As the offseason winds down, Bret shares some of his late-draft sleepers for various league sizes and formats.
With spring training reaching peak twilight and the biggest drafting weekend of the year approaching, it’s time for my final marker post column of the preseason.
We’ve been doing rankings and analysis here for the last three months and hopefully they’ve been helpful to you as you sort through all of the information that lead to your most important draft decisions. And to top it off, as we get to the endgame of draft season, it seems only natural to focus on the endgame of drafts. It’s the most interesting, and often most important segment of your draft. Sure, if you miss on your first round pick or get $5 in value from your $25 player, you’re in a hole that can be very difficult to climb out of. As I’ve said many times, closing out your draft strong is a must if you want to win your league.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Paul breaks down several starters whose numbers away from home make them useful stream options in fantasy.
Last week in this space, we looked at some starters who have shown a penchant for doing their best work while in front of their hometown crowd. They aren’t widely rostered in 10- and 12-team leagues, giving you an opportunity to take advantage of those home starts while avoiding the road starts, assuming your league rules allow such frequent transactions. Unsurprisingly, they all play in comfortable environs, but they don’t consistently perform on the road, keeping them from being thoroughly sought-after assets.
Today’s group is the same, but opposite. They play in tougher home ballparks which cause inconsistent work while at home, but their skills shine through on the road, though the composite numbers hide that fact in many instances, creating a buying opportunity. Let’s start in the most obvious of these venues.
With two hits in four at-bats, Doug Fister has the highest wOBA on the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera checks in second at a cool .466 mark. Third place on the list is occupied not by Prince Fielder, but rather by Tuaisosopo at .435 (Fielder has a .390 wOBA and ranks fourth). Sure, Tuiasososopo has done it in just 75 plate appearances but with production like that, one has to wonder if he will start to eat into Andy Dirks’ playing time in left. Dirks edges Tuiasosopo in defense, but the Tigers aren’t known as a team that will keep a producing bat off the field for the sake of defense. Tuiasosopo doesn’t have an impressive minor-league résumé, with an average under .250 the past two seasons in Triple-A. But he has shown decent power, reaching 14 and 12 homers in those two years. His playing time is still too limited for mixed leagues, but I’d kick the tires on Tuiasosopo in AL-only leagues hoping the ride continues.
Janssen, Fuentes, and Thayer are discussed in this week's Value Picks
The debate between the old and new schools as to the usefulness of defined bullpen roles is as strong as ever, and with such a high turnover rate in the early going of this season, both sides have had plenty of fodder to build their arguments. For those of us who partake in fantasy leagues, however, such philosophical pedantry is a mere luxury. Chasing saves, after all, is a dirty game, so let’s have a look at some relievers of interest.
Not every player with a new role is famous, but they're all interesting.
It happens every spring. You enjoy opening weekend, taking in as much baseball as possible, but find yourself wondering who some of these guys are. Not every player with a new role on Opening Day is a former top prospect or an established veteran. Some never even made Kevin Goldstein’s top-20 rankings. To fill in some blanks, here are 12 pitchers and players who may have flown under your radar until recently.
Brad Brach, RHP, Padres
Brach’s major-league debut came last August and didn’t make headlines. The lack of attention he garnered is no surprise, but Brach reaching the majors at all might be one. Not only does Brach hail from a northern state (New Jersey) and a non baseball-factory university (Monmouth University, home to one other major-leaguer—Ed Halicki), he was also a 42nd-round selection. Brach doesn’t require sympathy since he has enough skills to project as a future late-innings reliever. Start with the 6-foot, 6-inch frame and the arm strength that allows him to toss 96-mph fastballs, add in a funky delivery, and a usable splitter and slider combination and you have a solid relief prospect. Then watch Brach and realize that, as Jason Parkswrote, Brach has the mental toughness to pitch in the majors, and it’s clear that Padres fans could see at-bats like this one, against Andre Ethier, for a few years to come:
Bidding early on a freshly minted closer like Hector Santiago is warranted.
One of the most important skills a fantasy player can develop is the ability to manage his Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB). Fantasy players put a lot of emphasis on the draft—and rightfully so—but FAAB bidding often gets unduly overlooked.
I bring up this topic today because, despite our being less than a week into the season, there is an important decision facing fantasy owners. On Saturday night, the speculation over who would win the White Sox-closer gig came to an end, when manager Robin Ventura handed the ball to rookie reliever Hector Santiago in the ninth inning with the team up 4-3. And if there was any ambiguity left, Ventura confirmed verbally that Santiago was indeed the team’s sole closer.
Bill Stoneman and Mike Scioscia get rewarded for 2002. The Indians and Rangers swap pitching prospect for hitting prospect. The Yankees grab Armando Benitez in a non-Sierran move. The Jays get a steal in Stewart-for-Kielty. These and other tidbits, plus a full array of Kahrlisms, in this edition of Transaction Analysis.
The White Sox begin the summer trading season with a bang; the Reds make a great acquisition in D'Angelo Jimenez; Josh Beckett is unleashed from the DL in Florida; and the Royals take a flyer on a man named Gookie (remember him?). All this and much more news from around the league in your Wednesday edition of Transaction Analysis.
The Snakes bury John Patterson, the Red Sox sort through a batch of soft tossers, the Marlins vie for a 25-catcher roster, and the Devil Rays solve all their problems by grabbing Al Martin and Damion Easley.