When heading into your fantasy baseball draft, you are probably asking yourself whether you should draft Pujols or Han Ram, Holliday or Braun, Lincecum or King Felix.
Though these choices are essential to your team’s success, late-round draft picks are equally as important and can make or break your season.
Late-round picks are perfect for finding hidden gems. For example, drafting Jose Bautista and his 54 home runs with one of your final picks paid huge dividends for your team last year.
Not only did it give your team a remarkable power source, but it also gave you flexibility for dealing away another power bat for a player who can help strengthen a different area of your team that may be lacking, such as speed or your rotation.
Other players such as Shaun Marcum, Neftali Feliz and Phil Hughes were all brilliant late-round choices too who helped your team achieve fantasy greatness.
Likewise, drafting a dud in the waning rounds of your draft can create a black hole in your team’s lineup or rotation. Dexter Fowler, Alex Gordon and Cameron Maybin did absolutely nothing for your team last year.
Even if you have a stellar start to your draft, mismanaging the closing rounds can prove to be detrimental to the success of your team. Nothing drags down Joey Votto’s MVP campaign quite like Nate McLouth’s horrific season. I know, I was a part of the chorus of boos echoing across Turner Field whenever McLouth weakly grounded out to second.
That being said, 2011 is a brand new year, and instead of being the laughingstock of your league, bragging about how Mark Prior is your sleeper pick for the fourth consecutive year, here are five players that are under most people’s radars who can contribute greatly to your 2011 team.