I’m sure you look at one of these lists every year. The writer picks the player from each position that delivered the most value. It’s not necessarily the best player but rather the player that delivered the most bang for your buck. Sure these lists are fun to read, but they’re not particularly useful since they aren’t written until the end of year.
Now imagine reading that list, going back in time and redoing your draft. Well that’s just what you’re about to do.
I present to you the 2011 Fantasy Baseball All-Value Team.
Geovany Soto (ESPN ADP: 134.3) – Can someone please explain to me why Brian McCann is going in the fifth or sixth round while Soto isn’t going until the middle rounds? The last two years McCann hit 21 home runs and batted .281 and .269. Last year Soto hit 17 home runs and batted .280 in only 322 at-bats. With Lou Piniella no longer managing the Cubs and jerking Soto in and out of the lineup, he should once again approach the 500 at-bats he received in his rookie season when he batted .285 with 23 home runs.
Prince Fielder (ESPN ADP: 25.4) – Six first basemen are being drafted ahead of Fielder in ESPN leagues. But I ask you, how many of them can hit 40-plus home runs and drive in 115 RBI? And it’s not like Fielder, with his career .279 batting average, is Adam Dunn where you have to wonder if he's going to hit under .250. As much as I like someone like Adrian Gonzalez I’d rather draft David Wright in round one and pick up Fielder in round three.
Aaron Hill (ESPN ADP: 113.2) – Power is hard to come by this year but Hill has 62 home runs in the past two years, yet he’s not even considered a top 10 second baseman. The .205 average is surely scaring people off but keep in mind his BABIP was a ridiculously low .196. Consider Hill’s batting averages in ’06, ’07 and ’09: .291, .291 and .286. People are drafting Dan Uggla in the fourth round but he only has two more home runs than Hill over the past two years and his career batting average is .263.
Casey McGehee (ESPN ADP: 91.2) – Only three third basemen batted .285 or higher with at least 20 home runs and 100 RBI last year and McGehee was one of them. But since he only has two seasons under his belt and wasn’t a highly regarded prospect, McGehee is barely regarded at a top 10 third baseman. If you miss out on a top five third baseman you should ignore Adrian Beltre, Michael Young and Aramis Ramirez and wait for McGehee a few rounds later.
Stephen Drew (ESPN ADP: 109.8) – Even though shortstop is the thinnest position this year, not many people consider Drew a top 100 player. However, not many shortstops have more power than Drew does. His ISO was .181 last year and .211 in 2008 when he hit 21 home runs. But the reason I think Drew will provide a lot of value this year is that I think he can steal 20 bases even though he’s never had more than 10 in a season. Prior to being named the Diamondbacks manager, Kirk Gibson worked closely with base runners and was credited with improving the base running ability of players such as Mark Reynolds and Conor Jackson. Now as manager of the club, he wants his team to be more aggressive on the base paths which is music to the ears of Drew’s owners.
Matt Kemp (ESPN ADP: 28.2) – Kemp can be had in the third round but he has the potential to put up first round numbers. Despite a down year he still had 82 runs, 28 home runs, 89 RBI and 19 stolen bases. With so few top end outfielders, Kemp could easily be the best at the position this year. Reports out of Dodgers camp are that new manager Don Mattingly will bat Kemp cleanup and allow him to run more. Sign me up please.
Josh Beckett (ESPN ADP: 168.8) – It’s easy to disregard a pitcher after a down year when starting pitching depth is so deep. But I can’t fathom why 41 starters are going ahead of Beckett when so few pitchers outside the top 20 have the potential to be a fantasy ace like he does. Beckett battled injuries all last year and as a result, his K/BB ratio was his worst in years. But his 2010 issues are behind him and he’s feeling great, despite the concussion scare early in spring training. With the potent Sox offense behind him, not many pitchers have more win potential than Beckett.
Joe Nathan (ESPN ADP: 157.1) – Nathan isn’t being drafted as a top 15 relief pitcher because he missed all of last season due to Tommy John surgery. However, he hasn’t suffered any setbacks in spring training and he’s beginning to look like his old self. If his health continues to hold up there’s no reason why he can’t finish among the top five relief pitchers.
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