|Debut: 1996 | BirthDate: 3/11/1974 | Position: OF|
Profile: Abreu, 39 this spring, remains useful because he still draws a ton of walks (14.4% in 2012), but otherwise his game has evaporated. His power is gone (.100 isolated slugging percentage), he’s stopped stealing bases (just six in 2012), and his average has sat in the .250-range the last three years. Abreu remains unsigned as of this writing and has worked out for a few teams at first base, but even gaining some extra position eligibility won’t increase his fantasy value. He’s an end-of-the roster guy who won’t kill you in on-base percentage leagues, nothing more. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: Abreu, soon to be 39, fits best as an end-of-the-roster guy in on-base percentage leagues. He doesn’t hit for power or many bases anymore, plus his average has been middling for years. There’s not much left in the tank for a former elite fantasy player.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 11/13/1984 | Team: Giants | Position: 2B/3B|
Profile: Tony Abreu has bounced around — three clubs over the past four years. The 28-year-old switch-hitter looks to be a Quad-A middle infielder. In the majors, he has 464 plate appearances and has hit .252 with four home runs and two stolen bases. Also, he rarely walks (3.4%), so he needs batted-ball luck to get on base. His Triple-A numbers show a tiny bit more upside, since he produced around 10 homers and stolen bases and a .300 average in his last two minor league seasons. Still, he needs to find a spot on the Royals’ roster. The Royals need a backup shortstop and third baseman, roles Irving Falu can fill too. Also, it has been stated by the Royals don’t have much faith in either Abreu or Falu and are still looking for someone to fill that role for them. Abreu is the classic Quad-A player and has no value unless he some how finds a starting position on a team. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Tony Abreu is a bad utility infielder on his best days. Unless the Royals get hit hard by the injury bug, he is unrosterable.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 2/26/1988 | Team: Mariners | Position: 2B|
Profile: There’s really no elegant way to address Dustin Ackley’s bat in 2012 other than it was barely there. He struggled from beginning to end, never really flashing the kind of potential that fantasy owners, not to mention the Mariners, are patiently waiting for. Twelve home runs and 13 steals is certainly nice, but a .226/.294/.328 slash line makes Ackley pretty much unusable in fantasy formats. Ackley did demonstrate good overall contact rates, specifically his 91% Z-Contact % but too many of those balls were weak ground outs or infield fly balls. With the outfield walls moving in, a little better luck on balls in play, and another year of maturity, I could certainly envision a future where Ackley hits for a slightly better average (.255?) and perhaps a little help with the power stroke (15 HR?), but there’s a long way to go for Ackley to be more than waiver wire material. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Dustin Ackley grounds out to the second baseman with an obsessive-compulsive frequency and was actually worse versus right-handed pitchers in 2012 with a .215/.285/.308 line. There’s really only one direction to go for Ackley, but his improvement will demand an awfully high trajectory in order to bring him back to fantasy relevancy. He’s still worth a flyer due to his age and the whole SafeCo fence thing, but you should aim low in expectations and just pray you miss.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 8/31/1988 | Team: Cardinals | Position: 1B|
Profile: Adams is a dude that can best be described as Farm Boy Strong. He’s certainly not the most athletic but when he connects ball to bat in that sweet, sweet spot, the Cardinals prospect can deposit the baseball in another zip code. And he’s not just a pure slugger. He has hit more than .300 at every minor league level he’s played during his four-year pro career and doesn’t strike out as much as your typical hulking slugger. On the down side, he makes a little too much contact and doesn’t walk much, which hurts his on-base percentage, and increases the likelihood that his average could dip against better pitching. Adams’ future does not look particularly bright in St. Louis, despite entering 2012 as the favorite to replace long-time Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, who chased the free agent pot of gold all the way to Los Angeles. Allen Craig swiped the first base job from Adams’ clutches and doesn’t appear willing to play nice. A trade — or injury to the incumbent — are really the only shots that the rookie has for regular big league playing time in 2013. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Adams is probably big-league ready but he lacks an opportunity. If an injury or a trade pops up then the hulking first baseman becomes an interesting player to monitor. He could potentially provide help in a number of fantasy categories including batting average, home runs and RBIs.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 2/12/1986 | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Some travelers in the desert see a mirage of an oasis, others who have spent too much time in the sand see a future for Brandon Allen. He’s a PCL masher who hasn’t shown much anywhere else, including in his 12 game stint in Japan last year. Texas is hitter-friendly, but there’s no guarantee Allen will ever find out if it’s friendly enough to make him look good again. (Dan Wade)
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 4/8/1987 | Team: Padres | Position: 1B|
Profile: Alonso is good at getting on base. Not great, but good. Last season, his 10.0% walk rate ranked 38th. Unfortunately, this was the only above-average part of his offensive game. He was one of the worst baserunners in the game, and only five first basemen had a lower slugging percentage than he did last season. Generally, San Diego players can take to the old “it’s Petco Park’s fault” routine. But, Alonso does not have that excuse on which to fall back. At home, Alonso slugged .398 and posted a .123 ISO. But on the road, the numbers didn’t improve. In fact, they got worse — Alonso slugged .389 and posted a .118 ISO on the road. He may continue to mature given that this season will be his age-26 campaign, but his upside at this point is 20 homers with a .290 average. Such an average would be enviable among the first-base set, but the power would be a drag — last season 16 qualified first basemen hit at least 20 homers. If you subscribe to the notion that you have to find power from your first baseman, then Alonso is unlikely to ever rate as better than a backup. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: Alonso may continue to mature, but he will have to make some tremendous leaps in order to have value in most fantasy formats now that he will only be eligible at first base.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 5/6/1990 | Team: Astros | Position: 2B|
Profile: In a year during which Alcides Escobar hits .291/.331/.390 with five home runs and everyone raves about his offensive improvement, it makes a bit more sense than Jose Altuve can become a minor celebrity by hitting .290/.340/.399 with a Bonds-ian seven dongs. Snarkiness aside, harping on Altuve’s power (or the lack thereof) does not really get at the heart of his game, especially for fantasy purposes. As long as he can get on base, he can take advantage of his speed, and players capable of 30 steals a season are nothing to sneeze at in fantasy. Whether Altuve can maintain that .340 on-base percentage is an open question. Despite a below-average walk rate, Altuve is not a total hacker, and does have a very high contact rate. He will need it, because although he will only be 23 next season, his frame does not leave much to build on as far as power development goes. Altuve is draftable as a starter in most leagues, and definitely in those in which steals are a category. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Jose Altuve may have received undue attention in 2012 because of his size, but in reality he has enough speed to be very playable and maybe even very good fantasy starter in 2013.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 2/6/1987 | Team: Pirates | Position: 3B|
Profile: At this point, Pedro Alvarez is everything we thought he would be. He mashes homers, but he also strikes out far too often to be an elite third baseman. Alvarez also hits too many balls on the ground for a power hitter, limiting the number of balls that have a chance to leave the park. Alvarez is still only 26 years old, so he has a chance to add even more power numbers to his portfolio, especially with a little more loft in his swing. The Pirates offense has some potential, and Alvarez could be a key cog. Alvarez is not quite a top-12 third baseman, but he could be if a few balls bounce his way. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Pedro Alvarez is a big bundle of power, but he still has trouble making consistent contact. He’s not quite a top-12 third baseman, but he’s not far off.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 4/6/1989 | Team: Padres | Position: 2B/OF|
Profile: The easy comparison for Alexi Amarista is Emilio Bonifacio: both men manned six positions last year, and neither stands out in any particular category. For 2013, at least, a typical Bonifacio season would be optimistic for Amarista, who is a couple years behind in age and development. After promising power and speed in the lower minors (127 wRC+ in rookie and A-ball), his walk rate, slugging and steal totals diminished with every promotion. Being a super-utility infielder has its advantages, especially on teams where roster space or transactions are at a premium. But without the walks, he needs to make enough contact to get the chance to earn those steals. Fortunately, his ground ball (50.4% in 2012) and line drive (19.4% in 2012) rates show that it’s possible. (Patrick Dubuque)
Quick Opinion: It’s not hard to conceive of ways in which Alexi Amarista could be a valuable reserve for a fantasy team. In order for it to happen, though, he’ll have to get his average up above .250 at least.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 9/25/1987 | Team: White Sox | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Boston’s former top prospect finally escaped town last July but the 25-year-old’s star has faded to a mere glimmer. Traded again to Arizona in the offseason, Anderson’s best chance at sticking on the 2013 big league roster might be as nothing more than a left-handed bat off the bench. (Colin Zarzycki)
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 4/25/1984 | Team: Mariners | Position: 2B|
Profile: Robert Andino started a good chunk of the season as the Orioles’ second baseman, but didn’t hit well enough to keep his spot. He was traded to the Mariners in November, and should serve as a super-utility player. Andino put up a terrible 61 wRC+ last season, and is best served in a position where he plays sparingly. He will be the team’s primary backup at most of their infield positions, so he should see playing time if Brendan Ryan, Dustin Ackley or Kyle Seager are injured. He won’t produce enough to be worth a draft pick. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Andino should serve as the primary backup for most of the Mariners infield. He won’t have enough value even if he lands in a full-time role.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 8/26/1988 | Team: Rangers | Position: SS|
Profile: It’s easy to forget that Elvis Andrus is just 24 years old, so there is plenty of reason to believe we’ve yet to the see the best he can offer. While he probably won’t develop home run power like most players do as they enter their prime years, added strength and skill should help Andrus collect more doubles and triples, as well as raise his batting average on balls in play. Andrus was a top-12 shortstop in 2012, and odds are he’ll enter the top-10 in 2013. His skillset is typically overvalued by a couple owners in every league, so be sure to be reasonable when bidding for his services. If the price hits $20, walk away. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Elvis Andrus is just 24 years old and possesses great speed, but his skill set often goes overvalued in drafts. If the price hits $20, walk away.
|Debut: 1999 | BirthDate: 7/19/1979 | Position: OF|
Profile: Ankiel was let go by the Nationals in mid-July and wasn’t picked up by any other team. Rumors have cropped up that he might be considering a return to pitching. That would be the perfect ending for the inevitable Disney movie based on his life. (Chris Cwik)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 1/5/1982 | Team: Brewers | Position: OF|
Profile: Aoki flew under the radar for the majority of the season, but ultimately hit .288/.355/.433 with ten home runs and 30 stolen bases. He was one of three players to finish the season with at least ten home runs, 30 stolen bases, and a .350 on base percentage — joining teammate Ryan Braun and phenom Mike Trout in that exclusive group. His approach relies on ground balls and his speed. As Mike Petriello notes, Aoki led the league in infield hits and only seven qualified hitters had a higher ground ball percentage than the 31-year-old outfielder last season. Though fantasy owners should not expect double-digit home runs from Aoki again (those ground balls), they can be confident that he’ll provide a high batting average and ample stolen bases, and if he continues to hit atop the Brewers’ batting order, he should also rack up the run totals. He’s not anyone to reach for on draft day, but Norichika Aoki projects to be a solid final outfielder in most formats and could potentially drop in some drafts due to a lack of name-recognition. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: A pleasant surprise in 2012, Aoki provides fantasy owners a little bit of value in most categories without sacrificing batting average in the process. He’s a solid final outfielder in most fantasy formats, especially deep or NL-only leagues.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 1/5/1986 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: C|
Profile: J.P. Arencibia, for better or worse, is the man behind the plate in Toronto. And Arencibia is what he is: a low-contact, power-hitting catcher. Arencibia strikes out a lot, and refuses to take a walk. Look, he just won’t do it; forget about it. His walk rate actually dipped in 2012, down to 4.8% from 7.4% in 2011. I’m not saying, “Don’t draft J.P. Arencibia.” I’m saying, “Know what you’re getting when you draft J.P. Arencibia.” He’s a below-average hitter, and any defensive improvements he continues to make aren’t going to help your fantasy team. But Arencibia will hit some home runs, and should have an opportunity to drive in some runs, especially if the Blue Jays lineup delivers on its on-paper promise. Arencibia remains a high risk, not really very high reward type of player, and a catcher you only consider picking up in the later rounds of your draft, or on the cheap. (Navin Vaswani)
Quick Opinion: J.P. Arencibia is the man behind the plate in Toronto, with Travis d’Arnaud now with the Mets and no longer on his heels. JPA won’t make a lot of contact, but he will hit some home runs, and drive in some runs. Consider him a fantasy option, sure, but a very limited one.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 9/21/1984 | Team: Giants | Position: 3B/SS|
Profile: Joaquin Arias was a light-hitting utility infielder for the Giants in 2012 and will likely play the same role in 2013. His walk rate was an abysmal 3.8% and his 12.8% strikeout rate wasn’t great either. He somehow hit five home runs, but don’t ask me how. I can’t explain it. When he gets on, he’ll steal a base here or there, but not enough to provide any fantasy value. (Wendy Thurm/@hangingsliders)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 1/1/1990 | Team: Orioles | Position: OF|
Profile: Xavier Avery whipped through the Orioles farm system in four years and made his rookie debut in 2012 to, well, a review just like this one, from Marc Hulet: “… Avery was aggressively pushed through the Orioles system despite modest results at each level. He’s an impressive athlete but the left-handed hitter is still somewhat raw after five seasons in pro ball.” A backup outfielder at best in 2013, Avery could spend some more time in the minors this coming season — not that there’s anything wrong with that — and has no fantasy value at this point in his career. (Navin Vaswani)
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 1/29/1987 | Team: Tigers | Position: C|
Profile: Expectations were high as Avila entrenched himself into the upper echelon of catchers after his breakout 2011 campaign that included power and batting average. But the inflated batting average on balls in play he enjoyed that year couldn’t be repeated, and it fell back to a much more sustainable level, taking his batting average with it. The power dropped too, but it was primarily due to a precipitous decline in fly ball rate. That should rebound some and with more at-bats and better health as well, Avila could be headed right back into the mid-teens in home run power. He’ll likely be an undervalued asset on draft day and could reward fantasy owners with a nice profit. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: After a breakout 2011 season, Avila disappointed during his follow-up campaign, as he lost his batted ball magic and his power fell dramatically. While a .290 batting average won’t happen again, a rebound in fly ball rate is all that is needed to get his home run total back into the mid-teens.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 3/13/1981 | Team: Indians | Position: SS|
Profile: Aviles was a surprising source of modest power in 2012, but was bounced from Boston to Toronto to Cleveland this offseason. Even if he manages to find quasi-regular at bats behind Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis (unlikely, barring injury), he will offer a bit of pop but will probably hurt owners in leagues that reward on-base percentage more than he will help. (Colin Zarzycki)
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 1/14/1984 | Team: Angels | Position: SS|
Profile: To be frank, Erick Aybar sucked at the start of the 2012 season, but he bounced back big time in the second half and ended up having a great season. Aybar’s .290 batting average was the second-highest of his career, and his combination of eight homers and 20 steals made him a highly desirable shortstop in every league. Hitting in front of heavyweights like Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton will allow Aybar to score runs, but only if he can get on base at a higher rate. If Aybar can score 80 runs in 2013, he would be a top-10 fantasy shortstop. As it stands right now, Aybar is still worth owning in every mixed league. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Erick Aybar had a great 2012 campaign, and if he can score 10-15 more runs in 2013, he’ll be a top-10 fantasy shortstop.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 1/20/1981 | Team: Padres | Position: C|
Profile: Baker is arbitration-eligible heading into the 2013 season, but given Yasmani Grandal’s 50-game suspension and Nick Hundley’s inability to stay healthy, the Padres will likely pony up enough dough to retain the 31-year old Baker’s services for at least another year. But make no mistake, Baker is there solely for his defense and veteran leadership. Before appearing in 63 games for the Padres last season, Baker had been dealing with a rash of injuries and hadn’t played in more than 60 games since 2009. His offensive punch is more like an open-handed pat on the rear with his career .110 isolated slugging percentage and 20.4% strikeout rate. He’ll likely resume back-up duties to open the 2013 season, but has a very uncertain future beyond the first two months of the season as Grandal is expected back by the start of June. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Baker, who is likely to avoid arbitration and sign on with the Padres again, is merely an insurance policy for the team. He will back-up the oft-injured Nick Hundley, but is expected to see his role reduced even more once Yasmani Grandal returns in early June from his 50-game PEDs suspension. With almost no offensive assets, Baker should only be considered in the deepest of two-catcher NL-only leagues.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 6/21/1981 | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: As a 32-year-old utility infielder with a RHH-platoon-partner ceiling, Jeff Baker has the most narrow of fantasy appeal. He hits lefties well, but nowhere near well enough to be a starter or worthy of fantasy consideration. (Bradley Woodrum)
|Debut: 1999 | BirthDate: 9/5/1975 | Position: C|
Profile: Like a number of other catchers with bad on-base skills, Rod Barajas does sport enough pop in his bat to prove useful on the bench in deep leagues. Evan at age 37, he could still yet receive half a season’s worth of playing time, which makes him a solid play for leagues that start two catchers with 162-game limits. (Bradley Woodrum)
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 3/6/1979 | Team: Pirates | Position: SS|
Profile: Clint Barmes signed with the Pirates prior to the 2012 season, but he wasn’t able to put up the kind of numbers that made him a hit in Houston just a year earlier. He showed trouble making contact, and aging combined with PNC Park had his slugging and isolated slugging percentages at an all-time low. Despite his struggles at the plate, Barmes still played 144 games for the Buccos thanks to the power of his glove at shortstop. The Pirates don’t have much in the way of backup plans, but if Barmes falters early, expect the team to start looking elsewhere for shortstop production. Barmes isn’t worth much in any format, but you may be forced to pick him up and throw him on the bench in NL-only leagues. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Clint Barmes struggled in his first year as a Pirate, but his glove kept him in the lineup. The Pirates don’t have much in the way of backup plans, but if Barmes falters early, expect the Buccos to start looking elsewhere for shortstop production.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 5/15/1986 | Team: Astros | Position: OF|
Profile: Several things will need to go Barnes’ way in order for him to be fantasy-relevant in 2013. The Astros will need to shy away from free agent outfielders, and he is either going to need to beat out one of the three outfielders currently ahead of him on the depth chart or he’s going to need some kind of misfortune to help him move up. Barnes didn’t do much to impress the Astros’ brass in his brief cup o’ joe in 2012, posting a .204/.250/.265 line, striking out nearly 28% of the time while swinging at almost anything within reach. He’s entering the year just 26, and he demonstrated good patience and decent pop at Triple-A in 2012, but he’ll need a very strong spring to be relevant even to deep leaguers. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Barnes faces deep competition in the Astros’ outfield, and while he did end the season with an extended look, his .204/.250/.265 line couldn’t have done much to state his case entering 2013.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 11/8/1985 | Team: Cubs | Position: 2B|
Profile: Darwin Barney’s defensive value makes him one of the most useful real-life middle infielders in the league, but his offense is well below average for a second baseman. The Cubs’ burgeoning depth in the middle infield may induce a trade that send Barney elsewhere and shifts him to shortstop. Even if that comes to pass, Barney’s 80 wRC+ bat and .260ish batting average with no power plays much better on a fantasy bench. But until then, he’s best left to the waiver wire. (Bradley Woodrum)
Quick Opinion: Barring a trade that moves him into shortstop eligibility, Darwin Barney’s bare-bones hitting ability leaves a fantasy owner little to work with. As a possible SS-eligible infielder, Barney could make for decent bench depth.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 10/30/1979 | Position: SS|
Profile: Coming off a career-worst 2011, Jason Bartlett needed to do better than miss three months with a knee injury and hit just .133 in the 98 times he did manage to get to the plate. He didn’t, so San Diego cut him loose in August, and it’s quite possible we won’t be seeing him in the big leagues again. (Mike Petriello)
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 8/16/1985 | Team: Athletics | Position: 1B|
Profile: Daric Barton was buried on the first base depth chart behind the platoon that is Brandon Moss and Chris Carter, until the trade that landed Jed Lowrie opened up a possible spot for Barton. Now it seems like Barton might get some time versus lefties and as the late-inning defensive replacement at first base, but that doesn’t carry a ton of fantasy value, and we all know that his upside is not very fantasy-friendly anyway. (David Wiers)
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 10/19/1980 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: OF|
Profile: Jose Bautista wasn’t able to repeat his dream 2011 season. A slow start in and left wrist injury, which eventually required surgery, ended his season after 92 games. Bautista’s walk rate fell from a career-high 20.2% in 2011 to 14.8% in 2012 — still excellent, and similar to his 2010 walk rate of 14.6%, in his break-out season. He remains a patient hitter who can get on base and hit for power. Bautista’s accumulated 18.2 WAR over the past three seasons and has established himself as one of the American League’s better hitters. However, he’s coming off wrist surgery, and that’s always cause for concern. A legitimate fantasy option, he could fall into your lap on draft day. But he won’t be on the board for long. (Navin Vaswani)
Quick Opinion: Jose Bautista couldn’t repeat his 2011 season, but he’s established himself as one of the American League’s above-average hitters — his 18.2 WAR over the past three years is fourth in the American League. As for being a legitimate, top-tier fantasy option in any league? Bautista is coming off wrist surgery, which is always cause for concern.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 12/7/1984 | Team: Mets | Position: OF|
Profile: The 28-year-old Baxter has already carved out a place in Mets’ history with his wall-crashing, shoulder-wrecking catch during Johan Santana’s no-hitter. He also produced a .263/.365/.413 (117 wRC+) line with three homers and five steals in 211 plate appearances last season. Baxter will again serve as a left-handed platoon bat in New York’s weak outfield alignment, a role for which he’s well-suited (career 123 wRC+ against righties). Even if he gets 450 plate appearances in 2013, his fantasy value will stem almost exclusively from his batting average (BABIP fingers crossed!) and OBP given the general lack of power and speed. Baxter’s a fantasy spare part who fits best as waiver fodder than as a draft day target. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: Baxter, 28, is in line to receive a good amount of playing time next season as the left-handed hitting half of an outfield platoon, but his lack of power and speed means his fantasy value depends entirely on his batting average and OBP. Unfortunately neither is anything special.
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 9/20/1978 | Team: Mariners | Position: OF|
Profile: Following a surprise separation from the Mets after three disappointing years (91 wRC+), the 34-year-old Bay wound up in Seattle, close to his British Columbia home. Safeco Field is traditionally death to righties, but the walls are coming in this year and Bay has always had the ability to go the other way, particularly with power. The logjam at first and DH shouldn’t cut into his playing too much as a left fielder, but he figures to see most of his action against left-handed pitchers. He’ll never be the 30/100/100 guy he was back in the day, but there’s at least some hope Bay can be (deep-league) fantasy relevant going forward. Just not much. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: Bay has the kind of opposite field pop to overcome Safeco Field’s righty-hating ways, but his days of 30/100/100 are long gone. The change in addresses may help, but it’s going to take a lot more than that for the former Rookie of the Year to be fantasy-useful.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 9/16/1986 | Team: White Sox | Position: 2B|
Profile: The perennial shallowness of second base is doubtless why many keep hoping against hope that Beckham will emerge from his three-year battle with horribleness, but it’s just not going to happen the way we once hoped for him. He still runs hot and cold, so if an injury to your starting second baseman happens to coincide with one of his hot streaks, you might be able to get league average production out of him. But when the pendulum swings back, the bottom falls out, and that’s how Beckham’s final lines end up so far below his peak performances. Even with the good news in his peripherals last season — an improvement upon a three-year decline in isolated slugging percentage, walk rate, and swinging strike rate — it would take batted ball luck like he’s never seen to push his average far past .260. And with those counting stats, he needs a better batting average to be anything but a deep league bench player. (Dan Wade)
Quick Opinion: After his emergence in 2009, anyone who predicted that Beckham would struggle to break a .750 OPS again would have been put down for their idiocy at the time. Now, that same prophet would be burned at the stake for clearly being a witch, as Beckham hasn’t seen an OPS above .695 since his rookie year.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 11/13/1986 | Position: 3B|
Profile: A few years ago, Josh Bell was a decently-rated third base prospect for the Dodgers, who traded him to the Orioles. He never really got a chance in Baltimore, and in his brief major-league stints in 2010 and 2011, showed basically nothing other than lots of strikeouts, few walks, and little power. It may not have been a fair chance, but the Orioles shipped him to the Diamondbacks for a player to be named later. In his few major-league chances in Arizona, it was more of the same. Bell hit decently at AAA in 2012, but nothing too amazing for a 25-year old on his third go-around at the level. He is currently a free agent, and though he will probably end up with some team on a minor league deal, there isn’t enough there to make him worth drafting at the beginning of the season. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Once a pretty good third base prospect, Bell has now been traded twice for very little, and has not hit at all in brief major-league stints. Now in his mid-20s and a free agent, he is not worth your time on draft day, and if he does become fantasy-relevant, he’ll be available on the waiver wire during the season.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 4/20/1988 | Team: Giants | Position: 1B|
Profile: Belt fought for playing time throughout the first half of 2012, as Giants manager Bruce Bochy platooned Belt, a left-handed hitter, at first base with Brett Pill, a right-handed batter. And whenever Belt seemed to find a groove, he’d have six poor at-bats in a row, swinging at pitches out of the zone and then striking out looking at one right on the outside corner. That led to more Pill and less Belt and lots of complaining from stats-oriented Giants fans. Belt’s best month was June, when he posted a .410 wOBA in 85 plate appearances. July didn’t follow suit and Belt didn’t get back in a good groove until August. But something clicked in August — perhaps it was the regular playing time — and Belt closed out the season with a .381 in August, September and early October. If he can continue that run, and maybe add a little power, and retain the stolen bases — then he’ll be a playable mixed-league utility bat. (Wendy Thurm/@hangingsliders)
Quick Opinion: To be a useful first baseman on fantasy teams, Belt will need to cut down on the strikeouts (he had a 22.5% strikeout rate) and find the power he displayed in the minors. He slugged .421 and hit only seven home runs in 411 at bats, compared to nine home runs in 187 at bats in 2011.
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 4/24/1977 | Team: Cardinals | Position: OF|
Profile: When Beltran remains healthy, he produces with the bat. His 32 home runs ranked in the Top 10 for outfielders, and his .225 ISO was his highest since 2007. He also benefits from a potent Cardinals lineup, which should allow him to drive in plenty of runs. Fantasy owners should perhaps be concerned about an uptick in his swinging-strike rate (6.6% to 9.3%) and decrease in his contact percentage (84.7% to 79.5%) — both of which are career-worst marks for Beltran. Most of the damage came in July and August of last season, however, so it seems to be a mere blip on the radar, rather than a trend. If healthy, Beltran is a good bet to replicate his production from last year and should be one of the top 20 outfielders off the board in most drafts. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: Injury concerns will always linger — especially as he moves into his age-36 season on wounded knees — but Carlos Beltran should still be a solid second-tier outfielder who provides value in each of the five standard roto categories.
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 4/7/1979 | Team: Rangers | Position: 3B|
Profile: Adrian Beltre’s five miserable years as a member of the Seattle Mariners sullied his reputation amongst fantasy owners, but he’s re-established himself as an offensive weapon. The 34-year-old has hit 96 homers in the three seasons since leaving Seattle’s spacious Safeco Field, and there’s no reason to believe that his power production will significantly decline during the 2013 season. Beltre’s value has not just been tied to his power numbers, as he’s also hit .314 and driven in 309 runs. Beltre plays in a great ballpark for his skills, has a good lineup around him, and that makes him an elite third baseman worthy of an early-round pick. Beltre will be a cornerstone of your fantasy team, so make sure you treat him like the stud he is. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Adrian Beltre has been an elite offensive weapon since leaving the Seattle Mariners after 2008. Take him in the first few rounds in mixed leagues.
|Debut: 1999 | BirthDate: 2/10/1976 | Team: Rangers | Position: 1B|
Profile: Berkman, now 37, went from being a fantasy MVP in 2011 to fantasy useless in 2012 due to knee injuries. The Rangers are betting a lot of money on the DH role keeping him healthy in 2013, where the friendly ballpark could get him back to his .300/.400/.500+ ways of a year ago. Puma is a must-own in OBP leagues and there’s more than enough help around him to pad the runs scored and runs-driven-in numbers. The only questions here are those knees. If they’re healthy, Berkman is a safe bet for solid production with a chance for dominance. High-risk, high-reward. No doubt about it. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: Berkman’s fantasy value is tied directly to the health of his knees. If they’re healthy and he’s on the field, he’s a safe bet for good production with a chance for great production. He’s a must-own in OBP leagues.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 6/12/1984 | Team: Nationals | Position: OF|
Profile: Roger Bernadina transformed into a very useful part-time player last season. Improved patience at the plate allowed The Shark do excel at what he does best, run the bases. His high slash line is the result of being used well, but also a product of a .359 batting average on balls in play. He’s not really this good, but he’ll still be valuable if he continues to walk in 20% of his plate appearances. Due to the Nationals strong outfield, he’s not a strong candidate to see more playing time. In a full-time role he could be a cheap source of steals, but wouldn’t offer much else. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: The Nationals have a strong set of outfielders and Bernadina is not a candidate to receive substantial playing time. He would add steals in a full-time role, but not much else.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 11/21/1984 | Team: Tigers | Position: OF|
Profile: The 28-year-old Berry had about as good of a season as could be expected from him. He got regular playing time from late May to the end of the season. His batting average (.258) was mediocre. That stat was negatively affected by his high strikeout rate (24%) despite his batting average on balls in play (.348). Since strikeout rates stabilize quicker than batted ball rates, don’t expect much improvement in his batting average going forward. He has never been able to hit many home runs, so any value over zero in the power categories is a bonus. He provides great stolen base numbers though. He had a combined 40 SB between Triple-A and the majors during 2012. His main value issue going into 2013 is playing time. The Tigers have signed Torii Hunter who should play every day in the outfield. The third outfield spots looks to be manned by one or a combination of Andy Dirks, Avisail Garcia and Quintin Berry. I see Berry riding the pine for eight innings and then being a pinch runner when needed. Stay away unless he secures a starting job, which he shouldn’t. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Tigers some how justified giving Quintin Berry more than 300 plate appearances in 2012. Don’t expect them to make that mistake again.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 1/31/1982 | Position: 2B|
Profile: The Yuniesky Betancourt Experience hit a new level in 2012, as the maligned shortstop managed to set new lows in nearly every offensive category before being released in July. In hopes of salvaging work, Betancourt tried his hand at second and third base, but this just resulted in new angles of futility. The Quinones of Our Times will probably get one last spring invite, from some GM who sees that isolated slugging percentage and remembers seeing a Web Gem on Baseball Tonight back in 2009. His starting days, however, seem mercifully over. (Patrick Dubuque)
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 11/2/1981 | Team: Orioles | Position: 3B|
Profile: Wilson Betemit hits righties well, and that’s about it. He doesn’t have a defensive position, has never been given more than 450 plate appearances in a season and has a knack for wearing out his welcome on each team he joins. After the Braves dealt him in 2006, Betemit has never spent more than a season and a half with a team. Betemit strikes out far too much to ever post a strong average, but he hits for enough power to remain effective. If he ever stumbles into a full-time gig, he could make for an interesting last-round gamble. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Betemit has power, and can hit right-handed pitching, but teams have been hesitant to put him in a full-time role. He’ll have some value if that changes, mainly as a late-round desperation play.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 10/5/1986 | Team: Brewers | Position: 3B/SS|
Profile: Bianchi saw unexpected time at shortstop for the Brewers in 2012 thanks to a season-ending injury to Alex Gonzalez and subsequent poor play from Cesar Izturis and Cody Ransom, but he was unable to capitalize on the opportunity and only hit .188/.230/.348. He will come to camp this spring with an opportunity to win the backup shortstop role. That’s as far as it goes, though. (JP Breen)
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 10/22/1982 | Position: OF|
Profile: Brian Bixler is 30 years of age and he has been employed by the Pirates, Indians, Nationals, Astros, and most recently signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets. He has been known to use a Lousville Slugger model M110, and practically refuse to hit with it. (Michael Barr)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 7/1/1986 | Team: Rockies | Position: OF|
Profile: At one time, Blackmon was a mildly touted prospect in the Rockies’ organization, but he has yet to materialize. He isn’t good enough to leapfrog Dexter Fowler for the center field job, and he doesn’t hit anywhere near well enough to start in a corner. Blackmon may be the best defender among the Rockies’ group of outfielders, but with just 441 1/3 innings in the pasture, it’s far too soon to make a definitive conclusion on that. And compared to the Rockies’ other chief backup outfielder candidates, it’s hard to see how Blackmon has any offensive advantages. He doesn’t project to have the power that Tyler Colvin has, nor does he project to have the speed that Eric Young has. And while Blackmon has displayed good patience in the minors, that patience has yet to manifest itself at the big league level, where he has a 3.1% walk rate. The defensive edge may be real, and that could give him an inside track for the fifth outfielder job, but even in that role he is unlikely to provide any value to your fantasy team. Sorry, Carson. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: Blackmon may be number one in Carson Cistulli’s heart, but he will be lucky to be fifth on the Rockies’ outfield depth chart in 2013.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 12/24/1983 | Team: Giants | Position: OF|
Profile: Gregor Blanco is a useful platoon outfielder who may be pressed into more regular playing time by the Giants in 2013. His greatest asset is his superb outfield defense. The lefty put together a decent 2012 season at the plate — not a lot of power, but he took advantage of the outfield gaps at home. He stole 26 bases in 32 attempts, but may yet be tough to play in fantasy because he doesn’t bash righties, as you might expect from a lefty, and is likely to split time in left with Andres Torres. (Wendy Thurm/@hangingsliders)
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 9/11/1986 | Team: Padres | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Save for four April games, Blanks missed all of 2012 after surgery on his left labrum. Once considered a top prospect, Blanks has now missed huge chunks of time in 2009 (foot), 2010-11 (Tommy John surgery), & now 2012 (shoulder). His power potential is still massive, but he’s rarely stayed healthy enough to show it, and he’ll likely need to prove his health in the minors before getting another shot in the bigs. (Mike Petriello)
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 11/27/1977 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: SS|
Profile: In 2012, Willie Bloomquist had the highest seasonal slugging percentage of any season in which he has had substantial playing time: .398, topping his 2009 dream season when he slugged .380. As of this writing, like most scrubs, he is out there looking for a tea — nope, actually, Arizona has both Willie Hustle and John McDonald locked up through 2013. Tremendous. Bloomquist is on the outside looking in, as he does not really have the glove to play the middle infield regularly, and does not have the bat to play anywhere else. With Cliff Pennington installed at shortstop in Arizona and John McDonald apparently the Diamondbacks’ choice as the as the backup middle infielder, Bloomquist looks like the odd man out. It’s too bad. He is only a bit better than McDonald with the stick (which is not saying much), but for fantasy purposes, he adds a few steals. For now, stay far away. However, Bloomquist has pretty much never been useful as a major leaguer, yet always seems to manage to get at least a couple hundred plate appearances. If he somehow moves up the depth chart, well, still stay away. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: The Diamondbacks have both Bloomquist and John McDonald in the second year of two-year contracts. Do I even need a joke here?
|Debut: 1999 | BirthDate: 4/26/1973 | Position: 3B|
Profile: The 39-year old has tallied just 86 plate appearances in the Majors over the last two seasons and was released by the Diamondbacks last summer. He’ll be lucky to latch on with another team. (Mike Podhorzer)
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 4/12/1985 | Team: Tigers | Position: OF|
Profile: After the signing of Prince Fielder, big things were expected of the Tigers offense and their opening day number two hitter, Brennan Boesch. Unfortunately, Boesch got off to a slow start and never recovered, as he posted just a .240/.286/.372 triple slash. He hit too many ground balls, which hampered his power, and he struck out more frequently than usual. His .284 batting average on balls in play should rebound a bit, as should his power, but a lot will depend on his role and home park if he lands with a new team. Since his career wOBA versus lefties is actually higher than against righties, he is not necessarily destined for a platoon. Finally exceeding the 500 at-bat plateau would significantly boost his counting stats and the promise of additional playing time could make him worth a gamble in deeper leagues. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Boesch was a disappointment last year, having posted a putrid .288 wOBA and experiencing a power outage. The Tigers’ signing of Torii Hunter leaves no place for Boesch, meaning he could find himself with a new team before spring training begins.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 2/18/1984 | Position: OF|
Profile: Brian Bogusevic was originally drafted by the Astros in 2005’s first round as a pitcher, but converted to the outfield in 2008 to some moderate success. In 2012, he finally got a shot at regular playing time in the majors after short stints in 2010 and 2011, and, over 404 plate appearances, pretty much stunk up the joint. Well, he was good if you thought of him as a pitcher, and he did make one appearance as a pitcher. For a pitcher, a .203/.297/.299 line with seven home runs would be pretty good. It is not so great for an outfielder. Bogusevic actually has a pretty good walk rate, but the high strikeout rate combined with no power does not leave a player much to work with. It is quite possible that his .257 batting average on balls in play in 2012 is much lower than his true talent, but even if it regresses to average and his power settles to something between 2012 and his brief glimpses of decency in 2011, it still is not good enough to warrant fantasy attention. Bogusevic signed a minor-league deal the Cubs during this off-season, but he is pretty far down the depth chart and offers little or nothing even if he moves up. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Brian Bogusevic is a good story as a former first-round draft pick who converted to hitting from pitching to make the bigs. Tell that story to the other people in your fantasy league on draft day in hopes they will waste a pick on him.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 4/23/1985 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: OF|
Profile: After a breakout fantasy season in 2011, Bonifacio endured thumb and knee injuries last year that limited him to just 274 plate appearances. Already a strong contributor in stolen bases, he took that skill to a new level, swiping bases at a 91% success rate while on a pace for 66 steals over 600 plate appearances. His playing time in Toronto remains a bit murky, but at the very least, he’ll fill in at second, third, and shortstop and in the outfield. His best opportunity may come at second base where he only has Maicer Izturis to fend off. Given his ability to play multiple positions and the potential to win semi-regular playing time at second, Bonifacio might well still garner over 400 at-bats this season. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: After being traded to the Blue Jays, Bonifacio is likely to serve in a super-utility role, but could battle Maicer Izturis for the majority of second base at-bats. As usual, he’ll be a strong source of speed and runs scored while on the field, but provide little else.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 1/4/1982 | Position: OF|
Profile: The 31-year old Bourgeois has yet to see full-time duty at the major league level and, given his career .261/.306/.324 slash line, there is little question as to why. He showed good promise during his time in the minor leagues as he regularly stole 20-plus bases each year while maintaining a fairly strong on-base percentage. However, the on-base work didn’t translate when he made the jump to the major leagues and he became more of a defensive replacement and pinch-runner. He did manage to catch a break in 2011 and appeared in 93 games for the Astros where he hit .294 and stole 31 bases, but he still only had 252 plate appearances and was obviously deemed expendable during the offseason, eventually getting shipped to Kansas City as a throw-in. The fact that he makes a good amount of contact is a plus, but again, without a strong on-base percentage, his overall value is limited. He was forced to accept a minor league deal from the Rays this year, where he may compete for a reserve outfielder position. He’s more likely to end up as organizational depth in the minors. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Bourgeois’ speed keeps him on the fantasy radar in deeper leagues, but tends to be ignored in shallow leagues due to the lack of playing time. 2013 doesn’t appear to be any different as he looks to break in with the Rays as part of their major league outfield configuration. His minor league contract with Tampa Bay does not include an invite to Spring Training, so you’re best off looking elsewhere if it’s cheap speed that you seek.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 3/31/1987 | Team: Angels | Position: OF|
Profile: With Torii Hunter leaving town, Peter Bourjos has the red carpet rolled out for center field duties in 2013. With playing time out of the question, it will be pretty exciting to see what he’s capable of given 600 plate appearances in the impressive lineup that makes up the Angels offense. We saw a good deal of major league at bats in 2011, when he put up a respectable .271/.327/.438 line with 12 home runs and 22 stolen bases over 552 plate appearances. 2012 was pretty much a lost cause from the beginning. He hit just .167 in April and then some kid named Mike Trout showed up to what was already a crowded outfield and Bourjos rarely got a chance to hold a bat, being used mostly as a defensive replacement in late innings. What’s known is his great speed and tremendous defense. What’s a little bit unknown is if he can improve his contact skills, cut the strikeouts a bit, and develop into the 15 home run/30 stolen base kind of threat he profiled as years ago. If he can do it, you have a poor man’s Shane Victorino on your hands, and he just turns 26 in March. But keep an eye on the batting order, because if he can’t unseat Erick Aybar in the #2 hole, he might just hit 9th and that will impact the whole lot of counting stats. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Bourjos is the clear front runner to play center field for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2013, eliminating any questions about his playing time that lingered from last season. He has very good speed and double-digit home run power, but keep an eye on projected lineups as he might start the season at or near the bottom of the order which will impact his value.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 12/27/1982 | Position: OF|
Profile: Michael Bourn had a power surge last year — his nine home runs and .117 isolated slugging percentage far outpaced any effort he’d put up in those categories before — but the net effect might not have been what real-life teams wanted for the center fielder. Because while adding that modest power, Bourn struck out at a career-worst rate. And that strikeout rate has gotten worse over the last three years. If it continues its trajectory, the strikeout rate will have more of an impact on his batting average. Since the difference between five and ten home runs probably won’t make the same impact as the difference between hitting .265 and hitting .285, you can see how Bourn’s fantasy value is just as up in the air as his real-life one. In the right park, atop the right lineup, he might actually cross double-digits in home runs, while adding elite runs and stolen base totals. And if your league mates have been thinking about his real-life value too much, maybe he’ll be cheaper than he should be in your fantasy league. (Eno Sarris)
Quick Opinion: Wherever he ends up, Michael Bourn will be an elite one-category player. It’s those other categories — and his destination — that will determine the intricacies of his fantasy value.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 5/15/1987 | Team: Indians | Position: OF|
Profile: From 2006 to 2010, Brantley stole 24, 35, 28, 50, and 23 bases across multiple levels. In 2011 and 2012, he stole 13 and 12. Coming up through the minors, Brantley appeared to be a high on-base speedster, a perfect guy to stick atop your lineup and let him create havoc on the bases. Last year the on-base part came around, and the wheels helped him accrue 37 doubles and four triples, but where were the stolen bases? That’s the big question for 2013. If Brantley can get back to his thieving ways, he could be a steal in the outfield, with a solid batting average and on-base percentage, and likely a large number of runs to go along with the stolen bases. But if you are looking at a 13 steal, seven homer season, that is not much to get excited about. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: Brantley is developing into a nice complimentary piece for the Indians, but unless he either develops some power or rediscovers his wheels, his fantasy value won’t be all that high.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 7/14/1989 | Team: Marlins | Position: C|
Profile: The Marlins apparently felt good enough about Brantly, who slashed .290/.372/.460 in 100 at-bats after being acquired midseason from the Tigers, as their catcher of the present and future to unload incumbent John Buck this offseason. And although the 23-year-old doesn’t profile to be much more than a second-division starter, his smooth lefty swing and quality approach — not to mention, ample opportunity as a member of the gutted Fish — could make him a fine second catcher in NL-only leagues. Look for a solid average, doubles power and 450-plus plate appearances to accumulate counting stats. He might not have the home-run power for mixed leagues though. (Jason Catania)
Quick Opinion: Playing time will be there for Brantly, the new starting catcher for the Marlins. He should also make plenty of contact. The rest of the package is the question.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 11/17/1983 | Team: Brewers | Position: OF|
Profile: Braun continued to establish himself as one of the game’s elite hitters and fantasy players. He’s a top-tier value in all five tools. His 2012 featured another .300 average (his fifth), another 30-30 season (second straight), another 100 RBI campaign (fifth straight) and another 100 run campaign (fourth straight). Few players are capable of providing such value in all five tools and few have shown his consistency or his durability (150 games in five straight seasons). There are other options at 1-1 this season — Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera — but nobody can quibble with Braun there either. (Jack Moore)
Quick Opinion: Braun continued to tear through National League pitching (and catching) in 2012. He remains a first round pick and could be justified at first overall in 2013.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 1/16/1986 | Position: SS|
Profile: Once thought of as the Rays’ shortstop of the future, Brignac’s time with team looks to be coming to an end. He was last useful in 2010 and has struggled at Triple-A last season. The glove could still play in the bigs but he’s wore than Brendan Ryan with the bat. With the trade of Yunel Escobar and top prospect Hak Ju Lee waiting in the minors, there’s little room for Brignac. Even in a bench capacity he’d have to overcome too many much more useful players to land a spot. The Cajun God of Baseball shouldn’t warrant a glance come draft day. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: Brignac isn’t likely to see the field this season in Tampa Bay — barring injury to more than one player. Perhaps a team bus situation.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 9/3/1987 | Team: Phillies | Position: OF|
Profile: Even though it seems like he’s been around forever, Brown is still just 25 years old and will finally get a chance to compete for a starting job during spring training. He has the inside track, considering his competition on the corners is an old rookie in Darin Ruf and an old Delmon Young. The question though is exactly what he is capable of producing at the plate with everyday playing time. Since his time in the minors in 2010, he hasn’t posted an isolated slugging percentage above .160, and over his last 610 at-bats, he has stolen just eight bases while getting caught seven times. At one time, Brown was an exciting potential power/speed contributor, but both those skills are in question. The good news is that his contact rate is solid and his batting average on balls in play should rebound, so the seeds are there for him to become an all-around fantasy player assuming his power and speed return. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: After opening the season in the minors and then losing time to a knee injury, this former top prospect was finally called up by the Phillies at the end of July, but did little in his at-bats. He’ll get a chance to win a starting job out of spring training this year, but his power skills are in question at the moment.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 9/10/1984 | Position: OF|
Profile: When the Rockies punted on the 2012 season, they gave Brown a chance to play down the stretch, as the Dallas native posted 126 plate appearances for Colorado following the All-Star break. That playing time was available thanks to various injuries, be they real or imagined, to Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler. And while Brown played good defense in his small stretch of games, he didn’t hit much. Oh, he did hit five homers, and he drew his fair share of walks as well, but his strikeout rate was nearly three times of his walk rate. All told, his .232/.302/.429 line was uninspiring, but there could be room for improvement. In his eight notable minor league stops, Brown has posted at least a 109 wRC+, and often has posted numbers that are much better than that. He likely was old for his league much of the time, and expectations for anyone who doesn’t make his major league debut until his age-26 season must be tempered, but there might be something more to Brown than meets the eye. That something could be his great numbers against left-handed pitchers, which the Mets will examine in spring training. He may yet win a (small-side) platoon role in 2012. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: A minor league masher, Brown finally got a chance to get some major league action under his belt, but he didn’t do enough with it to rise above the Rockies’ roster crunch, and was released in the offseason.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 4/3/1987 | Team: Reds | Position: OF|
Profile: In each of the past two seasons, Bruce has hit 30-plus homers, which is going to keep him atop many a fantasy leaderboard. Last season, he also placed in the top 20 among outfielders in both runs and RBI, making him a three-category star in standard leagues. Bruce has hit at least 20 homers in each of his first five major league seasons, and amazingly will still just be 26 this season. And while it may prove an aberration, last season he was successful on nine of his 12 stolen-base attempts. That was a nice jump, as he entered 2012 having been successful just 50 percent of the time (20 SB, 20 CS). However, his porous batting average — he has hit .256 or lower in four of his five seasons, and only hit .281 in the fifth — keeps him from being a true fantasy superstar, so you the best-case scenario is that you net Bruce as your second outfielder. As an aside, Bruce also won’t be as valuable in linear weights leagues, as his .352 wOBA ranked 22nd among outfielders and 42nd overall last season, but he should still be a strong addition to most rosters. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: In 5×5 leagues, Bruce is a three-category superstar who won’t kill you in stolen bases. In linear weights leagues, he isn’t quite as good, but is still among the game’s better outfielders regardless.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 11/18/1983 | Position: OF|
Profile: It’s telling when the venerable Bill James doesn’t even bother with a projection for a player. Travis Buck spent the 2012 season with the Houston Astros and compiled a .216/.284/.311 line over just 81 plate appearances at the major league level. He was signed by the San Diego Padres in November where he’ll battle for a spot on a roster already deep in the outfield positions. Buck hasn’t seen more than 200 at bats at the major league level since 2007, and short of a run of disaster in San Diego, it’s not likely to happen in 2013. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Travis Buck, 29, finally landed in San Diego in 2013 and will have to perform well in Spring in order to make the team as a lefty bat off the bench and late-inning defensive specialist. Move along.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 7/7/1980 | Team: Mets | Position: C|
Profile: After being traded twice over the off-season, Buck has landed in the Big Apple and is set to open the season as the starting catcher for the Mets. He still supplies above-average power for a catcher, but that’s the only thing you can count on. He makes below-average contact and his batting average on balls in play has been hampered by a low line drive rate, lots of fly balls and too many pop-ups. As a result, he is likely to hurt you in the batting average department. Aside from performance concerns, top catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud, who also came over with Buck from Toronto, will be lurking in Triple-A awaiting his opportunity. D’Arnaud has shown great power in his time at Double-A and Triple-A in 2011 and 2012, so he should be up sometime this season and wrangle away the starting backstop role from Buck. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: After being traded to the Blue Jays and then the Mets, Buck currently finds himself as the starting catcher in New York. Though he should still offer some cheap power, his stranglehold on the job is tentative as top catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud is waiting for his chance down on the farm.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 1/17/1985 | Position: 2B|
Profile: Burriss will play with a new team in 2013 for the first time in his career. After five seasons shuttling between the Giants and their Triple-A team, San Francisco finally cut the light-hitting infielder loose. The Reds signed Burris to a minor-league deal and he’ll compete for a roster spot during spring training. In 150 at bats in 2012, Burriss managed to hit only .213/.270/.231. Don’t waste any investment on Burriss for your fantasy team. (Wendy Thurm/@hangingsliders)
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 8/9/1983 | Team: Twins | Position: C|
Profile: Spent 2010-12 backing up Joe Mauer. Mauer’s offense did not rub off on Butera. Shouldn’t be on your fantasy radar. (Chad Young)
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 4/18/1986 | Team: Royals | Position: DH|
Profile: The man adoringly referred to as Country Breakfast, armed with a lethal right-handed bat and solid plate discipline, broke through with a career-season in 2012, batting .313 with 29 home runs and 107 RBI as the Royals primary designated hitter. Butler’s developing power has long been expected given his isolated slugging percentages and strong OPS numbers through his first five seasons and now that he’s reached his prime (he’ll be 27 this season), he should continue to ride this wave. With solid contact rates and the ability to draw walks, Butler should also continue to hit for a high average as well as a strong on-base percentage. And even better for fantasy owners is that he played 20 games at first base which gives him eligibility at the position in most leagues. He’ll be a highly sought after commodity this year in drafts but should be well worth the selection once the top slugging first basemen come off the board. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Loaded with OPS, this Country Breakfast will be piping hot in 2013. Butler posted career-best power numbers in 2012 and should continue down the same path as he enters his year-27 season. With 20 games played at first base last year, he’ll also add to his position eligibility in most leagues, so grab your knife and fork and get ready to dig in.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 8/30/1977 | Position: OF|
Profile: Marlon Byrd somehow started 2012 as a horribly-performing joke in both Chicago and Boston, then was rapidly forgotten after getting a 50-game suspension for failing a drug test. Sure, Byrd was never a superstar, but after a good start and crash in Philadelphia and a stop in Washington, Byrd revived his career with three solid years in Texas and had two decent ones in Chicago. Whatever happened in 2012, at his best Byrd managed to work around a questionable plate approach to somehow get on base at a decent clip while adding in a few home runs. However, at 35, with his days as a center fielder likely far behind him, and the stigma (fair or not) of a PED suspension hanging over him in the wake of a horrible 2012 performance, he might be lucky to get a major-league deal. Even If he does, he is a very low-end option in even in deep leagues. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Marlon Byrd was actually a pretty decent player at one point in his career, but in his mid-30s and coming off of a suspension, he is unlikely to play much of a role on any major-league team, and thus probably should not figure into your fantasy plans.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 8/11/1984 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: OF|
Profile: After Cabrera produced career-best totals for the Royals in 2011, many skeptics were concerned that his newfound production level would be unsustainable in the cold, damp air of San Francisco’s pitcher-friendly AT&T Park. Those skeptics were quickly silenced in the early season when he batted .346 with 11 home runs and 13 stolen bases through 113 games, all the while posting a .390 on-base percentage. Some heralded him as a breakout player hitting his stride while others remained skeptical due to an unusually high .376 batting average on balls in play. What seemed to explain everything and what few people saw coming, though, was a 50-game suspension for a positive test for synthetic testosterone. That’s right, Melky’s 2012 numbers, and quite possibly his 2011 breakout totals as well, now fall under the dark cloud of PEDs use. Everything he has done over the last two years is now under question. After sitting out his suspension, Cabrera was left off the Giants’ post-season roster and the first time you’ll see him step to the plate in 2013 will be during spring training as a member of the Blue Jays. He’ll be a tough player to gauge in drafts this year as no one really knows which Melky they will ultimately see, but most suspect he will return to his 2009 form which sits well below where he’s been the last two seasons. He’ll likely be taken somewhere in the middle rounds as he is slated to be the Jays’ starting left fielder. But how much of a return value will you get for your investment? You’ll just have to wait for and hope for the best. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: The obvious question on everyone’s mind is which Melky will they be drafting this year. He had a breakout season in 2011 and was well on his way to surpassing those totals in 2012 until a PEDs suspension cut his season short. The Blue Jays opted to take a shot on the 28-year old switch hitter, signed him to a two-year, $16M deal and have him slated to play left field for them, so while you might not know how he’ll hit, you know that he should at least play.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 11/17/1986 | Team: Padres | Position: SS|
Profile: After a breakout season in 2009, Cabrera failed to do much of anything over the next two years until the Padres called upon him in late May to see if he could fix their gaping hole at the shortstop position. It was then that he remembered his role in this game and he went on to lead the National League with 44 stolen bases. Even more impressive was the fact that he was caught just four times, giving him a 92% success rate, a feat seen only by the likes of Mike Trout, Desmond Jennings and Coco Crisp. Unfortunately, Cabrera doesn’t offer much of anything else. He has almost no power (.078 isolated slugging percentage) and he doesn’t hit for a high average (.246 in 2012), and has iffy defense. His glove and speed are just enough to keep him in the lineup, though. The Padres have already stated that the shortstop job is his to lose in 2013, so even with a half-decent spring, he should remain a regular in the lineup. If he can maintain his slightly better than average walk rate and possibly lower that 24.5% strikeout rate, then perhaps he’ll increase his OBP and be able to maintain his 40-plus stolen base benchmark. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Cabrera is all about speed and virtually nothing else. He won’t hit for a high average and has almost no power, but considering how thin the shortstop position is coupled with his ability to produce a 40-plus stolen base season with a full year’s worth of at-bats, he’ll have some value in roto leagues, for sure.
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 4/18/1983 | Team: Tigers | Position: 3B|
Profile: A season for the ages? Not quite — by any of our advanced offensive metrics, Cabrera was actually better in both 2010 and 2011. But, of course, this was his best fantasy season as the triple crown would suggest. The drop in walk rate was likely the result of large Prince Fielder slotted behind him, rather than an ominous sign of age-related decline. Aside from that, the only thing worth questioning is the jump in home run per fly ball ratio. He posted a career-high mark last year and it was the first time it sat above 20% since 2004. Whether he ends up swatting home runs in the high 30’s or low 40’s shouldn’t matter much — he’s a top two pick either way. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Finally, Miggy posts his first 40 home run season and didn’t even sacrifice any batting average to do it. As consistent as it gets, Cabrera should keep doing what he does best — whacking the ball hard.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 11/13/1985 | Team: Indians | Position: SS|
Profile: Cabrera’s 2012 did not match his breakout 2011 — he had nine fewer home runs, eight fewer stolen bases, and basically dropped off everywhere except for maintaining his average and bumping his on-base percentage a bit — but he didn’t have to repeat that monster year to remain a top-tier fantasy shortstop. His weak defense mutes his value on the field, but in the box scores, he is a 27-year-old solid bat at a premium position. The only real question mark with him is whether he will be wearing an Indians uniform throughout 2013 or not. Progressive Field is friendly to lefties but tough on righties, so a switch-hitter like Cabrera probably plays close to neutral there, meaning that a new home park could be good, bad or indifferent for him. The other fantasy impact to watch for is if his new team (if he gets one) moves him off shortstop. He is still playable at second or third, but his value would be much lower. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: Being solid across the board is enough to make Cabrera a top-end fantasy shortstop. His 2013 will likely be closer to his 2012 than his 2011, but that will be just fine for his owners.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 4/13/1986 | Team: Royals | Position: OF|
Profile: Cain was one of the main components coming back to the Royals in the Zack Greinke deal in 2010. After watching his power develop on the Triple-A level in 2011, it was easy to see why. The power/speed combo that he showed earned him the nod as the Royals starting center-fielder in 2012 and after a torrid spring, expectations were running extremely high. Unfortunately, a groin strain put him on the shelf just five games into the season and a torn hip flexor suffered during his rehab kept him out for the remainder of the first half. When he returned though, he lived up to his promise, batting .275 with seven home runs and 10 stolen bases in just 207 at-bats. Then a hamstring injury in mid-September put him back on the shelf for the remainder of the season. He could still stand to lower the strikeouts and increase the walks, but with a year of full health, Cain has the potential to produce a solid 15-20 season with an average just north of .270. His other numbers will likely depend on where he bats in the lineup, but overall, he should make for a decent number three or four outfielder in most fantasy leagues this year. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Entering his age-27 season, there are plenty of expectations of Cain as a strong power/speed threat. He’ll open the year as the Royals’ starting center fielder and if he can remain healthy, should prove to be a very valuable fantasy commodity this season. He’s capable of 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases.
|Debut: 1996 | BirthDate: 5/4/1974 | Position: 1B/3B|
Profile: The 39-year-old utility infielder is currently unsigned and will not be useful in fantasy circles even if he finds a team willing to roster him. He is only a year removed from posting consecutive 100+ wRC+ seasons, but the .212 on-base percentage he posted in 156 plate appearances last year makes him look like a player who is done appearing in major league ballgames. (Ben Duronio)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 10/14/1987 | Team: Angels | Position: OF|
Profile: Kole Calhoun was probably lobbying as much as anyone for Peter Bourjos to get traded instead of Kendrys Morales, but no such luck. Calhoun, 25, a very promising outfielder for the Angels, hit .298/.369/.507 in Triple-A last year, and showed a nice little power/speed combo with 14 home runs and 12 steals over 463 plate appearances. But the logjam in the Angels outfield is deep and if Calhoun makes the team out of Spring, it will be as a fourth outfielder or pinch runner. Stash him in dynasty leagues, but don’t expect much in 2013. (Michael Barr)
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 4/19/1983 | Team: Angels | Position: 3B|
Profile: Playing amongst the stars in L.A. is teeny-tiny Alberto Callaspo, a former utility infielder who has found his niche as a defensive third baseman who knows how to take a walk. With a crowded outfield landscape, there could be some competition from Mark Trumbo and Albert Pujols at third base, but as long as Callaspo keeps his batting average above .250, his decent defense should allow him to stay in the lineup. Callaspo won’t put up much in the way of counting stats, and his lack of positional flexibility makes it hard to justify giving him a roster spot. If you need a third baseman in AL-only leagues, you’ll be banking on some love from the Luck Dragon, but Callaspo is still worth having around. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Alberto Callaspo relies on batted ball luck to bring value to fantasy owners, but he’s worth having in AL-only leagues.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 5/30/1986 | Position: OF|
Profile: Campana spent 2012 shuffling between Triple-A and the bigs, and his.264/.308/.299 powerless-slash appeared almost perfectly in line with his 155 plate appearances in 2011. His defense is great, his baserunning is other-worldly, but his playing time prospects are dim. Barring a trade to a team desperate for outfielders, Campana offers only steals to the deepest of deep 5×5 leagues. (Bradley Woodrum)
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 10/22/1982 | Team: Yankees | Position: 2B|
Profile: Already being drafted as a top-tier middle infield option, Cano actually improved on his numbers in 2012. While counting stats such as homers and runs experienced a boost, the underlying peripherals look even better. His walk rate jumped from 5.6% in 2011 to 8.8% in 2012 and his line drive rate climbed to absurd new heights (25.6%). It’s tough to find flaws in Cano’s game — arguably the worst that Mike Petriello was able to come up with was the appearance of some left/right splits in 2012, although since Cano hasn’t really exhibited a long history of them, it’s tough to assume that they will be predictive going forward. He also struggled in the postseason, putting up a paltry .223 OPS in 40 at bats, but his playoff-career .800 OPS coming into 2012 seems to imply that small sample and not that stage fright was his biggest demon. Regardless, it will be a huge upset if Cano fell out of the first round like he sometimes has done in previous years — he’s probably a reach in the first five picks overall, but should return solid value anywhere after that. (Colin Zarzycki)
Quick Opinion: Cano actually improved on his already-elite numbers in 2012, seeing upticks in homers, runs, and even his walk rate. Still in the prime of his career heading into his age-30 season, Cano’s combination of power and average, as well as the potent Yankee lineup around him, have him locked in as the top option at second base.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 4/11/1986 | Team: Orioles | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Canzler was one of a plethora of first base options the Indians threw at the wall in 2012. Like the others, he did not stick. He’s now in Toronto, and will likely see almost no playing time there. (Chad Young)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 10/10/1987 | Position: 2B|
Profile: Cardenas was once a top prospect for the Oakland Athletics. The Cubs snatched the multi-faceted infielder on waivers in 2012, and he made his big league debut with Chicago. Though his ceiling may now be closer to utility man, he has shown enough defensively flexibility and minor league hitting talent to make for a useful bench player in very deep leagues. But first he has to make it back to the majors. (Bradley Woodrum)
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 6/30/1986 | Team: Mariners | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: After a promising year at the plate in 2011, where he hit .276/.326/.466 with 12 home runs in just over 300 plate appearances, Mike Carp looked like a sneaky sleeper pick for 2012. Always producing good power in the minors, Carp entered the season at age 26, and there were many who saw the potential for a breakout offensive season. And then those people hung their heads in collective shame. Carp struggled out of the gate and it was first a shoulder injury and then a hip injury which limited his at bats in 2012. When he did play, the results weren’t enough to warrant a fantasy roster spot — Carp hit just .213/.312/.341 with five home runs in limited action. He won’t likely see time in the outfield due to the shoulder concerns, and he’s currently blocked by both Kendrys Morales and Justin Smoak at first base. Morales isn’t exactly Mr. Durability though, and if Smoak continues his Pete O’Brien act, Carp could fall into some kind of playing time, and it’s not out of the question that he could produce enough to be useful on your fantasy squad. The most hopeful projection is probably something in the .260/.330/.420 range with 18-ish home runs and a decent number of RBI. But a lot would have to go right to get there. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Mike Carp will be limited to first base or DH duties due to his shoulder issues, which has him entering 2013 without any guaranteed regular playing time. Carp has enough pop to be useful given enough at bats, but unless circumstances develop in his favor, you should look elsewhere for production.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 11/26/1985 | Team: Cardinals | Position: 1B/3B|
Profile: Carpenter, 27, was waiver wire gold last season, hitting .294/.365/.453 (125 wRC+) in 340 plate appearances while picking up eligibility at first, third and in the outfield. The Cardinals plan to try him at second base in Spring Training, which would add even more versatility. Carpenter has hit at every level, though he only offers modest power and little stolen base ability. St. Louis has a clear opening at 2B and that could lead to 500+ plate appearances for Carpenter, otherwise he’s a high-caliber bench piece and fantasy owners will have to monitor lineups daily if they want to use him. He’ll give you batting average and RBI, but playing time is the big question. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: Carpenter’s biggest drawback is his uncertain position and playing time. The Cardinals plan to try him at second base in Spring Training and if he sticks, he’ll have strong fantasy value thanks to his batting average and RBI.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 6/11/1987 | Team: Indians | Position: OF|
Profile: With Shin-Soo Choo’s departure, Carrera temporarily sat atop the Indians depth chart for an outfield spot. With Nick Swisher’s arrival, he moved back to being the fourth outfielder. Which is best, because that is really where he belongs. His speed has helped him overcome poor discipline and a lack of power to be a nearly-league-average hitter (94 wRC+ in 2012), but the chances are that drops closer to the 73 wRC+ he posted in 2011, the more he plays. A mediocre center fielder, Carrera is really more pinch runner than anything else, and he does steal bases at a fast enough clip to warrant some fantasy attention, should injuries force him into action. But he’ll hurt you in everything else, so even if he does play, only take him if you are desperate for steals. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: In 384 major league plate appearances, Carrera has 18 steals, suggesting 30-35 stolen base potential in a full season. That alone will get you some fantasy attention, but he doesn’t have a position and he is a drain on every other category.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 2/18/1974 | Team: Twins | Position: 2B/3B/SS|
Profile: Carroll was in no way an offensive dynamo in 2012, but he did exactly what the Twins should have hoped for. He brought stability to a weak middle infield by playing tremendous defense, hit just well enough to be useful in the two-hole or in the bottom-third of the lineup, and was a pillar in the clubhouse as one of the go-to players for media members following Michael Cuddyer’s departure. At this point in Carroll’s career, as well as where the Twins are as a team right now, it would probably be best for him to fade into the background a bit, perhaps getting closer to 300 plate appearances while the Twins try out different up-the-middle combinations with Brian Dozier, Pedro Florimon, Eduardo Escobar and others. But that probably won’t happen. For one, the latter two show no inclination of ever hitting at the big league level, and for two, Ron Gardenhire likes his scrappy veterans too much. It matters not to fantasy players, as Carroll has no value in fantasy leagues except maybe quirky ones which place extreme emphasis on OBP or plate discipline. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Maybe an asset in real life due to his plate discipline, strong defense, and clubhouse responsibility, Jamey Carroll is only a fantasy asset in those leagues that value on-base percentage… and are really deep.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 7/1/1981 | Position: OF|
Profile: Carson has hit Triple-A pitching really well the last couple years. Of course, he hasn’t hit major league pitching at all, and he is 31 years old. Not exactly a prospect. (Chad Young)
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 12/18/1986 | Team: Astros | Position: 1B|
Profile: Cheap power is still power nonetheless, and Chris Carter nearly has the market cornered on cheap power. For the sixth straight season Carter managed to hit at least 20 home runs. Of course, most of those dingers came in the minor leagues, but power is power. Carter was a top-10 slugger for the 2012 season due to his .275 isolated slugging percentage (ninth in baseball, minimum 250 plate appearances). Unfortunately, with great power comes great responsibility. And by responsibility, in this case I mean strikeouts. Carter was a top-10 player in another measurement: strikeout rate. His 31.9% K% ranked sixth in baseball (min 250 PA’s again). He helped mitigate those hacks and misses with an outstanding batting eye overall, his walk rate of 15% was fourth in baseball. His home run per fly ball rate of 25.4% ranked eighth in baseball. Noticing a trend here? Carter is clearly capable of great offensive accomplishments, at the expense of the not-so-rare strikeout. In just 260 PA’s, Carter showed himself to be worthy of a fantasy roster spot, even if he is starting the season in a platoon situation with Brandon Moss. Carter is three years younger and has the more highly regarded pedigree. If push comes to shove, expect him to take over the majority of first base duties. Grab Carter with the bottom tier of first basemen and hope he plays his way into a more prominent role. Now that he’s competing against Carlos Pena and Brett Wallace instead of the Oakland crew, his obstacles are slightly less prominent. (David Wiers)
Quick Opinion: You can (barely) spell Chris Carter without the K’s! Unless strikeouts count against you (and I despise leagues with negative stats for batters) then Carter should be taken on draft day. He isn’t a premiere bat, but he does enough things well — especially in on-base percentage leagues — to absolutely deserve to be drafted with the bottom of the middle tier of first basemen, platoon situation and all.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 7/20/1984 | Team: Orioles | Position: 2B|
Profile: The Twins finally rid themselves of the enigma that is Alexi Casilla following the 2012 season, as the Baltimore Orioles claimed him off waivers in early November. Casilla only seemed to produce when the team didn’t expect it, namely the first half of 2008. At times he would forget to tag up, dog it defensively, and be a black hole with the bat. But just often enough, Casilla would inexplicably will his diminutive frame to hit a long ball, or stretch out for a web gem that would keep him in the team’s good graces for a few more months. It seems few teams have tried to make a more insignificant trade seem worth it — Casilla was acquired for then-malcontent J.C. Romero — but in the end, Casilla was never the ‘next Luis Castillo’ as some hoped him to be after the Twins dealt the first version to the Mets. Casilla’s sole value in 2013 will probably come as the guy who pushes Brian Roberts around in a wheelbarrow. You can do better. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Alexi Casilla might steal some deep league fantasy teams some bases — after all he’s only behind Brian Roberts in Baltimore right now — but if he gets too much time it also means Jonathan Schoop didn’t work out. Be aware, but don’t stare.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 8/4/1986 | Team: Dodgers | Position: OF|
Profile: It’s one thing to hit.328/.420/.590 while playing in offense-friendly Albuquerque, but it’s quite another to do it while actually putting up better stats on the road. There’s no doubt that Castellanos can hit after a cumulative line of.294/.365/.509 in five minor league seasons, but he’s been pegged as someone who can’t hit well enough to be a major league corner outfielder and can’t field well enough to stick at second or third base. The Dodgers attempted the latter in 2012 with varying degrees of success, and Castellanos remains in the mix to be a righty bat off the bench in the major leagues. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: Alex Castellanos has done nothing but hit in the minors, though he’s been held back by an inability to find a home on defense, going from the infield to the outfield and back again. His bat deserves a chance, but opportunity may be sparse on a full Dodger roster.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 4/24/1987 | Team: Cubs | Position: C|
Profile: The Cubs enter the 2013 season with a trio of experienced catchers vying for playing time. Castillo figures to get the biggest share of playing time between himself, Dioner Navarro, and Steve Clevenger. Castillo offers the most offensive upside of the three and even managed a .327 wOBA (101 wRC+) in 2012 — which is well above average for catchers. Do not be surprised, however, if Cubs manager Dale Svuem sits Castillo against a number of righties, especially with the switching-hitting Navarro and left-handed Clevenger possibly on his bench. All told, though, Castillo could make for a mid-draft value and certainly a solid backup catcher in most formats — with the potential for long-term value too. (Bradley Woodrum)
Quick Opinion: Castillo’s value may suffer as he might lose PA in a time-sharing arrangement behind the dish, but the 26-year-old catcher makes for a solid fantasy backup or long-term investment. He should develop into an above-average hitting catcher.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 6/18/1987 | Team: Astros | Position: C|
Profile: After a terrible showing in 2010 and losing 2011 to injury, Jason Castro showed signs of being a valuable fantasy catcher in 2012. His defense is quite poor, but that should not matter to fantasy owners. Moreover, the Astros do not have anyone at the moment who could threaten Castro’s playing time in 2013. That is not to say that he is about to threaten Buster Posey’s place among National League catchers — far from it. However, he looks like he could be a league-average hitter, which would make him a very good hitter relative to his position, indeed. Castro has always been patient, and while his strikeout rate is worse than average, it is not exceptionally bad. What really helped his offense in 2012 was driving the ball better — both for hits and for extra bases. Again, these are not superstar level abilities, and while there is some upside for a 26-year-old, it is not excessive. However, if he can stay healthy and play 120 or more games in 2013, he might hit 10 home runs and put up a .260/.340/.400 line, which would be just fine for a National League catcher. He will not carry your team, but he will not kill it, either, and he might be enough of a bargain in auction leagues to allow you to spend elsewhere. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Jason Castro is never going to erase memories of Johnny Bench, but in 2012 he showed he could be a pretty decent hitter for a catcher. He could be an acceptable mid-to-low range starter in NL-only leagues or a second starter in mixed leagues that use a second catcher.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 3/24/1990 | Team: Cubs | Position: SS|
Profile: After an impressive 109 wRC+ season in 2011, Starlin’s bat slipped back to a 99 wRC+ level. And while his offense sputtered (a career-low .323 on-base percentage and .283 batting average), his defense took strides forward. Earning praise from his managers and advanced defensive stats, Castro made a bid to retain his shortstop eligibility for some years to come. The team still has Javier Baez, Junior Lake, and several other interesting shortstop/infield prospects, so one suspects the pressure on his defense will only mount as the seasons continue. His bat, however, should improve with time too. He is still only 23 years old and his stolen base total, home run total, and isolated power numbers all reached career highs in 2012. Much of his drop off in production may source from a career-low batting average on balls in play. After two seasons in the mid .340s, Castro had a .315 BABIP in 2012, despite similar walk and strikeout numbers. Continue to expect big things from Castro’s bat, whether his glove develops further or not. (Bradley Woodrum)
Quick Opinion: Castro’s offense went from great to decent (for a shortstop) in 2012, but it appears batting average on balls in play variations may be a chief culprit. Do not be surprised to see the contact-heavy Castro make the necessary adjustments to resume his progress towards the select group of strong-hitting shortstops.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 2/2/1983 | Team: Cardinals | Position: 2B/SS|
Profile: Cedeno, 30, had the best offensive season of his career with the Mets in 2012, when he managed a .259/.332/.410 (107 wRC+) line in just 186 plate appearances. Known more for his defense than his stick, Cedeno hooked on with the Cardinals and will serve as their utility infielder/Rafael Furcal injury replacement. The only way Cedeno will provide fantasy value in 2012 is through a batting average on balls in play spike, which unfortunately does not appear to be on the way. He won’t steal bases and he won’t hit for power, making him waiver wire fodder at best. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: Cedeno had the best offensive season of his career in 2012, but the only way he’ll be useful in fantasy is with a nice big batted-ball-luck spike. He doesn’t hit for power and he doesn’t steal bases, so there’s not much worth valuing here.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 10/18/1985 | Team: Athletics | Position: OF|
Profile: In almost any other year, Yoenis Cespedes would have been a straightforward Rookie of the Year winner. His line of 23 home runs, 70 runs, 82 RBIs, 16 stolen bases, and a .282 batting average describes a clear five-category contributor. If it weren’t for Mike Trout being an alien, Cespedes would get some much deserved attention and praise. His power, bat speed, and overall speed have translated extremely well from the Cuban League to the MLB. The outlook for 2013 is as bright for him as it is for anyone. A season where he goes for 30 home runs, 90 runs, 100 RBIs, 20 SB, and a .300 average isn’t unfathomable, as long as his health holds. Grab Cespedes sooner rather than later — he won’t be there later. (David Wiers)
Quick Opinion: A Rookie by any other year would still be just as sweet as Cespedes. Big expectations were met — and then some — by rookie sensation Yoenis Cespedes.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 10/8/1986 | Team: Cardinals | Position: OF|
Profile: The Cardinals have used Chambers as an up-and-down extra outfielder these last two years, during which time he’s hit .242/.309/.339 (71 wRC+) in 70 plate appearances. He offers some speed and has a history of getting on-base at very high clips in the minors, but St. Louis has a deep outfield unit and Triple-A will likely be his destination again. (Mike Axisa)
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 12/7/1977 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: 3B|
Profile: Chavez, 35, had his best season in a half-decade in 2012. His .281/.348/.496 (126 wRC+) line wasn’t just a product of Yankee Stadium, as he hit better on the road (134 wRC+ and nine homers) than at home (117 wRC+ and seven homers). Chavez spent seven days on the concussion DL but otherwise stayed healthy all season, which is not something fantasy owners should count on happening again given his history. He’ll see plenty of time at the infield corners with the Diamondbacks, but don’t expect a repeat of his 20.8% HR/FB or DL-avoiding ways. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: Despite a terrific 2012 season, counting on Chavez to avoid the disabled list again wouldn’t be advisable. He’ll see plenty of time at the infield corners with the Diamondbacks but is unlikely to see 20.8% of his fly balls leave the park again.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 2/7/1978 | Position: OF|
Profile: Endy Chavez doesn’t like to walk. That’s fine; he does other things well, or at least sufficiently, to scratch out a twelve-year career as a fifth outfielder. As good as his 2011 was, though, none of the Oriole Magic rubbed off on him: his batting average on balls in play sank to .227, and without the walks to supplement his stick, his wOBA cratered at .226. In August, he was replaced by human punching bag Nate McLouth, only to return when Nick Markakis went down. At thirty-five, it’s possible that Endy gets a spring training invite, enjoys one last tour with the kids, shagging flies and teaching young outfielders how to lower the shoulder when running into Yuniesky Betancourt. Even if he does latch onto a team to provide some Veteran Leadership, make sure to avoid letting to latch onto yours. (Patrick Dubuque)
Quick Opinion: The last time Endy Chavez had fantasy value, he was playing for a team that no longer exists, and Meet the Fockers was out in theaters.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 6/5/1984 | Team: Rays | Position: C|
Profile: The 28-year-old backstop missed the entire 2012 season after suffering a concussion during spring training. A converted infielder, he has a strong minor league track record with his bat, but was already third on the depth chart before his injury due to a lack of defensive prowess. Players suffering from concussions haven’t had an easy road to recovery and it’s unclear what exactly the Rays have planned for him going forward, but I’d expect extensive playing time at the minor league level before Chirinos even sniffs the majors again. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: A concussion ruined what looked to be a promising 2012 season and it’s unclear when he’ll return to the field of play.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 10/4/1988 | Team: Indians | Position: 3B|
Profile: The swing is an absolute beauty, but so far it has not translated to much success. Chisenhall was supposed to take over as the Indians third baseman of the future two years ago, but never really grabbed the role. In somewhat limited time last year, Chisenhall showed some good signs. His walk rate started to climb (5.3% isn’t that exciting, but it was 9.1% in September) and he brought up his line drive rate (which is where he will likely derive his value long-term) by the end of the year, as well. So again Chiz heads into the season the presumptive 3B of the present, but this time there is no safety net. If things go well, Chisenhall could be a decent across the board play with 15-20 homers, 75+ R and RBI, and perhaps a couple steals to boot. He’s no guarantee, but if you need help at 3B, there is some upside potential. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: The time is now for the 24-year-old third baseman to step up and make a name for himself. He is no sure thing, but he provides some upside potential at a position that has caused fantasy players problems the last couple years. Not a starter in shallow leagues, but a solid reserve option/injury replacement.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 7/13/1982 | Team: Reds | Position: OF|
Profile: For a three-year period, Choo was one of the best outfielders in baseball and somehow flew under the fantasy radar for much of that period. Now, with the fantasy market well aware of his capabilities, Choo has taken a big step back. Once an annual .300/.400/.500 threat, Choo’s 2011 and 2012 have not come close to those lines. But last year he did bounce back, and really only a low fly ball rate kept him from popping even more than the 16 home runs he hit. Now he is two years removed from an injury-plagued 2011, moving to a new ballpark with much friendlier dimensions and perhaps he is slipping back under that aforementioned radar, thanks to those sub-par seasons. Don’t bank on a top-five season, by any means, but 20 home runs with 20 steals, and a .290 average seems reasonable. And leading off in Cincinnati should allow him to score runs in bunches. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: The move to Cincinnati should help everything except Choo’s RBI numbers (hard to drive in runners hitting behind a pitcher). A 20/20 season is a definite possibility.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 4/3/1980 | Position: OF|
Profile: The soon-to-be 33-year old career minor leaguer may get the opportunity to compete for a bench spot this spring, but given the fact that his skills are more declining than they are developing and that he was already far from knocking the cover off the ball in the extremely hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League over the last two years, the likelihood of Christian showing fantasy value is slim. (Howard Bender)
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 9/27/1985 | Team: Red Sox | Position: 3B|
Profile: While some fantasy owners caught lightning in a bottle with Pedro Ciriaco in 2012, he was close to the top of the league in O-Swing%. Couple some regression on his batting average on balls in play with the fact that the Red Sox have re-stocked their infield and Ciriaco should be a strong pass during 2013 drafts. (Colin Zarzycki)
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 8/21/1983 | Position: 1B|
Profile: Jeff Clement is a former first-round pick in his prime years, but he just doesn’t have the talent to play at the big league level. (Zach Sanders)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 4/5/1986 | Team: Cubs | Position: C|
Profile: Steve Clevenger gets high marks from Baseball America and many of the fans who have a taste for catcher defense. And though the left-handed Clevenger has humbled many a minor league pitcher, he currently looks positioned behind both Welington Castillo and Dioner Navarro for serious plate appearances in Chicago. Anything could change, of course, and a full-time Clevenger could make for a prudent waiver-wire acquisition — or late-draft acquisition, if the Cubs’ catching situation has changed that drastically by draft time. All told, he makes for an interesting long-term investment, but looks likely to have only limited fantasy value in 2013. (Bradley Woodrum)
Quick Opinion: Steve Clevenger has the prospect chops and minor league hitting numbers to suggest he can be a useful catcher in the near future, but until the catching situation changes in Chicago, Clevenger looks likely for the number three spot on the catcher depth chart. Still, keep an interested eye on him.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 6/18/1985 | Team: Marlins | Position: OF|
Profile: It’s hard to believe that Coghlan was once a Rookie of the Year winner, as he has been unable to duplicate the success he had during his 2009 debut. Having earned just 93 at-bats last year, in which he did nothing (.180 wOBA), he does not appear to be a part of the Marlins plans anymore. (Mike Podhorzer)
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 9/5/1985 | Team: Rockies | Position: OF|
Profile: Back in 2010, Colvin was a pleasant surprise in Chicago over a partial season worth of at-bats. He followed that up with a measly .218 wOBA the following year, but a move to the thin air of Colorado in 2012 was the prescription he needed to rebound. He should once again flash strong power numbers and chip in the occasional steal. Unfortunately, that batting average is destined to fall, as he makes poor contact and likely won’t benefit from an inflated batting average on balls in play again. His playing time remains a question mark, but since he could play first base and at any of the outfield slots, he could easily see 400 at-bats again. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: All Colvin needed to rebound offensively was move to the thin air of Colorado. He should continue to display good power, but his playing time is dependent on the health of Todd Helton at first base and the Rockies crop of starting outfielders.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 1/29/1988 | Team: Angels | Position: C|
Profile: Hank Conger tore up the PCL over the last several seasons with a slash line of .298/.371/.470 roughly 200 games played. That kind of bat hasn’t emerged quite yet in about half a season’s worth of work at the big league level, with just a .201/.280/.330 line with six home runs in three limited stints with the Angels. Conger is probably going to have to wait another couple years for anything other than a backup role to Chris Iannetta who is signed through 2014. Should opportunity present itself through injury or trade, Conger is definitely someone to think about stashing. He’s still just 25 going into 2013, he has demonstrated good patience, excellent contact rates, and decent power at high levels of the minors. Monitor him if you have a need behind the plate. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Conger is likely to be the backup to Chris Iannetta, so you can’t pencil him in for much more than a handful of at bats in 2013. But should opportunity or trade turn him into an everyday backstop, Conger has the kind of pedigree as a hitter that ought to pique your interest, and he would be a good investment in dynasty leagues.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 1/16/1980 | Position: 2B/3B|
Profile: A former cult hero in Atlanta, Conrad was not able to bring his magic to the Brewers last year and actually saw more minor league plate appearances than he did in the majors. He recorded an awful -8 wRC+ with the Brewers before being shipped to Tampa Bay, where he improved to a still very bad 56 mark. Now, the “Raw Dog” is headed to Japan. His days of playing in the majors are likely finished. (Ben Duronio)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 9/1/1983 | Team: Braves | Position: OF|
Profile: Once upon a time, Jose Constanza was taking plate appearances away from Jason Heyward. The Braves rode the hot hand of Constanza for a brief moment in 2011, but Constanza is not a threat to earn regular playing time in Atlanta unless an injury occurs to one of their outfielders. Constanza will be competing with Jordan Schafer for the backup outfielder role, and if he does get forced into regular play he could potentially add some value on the bases. (Ben Duronio)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 2/12/1987 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: 1B|
Profile: Here’s the good news: David Cooper hit .300/.324/.464 in 45 games and 145 plate appearances for the Blue Jays in 2012, posting a 341 wOBA and 114 wRC+. The bad news: Cooper, a very patient hitter in the minors — he had a .423 OBP in 188 games with hitter-friendly Triple-A Las Vegas — can’t work a walk in the big leagues. There’s more: he’s behind Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind on the Toronto depth chart, and there’s little power in his bat. Cooper, in a platoon, could contribute in 2013 against right-handed pitching, especially if Lind struggles, but he’s got limited fantasy value at this point in his career. He’s an option in only your deepest American League-only leagues. (Navin Vaswani)
Quick Opinion: The patience David Cooper honed in the minor leagues hasn’t translated at the big-league level. A contact hitter with a decent approach at the plate, Cooper has little power in his bat and is buried on the depth chart in Toronto, so he’s unlikely to provide fantasy value.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 1/22/1985 | Team: Angels | Position: OF|
Profile: Cousins = too many strikeouts, too few walks and not enough power. That’s not someone I want to call my Cousin! (Mike Podhorzer)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 5/22/1986 | Team: Mets | Position: OF|
Profile: With the A’s outfield being jam-packed with the likes of Josh Reddick, Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes, and now Chris Young, Collin Cowgill was left as the odd man out. Now a member of the New York Mets, Cowgill has a chance to open the season as their center fielder. If given that chance, he would be an interesting pick in deep NL-Only leagues. In the more likely platoon/backup role, its hard to imagine Cowgill bringing a ton of value to your fantasy team. (David Wiers)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 8/12/1985 | Team: Reds | Position: SS|
Profile: In real life, Zack Cozart’s work was impressive for a rookie, even a 26-year-old one. He showed above-average power, struck out less than average, added value on the basepaths and with his glove, and racked up almost three wins on the cheap for the Reds. The bad news for fantasy managers interested in his services is that even with normal batted ball luck, some power, and some speed, he couldn’t do better than that .246 batting average. And since his luck was fairly average, it’s hard to project him for a much better number next year. He once stole 30 bases in Triple-A, but that was 2010 and he’s slowed down since. If he can improve on his 72 runs and 35 RBI — numbers that dragged his number down close to fantasy replacement level — and the batting average moves forward even a tick, the modest power could make him borderline relevant in mixed leagues. Given the position, he’s a deep leaguer either way. (Alan Harrison)
Quick Opinion: An inconsistent rookie season leaves Zack Cozart on the bubble as a mixed league shortstop. He slugged 15 homers — good enough for fourth-best in the National League at his position — and crossed the plate 72 times, but a .246 average with just 35 RBIs and four stolen bags left owners with gaping holes in more than half of the standard categories.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 7/18/1984 | Team: Cardinals | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: There’s a lot to like about Allen Craig and his approach at the plate. It lends itself to projected consistency for any fantasy owner. His .374 wOBA ranked fourth amongst first basemen with at least 400 plate appearances last year, and for fantasy purposes, hit over 20 home runs with a batting average above .300. His 28.6% O-Swing% shows he chases bad pitches less often than the average hitter, while his 6.9% swinging-strike rate and 43.0% swing rate (both well below average) illustrate his patience. His .215 ISO doesn’t put him in the upper echelon of sluggers in terms of raw power and he doesn’t project to hit 40 home runs, but he’s a solid second-tier first baseman who should help in each non-stolen-base category and can also hold his own as a second-tier outfielder while he has eligibility. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: Craig is a top-ten first baseman with positional flexibility who can flat-out hit the baseball. He provides power, average, and should see his RBI total improve with 600 plate appearances in an above-average Cardinals lineup.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 8/5/1981 | Team: Dodgers | Position: OF|
Profile: When the fanfare for a player’s exit rivals the fanfare for his entrance, you know that player had a tumultuous stay with a team. Such was the case for Crawford, whose one and a half seasons in Boston are likely seasons he would rather soon forget. He delayed an inevitable Tommy John surgery so that he could try and help contribute to Boston’s 2012 campaign, but he was unable to get on the field until after the All-Star break, and a month later his season was over, as the Red Sox’s collapse helped hastened his decision to go under the knife. Aside from an almost complete lack of walks — which might be explained away by an anxiousness on Crawford’s part to do something, anything to contribute — he didn’t actually hit poorly. His .282/.306/.479 line across 125 plate appearances was good for a .333 wOBA, a mark that is right in line with his career average of .335. Possible explanation aside, the drop in walks is concerning, but Crawford’s speed appears to still be intact, and if he returns early in the season, he could end up being a great sleeper pick. Just make sure you don’t get carried away and draft him too early or for too much money if you’re in an auction format. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: Crawford may be ready for action on opening day, but given his work since 2010, it’s best to tread lightly. If he falls far enough in your draft he could be a decent sleeper, but it would be unwise to project him as anything other than a reserve on your fantasy roster until he shows that he is capable of being better.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 1/21/1987 | Team: Giants | Position: SS|
Profile: Crawford strikes out 20% of the time, has a below-average walk rate, very limited power, minimal base-stealing skills, and a better-not-look batting average and on-base percentage. And the building blocks for improvement just aren’t there. He has a below-average contact rate, an 11.4-percent swinging strike rate and a 47.2-percent ground ball rate. There’s just not much to hang your hat on for 2013. (Wendy Thurm/@hangingsliders)
Quick Opinion: Crawford is a defensive whiz kid and should start racking up Gold Glove and Fielding Bible awards at shortstop. But he’s all glove and very little bat, and will provide little in the way of fantasy value in 2013.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 11/1/1979 | Team: Athletics | Position: OF|
Profile: Even as he ages, Coco Crisp is still burning up the base paths. Since the 2010 season, Crisp’s 120 stolen bases over that time frame are the fourth-most in the majors. Not only is he still stealing at an excellent frequency, but his effectiveness as a runner is off of the charts. His 120/16 stolen base to caught stealings ratio is easily the strongest ratio for the top of the steals leaderboards. He benefited from a strong second half where he batted .281/.349/.511 to help buoy his seasonal line. While the A’s outfield of the future is getting awfully full — especially with the addition of Chris Young — Crisp figures to get plenty of playing time either in the Coliseum or elsewhere if he gets traded. His 106 wRC+ won’t be ignored and Crisp can be expected to hit leadoff, and score plenty of runs, anywhere he plays. (David Wiers)
Quick Opinion: The need for speed should make Coco a draft day creed. Crisp brings plenty of speed to the table, but his value is dependent on his playing time in a crowded Oakland outfield.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 2/10/1984 | Team: Dodgers | Position: 3B/SS|
Profile: If not for the endless injuries to the Dodger infield, Cruz may have taken his career .296 minor league on-base percentage to Japan, where he’d been considering a June offer before getting the call to Los Angeles. As late as August 16, his line was still only .262/.300/.410, but a red-hot final six weeks — helped, no doubt, by the fact that the rest of the offense was collapsing around him — made him look like a savior. As a multi-positional reserve with a bit of pop, Cruz makes for an interesting option, though little in his long track record — or the streak of 119 plate appearances without a walk to end the season — suggests that he’s viable as an everyday starter. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: After 12 uninspiring seasons in the minors, Luis Cruz became one of the biggest surprises of the second half of 2012 by claiming the Dodger third base job — though a .326 wOBA hardly backs up the “folk hero” status he claimed among Dodger fans.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 7/1/1980 | Team: Rangers | Position: OF|
Profile: Nelson Cruz may have had a couple of down seasons, but there have certainly been some positives. Cruz has played at least 148 games in each of the past two seasons, besting his previous career high by a full 20 games. Cruz’s 2012 isolated slugging percentage of .200 shows the right-hander still has power, but his homer totals are declining, and if injuries should strike again, he could hit less than 20 dingers in 2013. He has also been attempting to steal less often, taking another weapon out of his arsenal. Cruz has plenty of raw talent and plays in a great park for his skills, so forsaking him in drafts isn’t recommended. Treat him as a second outfielder who will drive in runs when healthy. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Nelson Cruz has had a couple of down years, but he’s still a solid second or third outfielder in mixed leagues.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 3/27/1979 | Team: Rockies | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Big things were expected of Cuddyer after moving to Colorado from pitcher-friendly Minnesota, especially in the power department. While his isolated slugging percentage and home run per fly ball ratio did spike, his strikeout rate jumped to the worst mark since 2006 and his batting average on balls in play finished below his career average. Heading into his age-34 season, you have to wonder how many more nicks and bruises he’ll suffer this season, causing him to miss significant time again. He continues to steal the occasional base, which provides a nice value boost. However, he’s going to have to reverse his declining fly ball rate trend in order to have a good shot at reaching the mid-20’s in home runs. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Cuddyer was a bit of a disappointment during his first year in Colorado and was limited to just 358 at-bats due to an oblique injury. The power was there, but he’ll be turning 34 this season and his contact rate and batting average on balls in play may not rebound.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 4/10/1989 | Team: Rockies | Position: 2B|
Profile: As a prospect, Culberson doesn’t generate too much excitement, especially with the belief that he will likely top out as nothing more than a utility infielder. Once a shortstop prospect drafted by the Giants in 2007, Culberson has since been moved to second base due to a total of 75 errors between 2008 and 2009. He seemed to have found a more secure home at the keystone, but with the Giants heading to the playoffs last season and in need of big league talent at the position, he was dealt to Colorado in the Marco Scutaro trade. The Rockies should be a better fit for him as their infield is still very much a work in progress, but he’ll probably land a back-up role this season, at best. Culberson has decent gap power, but he is still struggling with both drawing walks and avoiding strikeouts. Another year of seasoning at Triple-A is probably what he needs most, so don’t consider him as anything more than a blip on the fantasy radar. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: With a strong spring in 2013, Culberson has a chance to make the Rockies as a utility infielder, but given the versatility of some of his competition, he’s really going to have to impress. In all likelihood, he will spend a good amount of time on the Triple-A shuttle. With average power, modest speed and a middling on-base percentage, he’s not going to provide you with much for fantasy purposes, even in a plug-and-play type role.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 4/24/1986 | Position: OF|
Profile: Prior to the Nick Swisher signing, the Indians were short a starting outfielder, and that alone made Cunningham worth keeping an eye on. Only 90 players get starting OF jobs each year and your fantasy league will use up 48-60 of them, most likely. But the fact is Cunningham no longer has a shot to make the 90 and, even if he did, almost certainly wouldn’t make your 60. Cunningham will be battling Thomas Neal and Ezequiel Carrera for the 4th OF slot, but even in that unimpressive field, he is almost definitely not the favorite. Cunningham didn’t hit in Cleveland or Columbus last year — no reason to be overly optimistic that will change this year. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: The Indians have at least four, maybe more outfielders ahead of Cunningham on the depth chart, and that is not because they have any impressive outfield depth.
Print This Post