Pitchers and catchers are finally in camp and many position players are reporting early – good times are here again! Let’s get it!
Some News and Notes from the NL:
- Ryan Howard is finally 100% healthy, leaner looking than ever and eager to get back to his MVP form when he averaged 44 homers and 133 RBIs between 2006-11. I don’t see any reason why Howard cannot hit 40 home runs in 2013 and have 100+ RBI and 80 runs - although the Philly offensive core of Howard-Rollins-Utley is aging they can all still hit and score runs. With the addition of Revere, the continued growth of Brown, and the steady bat and influence of Michael Young, the PHI line up should still produce at a decent clip. I wouldn’t expect any more than a .260 average and I wouldn’t expect any less than 170 Ks, so if you draft Howard make sure you can absorb both.
- Giancarlo Stanton was especially diplomatic early in spring training calling the Miami Marlins off season “interesting”, which would be the understatement of the decade. I am sure he is now counting down the days to his 2016 free agency, but in the meantime Stanton should crush the ball like mad this year if he can stay healthy – 50+ home runs is the yearly number for Stanton and odds are he blows past that this year, but with little to no support in the lineup anymore his RBI totals will suffer.
- Rookie Adam Eaton will likely take over the lead-off spot for the D-Backs in 2013. The 5’-8” scrapper plays with what teammate Cody Ross calls “an edge” and Manager Kirk Gibson not only loves that but can also relate quit easily. With the departure of Justin Upton the young speedster now has a shot at 500+ at-bats which could easily yield 30+ SB, 10 HRs and 90 runs with a .275 average and he can likely be had much later in drafts.
- Buster Posey comes into this spring as reigning NL MVP, batting champ, and World Series champ which will easily drive his draft day value possibly into the first round. There is no doubt he is the best catcher in the draft, but don’t overpay for his 2012 campaign as historically catchers who win MVP awards tend to regress the year after for whatever reason. Not saying Buster will be bad, he will still be a top-shelf catcher, but expecting 25HR-100RBI again might be a stretch as his BAPIP of .368 will come down a little and his HR/FB% will likely do the same. Not having a PED using, OBP machine in Melky Cabrera ahead of him will also hurt a little. A .320 average is easy to expect, but I would also expect 18-20HR and 88-90 RBI for 2013.
- The Braves now have 3 of the top 15 ranked outfielders and top 40 players overall manning their outfield. The 2013 campaign for all three young studs should be excellent, but Jason Heyward is the one guy to target in my mind – his BAPIP in 2012 rose up to .319 after a dismal .260 in 2011 which bodes well for him in 2013. I also think the drop in his walk rate in 2012 will revert back to his career numbers around 12%. Expecting 30 HRs and 95 RBIs from Heyward in 2013 isn’t farfetched, but I don’t think we will see more than a .280 BA or .875 OPS. Still, Heyward is only 24 this summer so the sky is the limit for him.
- Lance Lynn seems to have only partially shown up to camp… as in he has lost half himself somehow or somewhere. He is very lean compared to 2012, where some had thought his second-half slump in late summer was due to lack of conditioning and fatigue. His ADP of 220 so far this year isn’t troublesome as it is later on.
Rants and Ramblings:
One guy new to the NL that only got a brief spot when he got traded to Washington was Denard Span. Acquired to play centerfield, and allow Harper to move to left field, Span has had about a 230 ADP, the 65th OF taken. In 2012 he hit a respectable .283 and had 17 SBs, but only managed 128 games played. Moving to WAS who has a young and powerful offense in the works should be a boon for Span, with new energy and flat-out more bat hitting behind him. To be followed by Harper-Zimmerman-LaRoche-Werth-Desmond-Espinosa will be an upgrade to say the least, so if he can get on base and put in 150 games he should equal his 2010 season with a better average (…something like .285-85-5-60-25) which is a very decent OF4 pick late in a draft, with the upside of maybe more depending on the WAS offense and his confidence. Even those numbers would likely be equal to or better then what Carl Crawford will put up (39OF/138ADP) as well as Shane Victorino (35OF, 125ADP), Melky Cabrerra (23OF/73ADP), and Angel Pagan (31OF/103ADP) in 2013. Span will be a sneaky good pick this year late in drafts.
So, I have a question for all – in a non-keeper league, would you draft the following stats (.275-100-25-85-20) in the 2nd round if guys like Tulo, Stanton, Hamilton, Verlander, Strasburg and Kershaw were still available? Tulo could put those numbers up in a full season at a shallow position in fantasy production, Stanton will likely make a run at 60 HRs this year, and Hamilton will be hitting behind Trout and Pujols. Kershaw and Verlander are now hunting for the first $200M contract for a pitcher, and Strasburg may have the most to prove after having his leash pulled last year way too early. So basically that is six guys I would take over that stat line. Not that it is a bad set of stats, it is very solid five-category production that every team should hope to have, but at pick #16, ADP in early mock drafts, is quite high, combined with passing on these six guys along with guys like Goldschmidt (who will match those numbers), Adam Jones and Evan Longoria.
This would essentially be the guy who had pick #5 in a 10 team league, who likely took someone like Cano, Pujols or McCutchen with their first-round pick and could be .300-40HR-100RBI, or the top SS in fantasy baseball, or the best starter in baseball – all of which are fantasy gold. But for some reason managers are looking at this guy at #16 ADP and nabbing him on a steady basis. Personally, I would take any of the six above before I took this guy – not that he is a bad pick or anything, just that there are other players that carry more value at their position and are more valuable because of it. In a keeper league his value is one of the tops right now, but in none keepers he is definitely being over drafts this year, even with the potential of a sophomore slump of some sorts looming, even if it is unlikely.
This guy’s name is Bryce Harper…how the hype machine rolls on, and no one even notices it or complains anymore.
Don’t forget to check out the Dobber Baseball fantasy guides for 2013!
Catch me on twitter @CanuckHoppy