2011 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Starting Pitchers

Philadelphia Phillies all-star pitcher Roy Halladay wins his 20th game as pitcher for the Philadelphia Philies during the Philadelphia Phillies-Atlanta Braves game in Philadelphia September 21, 2010. UPI/John Anderson

All 2011 Fantasy Articles | 2011 Position Rankings

There seems to be two types of fantasy owners when it comes to drafting starting pitchers:

Fantasy Owner #1: Hello Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum or Felix Hernandez in the early rounds. I’m going to draft at least one stud early and wish the dopes that wait to grab pitchers in the middle to late rounds good luck. Hope they like playing Russian Roulette.

Fantasy Owner #2: While the morons are grabbing supposed studs in the first couple of rounds, I’m loading up on offense since it’s more predictable than figuring out what starters won’t have Zack Grienke-type 2010 campaigns. I’ll grab my pitchers in the middle rounds and be just fine.

No matter which fantasy owner you are, the No. 1 factor when it comes to drafting pitchers is understanding how the scoring system is set up in your league. If you play in a rotisserie league, then you’re probably fine employing Fantasy Owner #2’s philosophy and then making adjustments throughout the year depending on what you need (i.e. trading away saves for strikeouts, or speed for wins and ERA).

On the flip side, if you’re in a head-to-head league where you know a pitcher like Halladay can be the difference between winning and losing a couple of categories, then you may want to think about nabbing a starter early. Again, it’s all about understanding how the scoring is set up in your league.

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

2011 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Outfield

Colorado Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez flips his bat after striking out against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on September 13, 2010 in Denver. The Padres beat the Rockies 6-4. UPI/Gary C. Caskey

All 2011 Fantasy Articles | 2011 Position Rankings

We’ve always viewed outfield as your one-stop shopping when it comes to fantasy baseball. Once your roster has taken shape and you’re looking to address potential weaknesses, the outfield position can be extremely useful.

Obviously we don’t need to sell you on Ryan Bruan, Carl Crawford or Carlos Gonzalez. They’ll go in the first round. We also don’t need to convince you to take Josh Hamilton, Matt Holliday or Matt Kemp, who will all go in the second. We even don’t need to say much about Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, Justin Upton or Andrew McCutchen, because you know their value in the third and fourth rounds.

But when you start to get deeper into your draft and you notice that you lack speed or power, that’s when knowing what players can help is beneficial.

Need speed?…

Juan Pierre, White Sox
Pierre gets labeled as a “one category player,” but that’s not really the case. Sure he stole a whopping 68 bases last season, but he also hit .275 and scored 96 runs. Obviously you’re not drafting him for his power, but he’s more than just a base stealer – draft him with confidence.

Michael Bourn, Astros
The problem with Bourn is that he’s usually overrated on draft day. He was one of only three players to steal 50 bases last season and people will overpay to have him on their roster. Unlike Pierre, who’ll score 90-plus runs and hit between .275 and .280, Bourn will probably top out at 85 runs, hit .265 and rack up only 40 RBI. Granted, those numbers are only slightly worse than Pierre’s, but just know that if you draft Bourn, you’re probably overpaying for steals (which maybe you’re fine with).

Raja Davis, Blue Jays
Along with Pierre and Bourn, Davis was one of the three players last year to swipe 50 bags. The problem is that he might not come close to doing it again if he doesn’t draw more walks. That said, he’s projected as the Jays’ starting centerfielder and his defense will give him plenty of opportunities to play. He may not steal 50 bases again this year, but 45 is certainly a reasonable expectation.

Read the rest of this entry »

2011 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Catchers

2011 Fantasy Baseball Preview | 2011 Fantasy Baseball Rankings

Designing your draft strategy for catchers can sometimes be a nauseating task. Do you nab Joe Mauer in the second round and not worry about the position again until you add depth at the end of your draft, or do you fill other positions first and go for value late?

One strategy that you might want to consider is passing on the top 2-3 backstops (in our rankings that would constitute Mauer, Brian McCann and Victor Martinez) and waiting to select your catcher until at least Round 8. That way, when the pitchers start to fly off the board in Rounds 4 through 7, you’re not worried about investing a pick in McCann and Martinez when there will be plenty of value starting in Round 8.

But which players will be available then? Below is the tier we think you target starting in Round 8. If you think one of these catchers will fall to Round 9, 10 or 11, by all means: wait. But Rounds 8-11 is where you’ll find great value without having to shop for your starting backstop later in the draft when the pickings are slim and the value is scattered.

Buster Posey, Giants
After bursting onto the scene last year to help the Giants win their first World Series in over 55 years, Posey might not last until Round 8. But if he does and you feel good about your roster to that point, don’t waste any time announcing his name at your draft. He hit .305 with 18 dingers and 67 RBI while scoring 58 runs in just 443 plate appearances last season. He has the maturity of a 10-year veteran but is only a second-year pro. The Giants’ lineup is still weak as a whole, but Posey should hit around .300 again with 20-plus HRs, 80 RBI and 70 runs scored.

Read the rest of this entry »

2010 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Third Basemen

All 2010 Fantasy Articles | 2010 Position Rankings

Savvy fantasy drafters realize that the pool for third basemen this year isn’t as shallow as catchers and shortstops, but it isn’t as deep as second basemen either (which may sound surprising to some owners).

What does that mean to you? Well, if you don’t grab one of the top seven or eight third basemen in your draft, then good luck trying to figure out which player after that will exceed expectations.

Drafting third basemen is pretty cut and dry. If you don’t land one of the top 3 (Alex Rodriguez, Evan Longoria or David Wright), then focus on drafting one of the next five 3B’s available or you better hope that Gordon Beckham or Ian Stewart are the ultimate sleepers this season. We don’t need to sell you on why you should take A-Rod, Longoria or Wright, so we’re going to concentrate on the next five rated players on our list, which we’ve highlighted for you below.

Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
There’s a good chance that Zimmerman will plateau at around 30 home runs (which is nothing to scoff at), but it’s hard to argue with what he’ll bring to the table in terms of production across the board. He should hit around .300 (or maybe a little south of that number), with 100-plus runs and RBI, all while stealing 5-10 bases and hitting the aforementioned 25-30 home runs. That’s solid production for your third base position if you happen to miss out on one of the top three guys.

Read the rest of this entry »

2010 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Shortstops

All 2010 Fantasy Articles | 2010 Position Rankings

Sometimes it pays to be patient when it comes to drafting certain positions in fantasy baseball. For example, waiting to snag your starting catcher until late in your draft makes sense. Landing a couple star players at weaker positions in the early rounds while waiting to select someone in a deep pool of first basemen can also be adventurous.

But choosing not to grab an elite shortstop in one of the first two rounds is about as smart as bringing a knife to a gunfight. You’ll be at a serious disadvantage because the talent pool after the top five players doesn’t level off – it drops off a mountain.

If you weren’t lucky enough to land one of the top picks in the draft, then you’ll probably miss out on Hanley Ramirez. Don’t sweat it – there are four other shortstops that you can target in one of the first two rounds in order to set yourself up with a great player at shortstop. Just make sure you snag one of the top five or else you could wind up pulling your hair out because you just can’t get enough consistent production out of your starting shortstop position.

Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
Ramirez is in a class all his own. He’s a five-tool superstar that will give you 25-plus home run power, 90-plus RBI and 100-plus runs, all while stealing 25-plus bases and hitting anywhere from .320 to .340. The problem is, if you don’t have one of the top 2 spots in your draft you won’t have him on your roster this season.

Read the rest of this entry »

Related Posts