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Fantasy Baseball Vision: Target & Avoid - AL West 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 Central.  Follow him on twitter so you don't miss the Fix My Team segments and of course position rankings.

Houston Astros
Target: Jose Veras
The Astros could go down as one of the worst teams of all time. I would put the over/under on wins at 52 this year. But with 52 wins someone needs to Save 20 of those and that brings in Jose Veras. With nearly 15 other RP being picked before him who will not get more than 5 Saves, Veras is the last Closer off the board and the 45th RP being drafted.  To me a save is a save is a save and if you need, and I do mean need, a Closer late in your draft Veras will be there. Have you ever been in a draft where a Closer is going as the 45th RP off the board…me either? Look for 20 Saves and a K/9 at 9.0. To me, that’s still production and worth having in the 24th round this year. The only drawback to Veras is if he does shine he will be gone come the trading deadline. So draft him late, hope he puts up a dozen Saves by mid June then trade him to another manager before the MLB trading deadline. Remember a save is a save is a save.

Avoid: The Entire Houston Starting Rotation

Yes, Bud Norris can give you some quality Ks but not a single Astros SP will put up 10 Wins or have an ERA under 4.00. No value what so ever in Fantasy. I see the rotation setting up this way. Norris 9Wins 4.44 ERA, Harrell 8 Wins 4.49 ERA, Lyles 7 Wins 4.77 ERA, Humber 7 Wins 4.81 ERA, and Bedard 6 Wins 4.91 ERA. Going up against power hitting lineups like the Rangers and Angels Houston will play .200 baseball. Against Oakland’s pitching Houston’s SP will get no run support and maybe play .380 baseball. Then the improving Mariners they could go .400 on the year as long as they don’t get King Felix in every series. So avoid, avoid and avoid some more of Houston’s rotation in 13'.

Los Angeles Angels
Target: Peter Bourjos
With such a potent lineup the Angels have, the forgotten man is the speedy Peter Bourjos.  Bourjos was the hyped rookie before most had heard of Mike Trout. He is just 2 years removed from a 12HR 22SB season and now that he is 26 he is a little more mature and does not have to worry about playing time.  Not often do I recommend a player hitting in the ninth hole but I see Bourjos getting a chance in the 2 hole if he can take a few more BB and cut down his Ks. So if Erick Aybar, Alberto Callaspo, or Howie Kendrick falters he gets his chance. If he can improve on the Ks and just make a little contact to beat out some infield singles his average could jump to the .270 range. Just think, he could be slotted between Trout and Pujols. In any 5 OF formats I play in this year Bourjos will be targeted by this manager. His current ADP of 259 and the 75 OF off the board means he isn’t even being drafted in 12 team leagues too often. He is a great last round pick with huge upside this year. Look for a .265 14HR 55RBI 28SB season. His Runs scored will fluctuate with his place in the batting order.

Avoid: Tommy Hanson

The former top 3 prospect back in 2009, Hanson’s recent trade from Atlanta should signal red flags. Not often does a relatively cheap arbitration eligible SP get moved for a set up man. But that’s what happened to Hanson. That means Atlanta had huge concerns about his declining velocity. Looking at his numbers he has been nearly awful since his injuries. His HR and walk rate have ballooned and his most recent 50 IP brought on a 5.00 ERA. That ERA has increased every year since his rookie campaign. If any team knows pitching it is the Braves. So when they cut bait on a SP you should too. Look for some decent K numbers but that will go with a 4.50 ERA and a WHIP north of 1.30 now that he is in the AL.

Oakland Athletics
Target: Jarrod Parker

The young 24 year old had a stellar rookie campaign last year going 13-8 with a tremendous 3.47 ERA. His peripherals with a 7.5 K/9 is above average but he does tend to walk a few. So why did I select Parker as a target? He has definite 3rd SP value, if not a No. 2 but his ADP is 193 being the 46th SP off the board. At Roto Champ they have him as the 94th best SP in the draft. Both projections are nearly ludicrous. He is closer to a top 30 SP than the 50th. Don’t forget He pitches in the cavernous Oakland Coliseum which is the 8th best pitcher park in baseball.  His start in the playoffs against the Tiger he went 6.1 innings giving up 2 ER on 7H. Who would take that line every 5th day? He was also the Winning pitcher when the A’s beat the Rangers to clinch a playoff birth, which shows you he can be clutch in big games. Remember last year…13-8 with a 3.47 ERA if it wasn’t for Trout he would have won ROY.

Avoid: Chris Young

Do not get me wrong I like Young and owned him last year and loved his hot start. The problem this year is a crowded Oakland OF and probably a platoon at DH. I see Young getting close to 100 starts (if he stays healthy) which just is not enough to have fantasy relevance. What I do predict for young is an increase in SB in late inning PR efforts.  Currently the 73rd OF off the board; so only in the deepest leagues is he even worth a look. If someone goes down in Oakland’s OF, Young will be on the FA wire and that would be the only time to grab him.

Seattle Mariners
Target: Kendrys Morales

After missing the entire 2011 season, Morales returned for 134 games in 2012 and hit .273 with 22HR and 73 RBI for the Halos. We all remember his 2009 season in which he hit .306 with 34 HR and 108 RBI while going virtually undrafted that year. I feel this year will be a happy medium between those two seasons. Now fully recovered and possibly moving to the 3 hole in Seattle, with the fences now moved in, look for a better than expected year. I feel Morales is one of my true sleepers this year. On top of all that Morales is in his final year of arbitration and that means he is playing for a monster long term free agent contract. That is huge motivation for players.  The one stat that says production is his 2nd half of 12’ as he hit 14 HR  compared to only 8 in the first half….and he did that in fewer at bats. I will be targeting Morales as a CI in 11-12th rounds and looking for 30HR 90 RBI while hitting .290.

Avoid: Justin Smoak
There is not another starting 1B with less intriguing upside than Smoak. I feel he will get a 2 month look at 1B and will not produce then be replaced by Morales full time with Ibanez moving into the DH role. Even with a .250 average he gets moved. So needs to go .265 with 10HR and 35 RBI by Memorial Day. The former 1st rounder has never lived up to his potential and has not hit above .239 in his career. With a career .683 OPS for a first basemen is pathetic…it’s not even high enough to crack the top 15 for second basemen last year. Right now he is being taken in the 22-23 rounds and too me that is a wasted pick. Take a chance on someone with significant upside in those rounds.

Texas Rangers
Target: Lance Berkman

Originally I wanted Nelson Cruz here but with the pending PED investigation I had to look elsewhere. And looking over the Rangers lineup there is no real value to current ADP. So the best value with the most upside is Lance Berkman. The career .296 hitter with a career OPS well over .900 can be had in the 20th round at this time. A couple of ifs here but they could come to fruition. If he hits in the 3 hole and if he can stay healthy he will completely out produce his current draft position. He should be the last 3 hole hitter of all draft boards this year. With only 1B eligibility that is a negative. I see him only in CI but mostly in Util slots this year. Can he gain OF eligibility, yes; especially if Cruz has a suspension. A conservative projection this year would be 20HR and 75 RBI but a healthy Berkman can go 30 and 95 like he did in 140 games for Cardinals in 11’. That is production that can never be had in the 20th+ rounds.

Avoid: Mike Olt

Two reasons not to draft Mike Olt; Beltre and Berkman. There is currently to place to play him. In Yahoo he only has 1B eligibility and he will not getting playing time there either. For some reason he is getting drafted in 60% of leagues at MDC which astounds me. That number has to come down in true 1 year leagues.  Does the guy have talent? Of course, as does Profar but the Rangers will have to justify whether the benefits of a limited role in the majors outweigh consistent playing time in the minors for these too. I see both starting in AAA.  I have trouble drafting a prospect with no position or guaranteed playing time…no matter how good he is. Let him rot on someone elses bench.