From Reality to Fantasy Baseball explores baseball’s weekly news and its impact on fantasy baseball. Considering spring training just began, most analysis focuses on how recent news impacts player values on fantasy draft day.
Bautista and Jays agree on five-year, $65 million contract
I’m not sold on Jose Bautista. I know, I know. He hit 54 homeruns last year and led the majors in extra-base hits. What’s not to like? First, he’s 30 years old. That’s old for a guy to “magically” figure it out. Second, he never hit more than 16 homeruns in his previous six years in the bigs. I’m not saying he couldn’t produce 25-30 bombs this year; just don’t be that guy who drafts him too early expecting a repeat of last year. Not going to happen.
Cabrera arrested on DUI charges
Haven’t we seen this one before? Detroit’s hitting machines, first baseman Miguel Cabrera, was arrested in Florida on driving under the influence (DUI) charges. While no one can discredit Cabrera’s hitting prowess, he continues to struggle with alcohol. In all likelihood, he’ll be good to go for the start of the year, but then what? Can you count on him? While you shouldn’t take the guy off your draft boards because of this situation, you might want to bump him down a round or so. I’d feel much better grabbing him in the middle of the second round than the middle of the first.
Harden sits with injured lat
Pick your cliché. You can never go home again. The more things change, the more they stay the same. I’m sure you can think of others. Regardless, for those of you hoping for Rich Harden to recover some of the magic he had in an A’s uniform, forget it. News surfaced this week that he’s been shut down with an injured lat in his pitching arm. I mean, you really can’t make this stuff up at this point with this guy. Follow this news though. He’s worth a flyer in the last round of your draft if he’s pitching at the end of the spring training. Always take chances on guys at the end of your draft. You just never know.
Manny has a chip
Apparently, Manny Ramirez has a chip on his shoulder this year, and is out to prove his doubters wrong. Really? The guy is going to be 38 this year. No one disputes the force that he was in his prime – even if it was aided and abetted a bit. But c’mon. His age, combined with the fact that he’s been extraordinarily ordinary since he was accused of using artificial testosterone in 2009, should convince you to look elsewhere for some cheap power come draft day. The reunion story with Johnny Damon is nice, however!
Johan back in mid-summer
Mets ace, Johan Santana, is still recovering from a torn capsule (a shoulder injury) that is very rare among pitchers, and sometimes devastating. Remember Mark Prior? This injury ended his career. Of course, I’m not saying the same will be true of Santana. I’m just saying to be realistic on draft day. Don’t get caught up in what he might be able to do for you come the summer. He just started throwing this past week, and isn’t scheduled to get on the mound until May. Could he come back in July and provide solid stats down the stretch? Sure, but don’t count on it.
Webb cautiously optimistic
Raise your hand if you knew your 2006 NL Cy Young winner was in camp with the Texas Rangers? Brandon Webb basically missed the last two seasons after an awful shoulder injury. He’ll be 32 this year, which is on the wrong side of 30, but if he can come back and put together a season even remotely close to his career averages, he’ll be worth it, regardless of how late (and he’ll be there late) you nabbed him in your draft. Lest I remind you, from 2003-2008, he has 87 wins, 3.27 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.
Jake Peavy throws 40
…pitches, that is, in a bullpen session. The former Cy Young winner is trying to work back from a right shoulder injury that shortened his season last year. The medical reports are good, and he’s been given full clearance to pitch. You’ll be able to grab him pretty late in your draft, which is exactly where he should go. He’s still only 29, and he has a track record. You have to take a chance on him at some point, right? Just remember, he wasn’t exactly great before he got injured last year.
Rickie Weeks agreed to a four-year deal with the Brewers worth $38.5 million. Are you a believer as well? He finally stayed healthy last year and produced numbers that most were expecting from him. He’ll be 29 this year, so he should produce similar numbers (note the stolen base total was down last year) for the next few years provided he stays healthy. You should believe in him. He was always a highly touted talent, so his numbers last year shouldn’t be a surprise. I’d still rather have Cano, Utley, Pedroia or Kinsler before him, but Weeks is solid.
Erik Bedard looks impressive
Wow. I wonder where I heard this before? Oh, that’s right it was last year when he missed the entire year. Or, maybe it was one of the other years when he was attempting to return from injury. The guy is 31 now. You know what you are getting. He and Harden are similar. When they are healthy, they are wickedly good. The problem is being healthy. Again, take him late in the draft. You just can’t pass up the potential here. Be prepared to pounce a little earlier than the last few rounds considering some of your fellow managers are staying up on this news.
Mike Stanton to bat cleanup
The 22-year old phenom who debuted with the Marlins last year will bat cleanup in 2011. Makes sense. He did hit 22 homeruns in 359 at-bats. And, oh yeah, that wasn’t a fluke. He’s hit 89 homeruns in 324 minor league games. So, what about this year? The power is there. He could hit around 35 or 40. The average won’t be great. Never will be. That’s not his game. But, starting this year, he’ll be one of the more feared power hitters in the game. Think typical Adam Dunn numbers with a few more RBI. Some managers like that bang without the average, and some managers stay away because they can’t take the average hit. He’ll go a little later in your draft than Dunn, so draft accordingly.
* All player information and statistics provided by Yahoo! Sports.