemen these days. Are you sold on him in the fifth round?

Los Angeles Angels teammates 2B Howie Kendrick (ADP 104.28) and OF Peter Bourjos (ADP 131.59) each just missed going at least 15/15 in 2011 and should both be considered locks to join this group in 2012.

SS Hanley Ramirez (ADP 20.34) has lots to prove heading into 2012 after an underwhelming 2011. He’s averaged 25 HR/41 SB per 162 games over his career and should be a top target if you are buying into my power/speed drafting strategy. Oh, and the third base eligibility coming soon makes him even more valuable to fantasy baseballers.

OF Angel Pagan (ADP 165.25) and OF Andres Torres (ADP 314.34) were traded for each other this offseason and each have the potential to provide 10 HR and 30 SB. Could either step it up the power and go 15/25 in 2012? I’ll be targeting them BOTH in late rounds of my deeper leagues.

Will moving the fences in at CitiField help 3B David Wright (ADP 32.70) return to the upper ranks of fantasy baseball greatness? He’s averaged 27 HR and 22 SB over his career and should be able to put a disappointing 2011 season behind him.

If any catcher were to make a run at the 15/15 club, Russell Martin (ADP 250.24) would have to be that guy. I don’t see it happening but if you’re a “punt the catcher position” strategy type, grab him late hope the speed returns. He did go 18/8 in 2011.

It doesn’t look like OF Domonic Brown (ADP 266.77) will get a chance to show his stuff full time in the crowded Phillies outfield in 2012, so look for him to be on my 2013 list of 20/20 guys.

Pirates OF Alex Presley (ADP 258.50) had 4 HR (22 XBH) and 9 SB in 52 games in 2011 and could produce an under-the-radar 15/25 season hitting out of the #2 hole in front of McCutchen.

Now that OF Ichiro Suzuki (ADP 102.15) has been moved into the #3 slot in the Mariners batting order, could his power numbers increase too? Is a 15 HR/30 SB season a possibility? Thoughts?

2B Dustin Ackley (ADP 137.58) had 6 HR/6 SB in 90 games in 2011, which would have put him just under the 15/15 club. I like his chances at accomplishing this in 2012.

Could OF Desmond Jennings (ADP 56.34) really make a run at a 20 HR/45 SB season? Well his 10 HR and 20 SB in just 63 games in 2011 had him on pace for this type of monster season. I hope the Rays commit to him for 162 games so we can all find out. BUY NOW!

Okay. I get the hype over 3B Brett Lawrie (ADP 55.45). But I was shocked at what I saw on his projections page on RotoChamp.com. A 26/25 season coming in 2012? Really? Wow. He did have 9 HR and 7 SB in just 43 games, so this should be very interesting.

Targeting players who can provide you with both power (HRs) and speed (SBs) is a strategy worth looking into when deciding whether or not to draft Player X or Player Y. A 30 HR/0 SB player could cost you a lot in the early rounds whereas two 15/15 players should come relatively cheap later in the draft. Remember, fantasy baseball is about finding the statistics and the right combination of players to help you win NOW! So do yourself a favor. Please. Avoid Bryce Harper for 2012. He’ll help you win in 2013 or 2014. I promise.

NOTE: All ADP numbers are courtesy of MockDraftCentral.com and were accurate as of March 5th, 2012.

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