Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Alert: Mike Fontenot, 2B Chicago Cubs
Inevitably you will be struggling to find someone to fill a middle infielder hole in your roster on draft day.
You can take a flier on Khalil Greene...a monster bat with no plate discipline and a proclivity to get hurt just when you decide to give him a chance.
Or you can look at an aged veteran, praying his old legs and guile can see him through another season and do just good enough to provide your team some value, much like Girl Scout cookies. You know, tasty, over-priced, but just not enough in the box to do more than whet your appetite.
Meanwhile, I'll be rostering Fontenot in those late rounds and during the dollar derby in hopes that Lou Pinella will see past the farce that is Aaron Miles and allow this smurf of a player to get jiggy with it on the diamond.
I did say smurf, and of course I mean that in the most complimentary of ways. At 5'8" and 170 pounds, Mike the Tike doesn't strike fear in the heart of opposing pitchers, and his lack of playing time likely has him flying under the radar of most fantasy addicts.
Toss in a recent Jim Hendry brain fart, signing Miles in the off-season and penciling him in as the Cubs starting 2B, and there is little reason for you to give Fontenot more than a passing nod.
Or is there?
When I have a choice of comparing big league at bats or MLE's (Major League Equivalents, based on his numbers in the minors) I'll take the bigs every time.
Fontenot has seen time in 2005, 2007 and 2008. Last year, in 247 at bats with the Cubs, he stroked nine HR, drove in 40 RBI and scored 42 times while compiling a .305 BA.
Those aren't bad numbers for a late season fill in at a scantily-manned position like 2B, but if you look at his entire body of work you'll see there is enough evidence to suggest real potential.
His major league line of 479 AB, 12 HR, 69 RBI, 78 R, 7 SB and a .290 BA is consistent with his production last year.
Given a full season, those stats would land him somewhere between Kelly Johnson and Jose Lopez. Not someone you are going to reach for, but definitely worth keeping in your back pocket for a late round flier.
In NL-only leagues, his value could rise to almost-famous status.
I did say "almost." Like any sleeper there are inherent risks.
Chief of those is Lou Pinella, who is not someone you'll find on most fantasy players' Christmas list.
Considering where you'll likely see him in on draft day, Fontenot could well be better than a lump of coal in your stocking and certainly better than a sharp poke in the eye.
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