Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fantasy Focus: Players I Think Will Be Undervalued in 2013

In my last fantasy post, I pointed out the importance of being willing to pay for a valuable player, even if everybody else is thinking the same thing about him.  Now we get to the part that gets everyone's juices flowing, finding the undervalued player.  Undervalued players may not necessarily be the deep sleepers you get for $1 at the end of the draft or snag in the last round of a snake draft.  Sometimes, a player can be undervalued even if you have to pay $25 or $30 for him.  Last year I paid $30 for both Andrew McCutchen and Prince Fielder and they both ended up being bargains.  So, who are the potential bargains I'm looking at for 2013 and why do I think that?

1.  Bryce Harper, OF, Wash.  It may seem strange thinking a guy coming off a Rookie of the Year honor is going to somehow be undervalued in a fantasy draft, but Harper's trophy has gone largely unnoticed in all the hoopla surrounding that guy in the other league.  I'm not saying I wouldn't pay a premium for Mike Trout, but Mike Trout has absolutely nowhere to go in his career but down while Bryce Harper still has a ton of projection left.  It's not like 22 HR's and 18 SB's last year was valueless either.  I like Bryce Harper's future a lot and up to $30 for him might get you a player who is as valuable as someone you'd be willing to pay $50 for.

2.  Brett Lawrie, 3B, TOR.  Lawrie's stock was so overvalued last year, you could call it a bubble!  As with real stock market crashes, sometimes the market over-corrects.  Lawrie had a rough season last year but still put up double digits in both HR's and SB's, something you don't see often out of the 3B position.  It was also his first full MLB season.  He could be a huge bargain if you can get him in the $10-15 range.

3.  Pablo Sandoval, 3B, SF.  Pablo might have blown his cover with his WS performance, but I'm thinking he's still going to be undervalued come fantasy draft time.  His weight and conditioning in spring training will have to be checked out, but with no hamate bones left to fracture, he's a good bet to stay healthy and regain his power which was non-existent for a couple of months after his return from the injury last year. I paid $20 for him last year and thought I got close to equal value.  I'll be willing to push the bidding to $25 or even $30 this year.

4.  Mike Moustakas, 3B, KC.  There are a lot of people out there thinking Moustakas was a bust last year, but he quietly hit 20 HR's in his first full MLB season.  If you want to wait until the end of the draft to fill your 3B spot, he should be available and could give a huge return on the investment.

5.  Alcides Escobar, SS, KC.  Escobar remained available on the FA market in my fantasy league all last year, but he's quietly become a reliable source of a .300 BA with 30+ SB's which is not at all bad from the SS position.  If the SS options early in the draft are too rich for your taste, you can safely wait until the end of the draft and grab Escobar.

6.  Everth Cabrera, SS, SD.  If you are looking for SB's from your SS position and nothing more, Cabrera might be an even better option than Escobar.  Once he took over the position for the Padres in 2012, he stole 44 bases in 115 games/449 PA.  You'll have to monitor the Padres plans for SS during spring training to make sure they don't intend to put someone else at the position, but if ECab is their starting SS on Opening Day, he could be a very cheap source of a lot of SB's.

7.  Melky Cabrera, OF, TOR.  Seems like Melky makes this list every year, but a lot of people are going to discount his 2012 performance as drug enhanced.  Since I don't put a lot of stock in the efficacy of drugs to enhance performance, I'm not too worried about that.  He should still be the same Melky of 2011 and 2012 playing in a park that should give him more HR's.  I paid about $3 for him last year and I'm thinking he'll be a bargain for under $10 again in 2013.

8.  Wilin Rosario, C, CO.  Rosario is not a good defensive catcher, but we don't care about that in fantasy baseball.  He did hit 28 HR's in 426 PA's last year.  He may not be flying totally under the radar in 2013 but it's very possible Buster Posey goes for twice the cost in an auction draft and several rounds earlier in a snake draft.  I'm pretty sure Rosario will be ranked behind Posey, Mauer, Molina and maybe even AJP on a lot of draft boards.  

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