Glossary of terms used: In case you’re new to the wonderful pastime of fantasy baseball, here are some commonly used terms for all you newbies: ADP– Average Draft Position – Taken directly from mockdraftcentral.com, a great site to practice your drafting, ADP reflects about where each player is drafted. If a player’s ADP is 100.46, then he was about the 100th player taken on average in thousands of mock drafts. AB– At Bats – numbers of counted plate appearances. Does not include Bases on Balls. AVG– Batting Average – Hits over ABs. Anything over .300 is great. OPS– On base Plus Slugging percentage – One of the most complete statistics in baseball and pioneered by Bill James, this quickly gauges just how good of a hitter the player is. Having an OPS over 1 is supernatural, but anything over .800 is great. BB/9– Walks per nine innings – the amount of times, on average, a pitcher walks a batter in 9 innings. ERA– Earned Run Average – The number of runs a pitcher gives up on average every nine innings. Anything below a 4 is good, anything below a 3 is unreal. BABIP– Batting Average on Balls In Play – This is a wonderful statistic used to gauge how “lucky” or “unlucky” a player was in previous seasons. League average of BABIP hovers around .300, so if a hitter has a high BABIP last year, expect a bit of a dip in his BA this year. Conversely, if a pitcher has a particularly high BABIP, he was a bit unlucky, so his ERA and WHIP should dip a bit this year. Understanding BABIP can really help you snag value in the late rounds of your draft. For a more in-depth look at BABIP check out ESPN’s Tristan Cockroft’s wonderful primer on the subject.
Carlos Gonzalez [OF] – (COL) ADP 123.28 It’s hard to believe that this guy is already on his third major league team, but he seems to have found his home in Colorado. In only 278 ABs, Car Go belted 13 HRs and swiped 16 bags. He’ll be turning 24 and has the left field job locked up, so we can expect more of the same from him this year. ESPN’ Dave Hunter, the Answer Guy himself, believes that, “Car-Go should see an increase in his contact rate as he develops, thus cutting down the high strikeout rate he had last season. The 24-year-old youngster is my 2010 ‘jackpot!’ pick of the draft.”
[2B/3B] – (COL) ADP 130.39 Hitting in the high altitude of Coors Field and a locked up starting third base gig instantly makes Stewart a player to target in the later rounds. Couple that with his unnatural power, 2B qualification, his pedigree (drafted 10th overall in the 2003 draft), and Stewart will produce well above where he is drafted. He still whiffs too much, striking out in %28.1 of his plate appearances last year, but ESPN projections state that “As a 25-year-old with a firm starting commitment he has plenty of breakout potential, though. Fantasy owners might be most pleased by his second-base eligibility.” Ian Stewart
[2B] – (ANA) ADP 146.58 Kendrick has inspired many bromances in fantasy circles for a few years, but his putrid performance last year no doubt soured many to the hard hitting righty. He was sent down to AAA in June for all around stinkiness, posting a putrid .198 AVG in May. He seemed to figure out his problems, posting a .351 AVG in 188 ABs in his return. This guy has always hit on every level of the minors (he hit .360 in 8 seasons split between all levels), and Yahoo’s Brandon Funston believes, writing that “Old man-crushes die hard, especially when they have batting title talent and are approaching their age 26/27 season having hit over .350 in the past 50 games.” Howie Kendrick
David Ortiz [UTIL/DH] - (BOS) ADP 191.05 His decline last year was well documented (1 HR in April and May! Come on!). But did you know he hit the most homeruns in the Majors after June 1(28)? That combined with his low BABIP (.262) last year, and we have ourselves a bounce back candidate! He still hits in Fenway in the middle of a strong Sox lineup, so RBI opportunities should be ample.
[3B] - (KC) ADP 253.92 One problem with fantasy sports is owners tend to expect too much from young, freakish athletes. Remember two years ago when Alex Gordon was supposed to be the next big thing? Well, he wasn’t, mostly because he was 23, and when most of us were face down in a bucket of jungle juice, Gordon was trying to hit Mariano Rivera’s cutter. Not fun. Gordon has the pedigree and the skills to succeed at the major league level. Adam Ronis of Rotoexperts.combelieves that “Gordon is capable of 15-20 home runs with 10-15 stolen bases. He will come cheap and is worth a flier one last time.” Alex Gordon
Chad Billingsley [SP] - (LAD) ADP 124.02 For the first three months of the season last year, you would be hard-pressed to find a pitcher better than Billingsley. He posted a 3.15 ERA for those months and had an impressive 110 Ks. The bubble burst a bit in July, where he went 1 -2 with a terrible 7.52 ERA, but he did manage to bounce back in August and September, posting 4.24 ERA. Remember, he’s only 25 years old and this was his second full season as a big league starter. This kid will only get better. Grab him late at a bargain price and reap the rewards if I were you.
Huston Street [RP] - (COL) ADP 146.27 He struggled in April last year, and even lost the role for about 3 days to Manny Corpas, but once he regained, Street clung to the role like grim death, converting 35 of 37 save opportunities. A bicep injury slowed him down the stretch, but the Rockies don’t seem concerned as they offered him a 3 year, $22.5 million deal. He’s the guy in Colorado and the upstart Rockies might surprise some people in the NL West this year. Save opportunities should be ample. Grab him late and laugh at those who draft Jonathan Papelbon and Mariano Rivera in the 5th and 6th round. Muhahaha.
[SP] - (OAK) ADP 189.53 This guy is a stud, pure and simple. If you don’t believe me, just ask ESPN’s Keith Lipscomb, who wrote, “This kid is mature beyond his years, and I love the progress he showed as the season went along in 2009 (3.48 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 8.8 Ks per 9 after the All-Star break).” 95 mph cheddar with two quality secondary pitches from the left side will befuddle hitters on any level. He just turned 21 and pitches in one of the best pitcher’s parks in baseball so the sky is the limit for this guy. Keeper and dynasty leaguers take notice! This guy will be good for years to come. Brett Anderson
[SP] - (BOS) ADP 192.31 Dice-K’s bad year was not a surprise to many, including yours truly, but even I was surprised just how awful he was. He went 4-6 with a 5.76 ERA in an injury-riddled ’09 campaign. He was also the victim of some bad luck, as he had one of the highest BABIPs in the league at .382. The fact that he hid an injury explains much of his suckiness, and word out of Boston is that he is working out like a mad man to regain his championship form. This guy has the pedigree and the skills to be a dominant major league pitcher. Don’t forget that he went 18-3 in ’08. Expect the ’08 version this year. Daisuke Matsuzaka
[SP] - (MIN) ADP 228.83 Sloweystill managed a respectable 10-3 record last year, despite only starting 16 games. When he did pitch, he was also the victim of some bad luck (.349 BABIP). Slowey is wonderful for your WHIP as he rarely walks anyone (his career BB/9 is 1.4 – awesome) and he pitches in the Metrodome. He doesn’t strike too many people out, but he should be a great source of quality innings and wins as the Twins battle for another AL Central crown. 15 wins and great peripherals are not out of the question. Kevin Slowey