I received a very interesting e-mail from a long-time reader. Mike also presents some great ideas for those teams that may be considering re-building. My response to Mike is below. If you have questions feel free to e-mail Jon@AdvancedFantasyBaseball.com anytime.
Hey Mike, I think you have a lot of great ideas already. While I do believe we should play to win every season I also know that sometimes timing and certain events (like starting from scratch) make it advantageous to consider a more long-term view. However, as much as I agree you should seek out the best possible keepers I don't think that is necessarily mutually exclusive from also trying to win in 2011.
Minor Leaguers: You suggest limiting any minor leaguers you acquire to those at the AAA-level and in general that is good thinking when considering the present season only. However, I think in the case of minor league players it is better to look at the resume and accomplishments of the hitter rather than the level they've reached. For instance, I'd take Angels outfield prospect, Mike Trout (who reached High-A in 2010) over just about any minor leaguer at a higher level. When it comes to minor leaguers I want the greatest star potential over experience. I would definitely consider carrying him on my bench for a year in a team-building situation.
Starting Pitchers: If you chase big name pitchers like the Phillies' Roy Halladay and the Giants' Tim Lincecum chances are you will have to overpay for them. It doesn't matter that they are the best at their position if they cause you to sacrifice in other areas. The key to building a cost-effective and winning pitching staff is to be ahead of the game.
Here are some pitchers that could potentially be undervalued for various reasons and also worth drafting in 2011 (in no particular order):
- Sean Marshall, Chicago Cubs
- Wilton Lopez, Houston Astros
- Ricky Nolasco, Florida Marlins
- Kevin Slowey, Minnesota Twins
- Brandon Morrow, Toronto Blue Jays
- Jhoulys Chacin, Colorado Rockies
- James McDonald, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Justin Masterson, Cleveland Indians
- Brad Bergensen, Baltimore Orioles
- Ricky Romero, Toronto Blue Jays
Catchers: In a one catcher league it does make sense to wait and pick the 12th ranked player rather than over draft a slightly better one. However, In a one catcher league having a catcher that is clearly superior to the other options can be a huge advantage. Consider using a pick in rounds four to six on Buster Posey or Joe Mauer. Mauer was banged up in 2010 and should be better in 2011, keep the faith. Posey is an extremely talented hitter and a capable catcher, he is a fantasy superstar in the making.
If you choose to pass on those guys here are a few sleepers I like at catcher in 2011:
- Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians (If he looks healthy in Spring Training he is a must grab)
- Wilson Ramos, Washington Nationals
- Ryan Hannigan, Cincinnati Reds
- John Jaso, Tampa Bay Rays
- Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles (This is a post-hype pick because his numbers don't justify his selection in a one catcher league. However, I think Buck Showalter and staff will drag him into the stardom once predicted for him.)
Fantasy's Most Wanted: I am far from ready to present my sleepers and position rankings for 2011 but I do have some players I would like to see on a bunch of my rosters in 2o11. Some of these guys will be early picks and others middle round picks but all will be contributors on fantasy leagues of all types in 2011.
- Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves - In an OBP league he should be close to pure gold in value. At present prices that's around $4,672,000 of fantasy value. He's a BARGAIN in any league!
- Mike Stanton, Florida Marlins - A true power hitter, who I expect to hit 40-plus homers in 2011. Starting in 2012, he'll be a first round pick for a decade.
- Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies - He may cost $40-plus in some leagues in 2011 but he has the ability to provide quite a profit at that price. One of the few true 40/40 threats in MLB.
- Buster Posey, San Francisco - The next great catcher in baseball is Buster Posey.
- Adrian Beltre, (hopefully) Boston Red Sox - Assuming that he stays in Boston and the Red Sox get their key players back healthy and fill in their holes with quality, Beltre could lead Baseball in RBI.
Thanks for writing Mike, I hope I sparked some ideas for you.
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