If you’re drafting in the final few days before the regular season starts, there are two things you need to do.
The first is to make sure you download the FREE demo of RotoExperts.com’s Diamond Draft software. Once you test it out, you will agree it’s the most unique draft assistance tool you can land to execute a stellar selection process.
Second, you need to get caught up on the latest news coming out of the final days of spring training. There are some good, possibly late-round and low-bid picks popping up, and nifty additions for those playing in AL- and NL-only leagues.
If your league has already drafted, it’s time to start hitting the free agent list for these players:
SP Anthony Reyes, Cleveland Indians
He nailed down the final spot in the Cleveland rotation after allowing only one earned run in his first 12 innings pitched in exhibition play.
DD pinpoints Reyes as a “definite sleeper in all leagues,” and projects him to win 12 games, with a 4.07 ERA. You can easily sneak him by in some leagues.
MI Emilio Bonifacio, Florida Marlins
The Marlins gave him a long look at third base this spring and he should at least figure into the mix as a utility man, which makes him worth adding in NL-only leagues.
Bonifacio stole 21 bases at the Triple-A level last year, and DD notes his speed “rates at either a 70 or 80 on the 20-to-80 scouting scale.”
Florida wants to get Bonifacio at-bats to take advantage of his wheels, so consider him a very late, and cheap, source of stolen bases in NL-only leagues.
SP Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh Pirates
He put the exclamation point on an outstanding spring on Monday, allowing only one run to the Reds in just over five innings of work. Ohlendorf has locked up the fourth spot in the Pirates rotation with a 0.87 spring ERA.
Ohlendorf has shown promise to pitch respectably at the minor league level, and there’s a good chance he'll finally be a respectable major leaguer in 2009. He sported a 3.65 ERA in his first 12 Triple-A starts in 2008.
You certainly have to target him for the back of your rotation in NL-only leagues.
SP Alfredo Simon, Baltimore Orioles
If you’re hurting for pitching help in an AL-only league, you have to give him a look.
He’s been a pleasant surprise for Baltimore this spring (1.13 ERA in 16 innings pitched through March 30), and likely sewed up a spot in the rotation after allowing just one run in six innings on Monday against the Mets.
It remains to be seen if his good spring can carry into the regular season, but why not take the shot? You can always drop him if he stops overachieving.
OF Jordan Schafer, Atlanta Braves
His strong spring forced the trade of Josh Anderson to Detroit, with a batting average near .400 for much of the exhibition season.
He is expected to start in center field for the Braves and can be had in the later rounds of mixed league drafts. DD marked his ETA as 2009, and was right on point.
Schafer has yet to play above Double-A ball, but he's being fast-tracked and can offer double digits in both home runs and steals.
OF/CI Mark Teahen, Kansas City Royals
Savvy fantasy leaguers are hot on him as the Royals have experimented with Teahen at second base this spring.
Teahen has exploded as a result, hitting .519 with six homers through March 30, and the Royals want to keep his bat in the lineup, even if they endure some pain as he continues to learn in the field.
Teahen’s versatility in terms of eligibility makes him even more attractive. If you play in a league that is not filled with expert types, you may be able to nab Teahen on the cheap.
DD projects him to hit 13 home runs, and you can certainly use that in AL-only leagues, even if his production starts to drop once the regular season begins.
SP Brett Anderson, Oakland A's
A top prospect, Anderson fashioned a 2-1 record with a 2.86 ERA in seven appearances through March 30. DD notes he has “rare command and polish” for a 21 year-old.
Anderson and Trevor Cahill are both viewed as Oakland’s future staff anchors, and could start to pay dividends in 2009.
In larger mixed leagues, take the shot and don’t hesitate to bid a few bucks on either guy in an AL-only auction.
DD dares to proclaim Cahill as a possible top-of-the-rotation starter for 2009.
OF Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
He will begin the season in the minors, but may not stay there for long.
DD expects him to be called up by the All-Star break and projects the hot prospect to steal 13 bases. He was hitting .423 with two homers and seven runs batted in through March 30.
McCutchen stole 34 bases at Triple-A last year, so draft him and stash him. He’ll be tougher to get in NL-only leagues with very experienced competition.
1B Travis Ishikawa, San Francisco Giants
He was hitting .355 with six homers and 14 RBIs through March 30, making it clear he is locked in as the Giants starting first baseman.
But be warned, he may cool off somewhat in the regular season without much protection in the San Francisco lineup, and his home park may eat up a lot of possible long balls.
Ishikawa did hit .310 with 16 home runs in 171 at-bats at Triple-A Fresno last year, and DD projects him to hit .288, so he certainly won’t hurt you.
3B David Freese, St. Louis Cardinals
It looks like he is slated to start at third base for the Cards while Troy Glaus is out.
Freese hit .306 with 26 home runs at Triple-A last year, and was hitting .342 with six homers through March 30.
DD projects Freese to hit just below .290, so you know you will get solid production while you can use him.
Download the FREE demo of Diamond Draft here. Scott Engel has won two Fantasy Sports Trade Association Experts League Championships and three Fantasy Sports Magazine Experts League Championships. E-mail Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.