Here's the the third annual installment of my Fantasy Red Herrings post. Like I did in '12 and '11, I'm providing my usual intro before the good stuff...
Since I know some readers of this blog are my comrades who will draft players in our fantasy baseball league in March, I thought I'd post about players that GMs might want to target for the upcoming season.
But my fellow GMs might think this document is simply a list of red herrings.
Maybe players on it are.
Maybe players on it aren't.
Regardless, here are players to target or low risk/high reward players for 2013:
First Base: What a loaded position. First base is usually the deepest position in fantasy baseball, and this season offers no exception. A lot fantasy pundits are puffing up the prospects of Goldschmidt, Rizzo, Freeman, and Edwin Encarnacion, a guy I picked two years in row for my Red Herring posts. I'm kickin' it old school with this pick: David Ortiz. That's right, Big Papi. He's not a first baseman by trade, but he qualifies as one. And that's all that matters. We can expect 30 HRs and an OBP around .380. He's a nice guy to select when your competitors have overlooked him because their draft magazines rank him low lower than they should have because he's a DH in reality, not fantasy.
Second Base: It's not long ago that Chase Utley was a easy first round draft pick. He did everything well: high OBP, homers, rbi, runs, stolen bases. He's had a rough time of it the last few years, but last year's line drive rate of 21.4% and a .261 BABIP point toward a strong 2013 season if he stays healthy. If. A 20/20 season is probable.
Shortstop: Consider this profile. There's a strong player at a shallow position who plays half of his games in a hitter's ball park. He has speed. He can steal bases. As the position goes, his OBP is fine. And he's only 24. The only problem is that his manager continues to have him hit second in the order. Say hello to Elvis Andrus, everybody.
Third Base: I'm a bargain hunter. I like finding good values. Mrs. Nasty calls me cheap, but I call myself frugal. Transition to fantasy baseball. I like finding good players on mediocre and bad and small market teams. If it would make sense, I'd love to have my roster full of Padres, Twins, Royals, Mariners, Mets, Cubs, Pirates, Marlins, Astros, Rockies, et al. Boy, my pitching staff would really stink, wouldn't it? But anyway, introducing Kyle Seager, the fellow who mans the hot corner for Seattle. He could produce 15 steals, 20some home runs, and decent rbi numbers this season. And he qualifies at second base.
Outfielder: This one goes out to all the middle-aged men out there. Someone has to care about us. Like I still believe I can do the same things I did when I was in my twenties, I still believe in you, Ichiro. You may be 39. You may have lost a step. You may have an OBP that has plummeted over the last few years. But heck, dude, you hit .322 as a Yankee and .338 in Yankee Stadium last year. Runs scored and stolen bases were always your game. Expect at least mid-80s in runs and mid-30s in stolen bases this season. I still believe.
Catcher: When I look at the choices at catcher this year, it's a surprisingly deep position. When Brian McCann, a guy in his walk year if I remember correctly, isn't even on most pre-draft top ten lists for catcher, something has changed. I have a hard time believing he's not going to have a good season this year. He's only 29 and will hit twentysome homers for your team. He's a nice pick if you're punting catcher to the later rounds on draft day.
Starting Pitcher: If I could do it, I would stream every Padre starter when they start at Petco. I don't care if they're moving the fences in a bit. Take the case of Clayton Richard. Last season his ERA was 2.82 at home. His road ERA was 5.08.
Closer: Picking a closer is like playing roulette. Even if you select a top tier dude, you never know. Bad odds. I'm picking Casey Janssen purely on the idea that the Blue Jays should be an improved ball club. Playing in the AL East will put them in close games, I think? But you have to be concerned about Sergio Santos happily lurking (below). If you pick Janssen, a handcuff is in order.