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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2013 Fantasy Baseball pReview

   It's that time of year when we toss our loyalties to the wind and start picking our fantasy baseball teams, chalk full of hated players from rival teams. As the saying goes in fantasy sports, "You pick with your head, not with your heart." - ask any former or current fantasy player who has foolishly gone so homer they've destroyed any chance of winning their league, whether it be 10-team or 12-team, head-to-head or rotisserie. Here we concentrate on the 10- to 12-team head-to-head variety, specifically tailored to ESPN standard format leagues, save a few minor differences, which should prove irrelevant here. This Fantasy Baseball pReview also marks the debut of fantasy sports contributor @broyale725 (Twitter handle), a seasoned fantasy sports veteran (and some would say Guru) broyale725 will occasionally contribute to The Sports A-Phish-ionado in a section we'll call: "The Broyale Straight". Although there's no such thing as a Royal Straight, a Royal Flush doesn't sound cool. So let's go with what sounds cool.

   The format for this fantasy baseball pReview is simple: The top players at their respective positions are designated by ESPN standard format league scoring; the author offers opinions on sleepers and the rise/fall/neutrality of a player relative to 2012. The Broyale Straight will offer opinions on his best positional players, his rise/fall players, guys to stay away from, as well as guy to remember after 2012 injuries or no-shows. Trust me, @broyale725 knows his stuff - after several years at the top of a competitive 12-team ESPN standard league, he's ventured out and won several public, rotisserie, and head-to-head leagues in addition to maintaining his playoff streak in our original league. Don't tell him, but I've won many a match-up based on his advise...oh wait. If you have any questions, feel free to comment, or contact either one of us on Twitter (@Phaulkner; @broyale725). Let's get ready for some baseball folks ! (as 2 feet of snow falls across the Midwest)

Note: Opinions between @Phaulkner & @Broyale725 may differ online as they do in real life


2013 Fantasy Baseball pReview


Top Positional Players - based on points in standard format ESPN leagues (+ rise, - fall, = neutral relative to 2012) * multi-positional player

Catcher

1. Buster Posey, SF (+)................   365*
2. Victor Martinez, Det (+)..........   335*
3. Joe Mauer, Minn (N)...............   330*
4. Carlos Santana, Cle (+)...........   322*
5. Yadier Molina, St.L (=)..........    320
6. Matt Weiters, Bal (+)..............    314

Notes: Only 18 catchers are projected to score 200+ points in 2013, by far the fewest number of 200+ scorers at any position, even RP (20). In other words, catcher is NOT deep, although veterans and sleepers like Salvador Perez (KC), A.J. Perzynski (Tex), the Montero's (Arz & Sea), Mike Napoli (Bos), Willin Rosario (Col), and the incumbent Brian McCann (Atl) are all knocking at the door. Look for Martinez to excel in that Detroit lineup coming off a years rest, and look for Carlos Santana to cut loose. I expect a slight drop off for the well-traveled Posey. Multi-position eligibility for the top-4 projected catchers is a serious advantage.

The Broyale Straight: Does not mention catchers...apparently doesn't care for them.


1B

1. Albert Pujols, LAA (=)............  472*
2. Prince Fielder, Det (-)...............  437
3. Joey Votto, Cin (+)...................   405
4. Edwin Encarnacion, Tor (+).....   400*
5. Billy Butler, KC (N).................   397*
6. Adrian Gonzalez, LAD (+)......   388*
7. Mark Teixeira, NYY (-)...........   370
8. Buster Posey, SF (+).................   365
9. Paul Konerko, CHW (-)............  351*
10. Allen Craig, St.L (+)...............  350*

Notes: Very deep position with 44 players projected to score 200+ points. My sleeper is Freddie Freeman, who although at 317 projected points doesn't seem like a sleeper, is only ranked 15th preseason. This young stud will be on a recently revamped ATL line-up and I expect big things. I originally had Puljos on a slight drop-off from 2012, until LAA signed Josh Hamilton in the off-season I remembered Mike Trout. LAA is going to be dangerous, and the line-up should provide plenty of fantasy pop.

The Broyale Straight: Fielder, Votto, Pujols, Encarnacion


2B

1. Robinson Cano, NYY (-)...........   455
2. Ian Kinsler, Tex (-).....................   385
3. Dustin Pedroia, Bos (-)..............    382
4. Ben Zobrist, TB (+)...................    352*
5. Brandon Phillips, Cin (+)...........   349
6. Marco Scutaro, SF (-).................   346*
7. Aaron Hill, Arz (-)......................   338
8. David Murphy, NYM (=)...........   303
9. Jason Kipnis, Cle (+)..................   303
10. Niel Walker, Pit (+)...................   297

Notes: 23 players 200+ projected points, and huge drop-off between the top spot (Cano) and the rest of the field. The 2B (or basically infield) sleeper is Jeff Keppinger, CHW, who at 282 projected points and a guy who plays 1B, 2B, 3B, and DH is a valuable guy is deep leagues.

The Broyale Straight: Cano, Pedroia, Zobrist, Kinsler


3B

1. Miguel Cabrera, Det (=).............   501
2. Adrian Beltre, Tex (-)..................   427*
3. Evan Longoria, TB (-).................   388*
4. David Wright, NYM (-)...............   377
5. Amaris Ramirez, Mil (-)..............   370
6. Martin Prado, Arz (-)...................   367
7. Ryan Zimmerman, Was (+)..........   354
8. Pablo Sandavol, SF (+).................   352
9. Hanley Ramirez, LAD (+)............   340*
10. Michael Young, Phi (=)..............   318*

Notes: 24 players 200+ projected points, and another large drop-off between the top spots (Cabrera/Beltre) and the rest of the field. The Michael Young neutrality is based on his increased age offset by switching to the NL; although it's the NL East, the Phillies improved line-up will provide similar support as Texas did. Players like Brett Lawrie (Tor), David Freese (St.L), and Kevin Youkilis (NYY) make the 3B position potential very interesting.

The Broyale Straight: Cabrera, Beltre, Wright, Longoria


SS

1. Troy Tulowitski, Col (+)..............   406
2. Jose Reyes, Tor (+)......................   373
3. Starlin Castro, NYM (+)..............   356
4. Ben Zobrist, TB (+).....................   352*
5. Marco Scutaro, SF (-)..................   346*
6. Hanley Ramirez, LAD (+)...........   340*
7. Jimmy Rollins, Phi (-).................   337
8. J.J. Hardy, Bal (+).......................    331
9. Asdrubal Cabrera, Cle (+)...........   315
10. Elvis Andrus, Tex (+)................   306

Notes: With 24 players projected to get 200+points SS is the deepest it's been in years. In fact, in leagues where 4-6 players are kept from the previous season, a large % of these SS remain available in such leagues. Sleepers include Hardy, mentioned above, who could be in line for a monster season, in addition to Erick Aybar (LAA) and Ian Desmond (Was), both also on monster teams with deep line-ups.

The Broyale Straight: Tulowitski, Reyes, H. Ramirez, Zobrist


OF

1. Ryan Braun, Mil (-)...................   472
2. Jose Bautista, Tor (-).................   404
3. Andrew McCutchen, Pit (+).....   397
4. Matt Holliday, St.L (-)..............   386
5. Josh Hamilton, LAA (+)...........   369
6. Martin Prado, Arz (-)................   367*
7. Mike Trout, LAA (+)................   365
8. Carlos Gonzalez, Col (+)...........  363
9. Matt Kemp, LAD (+).................  363
10. Adam Jones, Bal (+)................   359
11. Ben Zobrist, TB (+).................   352*
12. Jay Bruce, Cin (+)....................   351
13. Melky Cabrera, Tor (-).............   351
14. Allen Craig, St.L (+).................  350*
15. Justin Upton, Atl (+).................  350
16. Bryce Harper, Was (+)..............   347
17. Jason Heyward, Atl (+).............   346
18. Yoenis Caspedes, Oak (+).........   342*
19. Alex Rios, CHW (=).................   339
20. Jacoby Ellsbury, Bos (+)...........   334

Notes: As usual, OF is the deepest position in fantasy baseball as it has at least three positions in most leagues and even four in some leagues. 1B is deep, but OF boasts 11 players out of the top-20 with 300+ projected points and 50 projected to get 200+! 81 total players are projected to score 200+ points, and even dividing by three to make the positional players even, OF still averages 27 players projected for 200+ points, second to 1B. In other words, don't go nuts on OFs unless it's too obvious to pass up...there will be plenty of guys left in the later rounds.

The Broyale Straight: Braun, Trout, Kemp, McCutchen, C. Gonzalez, Stanton, Bautista, Hamilton


SP

1. Justin Verlander, Det (=)................   469
2. Clayton Kershaw, LAD (=)............   436
3. Stephen Stasburg, Was (+).............   422
4. David Price, TB (+)........................   414
5. Gio Gonzalez, Was (+)...................   398
6. Yu Darvish, Tex (=)........................   396
7. Zack Grienke, LAD (-)...................   395
8. C.C. Sabathia, NYY (-)..................   392
9. Felix Hernandez, Sea (-)................   390
10. Cole Hamels, Phi (-).....................   385
11. Matt Cain, SF (+)..........................   375
12. Max Scherzer, Det (-)....................   365
13. Matt Moore, TB (+).......................   362
14. Chris Sale, CHC (+)......................   362
15. Jared Weaver, LAA (-)..................   359
16. Madison Bumgarner, SF (-)...........   358
17. Yovani Gallardo, Mil (=)...............   356
18. Mat Latos, Cin (=).........................   356
19. Cliff Lee, Phi (+)............................  356
20. Johnny Cueto, Cin (=)....................  347

Notes: 12 starting pitchers projected to score 300+ points beyond top-20; 65 starting pitchers projected to score 200+ points. Sleepers include R.A. Dickey (Tor), the only Cy Young winner I can ever think of traded the same reason he won the award...now he goes to the best line-up on paper. That either means he has a monster season or bombs...for some reason I see no middle ground. Tim Lincecum (SF) and Josh Johnson (Tor) should have great comeback seasons, and Roy Halladay should maintain - but be careful not to overpay. My personal sleeper is Matt Harvey (NYM), whose projected 9 SO/9 IP is attractive enough to take him in the later rounds. Look for Kris Medlen (ATL) to turn heads in his first full season on the starting mound as well.

The Broyale Straight: Verlander, Kershaw, Strasburg, Price, Hernandez


RP

1. Craig Kimbrel, Atl (=).......................   374
2. Aroldis Chapman, Cin (+).................   337*
3. Jon Paplebon, Phi (=).........................   293
4. Jason Motte, St.L (=).........................   292
5. John Axford, Mil (+)..........................   281
6. Addison Reed, CHW (+)....................   275
7. Greg Holland, KC (+).........................   273
8. Joel Hanrahan, Bos (+).......................   268
9. Joe Nathan, Tex (+)............................   261
10. Ernesto Frieri, LAA (+)...................   261
11. Rafeal Soriano, Was (+)...................   255

Notes: 22 projected to score 200+ points. Carig Kimbrel (ATL) is only projected to have an = season relative to 2012 because I think it's statistically improbable to top 2012, a season in which Kimbrel broke at least five pitching records, a few of which he set himself in 2011. Not since Eric Gagne has there been a RP worthy of keeping and/or selecting very high. Kimbrel's 374 projected points would make him the 12th projected starting pitcher, let alone RP. Truly amazing. My sleeper is Kenley Jansen (LAD), who rivals Craig Kimbrel in SO/9IP, and when healthy, could take - and rule - the RP spot, both on the Dodgers, and in MLB. 12 RP are projected to record 30+ saves, and another 8 are projected to record 20+ saves. In other words, 20 of the 30 MLB teams have RP projected to record 20+ saves so unless you have Craig Kimbrel, don't waste too much time fretting over RPs...especially at the rates they're replaced mid-season.

The Broyale Straight: Kimbrel, Paplebon, Motte, Soriano, Rivera

*Aroldis Chapman is scheduled to start games this season, but there are strong feelings that he will remain the closer, or be reassigned that role at some point in the season.


The Broyale Straight: The Best Values

1. Emilio Bonifacio, OF, Tor
2. Aroldis Chapman, RP, Cin
3. Brett Gardner, OF, NY
4. Martin Prado, OF, Arz
5. Melky Cabrera, OF, Tor
6. Jon Lester, SP, Bos
7. Josh Johnson, SP, Tor


The Broyale Straight: The Worst Values

1. Ryan Howard, 1B, Phi
2. Alex Rodriguez, 3B, NYY
3. Brett Lawrie, 3B, Tor
4. Mark Teixeira, 1B, NYY
5. Josh Willingham, OF, Minn
6. Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Mil
7. Buster Posey, C/1B, SF


The Broyale Straight: The 2013 High Risers

1. Madison Bumgarner, SP, SF
2. Gio Gonzalez, SP, Was
3. Jason Heyward, OF, Atl
4. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pit
5. Bryce Harper, OF, Was
6. Starlin Castro, SS, CHC
7. R.A. Dickey, SP, Tor
8. Yoenis Caspedes, OF, Oak


The Broyale Straight: There's No More Crying in Baseball (this season anyway)

Batters coming back from injury on the watch:

1. Victor Martinez, C/1B, Det
2. Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Bos
3. Brett Gardner, OF, NYY
4. Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Bos
5. Emilio Bonifacio, OF, Tor
6. Michael Morse, OF, Sea
7. Wilson Ramos, C, Was

Pitchers coming back from injury on the watch:

1. Dan Hudson, SP, Arz
2. Michael Pineda, SP, NYY
3. Tommy Hanson, SP, LAA
4. Brandon Beachy, SP, Atl
5. Shawn Marcum, SP, NYM
6. Corey Luebke, SP, SD


The Broyale Straight: The Bounce Back Boys (injury or not)

Pitchers:

1. Roy Halladay, SP, Phi
2. Ian Kennedy, SP, Arz
3. Dan Haren, SP, Was
4. Josh Beckett, SP, LAD
5. Tommy Hanson, SP, LAA

Batters:

1. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, LAD
2. Troy Toluwitski, SS, Col
3. Justin Upton, OF, Atl


The Broyale Straight: He's Getting High on Downers

High batters (no order)

Allen Craig..........Paul Goldscmidt.........Yonder Alonso..........Anthony Rizzo..........Emilio Bonifacio..........Corey Hart..........Jon Lucroy..........AJ Pierzynski..........Alex Gordon..........Ben Zobrist..........Yoenis Caspedes..........Carlos Santana..........Austin Jackson

High pitchers (no order)

Brandon Morrow..........Kris Medlen..........Johnny Cueto..........Mat Latos..........Yu Darvish..........Max Scherzer..........James Shields..........Jason Grilli..........Brandon League*

Down batters (no order)

Shane Victorino..........Kevin Youkilis..........Hanley Ramirez..........Elvis Andrus..........Brain McCann..........Mark Teixeira..........Rafeal Furcal...........Alex Rodriguez..........Alexei Ramirez..........Alex Rios.........Rickie Weeks

Down pitchers (no order)

Tim Lincecum..........Lance Lynn..........Matt Garza..........Ubaldo Jiminez..........Bud Norris

*Could take RP role for LAD

 

The Broyale Straight: The Rookies

1. Wil Myers, OF, TB
2. Oscar Tavares, OF, St.L
3. Shelby Miller, SP, St.L
4. Dylan Bundy, SP, Bal
5. Trevor Bauer, SP, Cle


The Broyale Straight: The Sleepers

Batters:

1. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, CHC
2. Norichika Aoki, OF, Mil
3. Adam Eaton, OF, Arz
4. Michael Brantley, OF, Cle

Pitchers:

1. Matt Harvey, SP, NYM
2. Jeff Samardzija, SP, CHC 
3. Brandon McCarthy, SP, Arz
4. Mike Minor, SP, Atl
5. Jarod Parker, SP, Oak


The Broyale Straight: The Spring Chickens (players excelling this spring)

Batters (no order)

Eric Hosmer.........Brian Roberts.........Jose Bautista..........Mike Moustakas..........Bryce Harper..........Nolan Arendo..........Ryan Howard..........Jemile Weeks..........Brandon Belt..........Devin Mesoraco..........Jason Heyward..........Brett Wallace..........Jedd Gyorko


Pitchers (no order)

Jamie Garcia..........Brandon McCarthy..........Alex Cobb..........Jordan Zimmerman..........Scott Kazmir..........Brett Anderson..........Marco Estrada

Players on the fall (no order)

Dan Uggla..........Rafeal Furcal (out indefinitely)..........Matt Garza (will begin season on the DL)..........Billy Hamilton



The Broyale Straight: The Match-ups to Exploit Right Out of the Box

Hitters:

1. Toronto Blue Jays: Reyes, Bautista, Encarnacion, Cabrera, Bonifacio
2. Tampa Bay Rays: Zobrist, Longoria, Jennings
3. Los Angeles Angels: Hamilton, Pujols, Trout, Trumbo, Kendrick

Pitchers:

1. Oakland Athletics: Brett Anderson
2. Philadelphia Phillies: Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay
3. Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Dan Haren
4. New York Mets: Matt Harvey, Jonathan Niese
5. Los Angeles Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw, Zack Grienke, Josh Beckett



Any questions or comments, feel free to comment here, or contact us on Twitter: @phaulkner OR @broyale725

Enjoy the season!

Phaulkner

-Trigger31.com

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