Journalists, as a profession, aren’t exactly well paid—especially those of us who still cling to the antiquated concept of newspapers.
However, a few of us are lucky enough to get a few fringe perks, such as reviewing new cars as they come off the assembly line. For the past couple years, I’ve had a number of brand-new vehicles for week-long review sessions, and I have come to a major realization over that time.
As nice as it feels to drive a Lexus or Audi or BMW, there are plenty of safe, reliable and efficient vehicles that get the job done for half (or even a third) of the price.
Sure, we’d all love to have an Evan Longoria or David Wright parked in our fantasy team’s third base driveway. But I’ll gladly spend much less for one of these models:
Casey McGehee, MIL: Halfway through the 2009 season, McGehee became a full-time starter for the Brewers. Since that time, only Alex Rodriguez has more RBI among all third baseman.
He plays in a loaded lineup that is looking more and more like the favorite in the NL Central. He has a batting average of .293 since June of 2009. Longoria, the consensus No. 1 fantasy third baseman in most preseason fantasy rankings, has hit .279 during that stretch. McGehee has five more RBI than Longoria over the past season-and-a-half, with just three less homers during that stretch.
So go ahead and draft Longoria in the first round. I’ll wait much, much later for arguably one of the most undervalued fantasy commodities in the game—a guy who I predict will finish among the top five fantasy third basemen in 2011.
Ian Stewart, COL: Many are tired of waiting for Stewart to produce a true breakout season. But what isn’t to like about his 20ish home-run production with 30-plus-ish upside?
He showed a better batting average in 2010, and he has spent time with new Rockies hitting coach Carney Lansford developing strategies to improve his plate discipline even more.
This is the year that Stewart puts it all together. Don’t miss the boat.
Pablo Sandoval, SF: Most fantasy owners wouldn’t touch Sandoval with a 10-Twinkie pole. After struggling with weight and overall dedication issues in 2010, his numbers took a major hit and many will be leery of him on draft day this spring.
However, word from inside suggests that Sandoval has lost nearly 40 pounds during the offseason and reduced his body fat percentage from 30 to 19. It appears that Sandoval has made some strides in the motivation department.
He isn’t going to help you win any stolen base titles, but Sandoval had shown in 2008 and 2009 that he can produce solid power and batting average numbers, and considering how cheaply he’ll come on draft day, his value may never be better.
And the top-25 players ages 25 and under for your keeper/dynasty teams.
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