Skip to main content

Fantasy Baseball Vision: Target & Avoid - AL East Edition

Our good friend Brett Barton (@BrettBarton_FBV) at Fantasy Baseball Vision will help you prep for your upcoming drafts. He will continue with the Target & Avoid series for each MLB team.  In it he will examine and breakdown sleepers, rookies and sophomores from each team and tell you what to expect. Follow him on twitter so you don't miss the Fix My Team segments and of course position rankings.

Baltimore Orioles
Target: Jim Johnson

The O’s veteran will have the Closers role sewed up with no competition as compared to last year. The reason is because he successfully closed out the year with 51 Saves in 12’. Not many will think he can replicate last year’s feat or that the O’s will contend again this year, especially with Toronto’s massive upgrade, that is to your advantage.  Well, I’m here to tell you the O’s will compete and Johnson will again be on the fringe of a top 10 Closer. He’s had back to back years with an ERA under 2.70 and my favorite stat prior to last year was his career numbers in save opportunities, though few its worth noting. They are sparkling as you will see: 0.79 ERA and a 2.8 K/BB ratio with a slash line against of .175/.221/.200 now compare that to Mario Rivera’s career slash line of .162/.205/.201 more than impressive.  Currently going in the 15th Rd at MDC he could anchor your bullpen this year. As always never go too early for Saves but don’t be left out either. Mid teens is late enough to grab your closers or if you are in an Auction draft he is worth a solid $8-9 this year. Look for a line of 3W 55K 2.87 ERA 1.11WHIP and 44 Saves.

Avoid: Manny Machado

With no SS eligibility and no signs of him moving out JJ Hardy look for Machado to be one of the most over-hyped players to be drafted. Do not be fooled. Not only will the sophomore slump hit him but he will finish near 30th for overall 3B this year. With a current ADP of 211 and being selected as high as 144 is delusional. The 20 year old will be lucky to crack 20 HR and will hit 8th and possibly 9th in Baltimore. That means no real RBI opportunities and loss of crucial ABs. With so many other choices at 3B this season avoid Machado at all costs. Look for a generous line this year of 19HR 56RBI 5SB .242BA that’s not even Mark Reynolds good.

Boston Red Sox
Target: Will Middlebrooks

Third Base is much more concentrated than one may see at first glance. With the emergence of Chase Headley (highly overrated) the loss of Jose Bautista to the OF, Chipper retiring and other 3B regulars like Youk, A-Rod and Michael Young all well over their prime comes the next generation.  Though many drafters still like the tried and true household names that will go in RDs 1-5 (currently nine 3B are being taken by the end of RD5 at MDC) you can have the same or better quality in RDs 13-14. Middlebrooks’ ADP is at 176 currently and trending upward.  Middlebrooks’ should hit 5th in Beantown with many opportunities to push across runs with great table setters ahead of him. While coming up through the Sox system he hit over .300 3x with a .333 season in progress before being called up last year. He finished the last 75 games in the bigs and hit .288 with an OPS .835. That OPS ranked him 6th best for 3B. Taking Middlebrooks in the mid teen rounds will serve you well and you will be overjoyed when he outperforms Zimmerman, Headly, Sandoval and Lawrie. My line for 2013 80R 28HR 93RBI 10SB .280 BA. Remember you do not need a quick trigger this year when drafting 3B. Middlebrooks will be yours at pick 160.

The one time average SP, converted to Closer and then back to starter is not worth a draft pick this year. Yes he had a couple of decent years as a Cub feasting on the Astros and Pirates in the NL Central and putting up some good K numbers but that will all be exposed now that he is in the AL East and facing a DH every night. The career 4.45 ERA and 1.45 WHIP SP will get no more than 7 Wins this year. He will have a bloated 4.80+ ERA like he did once he accepted the trade to Texas last year. Look for 7-12 record with a 4.81 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP and 170Ks. Why do I say this? Because his career record against BAL, ChiSox, LAA, NYY and TB is 6-15…painful. As the 50th SP being selected at MDC look for that number to trend down dramatically. Your best bet is to talk up Dempster with your other Managers hoping one takes the bait and then gets crushed. Look for him to be on the FA list by June 1.

New York Yankees
Target: Ichiro Suzuki

Last month I completed in my 1st draft of the year. I was able to get Ichiro in round 23; yes it was when he was still unsigned, but round 23 in a twelve team league? Currently he is the 56th OF off the board at pick 200. Last week he was being taken at 172 over at MDC.  With players like Maybin, Fowler, Pierre, Crisp and Cuddyer going before him he is now a steal at his current level. Not one of those players will hit anywhere near .300 and only a couple will put up double digits in both HR and SB. No, Ichiro is not going to hit 20+HR but he can get to 10. If Granderson can hit 40 to that short porch in right, Ichiro can do it 1x a month.  I also see Ichiro back in the leadoff spot for the Yankees. That pushes him close to a 100R season. So, 10HR, 95R and 33SB for an OF in the 17th RD…give me some of that. Ichiro is one OF I will be targeting in all my drafts if he stays at this current draft level. In auctions he will fall under $9 this year so bid with confidence.

Avoid: Andy Pettitte

Pettitte will start the season as the Yankees #5 SP. What happens to #5 SP? They get skipped early and often to start the season. That puts Pettitte in line for only 120 innings this year. At that level he may pitch well be he will not put up the counting numbers you need to compete in Roto or H2H leagues. Currently the 85th SP off the board at MDC and being taken in just over 50% of drafts. Unless you are in a AL only league he may only be worth a FA pick up on 2 start weeks, but as far as a draft selection he is not worth a pick. Do not spend over $1 in auction leagues. Look for an 8Win season with an ERA at 4.00 and a 1.33 WHIP. Don’t forget he turns 41 this year.

Tampa Bay Rays
Target: Ben Zobrist
Not only do I have Zobrist targeted in every league this year but I feel his ADP is extremely too low. Currently he sits at 72. That’s a late 6th round pick…unbelievable!! Why do I love Zobrist so much this year?  His position flexibility. If you are in leagues with 20 game mins to qualify at a position; then Zobrist is the only player on the board who qualifies at OF (71), 2B (58), and SS (47). Who wouldn’t want a year in year out 20/20 guy with that flexibility? But wait, it gets better. Now that he is entrenched in the 3 hole with Longoria batting clean-up in 13’ he will push across 90 RBIs to go along with 90Runs. Pitchers will pitch to him with Longoria on deck.  I look for Zobrist to have the best year of his career with an OPS at .900 to lead all SS again. Last year he led MLB SS with an OPS at .848. Back in the 09’ season he had an OPS of .948 so .900 is not out reach because of his power and he takes over 90BB every year. That is super for OBP and OPS leagues. If you are in a H2H league Zobrist is a must for his flexibility. You can draft him early and have the luxury of building your team around his position flexibility. In Roto you would take 20/20 from any MI and be thrilled. He is a one of a kind player this year so do not miss out. Grab him as early as RD 3 and be willing to go up to $25-$30 in auctions.

Avoid: Wil Myers

Now don’t avoid him in Dynasty leagues where you can stash him on the farm until he hits his minimum qualifiers and then has to be brought up. He is a solid play in Dynasty and good player for years to come. But in Yearly Leagues he will be bust come draft day. Tampa is so shrewd with their money and the player’s service time clock starting. They do not want any player to qualify for Super 2 status and they will not bring Myers to The Show until they KNOW they have that extra year of control. That time should be in mid June this year. Even if he is crushing 500 foot HR in Triple A with a .400BA he stays put with the Durham Bulls. Currently going at pick 243 and the 65 OF off the board sounds about right. Unless you have the stomach to bench a player for 75 days let some other manager take on the waiting game. When he gets called up, look for 340 ABs with 15 HR and a .255 BA.

Toronto Blue Jays
Target: Emilio Bonifacio
You have heard the old adage that you can get speed late in your draft. It is true, but even better is to get Speed with position flexibility.  Bonifacio will be eligible again this year at 2B/MI and OF. No I am not targeting him as my starting 2B but I do want him as a possible MI or my first bench player. I do feel he will get the nod over Izturis up North at 2B and he will hit 9th in that potent line-up. Bonifacio is the type of speedster who will steal 2 bases on consecutive pitches. Of course he has no power but could get a couple inside the parkers, I want him for Runs and SB. Currently going in the 19th RD at MDC in 12 team leagues he is a good pick once you get into the 200s in your draft, especially in H2H leagues where he alone can win your SB category for the week. Look for a line of 2 HR 55 RBI 70 R and 45 SB. Plus the ability to slide him various holes in your line-up.

Avoid: Sergio Santos

Though Santos was named the Closer last year he was hurt immediately. In came Janssen to close the remainder of the year and did a decent job. Now both are coming off shoulder surgery and the early word is Santos gets 1st look at Closing. Here is what you need to know about the Toronto Bullpen. % different pitcher collected Saves last year and only totaled 29 as a club. Those same 5 pitchers also racked up 11 losses. It might be true Santos get the early look but he will only be 9 months out from his shoulder surgery. At this point