In fantasy baseball, postseason stats count for exactly as much as spring training ones—nothing. Still, that doesn't mean playoff performances are meaningless to your rotisserie bottom line.
Sure, five months separate the 2012 and 2013 seasons, but it's not unheard of for players to ride October success into the following April. And here are 10 guys who currently are in position to do just that.
Obviously, the playoffs are over for Ryan Zimmerman and the Nats. But if they weren't, and he kept hitting the way he did in five October games against the Cardinals, we might all be looking at him in a different light come March.
Zimmerman managed a hit in all five games of the NLDS—including three multi-hit games—along with two homers and four RBI. It's a small sample size, but he did come out of that series with a .381 average, which is right in line with his second-half splits: .319 with 17 home runs and 55 RBI.
At this point, Zimmerman is likely still a second-tier option at third base. But I would still rather have his potential upside over someone like Alex Rodriguez and his rapidly materializing downside.
At 35, Ryan Vogelsong isn't exactly the sort of high-ceiling sleeper who stands out on draft cheat sheets. But his postseason performance so far could make a difference.
In two starts against the Reds and Cards, he's arguably been the Giants' ace with only two earned runs allowed and nine Ks. And although he had some trouble in September, Vogelsong closed out the regular season with a 0.53 ERA in his final three starts.
He still won't be one of the first two (or more than likely: three) starters drafted from his team, but he's a lot closer to his teammates' quality than you might think.
Another guy with only a few playoff games to his name, Ryan Ludwick did some of his best damage in years this past season. His 26 home runs were his most since 2008 when he slugged 37 for the Cardinals.
Still, the Reds haven't exercised Ludwick's option for 2013—but that might soon change thanks to his postseason performance. He was Cincy's most explosive hitter in the NLDS against the Giants with six hits in five games—half of which were homers.
If he stays in Cincinnati at the Great American Launching Pad, there's no reason to believe Ludwick can't top 25 home runs again. If he winds up elsewhere, however, it might be a slightly different story.
The easy guys to name here would be Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, but it's already a foregone conclusion they'll have a big 2013. And while Doug Fister's version of "big" will probably be nowhere near his teammates', there's reason to believe he ought to be able to take a decent step forward.
You might remember two years ago when Fister was traded to the Tigers midseason and promptly went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA in 11 games. While his first full season in Detroit didn't go quite so ridiculously smooth (10-10 with a 3.45 ERA), Fister did have a career-best 7.6 K/9.
He was good in one postseason start against the A's (six hits, two runs and eight Ks) and great in his next against the Yankees (six hits, no runs and five Ks). He's a top-50 pitcher next year, but he's on the right team to push him a little higher.
This is starting to be an annual thing for David Freese. He broke the postseason RBI record on his way to World Series MVP status in 2011, and although he's been exceedingly more human this postseason, he's still been relatively productive.
Freese struggled some against the Braves and Giants, but he was a little more like his old self in the series against the Nats with eight hits in five games. And all that was after putting up his best regular-season numbers as a pro (.293 with 20 homers and 79 RBI).
While there's always some injury concern when it comes to a guy who's only topped 100 games once, Freese still has some room to improve as long as he stays on the field.
If it doesn't seem like Hiroki Kuroda is having a big postseason, it isn't exactly his fault. The veteran righty was basically brilliant in his first two starts, but the nonexistent Yankees offense left him empty-handed.
He ended up with a no-decision after only allowing two solo homers to the Orioles in the ALDS, and he took a perfect game into the sixth with 11 Ks in Game 2 of the ALCS versus the Tigers, but still took the loss.
At 37, Kuroda likely isn't due for a radical shift in his baseline. But he was more than serviceable in his first season with the Yankees by going 16-11 with 167 Ks. As long as the pinstripes right the ship, Kuroda should be able to deliver at least one more year of positive production.
True, Joey Votto didn't hit a single home run since returning from a torn meniscus in September, and that includes five games against the Giants in the NLDS. He also didn't even drive in a postseason run. But Votto—who was clearly not back to top speed in the playoffs—still made his presence known with by hitting .389 with a .889 OPS.
And he was no slouch in his final 25 games of the regular season either: Votto hit .316 with eight doubles and seven RBI during the Reds' final push.
With an offseason to recover and a still-promising lineup around him, Votto should easily return to his perennial MVP consideration and could provide massive fantasy value if he falls further than Round 2
The A's made an early exit from the postseason, but not before allowing Yoenis Cespedes to demonstrate that he's one of the most promising players in the game. In five ALDS games versus the Tigers, the rookie hit .316 with two RBI and two steals—not earth-shaking but definitely a fitting end to his breakout debut.
In only 129 games, Cespedes smacked 23 homers with 82 RBI and 16 stolen bases. In fact, if Mike Trout hadn't started playing 400 miles down the coast, Cespedes would have a shot at Rookie of the Year.
Entering his age-27 season, Cespedes should benefit from the extra at-bats the playoffs afforded him, and should prove to be a fantasy bargain as a mid-rounds pick.
On the surface, which seems more likely: That a 28-year-old, two-time Cy Young winner has suddenly forgotten everything he ever knew about pitching or that he just had a bad year?
While there's no denying that Tim Lincecum was among the top disappointments in fantasy this past season, his resurgence in the playoffs might indicate that the 2012 regular season was something of an anomaly.
Demoted to the bullpen for the playoffs, Lincecum showed flashes of his former filth and pitched well in his first three appearances. He only allowed three hits and one run to the Reds and Cardinals, while striking out nine in 8.1 innings.
Lincecum could return to the rotation as early as this week, and you've got to believe the Giants will give him another shot to start in 2013. Whether they decide that in spring training or in June, Lincecum will probably be the biggest boom-or-bust candidate you can draft, and at this point, he's got nowhere to go but up.
This one is almost a mandatory inclusion. Carlos Beltran is an elite fantasy producer in any given year. But nobody is having a bigger postseason than he is. Not only is his .414 average the best among anyone who played in more than one playoff game this year, his three homers and six RBI are right at the top, too.
And none of that is taking into consideration that Beltran is now the all-time postseason leader in career OBP, SLG and OPS.
His regular-season stats were right where you expect them (.269 with 32 homers and 97 RBI), but Beltran is obviously capable of getting on a ridiculous roll. If even a residual amount of his approach lingers into the 2013 season and he's completely healthy, he could be even better than we've seen him in years.