2011 Fantasy Baseball Primer: Early Risers

Matt PiccicutoContributor IOctober 7, 2010

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 13:  Daniel Bard #51 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 13, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

With the fantasy baseball season coming to a close, this is the most ideal time to get an early jump on your research for next year.  Many leagues are won and lost by the decisions made months before the draft takes place.  Take a look at these guys listed below and have them on your fantasy baseball draft boards entering 2011.

Max Scherzer, SP DET

After being demoted at the onset of the campaign, Scherzer came back with a fury and proved it was no fluke.  Scherzer has established himself as an elite source of Ks for owners looking to stock up in that category.  He was only able to compile a 12-11 record this season, but went 8-4 over his last three months.  That included a dominant stretch in August where he racked up a 31/11 K/BB ratio and pitched deep into the majority of his starts.  He is going to be a top fantasy baseball pitcher next year, so draft him accordingly.


Daniel Hudson, SP ARI

Hudson burst onto the scene upon being traded to the desert in the Edwin Jackson deal.  Looking like the top prospect that many made him out to be, Hudson was lights-out in his audition for a 2011 rotation spot.  His exciting K/BB ratio has many in the organization excited for his future (68/15). Consider him a moderate fantasy baseball sleeper for next season, but don’t snooze for too long.


Daniel Bard, RP BOS

Papelbon’s future is rather uncertain with the team with Bard waiting in the wings to assume closing duties.  Bard was absolutely stellar in a setup role this season and has proven to the Boston brass that he is ready to step up and take hold of the role from Paps.  His 1.96 ERA and 1.02 WHIP only serve to further prove that he is ready.  He is a lock for 30-plus saves if handed the role and is very capable of posting elite fantasy baseball closer numbers.


Colby Rasmus, OF STL

After an up-and-down year where he was rumored to be in and out of Tony LaRussa’s doghouse, Rasmus is ready to shine next season.  He was still able to finish the season with some respectable numbers and should be poised to grow quite a bit in 2011.  The power is there and it’s only a matter of time before that batting average climbs from .277.  His 23 taters and 66 RBI are decent, but those numbers will surely improve with a full, healthy season under his belt.  He will be counted on to be a bigger part of that Cards lineup next year, which should translate to increased results.


Kendry Morales, 1B LAA

Whenever a big-name player loses the better part of his season to injury, there is a propensity to lose sight of just how much value he actually provides.  It’s incredibly easy to write a player like Morales off, so make sure you keep track of his rehab and don’t let him slip too far.  He’s had ample time to recover and should be able to regain his form fairly easily.  He’s going to reward those owners who roll the dice on him next season.