Thursday, January 31, 2013

Most underated Fantasy Baseball players team by team

Article by Jeremy McCabe
 SportsWiseGuy Writer

    In fantasy baseball, there are players who get overlooked for different reasons. Maybe a certain player had a tragic injury to ruin your season last year, or maybe you overlook this player because he is on your most hated team. I am here to not only give you an inside on the most underrated players you are missing out on, but to give you the truth about some of these gems on each MLB team.
Angels- Mark Trumbo
    Going into his third full year, Mark Trumbo is primed for a huge season. He set career highs in almost every offensive category, and led an Angel’s offense last year in homeruns with 32. With the addition of Josh Hamilton to an already formidable lineup, Trumbo is projected to hit behind the newly acquired star Hamilton. Trumbo is sitting pretty hitting behind the likes of Trout, Pujols, and Hamilton which will give him even more opportunities to drive in the runners who are more than likely to be on base.
    Mark Trumbo is poised for a monster season. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Astros- Bud Norris
    The Houston Astros are in for a very tough year. They were placed in the heart of an AL West race that includes the offenses of Los Angeles and Texas, and a young pitching staff of Oakland. On a team not full of much talent, Bud Norris has been the horse, reaching at least 165 innings each of the past two years, with at least 165 strikeouts in those seasons. His 4.65 ERA last year should turn out to be a fluke, after he posted a 3.77 the year before.
    Overall, Norris could be suited as a spot starter if you need strikeouts or if you play the match up.  
Athletics- Jarrod Parker
    The feisty A’s did their magic last year and improbably stole the AL West away from the Rangers last year. Oakland was led by their young pitching which includes Jarrod Parker. The young righty finished 13-8 with a 3.47 ERA in his first full year. Despite his lack of strikeouts, 6.95 per 9, he is a solid pitcher whose strikeout totals will rise and he gets experience. If strikeouts is the only negative, I think ill take the chances.
    I would definitely pencil Parker in to be on multiple fantasy teams this season. He showed as a rookie he has the stuff to make it.
Blue Jays- Brandon Morrow
    The offseason has been a very productive one for the Jay’s organization. There are many players I could’ve put on this list, but all those players are supposed to be good together. But a forgotten man in the rotation named Brandon Morrow is going to have a big role in the success or failure of the Jays. The 28 year old will most likely be the third or fourth starter, but he finished last year’s injury plagued season with 10 wins and an ERA under 3. With a full season under his belt, and the offensive line up the Jays will be putting out, Morrows wins should increase, which is good for fantasy owners.
    Morrow will be a solid pitcher off the bench if he is given the chance.
Braves- Freddie Freeman
    Atlanta has arguably the best outfield in the league, and they will all be hitting close to each other in the lineup. Another key contributor to the Brave’s lineup will be Freddie Freeman. The speed of the Upton brothers and Jason Heyward will give the big lefty plenty of chances for RBIs. Last year, he posted career highs in homeruns (23) and RBIs (94). I’m expecting 100 RBIs for the young first baseman. It’s time for Freddie to become the complete package. Hitting a low .259 last season, he will try to be closer to the .280 mark which he had his rookie year.
    First base is not a deep fantasy position after all the top heavy names are off the board. Freeman is an option you should be interested in taking.
Brewers- Aramis Ramirez
    The most important position in the Brewer’s lineup is not wherever Ryan Braun hits, but who hits after the former MVP. Ramirez had another terrific season last year and for some reason he is still not mentioned in the same breathe as the top echelon like Longoria or Wright. He is a career .285 hitter in 14 seasons and the veteran is ready for more. His 50 doubles last year were a career high and had a career high Wins Above Replacement (WAR) which doesn’t mean anything for fantasy baseball but just a stat I think everyone should be aware of.
    Aramis will be starting at the hot corner. Will you be smart and take him?
Cardinals- Allen Craig
    Following his great postseason the year before, I had Craig last year on my fantasy team, and with no regrets. Unfortunately it did not lead to a championship, but Craig is the cleanup hitter in one of the best lineups in the NL. He hit 22 homeruns and 92 RBIs which were both career highs. Luckily for me, he was eligible for second base last year, probably won’t be so lucky this year.
    On a team full of underrated players like Yadier Molina and David Freese, Craig gets my nod.
Cubs- Anthony Rizzo
    After a fantastic first season in the north side of Chicago, Rizzo hit a remarkable .285 with 15 homeruns. One thing you can guarantee is that the wind will always be swirling around Wrigley, and the fact Rizzo can easily hit three homeruns in a game excites me. I expect him to be driving future star Starlin Castro a lot and to finally get a full season under his belt. Look for 25 homeruns out of Rizzo this year.
    Even if you aren’t thinking of Rizzo as your first baseman, getting 25 homeruns out of your utility hitter could be a perfect marriage.
Diamondbacks- Ian Kennedy
    Two years ago, this one time Yankees prospect went 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA. I didn’t buy into the hype of him and to my benefit he had a 15-12 season with an ERA over 4. But this year he is on my underrated list. He still pitched over 200 innings last season and struck out 187, which is high for a pitcher who had an inflated ERA. He allowed 9 more homeruns last year which could explain for his ERA, but that is only one category.   
    I’m looking for a bounce back season for Kennedy. I am not expecting 21-4, but the Diamondbacks are looking to contend and Kennedy could help. He could easily be a pitcher to go every fifth day for you.
Dodgers- Hanley Ramirez
    Former Florida and Miami Marlin Hanley Ramirez will make his return this year! Whether he hits behind Gonzalez and Kemp, or before them, won’t matter. That team will score runs. The former Rookie of the Year drove in 92 runs last season. And I will predict a similar type season. He doesn’t need to stare at those horrible neon colored walls down in South Beach, which is a plus.
    Hanley is a great value and the SS/3B position.
Giants- Madison Bumgarner
    Remember when the Giants 1-2 was Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain? Neither can I. The 23-year old registered his second consecutive 200+ inning season both eclipsing 190+ strikeouts. The dude can throw. He posted a career low 1.11 WHIP, which does help you fantasy owners. San Francisco will start winning games for their starting pitchers.
     As a second or third pitchers spot, Bumgarner is a good find.
Indians- Chris Perez
    For those anticipating Nick Swisher to be the Indian I chose, you must think I’m crazy. The Grizzly Bear himself will make my pick from Terry Francona’s club. Perez just recorded his second straight 35+ save season. His k/9 innings this past season was his highest since joining the tribe at 9.21. Good reliable closers are hard to come by.
    Perez will be a great second closer on anybody’s team.
Mariners- Felix Hernandez
    My first thought to mind for Seattle was Jason Bay, but it was more like a sarcastic thought, because I’m a Mets fan, and I dislike him a lot. Mr. Perfect Game is still the most underrated fantasy player on this team. He was second in inning in the AL last year, which made it his fifth consecutive 200+inning season. The dude is a horse. Has had at least five shutouts in the last three seasons. For some people who don’t like him because he doesn’t win, I disagree with you.
    Felix deserves to be one of the top 5 pitchers off the board.
Marlins- Giancarlo Stanton
    I’m not going to hide the best player on this team behind someone I think I underrated. The rest of the Marlins team was in the minors last season. Stanton posted his second straight 35 + homerun, 85+ RBI season. The poor thing for Mr. Stanton, is no other Marlin is going to be on base. That being said, the man is in scoring position every time he steps in the box.
    After the Kemps, and McCutchens are gone, Gian will gladly be there waiting to hit 40 blasts.   
Mets- Daniel Murphy
    I had Murphy last year, that just speaks to the lack of depth that second base has. Murphy can hit, natural opposite field swing. He set a career high in RBIs, hits, doubles, and runs. And I picked him up last year. If your team needs hit and average and a second baseman, Murphy is your guy. The only downside to Murphy is that he think he has a position, but he stills not a very good second baseman.
    Daniel will satisfy your need for 2B if you are that desperate.
Nationals- Rafael Soriano
    The Nationals pitching staff is stacked for yet another season, and adding Soriano definitely improves that element. Soriano recorded 42 saves last season after the future Hall of Famer got in his accident. He will get plenty of chances because the Nationals will win their share of games. Closers are think, especially now a days. Soriano is a safe bet to be your number one closer.
    After Kimbrel, I don’t know if I trust anyone more than Soriano.
Orioles- Nick Markakis
    Baltimore is back on the map, Nick Markakis missed some time last season, the first time he hasn’t played 157+ in 5 years. He still boasted a .298 average, making it his sixth out of the last 7 seasons hitting over .290. Now that is consistent. Now the Orioles are good and still hitting in front of Adam Jones will make Nick as productive as ever. Look for another.300 season from Mr. Consistent.
    Nick will be a great third outfielder to have on your team.
Padres- Edinson Volquez
    I am not at all saying that Edinson Volquez should be your number one. Volquez is a spot starter at best. He will hurt your WHIP badly because he had over 100 walks for the first time in his career. If you need someone to get a couple strikeouts, then you can try Edinson.
    Volquez is good in deep leagues, but you can take the risk with the walks.
Phillies- Roy Halladay
    Roy was hurt last year, and when he pitched, he did not play very well. But Roy Halladay is still a two time Cy Young winner in a rotation that dubbed themselves the “Big Three.” In most league both other members of the “Big Three” are being picked before the 14 year veteran. I expect Roy to come back with the hunger in his eye and see the Cy Young candidate that he can be.
    Roy can still be a very good number 2 starter on your team.
Pirates- A.J. Burnett
    A.J. is getting old. In his 13th season he registered his 2nd highest win total in a season with 16. The former New York Yankee is going into his 2nd season with the Pirates and hoping for similar success he had his first year. If you need a reliable starter to give you a good outing in a good matchup, A.J. is your guy.
    Pitching depth even on a fantasy squad is very important, A.J. would help any team you have.
Rangers- Elvis Andrus
    Andrus will be going into his fifth year and last year may have been his finest as a pro. His .286 average and .349 OBP in 2012 were both careers highs. Even though rumors about Jurickson Profar pushing him out of Texas are swirling. Andrus is a top 5 SS because Texas will still score runs and having Andrus at the top of the lineup helps accomplish that.
    Elvis’ specialty is scoring runs. All fantasy team can use that.
Rays- Jeremy Hellickson
    Someone needs to replace James Shields absence in Tampa’s rotation. The 25- year old is entering his third full season. He has a career 3.06 ERA and a WHIP of 1.19. David Price cannot  pitch every game for the Rays. Hellickson will add to your teams depth and will help your team every 5 days.
    Good, young pitching is hard to come by, and this kid can win games.
Red Sox- Jon Lester
    Jon Lester did not have a very good season at all last year. He snapped his streak of 4 straight seasons with at least 15 wins. He posted a career high ERA, which I believe is a fluke. I believe he will return to his former as the ace of the Red Sox staff. More like the no-hit Jon Lester. And I’ve been saying the entire time, even your fantasy team needs pitching depth.
    Jon Lester is a player who should be starting in a pitcher spot. He has earned it over the years and will earn it this year.
Reds-Todd Frazier
    The “Toddfather” will now be starting third for the defending NL central Reds. No more Scott Rolen to take away his playing time. In Todd’s coming out party, he hit 19 homeruns in a limited role. With more at-bats, Frazier will easily hit 25 homeruns and drive in at least 90. That is another team in the National League that can score runs. Hitting after Votto and Bruce is going to make Frazier an RBI machine.
    If you need a 3B late or a utility hitter, you can take a risk with Todd.
Rockies- Dexter Fowler
    Dexter Fowler exploded to have a career season last year. He set new career highs in hits, homeruns, RBIs, average and OBP. Leading off, knowing Cargo and Tulo are hitting behind you, you know you will get in when you reach base. Fowler has high value for a number three outfielder and I guy who can give you a little bit of everything. If your team needs steals, you can count on Dexter to get you a couple.
    Fowler can be dangerous with his legs and his bat. Should earn a spot on a lot of teams this fantasy season.
Royals- Alcides Escobar
    Alcides finally emerged last year to have a fantastic season. Shortstop is a position that is top heavy, and if you don’t feast on one of them, then Escobar is your guy. Stolen bases are valuable as any other stat, and he set a career high with 35. His .721 OPS was a career high and Escobar’s ceiling is even higher.
    Alcides is a good fit at shortstop if you miss out, but don’t worry if you draft him.
Tigers- Austin Jackson
    The ex-Yankee prospect returned to his rookie form with a great third year in Detroit. He set career highs in average (.300) and OBP with (.377.) Jackson hitting after the duo of Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, and 2 time Derby winner Prince Fielder, is sure to score a lot of runs. And runs are valuable. I expect Jackson to steal more this season also, he had a low of 12 last year, but in his first two seasons had at least 20.
    Austin will fill in nicely in any second or third outfield spots.
Twins- Trevor Plouffe
    In Trevor’s second season, he set career highs in homeruns and RBIs. He killed me last year because he had three positions eligible, and players with that many can kill ya. Look for Trevor to follow Willingham in the lineup, won’t hit as many Targets as Willingham will hit, but he is a good spot filler.
    Plouffe will be a nice fill in for an 2B,SS,3B, position.
White Sox- Addison Reed
    Don’t look at Addison’s ugly ERA his rookie season. The young right hander recorded 29 saves for the South Side White Sox. Yes he did blow 4, but in his sophomore season, I expect him to reach 35+ saves and as a second closer or pitcher spot, Reed should get good consideration.
    In the closer spot, saves is one of the most important categories, and he gets his chances, and will keep getting them.
Yankees- Brett Gardner
    After failing to reach 150 games last season, a mark he reached the previous two, Brett will take advantage of his starting spot. Gardner is a speed guy who will be forced to hit 9th in a veteran Yankee lineup. He is a man who will get you steals and score runs. A good third outfield option.
    Gardner is the forgotten man in the Yankee outfield, but he is a good pick.

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