I first have to apologize to my beloved “What’s on the Menu” readers; I have let you down with my fantasy selfishness. Between fantasy football starting, the heat of fantasy baseball playoffs and my day job I have neglected to give you my column the past couple weeks. I promise the information that follows will ease your tempers.
The 2008 fantasy baseball season has come to a close and if you are still reading this you are either in the championship in your league or you are as obsessed with fantasy baseball as I am. This year I learned to never give up on players that once rocked the fantasy sleeper sheets: Aubrey Huff, Cliff Lee, Carlos Delgado, Jorge Cantu, Carlos Quentin and Ervin Santana specifically. All of which I did not own in any league because I was too stubborn to snag them up when I had the chance. Who honestly predicted the year Cliff Lee would have after those first couple starts. Don’t kid yourself if you are speaking aloud right now, no one did. Who honestly thought Cantu, a guy with that dirty of a mustache could possibly eclipse 100 Runs and 100 RBI this season. Enough of my frustrations with the players above and on to the reason I’m in my leagues championship and the majority of teams that owned those players are done.
I have done so well this year because of the players I drafted in the later rounds (I classify the “Later Rounds” anything after round 10). Any fantasy player can have a great draft for the first 10 rounds but it is the later rounds that separate the good from the great. Every year I try and outline players of value after round 10 and I then compile a list with about 2-3 players at each position. By doing this it gives you plenty of options during the draft. This year I was able to draft AJ Burnett (Round 11), Kevin Youklis (Round 12), Brad Lidge (Round 13), Josh Hamilton (Round 14) and Dustin Pedroia (Round 16) with this strategy. I made sure I laid off of tempting guys at these positions because of the value I could get at the position later. There are always exceptions; I passed on Kinsler because I was targeting Pedroia at 2B later in the draft. Granted this was a big exception because even I, the biggest Pedroia fan going into the season, didn’t predict this type of season. If you are depending on drafting a guy like Pedroia later on in the draft you have to make sure you draft him about a round or two ahead of his ADP or else this strategy is shot. Instead of filling my roster in the early rounds I always try and grab as many reliable Starting Pitchers as I can. I would rather take my risks on position players that play six times a week than the take a risk on a pitcher I send out once a week. The bad games for position players will not hurt your weekly outcome as much as a pitcher blowing up.
Below are a few players at each position I’m trying to target after round 10 in 2009.
Matt Wieters(BAL): Elite catching prospect and could have a Soto like impact next season if he wins the job.
Pablo Sandoval (SF): If he is C eligible in your league he will pay big dividends as he will most likely reach 500 Abs between catcher and first base.
Joey Votto (Cin): If the Reds don’t bring in any big hitters this offseason Votto has a strong chance at being the Reds cleanup man and in that park he has a real shot at 30 HR and 100 RBI with his rookie season already under his belt.
James Loney (LAD): His power is still lacking but I feel a breakout season for Loney as the Dodgers will only get stronger.
Alexei Ramirez (CHW): I think by draft time next year this guy’s value will be to inflated to get him after round 10 but he has serious upside. If he reaches the base stealing numbers he was posting in the minors and you combine that with the power numbers he has displayed this year, he could be the only guy left with a legitimate shot at 40-40.
Matt Antoneli (SD): Antoneli will go undrafted in many leagues next year and for a good reason, he had a forgettable season in AAA, he will be playing for a horrible offensive team and he is still a raw rookie. But he has elite potential and if he is handed the starting job this spring I think it is worth the flier.
Rafeal Furcal (LAD): He looked like an MVP to start this season and the risk involved with him on draft day next year will be too big for him to go earlier than the 10<sup>th</sup> round.
Jed Lowrie (BOS): Lowrie will probably end up hitting in the second leadoff spot in Boston and if he can hit for a high average he should be able to reach 100 runs.
Chris Davis (TEX): If you can put up with the high K numbers he has a legitimate shot at reaching 30 HR and 100 RBI next season in that ball park.1Beligibility is also a plus.
Garrett Atkins (COL): A down year will make this once elite 3B option available in the later rounds. He is worth the risk next year.
Hunter Pence (HOU): Another player who had a down year by expectations but he has come on in the second half and his potential is sky high.
Adam Jones (BAL): The key piece of the Bedard deal has had an average rookie season but next year the training wheels will be off and he should be a lock for 15 HR and 15 SB.
Brandon Morrow (SEA): Seattle had a type of season many fans want to quickly forget but them being out of contention has allowed Morrow to reach the rotation early than expected. If his first start is an indication of what he is capable of then be prepared to go crazy next year.
Aaron Harang (CIN): Don’t be too scared of Harang next season he used to be the closest thing to consistency.
David Price (TB): It will be extremely difficult to draft Price next season because of all the hype surrounding him but if he wins a starting spot he will be worth the reach.
Frank Francisco (TEX): The closers job will be Francisco’s to lose this spring and you can not overlook his 11.89 K/9, 1.17 WHIP this season. The saves will not come in surplus but his numbers will be worth it.
Chris Ray (BAL): George Sherill made many fantasy owners forget about Ray but the job was his before he was declared out for the season. If he comes back healthy and wins the job he could reach those 2006 numbers at a discount.
Winning Starts in Round 10
Posted on: September 23, 2008 6:30 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2008 6:31 pm