Jon Jay might have some value if he can sneak into that leadoff spot.
We’re counting down to our 2013 Draft Kit, which will include position-by-position rankings, projections and play tips, all in an easy-to-read format. As we count down to our ’13 release we’ll be sharing 13 lists, all of which we hope will give you a little edge on draft day.
Our first list is 13 guys who shouldn’t cost more than a buck in an auction or a late round draft pick, but could bring you triple their value.
These aren’t necessarily sleepers or unknown players, instead they are a collection of guys who may only contribute in one area, have injury histories, lay claim to a spotty performance history or simply may fly under the radar. But while flawed, they could come cheap and offer the potential for a little reward if you toss them a line. As we jump in, know that these are listed in no particular order.
Everth Cabrera is the 26-year-old Nicaraguan shortstop for the San Diego Padres. I like him because he once stole home in the 9th inning to tie the game. That’s my kind of guy and the kind of guy you want to give you some stolen bases for your fantasy baseball team. SS is his job to lose and it’s possible he’ll bat 1st for the Friars, which means a boost in runs as well. His current ADP is 296 and he’ll “steal” much more value than that.
Jon Jay is currently being drafted around the 245th player overall and that might be generous, considering he’ll never reach double digit homers again. But he should be good for a .285 average and a dozen steals. An injury to Rafael Furcal – which is likely – might allow Jay to hit his way to the top of the St. Louis lineup. Those potential runs could give you a great return on a $1 investment.
Dillon Gee has a blood clot in his shoulder, which ended what could have been a solid season. This 27-year-old Met was striking out 8 guys per 9 innings when he went down. So while there are question marks, your dollar investment could net you a sub-3.50 ERA.
David Hernandez has closer material; he’s just waiting until opportunity knocks. 2012 saw him K over 12 guys per 9, so while he’s known to walk a few too many, he limits any damage done. J.J. Putz is the closer in Arizona, but Hernandez is just an injury away. Plus, he’s a perfect fit if you want to maximize relief innings.
Ryan Cook held up all season for the Oakland A’s, and in fact had a huge second half skill gain by dramatically cutting his walk rate. He’s got a fastball / slider mix that works well as a closer. He comes with a cheap contract and Billy Beane is always itching to make a move. It could be that Balfour finds a new team, opening the door for Cook. If that happens, your $1 investment would pay huge dividends.
Trevor Plouffe is a first round draft pick who was slow to put it all together and find his place on the field. Now that he has little competition for the Minnesota Twins third base job, he’ll get plenty of at bats. He’ll get 20+ homers, but if his approach at the plate continues to improve, he has the potential for even more. He won’t get any attention during your fantasy baseball draft, but he could be a sneaky corner infielder pick.
Scott Baker has always showed big skills, but frustratingly produced little results. If he bounces back quickly from his Tommy John surgery the Cubs will be very pleased in 2013. If not, they might have to wait until 2014 to get their money’s worth. You can watch him pitch a few starts in early 2103 to see if you can get your money’s worth, plus turn a little profit on what will probably be no more than a waiver claim.
Ryan Doumit has always hit when he’s been in the lineup. Being a part time DH while sharing catching duties with Joe Mauer allowed him to get plenty of at bats and the switch hitter produced. Expect more in 2013 to the tune of 16 or so HRs to go with a .275 AVG. Unfortunately, his ADP is currently about the 170th player off the board, so you’ll want him to fall a little further in the draft to truly feel like you are turning profit.
Jason Vargas is being drafted just outside the top-75 starting pitchers, but that’s too low. He’s steadily improved the past 3 seasons and his move to Anaheim will give him better run support. Keep in mind that the steady improvements have barely brought him to sub 4.00 ERA levels, but his low walk rates keep his WHIP low and for a $1 investment you could easily get triple that in using him as a back end fantasy baseball starter.
Glen Perkins has the closer job in Minnesota all to himself. No one thinks he’ll get a ton of opportunities to close out a Twins win, but he’s grown into a nice pitcher. His 2012 second half numbers were a 2.39 ERA to go with a 0.80 WHIP, mainly because he walked just 0.7 per 9. All signs point to him being able to repeat that success. That would be a huge return for what will be an overlooked arm.
Lorenzo Cain was pegged by us as a sleeper in 2012, but injuries prevented that. We’re not going to slap the sleeper label on him again, but I will say that he could provide sneaky value for him. The CF job is his to lose in KC and a full season of at bats could net him an upside of 15 homers and 20 steals.
Justin Morneau is finally healthy. You can turn this to your advantage if the other fantasy baseball owners somehow miss this fact. No one is expecting a return to his 2009 MVP form, but a healthy Morneau is a 20+ homer run producer, who’ll give you a solid average while batting 5th in the Minnesota lineup. Spend a buck, stick him in your UTIL slot and watch him turn that $1 into more.
Marco Estrada is a righty for the Brewers and throws a 92 MPH fastball, a curve, and a changeup. He has a career 9.1 K/9 and in 2011 dropped his BB/9 to 2.8. That’s solid and with an uptick in control, he could take the next step. I’m going to take a dollar flyer on him in my leagues and I’d encourage you to do likewise. He could bring a good return.
Above are 13 fantasy baseball dollar players who could give you a good return on a dollar investment. With any luck, each of these guys will fly far enough under the radar to get them for a song in your fantasy baseball draft, but each of them have enough potential for upside that they could be worth more.