By: JJ Benz
A few of the owners in my main keeper league got together to do a small buy in draft through Yahoo Fantasy Baseball way before our live draft in April. I felt like getting a bead on other owners’ strategies could help me get a feel for who they like. (Oats with Betts and Springer guaranteed to be his first 2 picks!!)
I ended up scoring the 9th pick out of 10 spots which I don’t mind. Even though I don’t have a chance to draft 1 of the top 5-8 players, I do get 2 picks in the top 12. However, I am not going to talk about players that will go in the top 25 in most drafts. Instead, let’s take a look at the best values I was able to draft in rounds 3 through 23.
5 best values beyond the top 25 in an early baseball draft:
1. Giancarlo Stanton (round 3, pick 29) OF – Mia: Stanton struggled last year with injury issues and inconsistency. Because of last year’s numbers, I was able to draft him with the 29th overall pick. I feel that fantasy owners often put too much stock into the previous year. It’s best to look at a larger sample size and expect a player to hover close to their career averages. I expect around 40 home runs and 100 RBIs from the Marlins slugger.
2. Masahiro Tanaka (8th round, pick 72) SP – NYY: I was more than happy when Tanaka was still around with pick 72. He was the 14th SP off the board along with 6 RP which seem to be drafted earlier and earlier every year. Tanaka does have a few question marks coming into the year, mainly his elbow that flared up last year.
3. Vince Velasquez (round 16, pick 152) SP – Phi: Velasquez had a mediocre season last year winning 8 games on a bad team. The bright spot, and what I look for to find out if a pitcher has good stuff without seeing him pitch, is the stat SO/9. Last year he had a very good 10.4 strikeouts per 9 innings.
4. Maikel Franco (round 17, pick169) 3B – Phi: Franco had a less than stellar year last year in his first full major league season. This year is expected to be another rebuilding year for the Phillies so Franco should get well over 550 at bats. Also, table setters like OF Odubel Herrera & IF Cesar Hernandez, who both had over .350 OBP, batting ahead of him in the lineup should provide many RBI opportunities.
5. Albert Pujols (round 23, pick 229) 1B – LAA: Taking Pujols with my last pick was low risk with a potentially very high ceiling. He did have surgery on December 3 on his foot and it requires 4 months to recover so he may miss the first couple weeks of the season. If your league has a DL spot like mine does, it’s a no brainer to gamble on a guy who has averaged 39 ding and 121 ribs a season.