Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Phantasy Island

Fantasy Baseball is about All-Stars... sure. You go out and draft a couple big stars to pad your lineup, but you win the leagues with bargains. Depending on the depth of your league (Mine has 20 teams and rosters of 25) those bargains can sometimes truly be from the bottom of the bin.

The Big Names:

David Wright - Wright is now a second rounder (Most standard leagues) but he's certainly not a bargain. Sure he's a 30 HR guy and 30 SBs aren't un-thinkable but unless Wright cuts his K's significantly. K's don't show up on all fantasy leagues but his K's have created a problem with his hitting. He walks less, scores less runs, drives in less batters. He needs to up his walks and cut his K's to get back into being a first rounder and unless he does, he's no bargain.

Jose Reyes - Reyes has become a slight bargain but people see a healthy Reyes and I'm sure that will contribute to him rocketing up the draft boards. He's in a contract year and seems to be playing at 100% and all of those good things. If you can get Reyes in the third round... He's a bargain worth taking but SOME people will take him in the second. BELIEVE ME, some will also take Reyes in the 4th, 5th and 6th rounds.

Ike Davis - Davis is NOT a fantasy star. In fact when ranking 1Bs he falls reasonably low: Pujols, Votto, Cabrera, Gonzalez, Teixeira, Fielder, Youkilis, Howard, Dunn, Mourneau, Morales, Konerko, Sanchez, Butler... Davis? However, Davis is young and capable of BUILDING on his 2010 performance with a strong 2011. Will Davis break into the top 10 at some point? MAYBE. I recall seeing him listed as a potential future 40 HR hitter at one point.

The Middle Rounders:

Mike Pelfrey - Mike is like Matt Garza lite. The difference is that Matt Garza should wind up being taken 3-4 rounds earlier. This DOES make Pelfrey a bargain but I actually think that the first Met pitcher to be looking for is Jonathan Niese. Pelfrey's numbers are just a little too vanilla for my liking. Niese, at least, has a little up-side and might become more of a Fantasy pitcher. Now... ESPN actually predicts fairly light numbers for Pelfrey so don't wait for him to go before looking at Niese.

Jonathan Niese - Like I said, Niese SHOULD be the #1 drafted Met pitcher. He has the potential to be a legit #2 pitcher in the league and has the closest thing (in the healthy rotation) to a fantasy performer. I see Niese as a 160-170 K pitcher but the question I have is can he get his ERA under 4.00. If he can, he's a definite fantasy rotation guy where Pelfrey and Dickey are not. Expect him to nod fade as much at the end of the season in 2011.

R.A. Dickey - Dickey had a magical 2010 and I don't see a reason for 2011 to be MUCH different. Sure he's got expanded pressure but as a later rotation or reserve pitcher, Dickey actually does pretty well. The Mets also seem to win when he pitches which is circumstantial but positive. I expect Dickey's numbers to be playable in 2011 which means that you should expect him to start being looked at around the 260th pick. If your draft isn't this deep, just keep an eye on him for the waiver wire.

Angel Pagan - Angel Pagan is the best fantasy option for the Mets outfield. That's right, I said it. Sure he won't hit 20 HRs but he's going to have a higher average and better overall numbers. Hitting between Reyes and Wright will do good things for both his Runs and RBIs and he has the best recent track record for health. With all this said, he's likely to be drafted after Beltran and maybe even Bay. Pagan is like Shane Victorino but won't be drafted as highly so when Shane goes... keep your eye on Angel.

Jason Bay - Air Canada was a bust for the Mets in 2010. He THEN ran into a wall and got a concussion. I like Bay as a person but do I like him as a player? Jason Bay is expected to rebound and hit 20-25 HRs and many more RBI's then he did in 2010. You will probably see him coming off the board FAR later than he would in any previous year and that makes him a bargain. Thus far in Spring Training, I'm not sold on him bouncing back all that much but he's worth the gamble over someone like say... Raul Ibanez.

Carlos Beltran - Carlos once belonged to the elite group so beware the draw to take him earlier. Sure, he's in a contract year. Sure, when healthy he's great. Health is a MAJOR concern. Beltran is moving to RF to spare his knee some of the ware and tear of CF. Realize that he's no longer giving you anything on the bases and that he's at best a 25 HR hitter and temper your expectations.

The Injured:

Johan Santana - This year, the question with Santana is not IF to draft him, it's WHEN. First, he's hurt and eying a return in June but could be longer with any sort of set-back. Second, he's already shown lower K's and might not return to the Mets while they are still in the running. With that said, you will still want him over MANY MANY other arms that are currently healthy. Where is that cut-off point? If the pitcher is likely to have an ERA under 4.00 and at least 140 K's take him, but that's around the point where a Santana gamble makes sense.

The Late Round Specials:

Chris Young - The new Met pitcher is impressing many this spring. I put him on the list and not Capuano because there is almost NO chance that Chris Young doesn't make the rotation. Young is a solid starter and has significant upside. This spring, he's shown improved velocity and the breaking pitches that got him big numbers a few years back. Not the kind of guy to build a rotation around... maybe not even the guy you want a guaranteed spot going to, but a guy to have in reserve.

Josh Thole - Thole doesn't have a lot of power, but he DOES hit. If you are in a head-to-head league and have a Utility spot or a catcher spot open, Thole is a guy to think about. He won't hurt your batting average and in a game of match-ups... that might be as good as a catcher who will hit 15 HRs and bat around .200. He's not Joe Mauer or Victor Martinez and his ceiling isn't sky high but you could do far worse in the later rounds.

Jenrry Mejia - Mejia WILL start the year in AAA but the Mets rotation is hardly set in stone and should injuries crop up or should players fizzle, Mejia is the young gun who would be set to come in and save the day. Now... prospects usually don't get drafted to the later rounds of even deeper drafts. Expect to snag someone with upside like this slightly earlier in a keeper league.

No comments: