We will spare the big names here. There are updates and outlooks on Grady Sizemore, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Johan Santana all over the internet. In this post we will have a little back and forth about some serious low-risk/high-value guys. These are players that are seriously undervalued considering the numbers they are capable of putting up. Enjoy.
Will: Jay Bruce- OF, Reds ADP 120.64 you’re caught in that mid-round conundrum of trying to grab an OF in addition to your (hopefully) already productive initial 3 (we tend to play 4 OF, I’m talking about the rounds where your in between starters and that guy off your bench you have a good feeling about this year… (you’re little cheat-sheet starred ‘STEAL OF THE DRAFT’). This phenomena, it should be noted is not exclusive to OF, just specific to this argument (more to follow about other value picks). Here’s the situation sitting on the board are two not so different players – Jay Bruce and Carlos Quentin. From which of these prospective picks do you chase value? I vote that Bruce is superior player in several ways.
For starters, I’m going to go ahead an cut down the argument that ‘While he has tremendous upside, take Quentin because Bruce can’t hit lefties.’ False. Bruce, vs lefties: 2008–> .190 BA, 46 K in 67 AB (v. 11 BB), .299 SLG 2009–>.210 BA,28 K in 52 AB… v. 15 BB (that’s good, right?), .330 SLG Quentin, vs left-handed pitching AS A RIGHT HANDED BATTER 2006–> .171 BA, 8K :4BB in 41AB, .415 SLG 2007–> .172 BA, 16K:7BB in 64 B, .313 SLG 2008–> .246 BA, 22K:25BB in 130 AB, .562 SLG 2009–> .213 BA, 14K:14BB in 94 AB, .383 SLG interesting, I think. I also think Bruce is too good a player to not at least settle down that lefties average in the .250-.260 range? And Quentin’s had longer to figure it out! He doesn’t really seem to be learning? Why is it unreasonable to think Bruce (only 23!) isn’t in a fairly normal 3rd year upgrade? Quentin, while surely not old (28), has had his time to build something but seemingly has the injury bug. Bruce, on the other hand hurt his wrist sliding for a ball. He is young. He will heal. Unless some awful nomar luck strikes Bruce, he would only have worked that much harder coming into the spring, prepping him for a stellar year. I say Bruce’s potential is large (recognize: check his minors stats, the kid will mature). The question is how many of his talents do you think he’ll have ‘click’ at the same time? Regardless, is a 20-15 season the worst case scenario if he doesn’t break out fully? Good basement, I say. But some predicted 40 homers for Bruce. What if he plays a fully healthy year in a healthier Cincy lineup and belts 35? 40? This intrigue intrigues me… This round(s) of picks is the perfect time to pick up someone with the potential stardom while still being a reputable fallback option as well. Take Bruce. Or he’ll get angry. And you won’t like him when he’s angry… Honestly, Quentin could be playing at a high level for all I care, I see a serious potential gain taking Bruce instead. I’ll gamble here, knowing I’ll have minimal loss even if I’m wrong. But who knows. Maybe Dave does know better. Gooch, haters.
Side Note: Our very own Andrew Nilsen met Bruce at a Miami of Ohio party and says that he was macking on some J. Crew U. girls. Bruce also said that he never felt comfortable at the plate last year and is very excited for the 2010 season.
Dave: Carlos Quentin- OF, White Sox ADP 101.64
Remember when Quentin was leading the majors in homers in 2008 before getting pissed off and fracturing his wrist with his bat? Did anyone notice how he had 8 homers in 75ab in April? Quentin’s down year was a fantasy disaster for those who reached early. Take my word though. 2009 was a fluke (you can also throw out his Rookie stats 2006 and his torn labrum year in 2007. Cough Cough Will) . Quentin was slowed by plantar fasciitis in 2009, a foot injury that can be easily overcome if treated properly. He came back in October to slug 2 hrs in 11 abs and has gotten in his hacks this spring. His AVG, BB:KK, lineup and everything else point to Quentin being a superior player. His upside:ADP ratio screams a mid-round steal. Get him on your team and watch a healthy Quentin compete for the AL HR crown.
Will:Ryan Ludwick- OF, Cardinals ADP 167.63
Ludwick’s appeal lies in the lineup he’s in. Behind Pujols and Holliday, even something between last year (‘down’) and his breakout year will yield substantial results. In this injured, ‘down’ year, Ludwick still hit 22 homers with 97 RBI. C’mon, even with low expectations and that lineup, I’d snag Ludwick. Add to all that a Felipe Lopez- Colby Rasmus progression, this has potential to be a very formidable NL lineup. Love the ADP,people. Embrace it.
Will: Conor Jackson- 1B, OF, Diamondbacks ADP 309.24
WTF Valley Fever? Rarely has a potential sleeper star gone on the DL with a more Clueless-reference inducing injury or illness (like, totally, Conor… what.ever.) Jackson is of serious value if you believe in him and believe me that good batters have good eyes. That doesn’t mean K:BB HAS to be a determining factor in selecting hitters (Vlad being king here), but its useful with good batting average/ OBP players like Jackon. So his K:BB ratios starting in 2005 (only 40 games, but look, all the ratios prove my point, regardless of number of at bats; (BONUS: minors- 32:69 K:BB) 11:12, 73-54, 53-50, 61:59, 16:11. This is a promising trend, and Jackson is young enough to be entering some prime years. The homers may not spike, but is Jackson with an ADP of 311.63 at MockDraftCentral going to that greatly underperform someone like James Loney, who goes out at an ADP of 181.88?!??! Take flier on James Loney lite at worst, and don’t forget that IF/OF eligibility .
Dave: Ryan Doumit- C, Pirates ADP 192.2
After grabbing some attention in 2007 with respectable offensive numbers at a light position, Doumit broke onto the scene in a big way in 2008 compiling 15 homers with a .318/.357/.501 line in 431 abs. The injury bug struck again last spring as a fracture wrist derailed the majority of his season. Doumit looked to have regained his form by September, hitting 2 bombs with a pretty .346/.424/.481. I have heard this guy called the Josh Hamilton of catchers. I agree. He could put up numbers to rival Vmart this year (whose OPS is .150 pts lower when a full-time catcher) minus about 30 RBIs. Target Doumit once the top 5 catchers are off the board and smile knowing you will get similar production from a late rounder.
Expectations have always been high for Slowey. Before injuries put his pitching on hold, Slowey and Scott Baker were developing into a nice combo in the Twins’ rotation. Unfortunately, several injuries cut short Slowey’s hot start to 2009 (10 wins despite a 1.41whip in 90.2ip). Many people are scared away by the permanent screws in his wrist, but don’t worry. His numbers have been filthy this spring, allowing 1er in 16ip with 15ks. This is a pitcher who absolutely owned the minor leagues with a 0.85 WHIP. Supported by the best offense in a weak division, Slowey is worth the gamble and could emerge as a serious top-of-the-rotation starter.
Will: Ben Sheets-SP, A’s ADP 232.8
Now know this: we write this as Sheets has gotten sheeted-on this spring (8.2 IP, 20 H, 16 ER, 5 BB) and had a ho-hum turn at Triple A at the time of us posting. I own Sheets in our Champions league, but I’m planning on him sitting him til he proves himself settled (which I honestly believe, between whatever magic hot tub Beane has and a plus pitcher-friendly ballpark) and hope he’ll be dominant #2/2a by the trade deadline (I’m thinkin’ with you here, Mr. Beane). Sheets isn’t a name sneaking up on too many people in drafts, so we’re really talking about a risk/reward play here. For his ADP, you are potentially getting the dominant #2 guy from 2008, a (hopefully) healthy year away from surgery. Just a reminder of some of Sheets best years, he has pitched over 190 innings 4 times, each year submitting fantasy-relevant (if not superior) season (2002-2004, most excellent.). 2008, his last healthy year, he had 5 CG and 3 SHO, just sayin’. A 158:47 K:BB ratio (the guy’s developing in his pitcher smarts….). If you’re a patient player, like me, or at least have a long-term view, bite on Sheets, too much value to leave sitting there. P.S. I own the man, so I’m not just hyping, I swear.
Dave: Chris Young- SP, Padres ADP 331.5
Being 6’10”, you would figure that the guy hits his head enough. Well Pujols doesn’t believe in such thing as “enough” so decided to smash Chris Young in the face with a line drive in 2008. 2009 brought more problems in the form of (the more baseball-relevant) arm troubles. After offseason surgery, Young has looked solid this spring and is working on a new splitter. Given the not-too-distant success of the Padres’ ace and a spacious park, 2010 should be a nice bounceback campaign.
Stash on the DL:
Dave: Erik Bedard- SP, Mariners ADP 232.12
By now we get it: if Bedard is healthy, he puts up ace numbers. But with only 164ip in the last 2 seasons and never over 200ip in a season, that is an IF. If someone reaches because he thinks he’s getting 2007 Bedard minus 5 starts, let him go. Otherwise, Bedard is worth targeting in the final rounds and stashing on the DL until further notice.
Dave: Edinson Volquez- SP, Reds ADP >500
Volquez is expected back soon after the break. His 2008 was no fluke. With his kind of stuff and ADP, how can you not take him in the last round and just stash him on the DL?