Just names… for now

Posted: January 15, 2011 in Fantasy Baseball

I was taking the first looks at my draft strategy for this year, and starting to highlight names that jumped out at me for one reason or another. Aubrey Huff is going to be overdrafted this year. Its almost inevitable considering his 2010 campaign. But last year’s magic for the Giants struck me as a last gasp from an aging veteran. Obviously, you know I’m not going anywhere near Jose Bautista this year. Pablo Sandoval is a guy people aren’t paying much attention to, but reports out of the bay have said he has dropped 20 or more pounds and looks like the .330, 25/90 guy we saw in 2009. Considering he only played 41 games in 2008, last year’s drop could be attributed to a sophomore slump (and too much kung pow chicken). I’m not saying he goes back to his 2009 numbers, but this is a guy at a very shallow position who could bat .290 with 20+ HR and 80+ RBI.

Ian Kinsler is a scary name to recommend. He’s played over 140 games just once in his five year career, BUT in that year he hit 31 HR and stole 31 bases. In fact, if you average his numbers out to 162 games, he would bat .281, hit 24 HR, nab 28 bases, score 115 runs and knock in 83 RBI. He is being drafted after the first five 2B (Cano, Utley, Pedroia, Weeks, and Phillips) and I am tentatively saying he could turn out to be a steal. On that note, I’m not buying Rickie Weeks. He had career highs of 16 HR and 46 RBI until his 29/83 2010 season. Not buying.

Here’s a guy that probably won’t get drafted by many leagues this year… Joba Chamberlain. I know! BUT in 2007 and 2008 he had 12.8 and 10.6 K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings pitched). With the addition of Rafael Soriano to the bullpen, he might get a shot at a starting job again. If that happens, I would want to own him, especially if you can add him for free, because you can leave him on the bench until we see a start or two. But the upside is unquestioned. Also add Aroldis Chapman if he manages to find a rotation spot or the closer job (both possible), as opposed to middle relief.

Jon Lester is underdrafted this year. I know he is ranked in the top ten of many lists of starting pitchers, but people are ignoring the rankings and taking others ahead of him. Lester is an ace. He pitches deep into games (three straight years of 200+ IP), strikes people out (career 8.4 K/9, 225 EACH of last two years), stays reliable (sub 3.5 ERA and sub 1.3 WHIP all three years of 20+ starts ), and he even wins (50 wins in his three years of 20+ starts). And with Boston’s revamped offense, Lester is as close to a lock as there can be to win 20+ games.

Does anyone realize Chris Young had 27 HR and 28 SB last year? And for all the talk about him being an average killer, he batted .257 which certainly doesn’t kill you. I’d rather have Young than Jason Heyward for this season. Could Heyward end up with more fantasy points? Yes. Do I think Young is more likely to end up ahead of Heyward? Yes. And speaking of the Braves, I think Tommy Hanson is in line for an uptick statistically. After two years, he has a career 3.16 ERA and strikes out 7.9 per nine innings. There’s upside even from those numbers.

Preseason picks:

AL Cy Young- David Price- 14-9, 2.51 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 8.4 K/9, runner up- Jon Lester
NL Cy Young-  Adam Wainwright- 18-7, 2.65 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, runner-up Tim Lincecum

AL MVP- Evan Longoria .290, 36 HR, 115 RBI, 12 SB, 100 R, runner-up- Ian Kinsler
NL MVP- Hanley Ramirez- .320, 31 HR, 98 RBI, 34 SB, 115 R, runner-up- Albert Pujols

AL ROY- Desmond Jennings
NL ROY- Domonic Brown




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