Fantasy baseball draft: Rounding out the team

first_imgWith every Major League Baseball team but the Dodgers and Diamondbacks kicking off their season on March 30 and last minute Fantasy Drafts coming even earlier, round out your picks for corner infielders and middle infielders, with some of the best sleepers in the remaining positions.Left Field Of all the outfield spots, and really any position but first base and pitcher, this is the deepest position with quality talent from top (like Mike Trout and Carlos González) to middle (like the underappreciated Matt Holliday and Bryce Harper) to bottom (with honorable mention sleepers like Adam Eaton and Carlos Quentin), it’s pretty hard to go wrong here unless you go with Starling Marte, Alex Gordon or Domonic Brown. Despite all these solid options, there’s one name that stands out as being madly undervalued:Khris Davis, Milwaukee BrewersThe Brewers left fielder is a promising pick, and it’s not just because his name is a much cooler spelling of the name of last year’s breakout, Chris Davis. Like his fellow Davis in Baltimore, Khris Davis has enormous power potential, which he put on full display in the second half of last year, totaling 11 home runs in 136 at bats. Over a full season, that’s around 50 home runs. Even if he can’t sustain this pace, he would, at the very minimum settle right around 30, which I think we would all take in the 23rd round he’s averaging in the fantasy draft. If he can trade in some home runs for a cut down strikeout rate, he will be fantasy gold. He’ll be coming out of left field in Milwaukee, but his upcoming breakout year definitely won’t.Center FieldBelieve it or not, center field is shallow this year, with consistently overrated players like Adam Jones and Carlos Gomez being promoted as top dogs. The move for 2014 would seem to be to nab a top guy like Trout, Andrew McCutchen or Jacoby Ellsbury; play it sneaky and wait for Ryan Braun to gain CF eligibility; wait on Jason Heyward; or stick to the spirit of March, take the 16 seed of Center Fielders and select:Grady Sizemore bats for the Cleveland Indians. Sizemore now plays for the Boston Red Sox. – Photo courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsGrady Sizemore, Boston Red SoxNo one but blind homers of the Red Sox, huge fans of the Cleveland Indians and Grady Sizemore’s family think of drafting Grady Sizemore. He may be dropping off most fan’s radar now that Red Sox management is reportedly considering starting current center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., despite hitting just .188 in spring so far. Sizemore hasn’t been a factor in baseball since Barack Obama first started campaigning for change, but now it’s time to campaign for Sizemore’s big return as he’s finally healthy and in the hands of a steady organization, which is instrumental in situations like these. The 31-year old is hitting an impressive .303 in his first action in three years, with a homerun to boot. Although it is only spring training and most would like to see him steal more (he doesn’t have a stolen base yet), he is being cautiously watched and this sort of activity is sure to ramp up soon. This is a guy with major potential that should definitely be considered as your number one option if the everyone else is taken.Right FieldRight field is a bit of a weird position; you pretty much know what you’re going to get out of this crop of batters. Sure, Josh Hamilton’s intriguing, but I don’t see much of an improvement over last year. My answer to this corner outfield position has always been José Bautista; I’m pretty sure I’ve drafted Joey Bats in every league I’ve been in for the last four years without ever having to overpay for him. Yeah, he’s left my team with an injury at the end of every season, but he’s just so good and undervalued for the first part of it that I keep coming back. Shane Victorino is in the Matt Holliday and Aramis Ramírez tier of underrated studs. Everyone else you can expect to achieve what they’re projected to, so you can’t really gain on any value, that is, except for this guy:Jason Heyward, Atlanta BravesAlthough Heyward isn’t as much of a sleeper as the rest of the guys, Heyward is still overlooked, but not for good reason. The Braves’ former budding superstar was supposed to be the next Barry Bonds, but everyone forgets because of how disappointing he’s been. Just like Eric Hosmer was supposed to be the next big thing at first, Heyward was supposed to be the next five-tool player in right. And, just like Hosmer started to turn it around last year, Heyward is about to turn it around this year. He had 27 home runs and 21 stolen bases two years ago, but 152 strikeouts with only 58 walks. Even though he was injured for half of last season and played injured for half of that time, he still managed only 10 walks less, showing a clear improvement in his plate discipline, which can only bode well for the rest of his stats over the course of a full, healthy season. With no health concerns of any sort, expect Heyward to put it all together and justify his former superstar billing.Relief PitcherClosers, depending on your league settings, can be so important that it becomes vital to draft the top 5 guys (Kimbrel, Jansen, Holland, Rosenthal and Chapman), or can be so insignificant that it’s best to get the best possible $1/last round pick guys. Aside from that, there’s not much to say about them. After all, they’re closers, but if you have to pick one, look at:Joakim Soria, Texas RangersThis pick would’ve looked way cooler when I decided on it two weeks ago before Soria was officially given the closer job over Neftalí Feliz, but he’s still ranked as the 23rd best closer on ESPN, so that’s sleeper enough for me. Let me enumerate the many reasons why Soria needs to be on your team. First, for those of you that don’t remember, the former Kansas City Royals reliever managed 43 saves at his peak in 2010, with fantastic 1.05 WHIP and 1.78 ERA, not to mention a solid K/9 above 9. He’s a year removed from Tommy John surgery, which is always the formula for success. Being the captain of the Rangers relief committee, he will have plenty of opportunities to save games for this potential first place team.Starting PitcherIn all my years of playing Fantasy Sports, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a position so deep as starting pitcher this year.  The strategy with pitching is to wait on it until the end of the draft and stack up on hitting because even though the saturated market for pitching SHOULD dampen the value, I guarantee your leaguemates won’t recognize this and will draft them as high as in years past. Because of the incredible volume of good pitchers late, instead of just picking one, I’ll list all the ones outside of the top 50 on ESPN’s Starting Pitcher Rankings. Without further ado:1.      Dan Straily, Oakland Athletics2.      Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates3.      AJ Burnett, Pittsburgh Pirates4.      Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox5.      Iván Nova, New York Yankees6.      Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays7.      Rick Porcello, Detroit Tigers8.      Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants9.      Alex Wood, Atlanta Braves10.  Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners11.  Ricky Nolasco, Minnesota Twins12.  Phil Hughes, Minnesota Twins13.  Yordano Ventura, Kansas City Royals14.  Scott Kazmir, Oakland Athletics15.  Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks16.  Tyson Ross, San Diego Padres17.  Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles18.  Michael Pineda, New York Yankees19.  Hector Santiago, Los Angeles Angels20.  Josh Johnson, San Diego Padres21.  Nate Eovaldi, Miami Marlins22.  Tyler Skaggs, Los Angeles Angels23.  Erasmo Ramirez, Seattle Mariners24.  Felix Doubront, Boston Red Sox25.  Scott Baker, Free AgentDaniel Scheiner is a sophomore majoring in music industry.last_img

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