For the most part, I love the Japanese games that kick off the season. (To be fair, I’m not a fan of Oakland or Seattle, and it’s not my team that’s playing in the middle of the night.) It’s fun to get a sneak preview of real baseball and even more fun to have a game that comes on when you wake up in the morning, right? Yet it’s also somewhat disconcerting, because after you’ve seen the real thing and had stats that count appear in your fantasy lineup, we now have to go back and sit through another week of exhibition games before we can get down to business.
If you haven’t yet drafted or are still making decisions, here are three starting pitchers to keep an eye on.
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Barajas, Mark Ellis, and Ramon Hernandez VP it up this week.
Digging through the last bits of pre-draft information to find the best bargain deals is difficult. A lot of the players we have listed on Value Picks may have simply been slightly undervalued or had a low price overall. But it takes some real digging to talk up the good points of a few players that PECOTA finds “valuable” only in the sense that they have some dollar value tied to a not-too-distant but far more appealing past. Still, at the end of many drafts, one can’t be too picky, and this is what we are going to try and avoid this week on Value Picks.
Michael digs in the bargain barrel to find Value Picks at the end of your draft, including Edwin Encarnacion, Brent Morel, Ian Stewart, and Travis Hafner
The early stages of a fantasy draft are like shopping in an upscale department store. It’s easy to find what you want and you know all the brands, but it’s pricey too. The late stages, on the other hand, are more like shopping at a thrift store. You never know whether you’ll find something you like and you’re lucky to find a name you recognize, but anything can be had for just a few bucks. And while fantasy seasons can be lost in the early rounds from overpayment and injury, they’re usually won in the middle and late rounds, when scouting and shrewd valuation can help you find the thrift-store jewel that everyone else passed over.
So this week, I’m looking at the thrift-store, bargain-barrel phase of your draft: round twenty and beyond. All of these designated hitters and corner infielders are being drafted then, and they’re all projected by PECOTA to earn $5 or less in standard leagues. This latter group includes other good players like David Freese, Justin Morneau, Mike Moustakas, Chipper Jones, and Todd Helton, but their Average Draft Position is higher than their PECOTA projections. In classic department-store style, owners are overpaying for name-brand merchandise.
Perennial strugglers Zambrano and Liriano join intriguing youngsters Nicasio and Minor in this week's VP
As spring training heads into the home stretch, we’re starting to learn a bit more about starting pitchers who came into camp with question marks. Those questions can be related to any number of issues—we’ll be discussing guys who are trying to return from life-threatening injury, insubordination, and good-old fashioned sore arms—but in each case, only additional data will help us make the informed decision. Here’s a look at four pitchers and the absolute latest on their attempts to solidify their places in a big-league rotation…
Buck, Pierzynski, Murphy, and Furcal join the VP ranks this week
Last week, a number of readers pointed out that some of the PECOTA ranks for the Value Picks series did not match up well with the ADP listed based on the name “Value Picks.” It should be noted that we do not necessarily fully agree with PECOTA and do rate players higher or lower depending on their prospects for the 2012 season, including any bonus (or potentially lost) playing time in addition to their skill set. Having said that, this week we bring players whose PECOTA ranks are higher than their respective ADP, with the smallest difference being four ranks.
Michael looks at Value Picks to be found in the first-base battles in Cleveland and Pittsburgh
Part of the excitement of Spring Training is watching Opening Day rosters take shape—usually, this involves whether a top prospect will start the year in the minors or which utility man grabs the final bench spot. Less often, we get to watch two players compete for the right to start, an especially important choice at the power position of first base. While both Cleveland and Pittsburgh seems to have made their choices at the cold corner, there are still some other options that could rise to the challenge and bring value to their fantasy owners.
Suzuki, Thole, Casilla, and Scutaro may prove undervalued in your 2012 fantasy leagues
This week on Value Picks, we look at some names that may have been overlooked because of a recent fall or the fact that they were never highly regarded to begin with. For many of these players, one category provides enough value for them to be worth a look at their respective projected dollar values, despite what their checkered past may show.
Holland, Bailey, Volstad, and Dempster crack this week's VP list
With another week of camp under our belts, we’re beginning to see some data from Florida and Arizona. As always, the results themselves are all but meaningless, though the way in which they were achieved can sometimes bring up interesting discussion points. Here are four starting pitchers who may be intriguing for various reasons on Draft Day….
In Michael's column this week, he looks at San Francisco's first base battle, as well as how injuries are affecting the values of Ike Davis and Justin Morneau.
Two of the main considerations for real-world and fantasy baseball managers during Spring Training are injuries (which I looked at last week) and playing time. This week, I’ll look at a little of both at first base, starting with the Giants’ positional battle and moving onto the futures of two players with mysterious—or at least difficult-to-detect—ailments.
Fowler, Harper, Bay, and J.D. Martinez make the cut for OF VP this week
Some of us have been sleeping this spring, including this author, who has been sleeping on baseball goingsons more than I'd like, due to other obligations. But, in researching Value Picks this week, the real sleepers have been those fantasy owners who have allowed Dayan Viciedo's ADP to move from 215 to 283. If that includes you, dear reader, then wake up! He was a bargain at 215!
Pineda, Ubaldo, Billingsley, and Santana make this week's VP thanks to spring training goings ons
Welcome to spring training, that wonderful time of the year when baseball fans in a far-too-connected world put a ridiculous amount of importance in the results of miniscule sample sizes against wildly varying levels of competition.
Espinosa, Altuve, Alcides, and Kipnis join Preseason VP this week
As we keep rolling along in the 2012 Preseason Value Picks season, the authors of VP will have their eye on injuries, position battles, and all the goings ons of spring training. Unfortunately, not much movement has happened up the middle, as many players are well established both with their real teams and in fantasy. Still, there are some names of interest to discuss.