In this week's Fantasy Baseball Speculator, Patrick DiCaprio asked, "Who will be this season's biggest fantasy bargains and busts?"
I told Patrick he was welcome to shorten my responses but here is what I sent him.
Here are my top 5 biggest bargains for the 2008 season:
1. Dioner Navarro - Despite his recent injury, this is a guy who was essentially undrafted in universal fantasy leagues despite what I see as top 8 catching talent. On a per game basis, he should go head to head nicely with Brian McCann who was taken with the 80th pick. Check out what I wrote about Navarro during Spring Training for Baseball Digest Daily.
2. Troy Glaus - All signs are pointing to 'healthy'. Despite the poor batting average, Glaus is still a 35+ home run hitter. Picking him up in the 180s is outstanding value. I wrote about Glaus for Volume Three of Fantasy Friday's.
3. Jason Bartlett - The theme here, are players I drafted late. Bartlett is going to be a poor man's Furcal despite not being drafted enough to crack ESPN.coms average draft position. Just wait for him to crack the top of the order.
4. Shane Victorino - Take on these 2007 comparisons:
Player A - 12HR, 78 runs, 46 RBIs, 37 steals, .281/.347 in 456 at bats.
Player B - 11HR, 93 runs, 80 RBIs, 50 steals, .315/.355 in 584 at bats.
Player A is Shane Victorino, whom if we prorate his stats to parallel Crawford's at bats, trailed in only average (a career high for Crawford) and RBIs. Yet the difference on draft day, 110+ picks.
5. Fausto Carmona - Sometimes the numbers lie. People were knocking Fausto down on their draft boards because of his 'low' BABIP despite the recent conclusion that BABIP appears to have some relationship to the pitcher. Carmona, in my opinion, is one of those guys. His K Rates made a nice jump in the second half of 07 and his pitcher abuse point score is relatively low considering his innings pitched. He'll be a top 10 starter in 08 despite being draft outside the top 15.
Swisher is an honorable mention as I expect him to mash close to 40 home runs playing for the Chi Sox. Not only will he benefit from the lineup protection and the move to hitter friendly Chicago, but he also moves out of a pitcher friendly division.
Soriano is a closer whom I envision, if healthy, to be among the top 3 or 4 closers in the majors. His cost on draft day was significantly less then the value he will produce.
I will not stop promoting Parra. The kid was electric in his first start and all signs are pointing to him keeping his job even with the return of Gallardo.
As promised, my top 5 biggest busts for the 2007 season:
1. Any pitcher in the top 15 not named Santana, Peavy or Bedard. The difference between the #4 pitcher (Webb) and the #33 pitcher (Burnett) is not all that much in my opinion. Not enough to justify 120 picks in a draft. I'm not a 'pitch and ditch' guy, nor am I a 'Lima plan'er. I am however, all about value. Which drafting the #4 thru 15 guys do not provide.
2. Jorge Posada - Players do not have the second best season of their careers as a 36 year old. Catchers doing so are even more rare. Nothing changed for Jorge in 2007 yet everything that hit his bat, landed in play. Posada will provide a nice 10th grade arithmetic lesson for everyone as he 'regresses towards the mean'.
3. Miguel Cabrera - Eternal hope. In 2007 Cabrera had the best season of his young and
fantastic career. He ranked as Yahoo!s #16 overall player. He also moves to a tougher league. Now despite Comerica playing as a slightly better hitters environment, Cabrera found himself being drafted in the top 10. This does not represent value. (note: keep in mind I am still expecting a strong season from Cabrera, but I anticipate a drop in all of his stats. I rank him near a healthy Chipper Jones)
4. Curtis Granderson - Here's a rule of thumb, stay away from currently injured players. Here's another one. Stay away from players with no plate discipline whom everything they hit landed in play the previous season. Granderson is about the equivalent of Mike Cameron this year, how many of you drafted him with a top 50 pick?
5. Andruw Jones - Upside, 40+HR. Downside, <26hr.>to a bigger spotlight (LA) and an equally as terrible ballpark to hit in complimenting Jones. Whoever chose Jones over Swisher should be banned from fantasy sports. I said it!
Rivera has got to be nearing the end of his career. He's at an age where it is difficult to believe he will get any better. If he gets any worse, how much better of a closer will he be then Todd Jones?
Being a youngster with a high ceiling does not help the fact that Cain plays for the worst team in the majors. This team could be borderline record setting bad. I'm not thrilled with Cain's control, nor his declining K Rate. I think he is one of those guys that is being picked based solely on his age.
I was actually surprised to see Helton being taken on average as high as he is. At that point, there are about 5 or 6 other first basemen I would prefer. The fact that they are going some 50 or 60 picks later only makes Helton that much more of a bust.
And again, swing over to The Fantasy Baseball Generals to see how my picks line up against my colleagues. A couple interesting disagreements to note:
Justin Morneau - While first base is deep, I can't see him under performing that much where his stock falls outside the 4th round. Consider 30hr and a .280 average a given. From there, the rest is all a bonus.
I have really enjoyed doing these round table discussions with the rest of the Generals. One of my favorite parts has been receiving emails from my colleagues regarding each others picks. It will be interesting to see which direction the rest of the discussions go, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments section.