Tagged with "Sleeper Picks"
Fantasy Sleeper Agents - Brett Lawrie
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Picks Toronto Blue Jays

 

The true mark of a good fantasy baseball manager isn’t just knowing where to pick the top players, but also knowing when to take a chance on a guy that will fly under the radar on draft day. Being prepared and knowing which players are due for comeback or breakout years are what make the difference between a good team and a winning team.

With that said, this series is intended to help you identify some of those sleepers. During the last edition, we talked about Johan Santana. This time around, we’re looking for a player that may be able to yield some offensive help.

Brett Lawrie – 3B – Toronto Blue Jays

Third base is going to be one of those solid fantasy positions where you can get a great player in the first 10 available, but the drop off is severe from there. Still, there are a few sleepers to be had here for the patient drafter, including Toronto third baseman Brett Lawrie and another that will be highlighted in a later edition. Just how underrated will Lawrie be on draft day? Well, because Jose Bautista will qualify for the 2012 season at the hot corner, he won’t even be the best available on his own team. Still, just ask the Milwaukee Brewers if they would like a do-over on the trade that sent Lawrie to Toronto for Shawn Marcum.

The Good

Lawrie showed in a 43-game audition that he had the stuff to hold his own in the American League East, hitting .293 with 9 home runs and 25 RBI in just 150 official at-bats. 2012 will be a good chance for him to show if he’s the real deal though, as the Blue Jays will be relying on him to help protect uber-slugger Jose Bautista. Most teams are going to take the chance with the youngster as opposed to facing the most dangerous hitter in the AL the last two seasons. The power for Lawrie is legit though, as he powered 18 homers out at Single and Triple-A before getting his big shot. Did I mention he also stole 25 bases across all levels last season?

The Bad

Lawrie will be just 22 when he enters the 2012 season and as just 1200 at-bats to his name in the minors, so he may experience a bit of a sophomore slump to begin the season as teams get a real scouting report on him. The key as with any young player is how well he adjusts to those reports and puts holes in them.

The Ugly

Lawrie’s defense at the hot corner leaves a little bit to be desired, but that could be said for any young third baseman. Still, not many of them have to play on the turf at Rogers Centre either. Overall, Lawrie made 22 errors last season; his first season after his defense at second base pushed him to third. Long-term, he projects more as a corner outfielder, but that truly has no bearing on his value in fantasy leagues unless your play in one that detracts for errors.

Best-Case Scenario

Lawrie plays in the offensive juggernaut that is the American League East and plays his home games in one of the best hitter’s parks in the game. He may not be a .300 hitter for a full year, but somewhere in the low .280’s wouldn’t be expecting too much. The key for him will be the combination of both power and speed at a position that doesn’t generally give you both.

Overall, Lawrie projects as a solid mid-rounder after you’ve used the first few rounds to grab the best possible available players. Even if you’ve selected another third baseman, he may be a solid choice as either a utility hitter or as later trade bait when you need to make a move. Either way, he’s not a guy that should make it to the waiver wire after the draft and you should keep him on your watch list.

Sources:

-          Brett Lawrie, baseball-reference.com

Fantasy Sleeper Agents - Johan Santana
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB New York Mets Johan Santana Fantasy Baseball Sleeper picks

 

Johan Santana, Sleeper Pick

The true mark of a good fantasy baseball manager isn’t just knowing where to pick the top players, but also knowing when to take a chance on a guy that will fly under the radar on draft day. Being prepared and knowing which players are due for comeback or breakout years are what make the difference between a good team and a winning team.

With that said, this series is intended to help you identify some of those sleepers. To kick things off, I wanted to spotlight one of the best pitchers of the last decade:

Johan Santana – SP – New York Mets

Santana has the distinction of being one of the best Rule 5 draftees of all-time. Taken in the Rule 5 draft by Florida from Houston in 1999, he was subsequently traded to Minnesota for Jared Camp. If that wasn’t a sweet enough deal for the Twins, the Marlins also threw cash in the deal. Santana would win two Cy Young awards for the Twins before being traded to the Mets in 2008. In three seasons with the Mets, Santana would pitch well, but injuries took their toll and he sat out 2011 working his way back from rotator cuff surgery.

The Good

There wasn’t a better pitcher in baseball from mid-2003 until 2008. Santana has impeccable control, averaging 3.55 strike-outs per every walk surrendered and has one of the best change-ups in all of baseball. Not an overpowering pitcher, he can nonetheless get the strike-out with an assortment of pitches, averaging close to 1 per inning for his career and lead the AL in the category from 2004-2006.

The Bad

Santana hasn’t pitched in the majors since September 2, 2010. He was making good strides in the minors in 2011, but the Mets performance last season ultimately decided that they wouldn’t risk him. While a move to the National League is generally perceived as a boost for pitchers, Santana’s strike-out and control numbers have declined each season in New York, but that can be attributed to the arm troubles he dealt with in both 2009 and 2010.

The Ugly

While Santana will enter 2012 fully recovered and ready to contribute, there is one overwhelming detriment that is hard to overlook; Santana will still be playing for the Mets. The Mets are in a complete retooling phase and the line-up behind Santana doesn’t look entirely promising. In a very tough and offensive National League East, this team could very well finish at the bottom of the standings

Best-Case Scenario

As discussed, Santana should be fully healthy entering the season, but he’ll still be eased into a full workload. He may well win 10 plus games and strike-out better than 150 for the Mets, but wishful fantasy owners will want him to get out of the gate fast and hope that that the Mets trade him as part of their rebuilding process. That may be difficult as Santana is 32 entering the season and due to make $49 million over the next two seasons with a club option for 2014 at $25 million. Not a lot of teams will take a chance on that contract without knowing that he is back to his Cy Young form.

Buy really low and hope for the best. May even be best to see him hit the waiver wire to start the season and then watch his first few starts before making the leap.

Sources:

-          Johan Santana, baseball-reference.com

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