Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fantasy Baseball Pickups Around The Diamond - Week 2

We go around the diamond and take a look at some of the most added players by position in most fantasy leagues.

Catcher

Gerald Laird - Laird beat out Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the starting catcher position in Texas in Spring Training and in week one showed fantasy owners his power potential. After a tough start, Laird broke out on Saturday going 4/5 with 2 homers and 6 RBI. Given the great hitter's park that Texas plays in, Laird has a chance to have a strong summer in Arlington. One thing to keep an eye on are rumors of Laird being traded to Cincinnati, a move which could put Laird's starting status in jeopardy. 

First Base

Ben Broussard - The hottest first baseman on the adds list has clubbed 3HR in his last 4games to go along with 7RBI over that stretch. Many went out a grabbed Broussard while he was hot, but we wouldn't get overly excited by his recent numbers. Broussard has always been a streaky hitter, and at the age of 31 is no spring chicken who can expect to progress and keep this pace up over the course of the season. In his career he has never topped more than 21HR or 82RBI in a season, and has shown himself to be unable of making consistent contact. These are numbers that cannot be counted on consistently at 1B to carry your team, or put up a huge offensive output throughout the season.

Nick Johnson - Nick can draw a walk and hitting 3rd in the Nationals pesky line up will give him plenty of RBI opportunities as well. He has never been a tremendous power threat, but makes up for hit with his ability to hit for average. The biggest drawback of owning Johnson is that he isn't durable and is a constant threat to go down with an injury and spend sometime on the DL.

FSE's Take: If you have to pick between the Broussard and Johnson, take Johnson. He will hit for similar power as Broussard, hit for a much higher average and drive in more RBI.

Second Base

Jose Lopez - The 2B showed good progress in the 2006 season hitting .281 with 10HR and a frriendly 79RBI. He went into the 2007 season as a hot sleeper name, but quickly flamed out hitting only .251 with 11HR and 62RBI, extremely mediocre numbers and unownable in fantasy. 2008 has begun a new year for Lopez and he has gotten off to a hot start. He quickly has 2HR and 7RBI on the season. The negative is that doesn't walk a whole lot, but, on the flip side he also doesn't strikeout a whole bunch either (thus far he has one of each on the young season.)

FSE's Take: If your current 2B is injured or is totally flopping give Lopez a look. He could put up some numbers similar to that of his 2006 season, with about 15HR, 75RBI and 7SB, if he has a best case scenario season. While that is nothing spectacular, it could be serviceable in most fantasy formats.

Mark DeRosa - Managed to fight off a Brian Roberts trade to keep his job as the Cubs everyday 2B gig. DeRosa has managed to hit .290+ with double digit HR and 70+ RBI in each of the last 2 seasons. He had more value in the 2007 season when he had eligibility at SS, 3B, 2B and OF, yet he enters 2008 with 2B and 3B versatility and is a fine utility guy to keep on the bench, if one of your starters has an off day or get nicked up and needs to sit a game or 2. He isn't an all star, but he is useful in deeper leagues.

Third Base 

Mark Reynolds - If you read out Diamondbacks season preview you would see that we were high on Reynolds entering the season. He has shown power at every level in the minor leagues, as well as in his stint in the majors last season. Reynolds has gotten off to a white- hot start hitting 4HR, with 7R, 9RBI and a .333AVG. The average will probably drop a bit over the course of the season and don't expect 4HR a week for the rest of the season, but 30HR is a legit possibility. If he is still available in your league grab him and see what he can do.

Joe Crede - Another white hot corner performer. Crede managed 4 straight seasons of 19+HR from 2003-2006. 2007 turned into a disaster for Crede as a back problem cost him most of the season. It looked as if Crede's tenure in Chi-Town was drawing to a close when Josh Fields was recalled from the minors and went on to club 20+ HR. An injury here or there and a slow spring training from Fields opened the door for Crede to return and right now Crede is taking advantage of it. Grad Crede if he is available in your league and you need a 3B. He won't be this hot all season, but .270, with 20+HR, and 80RBI are not out of the question.

Bill Hall - Isn't there yet in most leagues, but should quickly regain his 3B eligibility. Hall is another guy who had a huge 2006 and a down 2007. He managed to hit 22HR with 70RBI last season and while those aren't all star numbers, it shows that even if he has another down season like he did in 2007 he can still put up capable numbers for a 3B. I do expect Hall to have a season somewhere in between what he did in '06 and '07. Look for 27HR with 75RBI and a .270AVG.

Shortstop 

Jeff Keppinger - The utility man has gone from filling in for players, to taking playing time from players. Keppinger has been used to fill in for the injured Alex Gonzalez in Cincy, but actually saw playing time ahead of Scott Hatteburg and Joey Votto at first against a lefthander. Keppinger has played his way out of just being a utility player and has become a player. He can be a valuable addition at SS, as he can hit and looks like he has impressed manager Dusty Baker enough to warrant consistent playing time.

Christian Guzman - Can't believe I am typing his name, but he has been hot early on and seems like he has refound the batting success he had early on in his career in Minnesota. He started 2007 off hot hitting over .320 when a thumb injury cost him his season. He is currently hitting well over .300 and while he won't hit for power, the batting average and amount of runs he will score leading off make him a potentially valuable addition. Depending on your need Guzman can be a solid asset.

Outfield

Xavier Nady - Always praised for his athleticism on the ballfield, Nady always seems to put up solid numbers and then battle injuries that cost him time and hurt his over all numbers. He always seemed primed to take it to that next level of consistent reliable play, and reach that 500AB plateau, but thus far in his career, it has eluded him. If you are hurting for offense now, Nady is a fine choice, just keep a close watch on him to see how he is doing healthy wise throughout the season. He is near certain to miss time at some point.

David Murphy - Getting the most playing time of his career, Murphy has started hot in Texas. Murphy spent a lot of time over the last 3 seasons bouncing up and down between AAA and AA and with the big team in Boston and now Texas, so it has been difficult to put up any sort of consistent numbers. That being said, from what I can gather, Murphy can hit a bit and a 15/15 season isn't out of the realm of possibility. He is prone to slumps because he doesn't walk much and relies on getting hits to get on base, so there will be periods of time when he is more or less useless especially i head-to-head leagues. Personally I would stay away from him and let someone else take a gamble on him.

Matt Diaz - He can hit and will hit. Don't expect great power numbers, but an average well above .300 and 80+RBIs are a near certainty. He has gone under the radar the last few seasons because he has been more of a platoon player, but Bobby Cox looks like he trusts him now and is ready for him to handle the full time load in left. Hitting in that potent Atlanta lineup will only help his potential to have a big fantasy season.

Do you think we forgot anyone? We are sure there are some players who we left out. Send us your feedback and tell us who we felt we slighted and we'll do out best to get to your response and comments.

2 comments:

dchero said...

What do you think about Corey Patterson? He's off to a pretty hot start...

Phil said...

That’s a great name to mention. He really went under the radar because he was signed so late in spring training, but is a proven player who can steal a base and hit the occasional HR. Don't expect the type of power he has shown early on throughout the season, but 20HR and 30SB isn't totally out of the realm of possibility.

He doesn't draw a ton of walks which makes him susceptible to slumps, and I would be worried come September. If the Reds are out of it they could call up stud prospect Jay Bruce to play center so they can see how he fairs on the major league level. That move would push Patterson to the bench during the middle of the head-to-head playoffs.

That being said, he is still a fine player to own this season, and at the age of 28 might be in his fantasy prime, especially playing in that Cincy lineup in a friendly ballpark.