Fantasy owners will always try to get a "complete" package player on draft day. However, your team will likely have holes to fill in certain statistical categories. In Low Book Value and High Return, we will examine players with low average draft positions (ADP) who can either be drafted in later rounds or picked off of the waiver wire prior to the start of the season.
Low Book Value and High Return - Home Runs
Wednesday February 29th, 2012
Below are several hitters who are cheap sources of home runs. Most of these players can't help out significantly in other fantasy baseball categories, but will produce adequate home run totals by the end of the season.
ADP data via Mock Draft Central. Values as of February 29, 2012.
Chris Davis - Baltimore Orioles (ADP: 271.94)
Chris Davis was acquired by the Orioles during the trade deadline last season after failing to live up to expectations in Texas. The soon-to-be 26-year-old has mashed plenty of home runs at the Triple-A level, but has never transitioned that power to the big league level. Davis hit 24 homers at Triple-A Round Rock last season, but only hit 5 homers in 210 big-league plate appearances in 2011. Davis likely won't have a batting average above .250 this season, and will strike out close to 200 times, but with regular playing time and close to 500 at-bats, he could easily hit between 23-25 home runs. Davis only has fantasy value in deep mixed leagues, especially where a corner infielder position is needed.
Josh Willingham - Minnesota Twins (ADP: 191.28)
The 33-year-outfielder posted a career best in home runs (29) and RBI (98) in 2011 while with the Oakland A's, and has averaged 22 home runs per season since 2006. Willingham was rewarded with a three-year deal with the Minnesota Twins, and looks to provide stability for the oft-injured Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. As a hitter, playing your home games in Oakland can be a downer on your production numbers. However, Willingham proved that even in a pitcher's park, he could still produce at a high level. Moving to Minnesota could produce even more production, but Target Field is certainly not a hitter's paradise. Fangraphs columnist Jeff Zimmerman posted an interesting piece during the off-season last year that spoke about fly-balls, distances, and batted ball angles. Take a look for yourself, but it's interesting to note that Willingham appeared to turn on the ball more in the second half, creating more home runs. While no fantasy owners knows if Willingham will hit his 2011 total in home runs, I would still draft him as a fourth or fifth outfielder.
Carlos Pena - Tampa Bay Rays (ADP: 222.58)
After playing last season with the Chicago Cubs, veteran Carlos Pena finds himself reunited with the the Rays in St. Pete. Every fantasy owner knows that with Pena's power comes his lousy batting average. He's a career .239 hitter, but has mashed an average of 34 homers per season since 2007. However, in 2010 and 2011, Pena didn't surpass the 30 home run plateau in a season (28 both times), so his power could be on the decline. Regardless, if fantasy owners can deal with the poor batting average, they'll get cheap home runs at a cheap price on draft day. Draft Pena as a bench player or a corner infielder and play him for the home run totals. He'll be cheap enough that if you drop him, it won't cost you.
Dayan Viciedo - Chicago White Sox (ADP: 234.50)
Nicknamed "The Tank", this soon-to-be 23-year-old Cuban outfielder should see plenty of playing time for the White Sox this season. Although he has a total of six home runs in 206 at-bats spread across two big-league seasons, this strong outfielder has hit 20 home runs in each of the past two seasons at the Triple-A level. Viciedo has a patient approach at the plate, and has learned to take walks instead of expanding his strike zone by swinging at pitches off the plate. The big right-handed hitter could platoon in certain situations, but he'll likely see around 550 plate appearances and approximately 20-25 home runs in 2012.
by Anonymous on Thursday March 1st @ 9:37AM
Nobody from the NL??? Leaves those of us in NL-only leagues to do our own research, I guess.............. 3 names come up for me......guys who will hit 20+, but are not even being drafted in a 10 team NL-only mock draft......... Alfonso Soriano (may bat cleanup for Sveum....he sucks, but hit 26 last year) Chris Heisey (might be in a platoon in Cincy, but hit 18 HR's in 279 AB's last year) John Mayberry (1st choice as Phily's full time LF.....and fill in at 1B for Howard some) Anybody got some more?
by Reggie Yinger on Thursday March 1st @ 9:59AM
Sorry. Didn't notice I only had AL guys. For NL players, I like: Carlos Quentin - Padres (ADP: 212.79), Ryan Ludwick - Reds (295.72), Jason Kubel - D-Backs (233.68). You mention the Cubs. They have a lot of guys: Soriano, LaHair, Stewart, and Rizzo.
by Anonymous on Thursday March 1st @ 5:18PM
Mmmmmm.......What's your take on the following comments? 1. Quentin has moved to a pitchers ball park......ironically, the one that killed Ludwick's HR totals!!! Quentin hit 24 last year for the White sox, but I'm not sure he makes it to 20 at Petco.....Huge stadium and no lineup protection! 2. Speaking of Ludwick.......is he really still capable or is he a "PED star" who didn't get caught and has stopped? He was hitting HR's at a 1:21AB's before Petco....and went to 1:35 while there. At Pit, he was 1:56, but a small sample and no playing time. 3. Kubel has potential.....a 20+ HR guy in Min, moving to a hitter's park. 4. LaHair and Rizzo are destined to be in a platoon at some point, so neither is a good option alone.......guess if you have both....?? 5. Ahhhh........Now to the "Man Crush".......LOL......I have been waiting for 4 years for Stewart to "learn how to hit". 25 bombs in 2009 got me hooked, and there's been nothing to speak of since. Do you think he will "find his swing
by Dan Port on Thursday March 1st @ 7:32PM
For Quentin and Ludwick, as low as you can snag them, even 20 homers each would be nice. Ludwick's recent seasons, like most of his early career, have been derailed by injury more than anything (many of them of the "I can still play" variety). Hate to throw the PED thing out there without any evidence, really- dude gets beat up because he crashes into the RF wall a lot. You don't need 25-30 homers a year from a guy for him to help you. Snagging a 15-20 homer guy in the late rounds can win you a league. Hell, those are the guys who usually make or break a fantasy season.
by Anonymous on Thursday March 1st @ 8:18PM
Thanks for that info.....I'll keeping an eye on Quentin, Soriano, and Stewart towards the end of our draft. Speaking of our draft.....I have been a "LIMA plan" guy for years, and it has worked well. I am thinking of using the "CARS plan" this year, where you spend the first few pics on top closers and aces, then go back to chasing hitters. You miss the "big hitters" but have a "leg up on the competition" with your pitching staff. The mid-range hitters sometimes do as well as the stars who "disappoint". I am a manager who pays attention to my team every day and works the wire well. What's your take on the "CARS plan"? Can it work?
by Dan Port on Thursday March 1st @ 8:38PM
Personally I've always ended up in a bit of a CARS plan just by personal strategy, but it really depends on the flow of your draft. Obviously you want the best guy available, so if your league mates are loading up on elite hitters early, you can snag the best aces/closers and then go from there. I think 2-3 reliable, consistent starters can be a nice relief for an owner and allow one to focus on other needs. The key is to not get locked into a pre-draft strategy, since you can never totally predict who will pick who at any given time.
by Anonymous on Thursday March 1st @ 10:28PM
Yup......reacting to the flow is critical.........Thanks!
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