In this series, 2010 Fantasy Baseball Wants and Don't Wants, I’ll be going division-by-division focusing on one player from each team you want to grab on draft day and one player you don’t want on draft day. Included amongst the slides are some deep round sleepers, mid-round values and all-around busts. You may even find a surprise or two. We head out west to the American League where each team has made moves that will affect your fantasy team in 2010…
The Angels player I want to target late in 2010 drafts is Juan Rivera.
With Gary Mathews Jr. just about as ingrained on the bench as he will ever get, Rivera has a chance to play every day from opening day.
Last season Rivera hit .287 with 25 home runs and 88 RBI in just 138 games over 529 at bats. It was also his healthiest season, for the most part, since 2006. Rivera is a good contact hitter that doesn't strike out much and last season he held a HR/FB rate right on par with his career average.
While he won't come as cheap as he did last season (15th round in a recent mock draft), he should still provide solid third or fourth outfielder numbers with a .280-plus AVG and 20-25 home runs.
The Angels player I am staying clear of in 2010 is Brian Fuentes.
Fuentes lost a little velocity on his fastball last season and became more hittable than at any other point in his professional career. He's also 34 years old (35 in August).
With the recent signing of Fernando Rodney, the comeback of Scot Shields and the emergence of Kevin Jepsen late last season, Fuentes' job is far from secure.
If the Angels fall out of the race, they may be looking for ways to keep Fuentes from finishing 55 games (non-saves included), which would cause his nine million dollar 2011 option to vest.
In the heat of Texas there is a blazing runner by the name of Julio Borbon that I want on draft day 2010.
Borbon, interestingly enough, appears on MLB.com's depth chart as Texas's starting center fielder, moving Josh Hamilton to left. That tells me that they are going to let this kid fly from opening day on.
In a combined 142 games between AAA and the majors, Borbon swiped 44 bags in 55 attempts, good for an 80 percent success rate. His good plate discipline skills should lead to an OBP around .350 and while his ground ball/line drive approach to hitting won't result in much power, it should help is AVG stay above .275 with potential for much more.
The player I don't want from the Rangers in 2010 is Scott Feldman.
For most of the season Feldman was coming up huge for fantasy teams as a waiver wire gem. His 5.35 ERA in September ruined the ride, but may still have owners wondering if his first half numbers are worth buying into. Don't go that route on draft day.
Pitchers that have K/9's below six are a dime a dozen and full of risk. If it weren't for a freakishly low BABIP against of .250, Feldman's ERA wouldn't even have been tolerable.
Pass on Feldman in 2010 and get someone with some upside late in the draft.
The recent signing of Ben Sheets gives him some late round fantasy value, but I'd gladly take Brett Anderson if I had to choose between the two.
Anderson started 2009 at the ripe age of 21. As a young, unpolished rookie, Anderson struggled to a 4.64 first-half ERA. However, as the season went along, Anderson, with the help of coaches and trainers, only got stronger. That progression led to a 3.48 second-half ERA along with an improving strikeout rate and fastball velocity.
All in all, as a rookie, Anderson posted a 3.33 K/BB rate, good for 17th best in the league and better than Josh Johnson, Adam Wainwright and Johan Santana.
There isn't just one A's player I am staying away from, but rather three positions worth of players.
With the re-signing of Jack Cust and the trades for Kevin Kouzmanoff and Jake Fox to go along with yet another comeback attempt of Eric Chavez (also Dallas McPherson vying for a roster spot), there are a lot of pieces to fill 1B/3B/DH in Oakland.
No matter who starts at each position from day one, there isn't much upside to be had and at bats could easily become a shared opportunity. Besides, it might just be prospect Chris Carter that ends up outshining everyone else by mid-season.
From the Mariners, it is Jose Lopez that I want to grab once the top second basemen are off the board.
Lopez saw a jump in his HR/FB rate, which led to a career high 25 home runs and it also marked a four-year progression in that category. Lopez is young, only 26-years-old, so there is a chance he can improve on his 2009 numbers, specifically AVG, runs and RBI.
Last season a .274 BABIP held his AVG down to .272, so there is certainly room for that to improve to .285 or so. His free swinging ways will always make his projections a bit volatile, as he depends a lot on BABIP.
Nonetheless, second base gets a little thin after the big names are gone. At least Lopez has some upside and an improved lineup around him.
The Mariners player that I am staying clear of is Milton Bradley.
Sure, Bradley got some buzz by being added to Jack-Z's new-look M's, but let's face the facts; Bradley has had exactly ONE quality fantasy season in his career. Even in that season he only played in 141 games.
Bradley is no spring chicken anymore as he'll be 32-years-old in April. While he should bounce back a bit, his new home park won't help his power any and he hasn't stolen more than five bases since 2006 or stayed healthy for a full season.
Believe that the Mariners are getting better, but don't believe in Bradley doing much for your fantasy team, unless you happen to be in an OBP league.