Winning at fantasy baseball doesn’t requiring owning the best players on only the best teams in the league. Knowing where to look for the players who will bring in the numbers needed to compete for a championship is what makes a winner. Teams like the Seattle Mariners have several high-caliber fantasy baseball assets on their 40-man roster and are the type of team in flux where you could see other lesser-known players getting chances to play due to the fact winning real games on the field may not come easy in The Emerald City in 2012.
Below are a list of the fantasy baseball DOs and DON’Ts you need to be aware of when targeting Seattle Mariners players this drafting season:
- DO expect to hear SP Felix Hernandez‘s name in the Cy Young Award debate again this season despite another season where big numbers in the Wins column could be hard to come by. King Felix finished fourth in the AL in Strikeouts with 222 in 2011 and should remain near the top with the elites of the game for years to come.
- DON’T pass on OF Ichiro Suzuki this baseball season. He’s already slotted into the number three spot in the Mariners’ lineup and could see an increase in his Home Runs and RBI totals but a reduction in Stolen Bases. He’s in the final year of his contract and could be playing for one last multi-year deal.
- DO target 2B Dustin Ackley as your primary second baseman if you miss out on the elites (Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler) and second tier guys (Dan Uggla, Chase Utley, Brandon Phillips). Ackley should easily provide double-digit homers and stolen bases while not killing your batting average (.270s) and chipping in decent Runs and RBI numbers hitting out of the two hole.
- DON’T forget about CL Brandon League as a late-round closer option. He filled in very nicely last season (37 Saves, 2.79 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) and has very little competition in this bullpen to lose the job.
- DO expect the Mariners to utilize three players at the catcher position this season. Jesus Montero, Miguel Olivo (RH) and John Jaso (LH) will each see significant time behind the plate if they are all still on this team come Opening Day. Montero expects to get the bulk of his starts at DH but I just can’t imagine an organization investing this heavily in developing a DH-only player.
- DON’T go sniffing around this team’s other starting pitchers for draft bargains unless you expect big things from rookie Hector Noesi. Brought over with Montero from the New York Yankees for Michael Pineda, expect the Mariners to run him out there as their number five guy to see how he performs. Dynasty leaguers may want to draft and stash him away if your league uses a minor league system. He should be avoided in all other league types until he proves to be the real deal.
- DO target OF Mike Carp as a fourth or fifth outfield option in deeper leagues for his .270/70/20/80/5 potential.
- DON’T know what to expect out of 3B Chone Figgins in 2012? Join the club. He’s moving into the leadoff spot, being handed the starting third base job going into Spring Training and could continue being the fantasy bust he’s been since signing with Seattle. Or, will he return to a player who can hit .280 and steal 40+ bases in a thin third base field. I’ll be taking a chance on him if he is still sitting out there at the end of each of my drafts.
- DO keep an eye on 3B Kyle Seager this Spring. Figgins HAS TO be on a short leash and Seager will be the benefactor if/when Figgins falters. The term “sleeper” is so overused these days but toss this name around in front of your league mates and watch for the blank stares. Sleeper!
- DON’T go crazy drafting 1B Justin Smoak. He may hit you 20 home runs but at the price of a .230 batting average. You can do better elsewhere.
The Mariners are another one of those teams who have a few “can’t miss” players on their rosters followed by a ton of question marks. The good thing is this is the kind of team who’ll be quick to pull the trigger to find out what type of talent some of their younger players have and could uncover a few hidden gems come summertime.
Our Full Spectrum Baseball writers are working hard to finish up all 30 team “DOs and DON’Ts” articles and we’re about halfway done. Be sure to check out the entire series of articles while waiting for us to finish the rest over the next two weeks. Also use the comments section below to let me know if I over/under-valued a player on this team.