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Fantasy Baseball Vision: Target & Avoid - AL Central Edition

Our good friend Brett Barton (@BrettBarton_FBV) at Fantasy Baseball Vision will help you prep for your upcoming drafts. Last time he gave us the Target & Avoid players from the American League East.  Follow him on twitter so you don't miss the Fix My Team segments and of course position rankings.

Chicago White Sox
Target: Tyler Flowers

C Tyler Flowers is now the No. 1 catcher in the wake of veteran C A.J. Pierzynski signing with Texas, and the Sox have spent the last month talking up the positives of having Flowers start. Of course, it's just talk until Flowers can go out there and prove it on a consistent basis. Now Flowers is not an elite C or even a top 10 but he has legit power and could help any team, especially in 2C formats. His current ADP is 316 and that pick is coming in the last 2 rounds of a 12 team 28 man roster. I definite feel Flowers will out produce the 10 catchers being drafted ahead of him like Salty, Martin, Jaso, Suzuki, Castillo, Grandal, Ramos ect.  Look for a slash line of 21HR 60RBI .245BA.

Avoid: John Danks

Danks has been throwing 40 pitches off the mound three times per week and said he's "cautiously optimistic" about his outlook for spring training. Danks provided little return for the White Sox after the team committed $65 million over five years to him last offseason, as the right-hander showed decreased velocity on his pitches that resulted in a 5.70 ERA before his season came to an end in May. Danks is a career .500 SP with a HR/9 at 1.1 and a K/9 at 6.8. With those peripherals and coming off major surgery he is not worth a draft pick. Just because a team throws bags of cash at a player does not mean he is will be fantasy relevant. Remember Barry Zito over the last 5 years. Avoid drafting him but keep him on your radar and monitor his progress through his first five starts. Remember that a SP coming off surgery will not perform well until the temps rise near 70 degrees, especially in Chicago.

Cleveland Indians
Target: Asdrubal Cabrera

The reason I am targeting Cabrera is a small blurb I heard from Francona after Swisher signed.
He stated Swisher will hit clean-up behind Cabrera. That puts Santana in the5 hole. If Cabrera can stick in the 3 slot as a SS that bumps his value way up in my eyes. A SS with a chance at 90RBI & 90R season, that puts him in top 5 rankings. Currently his ADP is 132 and the 9th SS off the board. After him SS falls to the early 200’s with Aybar. My plan is to avoid Desmond, Andrus and the aging Jeter and Rollins if I miss out in the top 4 SS then pick up Cabrera in RD 12 with my eyes looking for a 88/17/87/.272/12 line.

Avoid: Jason Kipnis

With 2B a shallow position this year you have the Elite (Cano) the Good (Pedroia, Kinsler, Zobrist) then the Average…everyone else with no more than 2 counting roto stats and that includes the overrated Kipnis.  He played so far over his head in 2012 that his current ADP is completely unrealistic at 60 and the 4th 2B off the board. If you miss out on the top 4 noted earlier then wait 13 more rounds and pick up Weeks, Utley or Ackley at pick 195…all will have similar numbers to Kipnis and his 12 HR and 15 SB while hitting .265…just like Neil Walker. What you need to remember from 12’ was his 2nd half which had a line of 3HR 11SB while hitting .233. So if he gets to 15/15 in his sophomore slump season I will be shocked.

Detroit Tigers
Target: Victor Martinez

Martinez might be the forgotten Catcher come draft day. After missing the entire 12’ season with a micro-fracture knee injury he will return to hit 5th in the Tiger’s line-up playing mostly as their primary DH.  A career .303 hitter with OPS at .840 he is 2nd to all active catchers in the OPS category. I have projected the switch hitting Martinez to be near the leader for all qualified Catchers in ABs this year. You know what that means, more ABs=more counting stats. Hitting behind Cabrera/Fielder is a wealth RBI opportunities. Look for a Martinez to go in the 9-10 round area with an auction value at $8. I will target Martinez in all leagues and project him to a line of 16HR 90 RBI .301BA. Do not let the injury to his knee detour you from drafting him.

Avoid: Doug Fister

With a current ADP of 114 and some projecting Fister as a top 20 SP they couldn’t be more wrong. A career pitcher with a record 11 games south of .500 and only a 6 K/9 in his career what is too like? Yes he had that 11 game 2nd half in 11’ when he went 8-1 but take away that spurt and Fister is 22 and 40. Would you even consider drafting a SP with that record? Let me answer for you, Hell no!! So why do so many have him in their top 20? It may be his ERA and WHIP which are above average but not worth taking this guy in RD 9. I would much rather have more Ks if I am selecting probably my 2nd SP in that round. I would much rather have a NL SP like Samardzija, Bailey or Haren a few round later with higher K potential. Look for Fister to have another near .500 season with an 11-10 record a 3.77 ERA 1.21 WHIP and only 135 Ks.

Kansas City Royals
Target: Billy Butler

Butler finally had that breakout year in 12’ where he was able to turn some of those doubles; finally into HR. Butler is the driving force in the emerging Royals offense that is another year older and more mature.  He has always possessed a good eye that made him able to put up consistent .300 seasons but the former doubles machine has at last turned into an All-Star. Last year’s number of 29HR and 107 RBI will easily be matched and passed this year. Currently the 8th 1B off the board with an ADP of 40 I project him to outperform the 3 1B being selected in front of him. That being A-Gone, Encarnacion, and the overrated Allen Craig, Butler could entrench himself as a top 5 1B this year. Yes, he DHs most of the time but he will not lose his 1B eligibility. So draft him with confidence in RD 3 of mixed leagues and do not be afraid to select him in 1st RD of AL only leagues.  Feel free to put a $28-$32 tag on him in auctions. Final stats 32HR 110 RBI 91R .306BA

Avoid: Alex Gordon

Currently with an astonishing ADP of 64 he is HIGHLY over ranked. It took him 4 years to finally put together a year that everyone thought he could then he regressed tremendously again last year. In 11’ he went 23HR 87RBI 17SB and went virtually undrafted. Last year he was a hyped pick beyond belief and finished with 14HR 72RBI and 10SB…can you say Cody Ross numbers? I see another disappointing season with 12HR 75RBI and 12SB, those stats might not even put him the top 64 OF let alone the 64th pick off the board. Now if you’re in a league counts doubles as a stat I would consider him, he had 51 last year, but if you are in a league that counts doubles you are a knucklehead.

Minnesota Twins
Target: Ryan Doumit

Come draft day many owners do not target Catchers until late middle rounds unless they want Buster Posey in RD 2. I too usually punt on Catcher early, looking for mostly Power/Speed guys or maybe an Ace in the early rounds. Then when it is time to fill that Catcher slot you should consider Ryan Doumit. He and V-Mart are the only 2 Catchers I want this year in any draft.  What I look for in a catcher come draft day is multi-position eligibility, but necessarily to slot them in other position but with that flexibility it means more At-Bats, which equates to more counting stats. Last year Doumit was 9th in ABs for all Catchers and missed 25 games due to a thumb injury. So draft Doumit with confidence at around the 160’s mark and be sure to get 80% of the production that Posey will put up. Remember Doumit had career years in HR and RBI last year, while being shut down early due to injury. Look for a line of .277 18 HR, 81 RBI.

Avoid: Trevor Plouffe

All the things that made Plouffe a great FA pick up in June last year have all gone by the way side. He had 4 position eligibility last year, this year only 3B and OF. When looking at his season numbers they don’t look to bad for a player with just 400ABs, but looking closer Plouffe finished out last season hitting .199 with 5HR and 17 RBI. With 23 HR in only 403 at-bats last season had showed he has some pop, but the streaky type players are practically useless in fantasy terms.  Just look at his 7 year career minor league numbers, 79 HR and a .257 BA, those are nothing even close to what a MLB 3B needs to produce to stay in the show. My prediction is Plouffe falters dramatically and once again moves to a utility role and gets less than 440 ABs this year. He may get close to 20 HR but his top side in Pedro Alverez and a .239 BA.