Hello again to all my loyal followers. Ever since I started the mailbag, I’ve been receiving piles of emails, and I certainly have no shortage of things to address this week. Without further ado, here are some more compelling fantasy questions, that with my answers, can hopefully lead you to a championship this season.
Hey there MC,
I’m gearing up for my fantasy draft, and there’s one thing that’s really been bothering me. You see, I’m in an AL Only League, and I’ve been looking over the rankings a lot lately. Is it just me, or does the shortstop position seem extremely weak? I’d say that Derek Jeter is the clear #1, but after him, who is there? Should I reach for Jeter because of the scarcity at shortstop, or are there other options I’m just not seeing?
Well Rory, I think that your observation is pretty dead on. At first glance, the shortstop position in the AL looks really weak. Jeter is by far the best option, but I wouldn’t reach for him. If he’s there for you in the late second or early third, I’d grab him, but don’t panic and take him well before he should be drafted. There are a couple other options who are pretty intriguing. One of them is Carlos Guillen of the Detroit Tigers. Guillen will be playing first base full-time for the Tigers this season, but he maintains shortstop eligibility from last season. I think the move to first will do nothing but help Guillen. There should be a lot less wear and tear on his body as he won’t have to go through the true rigors of playing in the field. He put up huge numbers for the shortstop position in ‘07. He hit over 20 Hr’s, drove in over 100 runs, hit about .300, and even stole 13 bases. Guillen should be in for another big year. Another guy who I like that is being ignored is Michael Young of the Texas Rangers. While Young’s power numbers have decreased over the last couple seasons, he contributes at a high level in so many other areas. Young hit .315 in ‘07, along with 9 HR’s, 94 RBI, and 13 steals. He’s also accumulated at least 200 hits in five straight seasons. Not to mention he hardly misses any games. You can get Young at a discounted price in comparison to Jeter, and he puts up pretty similar production.
How’s it going MC,
I’ve been thinking over some sleeper candidates that I may want to take at the end of my fantasy draft. One guy who really got me thinking was Barry Bonds. I know he isn’t on a team now, but I think he could still put up numbers if he lands somewhere. Do you think he’s worth a last round flier?
This is they type of predicament that fantasy owners have been faced with, with Roger Clemens the last couple seasons. While it looks like The Rocket is done, I honestly believe Bonds will play this season. He’s said that he intends to play on many occasions, and he’s still chasing 3,000 hits, as well as that elusive World Series ring. While I think he could produce anywhere he goes, he’d probably have more potential if he landed with an AL team. If he’s able to DH, he’ll be able to play significantly more games than he has the past few seasons. Even if he still hasn’t been signed by the time your draft rolls around, I’d still take a calculated risk by drafting him. Right now the front runners to acquire him seem to be the Rays and the Mets. On the Rays, I honestly feel he could hit 30 HR’s and drive in 100 runs. He’s definitely worth it.
I’m fairly new to fantasy and I’ve been trying to formulate a successful strategy. One unorthodox strategy that I’ve seen used is loading up on closers. This strategy makes sense to me because it can often times guarantee you ERA, WHIP, and saves in any given week. Do you think this is an effective strategy, or would you suggest something else?
Well Eddie, I happen to know exactly what you’re talking about. There’s a couple guys who I’m in leagues with that employ this exact strategy. One of them is perennially successful, while the other is usually a cellar-dweller. I think that the closer strategy could be effective, but it has to be coupled with an equally effective offensive strategy. I still believe in building a well-rounded team. I hate drafting closers and feel like I’m wasting a pick when I take one. You can normally still find solid closers in the later rounds. I’d rather take a less heralded guy and take my chances, than spend a pick in the 3-5 round range on one. A great example of how you can get a good closer late is when I got J.J. Putz in my auction league last season. People were so enthralled with the likes of Papelbon, Rivera, and K-Rod, that I swooped in and grabbed Putz for just a few dollars in the latter stages. There are always saves to be found. I wouldn’t complicate my draft by being forced into picks due to a strategy. I find it perfectly acceptable to take the best player available.
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