Things are looking up for Adam Jones
Photo Credit: Keith Allison
Every year, certain trends emerge on the teams I draft. There are always some pet players of mine whom I always seem to get on my team. If I want something, I don’t stop until I get it. This year, I decided to share the results of my countless auctions and drafts. The players that come up most frequently are the ones to pay attention to. They don’t call me Captain Prognosticate for nothing folks (editor's note: Starbonell calls him "Captain Prostate"). Make the jump to see what I have in my pocket for 2012:
The Ultimate Man-Crushes (editor's note: pause)
Probably my favorite break-out candidate this year. I love when players have a nice year (25 HR in 11’) and an even better minor league track record and still can be had at a discount. Jones is entering his prime, and plays in a hitter-friendly park. It also doesn’t hurt that he plays for the O’s, who surprisingly put up the 13th most HRs and 14th most runs in 2011. His stellar spring is just more icing on the cake There’s a reason why the Orioles didn’t want to trade him to Atlanta for Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado this offseason. Jones will come into 2012 guns blazing, and could easily post a 30/15 season.
Fact, third base after the top talent and Mike Moustakas is frightening. I don’t want to be stuck with a scrub at the hot corner. Evan Longoria is too expensive, Brett Lawrie is over-hyped, David Wright is a mess, so I usually go and grab the cheapest source of production in Sandoval. Keep in mind that last year, in only 426 ABs, Sandoval clubbed 23 HRs and posted a career best .237 ISO. I like to think that if healthy, and with his new found power stroke, Sandoval could breach the 30 HR plateau this year. Add in his .300 BA capabilities and you have yourself a top 25 player. He won’t cost you that much though.
On the surface there is nothing that screams out “must own’ with John Danks. He’s coming off an unimpressive season and has never put up spectacular numbers before. He’s pretty boring. This off-season however, the White Sox deemed him worthy enough to ink to a five year deal. This makes me think they know something about Danks that we common folk don’t. He will be pitching on Opening Day, which could lead to a confidence booster. I also like that he suffered some poor luck last year (.313 BABIP) and should get plenty of run support from the bounce-back White Sox offense (they are going to be good this year). 15 wins, 180 strikeouts, and a 3.50/1.25 ERA/WHIP is what I’m projecting.
The Other Man-Crushes (editor's note: double pause)
Cheap speed comes aplenty in the wee hours of your draft and auction. The problem, however, is that most of the discount speed demons may help you out in stolen bases, but are severe liabilities in other categories. Altuve is an exception to this rule. He will hit for a decent average, pop 10 HR and steal 35 bases. He is also batting atop the Astros order, and although it's not the most prolific offense, Altuve will still have plenty of run scoring potential.Jose has found his way onto my teams as a 2B in deeper leagues or an MI. Monitor his progress if he sits on your waiver wire.
I love pitchers with high K/9s and good minor league track records. Minor will finally be given a chance to start the year as a starter in the ATL. Expect him to dominate. He’s had a terrific spring where he’s been almost unhittable, and he plays for a solid team where he should get good run support. This guy is legit. I’ll go on record and say that he will be the Braves best starter this year (Brandon Beachy will tear it up too). He was a steal at the end of drafts.
He was a beast in the minors, had a good rookie campaign, and then fell off the map. He’s entering his prime though, and it's not hard to fathom S-Rod being a 15/15 guy this year, which will do just fine at SS. You also have to love the multi-position eligibility he brings to the table.
Love the price. Even after he posted a breakout season, Masterson could be had for quite the bargain. Many feel that regression is imminent, but Masterson was a beast in the minors. I also expect that K/9 to take a jump, which just further heightens his value. A 15-win season with good ratios is what I'm expecting.
The Last Year Scrubs
Last year, the once consistent 40 homerun slugger was TURRRRRRIBLE. He may have been the sole reason why many teams lost their fantasy seasons. Having said that, he comes into 2012 healthy, with a new coach, and poised for a breakout. I easily see him hitting at least 30 homers and, who knows, we may see him reach the 40 home run plateau again. The average will still be a bit of a worry, but it's worth the low price you’ll get him at.
It seems I like a lot of White Sox this year. Rios was a top 25 player in 2010 but had a down year in 2011. He did, however, post some of his best contact percentages of his career but had a very low .232 BABIP. Can you say unlucky? I expect him to return to form. He may very well be the cheapest 20/20 player on the board.
He may have problems with walks, but one thing is for sure, Volquez is a prime bounce-back candidate. He’ll be pitching at Petco this year, which is always good, and we know how nasty his changeup can be. I had no problems taking him late in drafts this year.
The Post-Post-Post Hype Sleepers
Okay so he’s not exactly a sleeper anymore after hitting 32 HRs last year. Having said that, he’s going way after a similar player in Giancarlo Stanton even though he arguably plays on a much better team. What I find the most intriguing about Bruce though is that his price this year is actually lower than it was last year. He doesn’t have the hype anymore. I can see him improving again and hitting 40 homers while becoming an elite slugger.
A once highly-touted prospect who lost his way. He apparently was a standout in camp and likes his new coach. I have an inkling he shows us why he was a first round selection. For a buck, it’s well worth the risk.
Similar to Beckham, Heyward was compared to Ken Griffey Jr. when he entered the league. Injuries slowed him down last year, but at his age you don’t just lose your talent. He will become an elite player in our game, and this year will be his best year to date. I’m banking on25 homeruns and 15 stolen bases. That will do just fine at his draft price.
The "I Hit in Front of Pujols" Club
Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar
They were solid players before King Albert went to LA, but now their potential skyrockets. Easily can see both getting 100 runs this year, and Kendrick seemed to find his power stroke last year. How could I not acquire their services?
The Elite First Basemen I Have on More Than Three Teams Club
Joey Votto and Mark Teixeira: Both are elite commodities in our game, but I love how Teixeira is discounted on account of his poor AVG. I expect that to climb back into a respectable territory (.265-.270) in 2012. Votto had a poor power year by his standards in 2011 (28 HR) and I think he gets back in the groove and hits 35-plus this year. He is my selection for NL MVP.
CJ Wilson, Adam Wainwright, Ubaldo Jimenez. Corey Luebke, Freddie Freeman (wanted more of him), Alex Gordon, Shin-Soo Choo, Albert Pujols, Madison Bumgarner, Chris Sale, Mike Moustakas (also wanted more shares), Edwin Encarnacion, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Jason Bay, Jonathon Niese, Nick Swisher, Josh Beckett (love the discount), Michael Cuddyer, Matt Wieters, Carlos Santana, Jonathan Lucroy, Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Leake
Notable Single Misters
Justin Morneau (bounce back is happening), Prince Fielder, Hunter Pence, Justin Smoak, Mike Carp, Yu Darvish, Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera, Brennan Boesch (really wanted more), Jose Tabata, Dexter Fowler, Derek Jeter (don’t think he’s done yet), Drew Stubbs (does he reach 25-40 this year?), Jon Lester, Mat Gamel (his time to shine)
Who I Purposely Avoided
Brett Lawrie, Lance Berkman, Alex Avila, Ricky Romero, Jeremy Hellickson, Carlos Lee, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Evan Longoria (like him and got him once, but hate his price), Paul Goldschmidt, Eric Hosmer, Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Ackely, David Freese (too injury prone for me), Mark Reynolds (too pricey for me to risk BA drain), Kevin Youkilis (yuck-ilis), Michael Bourn, Elvis Andrus, Giancarlo Stanton (wrist problems, heavy-duty price, no thanks), Josh Hamilton (strict no coke-head policy), Nelson Cruz (love him when he’s healthy, hate him when he’s not), Trevor Cahill, Asdrubal Cabrera
Who I Wish I Got More Of (or at all)
Derek Holland, Brandon Beachy, Francisco Liriano, Justin Upton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kendrys Morales, Matt Harrison, Jason Kipnis, Neil Walker, Billy Butler, Mike Aviles (love him hitting in Fenway), Jeff Francoeur (great value), Brandon Phillips, Gaby Sanchez, J.P. Arencibia (love the power), Brandon Morrow (he reaches elite levels this year), Clayton Kershaw (best in the game), Cole Hamels (best on Philly), Colby Rasmus, Stephen Strasburg, Dan Haren, Jayson Werth, Jason Kubel, Torii Hunter, Josh Willingham, Ian Kinsler (my number one ranked second baseman), Gio Gonzalez