It’s finally here – Fantasy baseball coverage at The Hazean.
As a fantasy baseball expert, I strive to give an edge for those of us who compete in the best fantasy sport of all. I love fantasy baseball. It’s a numbers-oriented game and the season is long enough to where the best managers usually win. Which means that to win, you need to stay on top of how fast things change in the league.
That is why this inaugural column of Crowding the Plate focuses on players that have changed teams this offseason. Finding the ones whose values have increased are great targets for your draft. Everyone in your draft has access to rankings, but it’s the value within those rankings that leads to victory.
As an added bonus for your fantasy team this season, follow me on Twitter. Hit me up with any baseball questions you have, and I’ll give you my best opinion. During the season I’ll be giving out pickup advice on a nightly basis.
- Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox - What a difference a park makes. The Red Sox lineup is absolutely stacked this season and Mr. Gonzalez projects to bat cleanup. His Yahoo average draft position is currently at the end of the first round and he is ranked as the fourth best first baseman. I prefer him to the higher ranked Joey Votto this season.
- Cliff Lee to the Phillies – His value was already extremely high last season, but the move to the National League makes him a top-3 pitcher on draft day. Even though the Phillies play in a hitter’s park, he dealt with worse pitching in Arlington last season.
- Zack Greinke to the Brewers – Zack had a rough year last year, based upon his draft position, but I expect a full rebound pitching against the NL Central. He is currently going off the boards as the No.7 SP so he isn’t exactly a sleeper, and I would take him over Josh Johnson who is going in the same round.
- Adam Dunn to the White Sox – I love Adam Dunn. He is one of my favorite draft day bargains and this year if I miss out on the big slugging first baseman I can grab him three rounds later. Moving from Washington to the south side of Chicago will put him over 40 home runs easily. Playing in a much better lineup will also increase his runs, thanks to his great walk rate.
- Shawn Marcum to the Brewers – Probably my favorite sleeper in the draft due to offseason transactions. He is under the radar compared to Greinke, but has the ability to put up similar numbers. He is currently going in the 11th round. Definitely someone you should target.
- Victor Martinez to the Tigers – While I don’t expect his numbers to go up so much, the significant news here is he will be DH-ing frequently. This means you will get great production daily from your catchers spot which will help, especially in Head-to-Head leagues.
- Dan Uggla to the Braves – The Braves have been looking for a right-handed power bat for several seasons and Uggla fits the bill. He should get a nice boost batting cleanup in a nice Braves lineup. Also important to remember is second base isn’t deep this season so reaching for a top five 2b makes sense.
- Adrian Beltre to the Rangers – I’m initially wary of the fact that Beltre only produces in contract years, but batting in the middle of the Rangers order can do magic for anyone. He is a fine pick after the first five 3B are off the board; just don’t be expecting miracles.
- Matt Garza to the Cubs – I’ve seen this move by others as one to stay away from but I’m not going with that line of thinking. I think Garza will have a great year. Wrigley Field is overrated as a hitter’s park and pitching in the National League, especially the NL Central, works wonders. He has a lot of upside for a 16th round selection.
- Aaron Harang to the Padres – Anytime I see a pitcher head to PetCo it deserves attention. Harang is currently being selected so low he is off the charts, so he’ll likely go undrafted in your league. However, watch his first start or two and if he regains his form in San Diego, he’ll provide a nice return.
- Jayson Werth to the Nationals – There is a big difference between playing in a loaded lineup in Philadelphia and moving to a pitcher’s park in Washington. He is currently going in the sixth round and I wouldn’t pay that price for him.
- Carl Crawford to the Red Sox – This is going to be unpopular I know, but hear me out. His current draft position is the end of the first round. OF is a loaded position this year and batting second, or possibly third, in that lineup will lead to an increase in RBIs but should damper his stolen bases quite a bit. I’m not saying he isn’t going to have a fine fantasy season, just not one that will return a top 12 investment.
- Javier Vazquez to the Marlins – I’ve seen several analysts excited over his sleeper potential in Florida, but I’m not one of them. I believe he truly has run out of gas, thanks to all the miles on his arm. He is being drafted at the same time as Ricky Nolasco and Gio Gonzalez, both pitchers that will outproduce Vazquez by a long shot. Don’t fall into the trap of paying for the name on the back of the jersey.
WAIT AND SEE
- Carlos Pena to the Cubs – A below .200 hitter last season moves to another league with worse pitching. He is currently being drafted out of the realm of starting first baseman in a 12 team league but will find himself as a UTIL player on a lot of rosters. I can’t recommend him, but I don’t think his value went down any.
- Brandon Webb to the Rangers – Everyone remembers how well Webb pitched before his injuries. Much like Rich Harden last year, we give a lot of leeway to those that helped us before. I’m okay with him as a last round pick, but not in the middle of the draft.
- Lance Berkman to the Cardinals – This will be interesting. He is in a nice position to see if there is anything left in the tank. I wouldn’t waste a draft pick on him, but he has upside as a run producer.