|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 1/21/1987 | Team: Pirates | Position: 2B/SS|
Profile: Chase d’Arnaud has shown the Pirates his speed in the minors, but that’s about it. The Buccos have better young options at shortstop, so d’Arnaud isn’t exactly a lock to take playing time from Clint Barmes should Pittsburgh fall out of the playoff race early. His career trajectory likely labels him as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement from here on out, so he’ll have no real value to fantasy owners. Dare I say it, but d’Arnaud shouldn’t even be bought for a dollar in ottoneu leagues. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Chase d’Arnaud has speed on the basepaths, but he can’t get on base nearly enough to stay in the lineup. He’s not even worth stashing for a dollar in ottoneu leagues.
|Debut: 1995 | BirthDate: 11/5/1973 | Position: OF|
Profile: Johnny Damon is likely retired, maybe not by his own choice, so you probably won’t be considering him for your drafts. But if he finds his way onto a Major League roster…you probably still shouldn’t consider him for yours. (Chad Young)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 8/7/1986 | Team: White Sox | Position: OF|
Profile: Here’s a fun prop bet for you and your friends. Which White Sox pair will finish with more combined wins above replacement: Jordan and John Danks or Jake Peavy and a Giordano’s Pizza? The Danks brothers have to be slight favorites, but don’t sleep on that pizza. It’s delicious! (Dan Wade)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 1/19/1987 | Team: Padres | Position: OF|
Profile: Since being drafted in the second round out of South Carolina in 2008, all Darnell has done is hit, but he’s had trouble turning that into a big league career. Not that he’s had much of an opportunity to; his debut in 2011 was cut short by a shoulder injury, and he got into just seven games in 2012 before re-injuring the same shoulder and losing the rest of the season. Shoulder injuries have been known to affect power, so Darnell may need to prove his health in the minors before trying to figure a way back to San Diego, where his two primary positions (third base & left field) are each blocked by established starters in Chase Headley & Carlos Quentin. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: James Darnell’s 2012 was ruined by left shoulder surgery — his second in less than a year — and headed into his age-26 season, he needs to prove both his health and his ability to hit in the big leagues.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 3/17/1986 | Team: Orioles | Position: 1B/DH/OF|
Profile: At this point, we know exactly what Chris Davis is, but it’s still hard to project whether he’ll continue to be a useful player. Though 1644 career plate appearances, Davis has a .335 batting average on balls in play, which is high for a player like him. He’s still going to strikeout a ton, but, as last season showed, he has great power potential when given playing time. He should receive that playing time again this season, probably at the newly vacated first base, where he’ll step into the whiffs and whacks role that Mark Reynolds used to occupy. Whether he can maintain a decent average is the big question, he’ll definitely provide a good amount of home runs no matter what. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Davis has hit for much better averages than expected given his high batting average on balls in play. While he’s a candidate to see some regression in that area, his power is definitely real. As long as the O’s don’t give up on him easily, he’ll have value in fantasy leagues next year.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 3/22/1987 | Team: Mets | Position: 1B|
Profile: While it may seem like Ike Davis has been on a yo-yo, there are aspects of his game that have held steady. Those in on-base-percentage leagues would know that his walk rate has been in double digits throughout his professional career. On the negative side, his strikeout rate has been worse than league average most seasons, too. Since that rate is backed by a worse-than-average swinging strike rate and a hitch in his swing that looks like it should lead to whiffs, the strikeouts look like they are here to stay. His defense passes the eye test, too, but all that means is that he’ll keep getting extra chances if he struggles. Most owners are wondering about the power, though. After failing to hit a home run in his first professional year, Davis slowly got going until his thump peaked in Triple-A. His isolated slugging percentage followed the same pattern in the big leagues, too. His batted ball distance has been top-shelf since his rookie year, though, so let’s call the power real. The strikeouts (and the hitch) will keep the batting average down, yes, but a little better batted ball luck in 2013 should produce an average closer to .260. That would pair nicely with the same old patience, power and defense. (Eno Sarris)
Quick Opinion: An unorthodox swing from the Mets first baseman produces power, patience, and the whiffs that dull his batting average. We like Ike, but we know that he’s a flawed player, too.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 10/19/1980 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: OF|
Profile: Rajai Davis does one thing very well: steal bases. And that gives him some fantasy value. He stole 46 bases in 2012, in 142 games, and, re-signed to a one-year deal, he’ll be a bench player for the Blue Jays in 2013. A below-average hitter, draft Davis late, or grab him for a few dollars, and he’ll do what he does, albeit in likely a more limited role: steal between close to 30 bases while hitting mostly against left-handers or late in games as a defensive replacement. (Navin Vaswani)
Quick Opinion: If you’re looking for stolen bases on the cheap, Rajai Davis could be just the man you’re looking for. But that’s where it begins and ends: stolen bases.
Alejandro De Aza
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 4/11/1984 | Team: White Sox | Position: OF|
Profile: A .280 batting average, 20-30 stolen bases, and the catbird’s seat atop a strong White Sox order are all marks in De Aza’s favor; if he accompanied them with 15-20 home run power, then he’d be a very nice pick toward the later rounds of a draft. His power isn’t Jason Tyner-level poor, but it isn’t particularly compelling and leaves him reliant on his good-but-not-great speed and his teammates for his value. Like Span, De Aza is likely to move on and off the waiver wire with some frequency in most leagues as hot spurts make him look great and cold streaks render him nearly valueless. He may not be the quintessential example of a player who is more valuable in real life than he is in fantasy — Darwin Barney is growing nicely into that role — but more than one owner will wonder of him “why do the White Sox seem to like him so much more than I do?” (Dan Wade)
Quick Opinion: De Aza’s 2011 cameo gave the White Sox a good clue, if a slightly optimistic one, to what they would get from making him their starting center fielder in 2012. Much like the his former division mate, the now departed Denard Span, De Aza did many things acceptably well without becoming a great fantasy option.
Ivan De Jesus
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 5/1/1987 | Position: 2B/3B|
Profile: This former top prospect has never been able to overcome a 2009 broken leg that sidetracked his career, and reports of attitude issues made his departure from Los Angeles seem like a given; after a short stint in Boston, De Jesus was non-tendered and seems headed for a career as a Quad-A type. (Mike Petriello)
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 12/20/1979 | Team: Cubs | Position: OF|
Profile: The Cubs signed the now 32-year-old outfielder DeJesus in the hopes he could rebound from his career-low on-base percentage and play some strong outfield defense. Though his offense rebounded to his third-worst OBP (.350) and his advanced defensive statistics where not kind, DeJesus figures to continue playing a major role in the Cubs outfield. He could assume everyday centerfield duties as prospect Brett Jackson looked far under-cooked in his 2012 callup, with Nate Schierholtz likely absorbing most of the right field PAs. Or Jackson impresses in the spring and Schierholtz and DeJesus split time in right. In an OBP or linear weights league, DeJesus makes for a dandy grab. He still pops a few dingers and can sustain a decent batting average, but giving that he will likely be leading off again in 2013 despite his paucity of steals, his upside in a traditional league is narrow. (Bradley Woodrum)
Quick Opinion: More useful in a real outfield than a 5×5 one, David DeJesus should put together a strong on-base percentage in 2013 and pop 10 homers or thereabouts. In OBP and linear weights leagues, DeJesus is a platoon starter at a low cost.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 7/15/1980 | Team: Padres | Position: OF|
Profile: With good plate discipline, strong contact rates and a career .317 average against left-handed pitching, Denorfia has done a good job earning his keep as the Padres fourth outfielder and platoon partner for Will Venable in right field. Injuries on the team opened the door for him a little wider in 2012 and Denorfia appeared in a career-high 130 games for the Padres and posted a .293/.345/.451 slash line over 382 plate appearances. While his power and speed may only be average, his defense and splits versus southpaws will keep him in the lineup relatively often. And given the fact that the Padres will continue to go with the oft-injured Carlos Quentin in left field, you can expect that his annual trip to the disabled list will continue to afford (the also breakable) Denorfia with further increased opportunities in 2013. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: The Padres have Denorfia locked in as their fourth outfielder and right field platoon partner for 2013 and he should continue to see plenty of work against left-handed pitching. He may not hit for a lot of power or have an over-abundance of speed, but with good plate discipline and strong on-base skills, he should be able to post another season similar to his .293-56-8-36-13 season in 2012.
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 2/26/1975 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: 3B/OF|
Profile: Mark DeRosa’s final act didn’t play out the way any of us would have hoped; after losing most of two seasons with a wrist problem, he lost most of 2012 with an oblique. Two of his three seasons have been marred by bad luck as well as injury, giving him some ugly stat lines, but it’s hard to say what DeRosa could do at this point, let alone how much of a chance he’ll have to do it. Even in the best-case scenario, he spends his time filling in as a utility infielder and reading speeches in locker rooms. Let’s hope he has one more speech in him. (Patrick Dubuque)
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 10/19/1986 | Team: Cardinals | Position: 2B|
Profile: Although he has largely served as a utility infielder throughout his career in St. Louis, the departure of Skip Schumaker to the Dodgers in an offseason trade has opened the door for Descalso to be the full-time second baseman for the Cardinals. Unfortunately, his bat doesn’t warrant fantasy consideration. He ranked as the second-worst fantasy option at second base last season — in front of only the lowly Robert Andino — and even the optimistic Bill James Projections don’t see Descalso breaking the .300 wOBA mark in 2013. He doesn’t even provide fantasy owners with cheap steals, either, as he only has nine stolen bases in his first 838 plate appearances in the big leagues. Perhaps more succinctly: Darwin Barney and Gordon Beckham are better fantasy options at second base than Daniel Descalso. Draft (or don’t draft) accordingly. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: With the departure of Skip Schumaker to Los Angeles, Descalso should see increased time at second base, but his poor production at the plate in 2012 makes him one of the least-valuable options at the keystone position.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 9/20/1985 | Team: Nationals | Position: SS|
Profile: Ian Desmond went from sabermetric whipping boy, to the second best shortstop in baseball, behind Ben Zobrist, who spent most of his season playing other positions. Still, Desmond excelled due to a power breakout last year. There’s some reason to believe that those gains are here to stay. Desmond’s average home run distance increased last season, and his “just enough” home runs weren’t much higher than the league average. His batting average on balls in play is likely to regress, which should bring down his overall line, but it does look like his power surge could continue. It would be foolish to expect another season with 25 home runs, but somewhere between 15-20 seems fair. That’s enough to make him a really valuable player at short. Expect regression, but there’s still enough to justify Desmond as a top-10 option at short. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Desmond is a candidate for regression, but could keep some of his power gains from last season. That’s enough to make him at least a top-10 option at short this year.
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 3/3/1978 | Position: OF|
Profile: Matt Diaz has been replaced by Reed Johnson in Atlanta, and with steadily declining numbers the former lefty-masher will just be happy landing a job. At this point, the Yankees signed him to a minor league deal but it is doubtful that he receives regular play even against lefties unless numerous injuries occur to a team’s outfield. (Ben Duronio)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 1/24/1986 | Team: Tigers | Position: OF|
Profile: Last season, Dirks performed pretty similarly to his debut in 2011, with the biggest difference coming from his batting average on balls in play and fly ball rate. A high line drive rate led to a .365 BABIP, which is unlikely to be repeated. As such, he probably won’t hit .300 again. All those line drives took away from his fly balls, which resulted in just one more home run in nearly 100 additional at-bats. His FB% should rebound some, which would increase his home run rate and take some of the sting away from any BABIP decline. Though his playing time remains a question mark as the Tigers search for a platoon partner, there’s still a good chance he exceeds his 2012 at-bat total. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Primarily facing right-handers, Dirks was a solid fantasy contributor while he was actually on the field last year. Heading into this season, he will likely once again be used in a platoon against righties, which will limit his fantasy value.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 7/2/1978 | Team: Marlins | Position: 3B/OF|
Profile: The utility man played four different positions last year and might see significant time again given the question marks at several positions in Miami. At 34 years old, Dobbs still has a bit of pop left, but his power has been in decline and he won’t really help in any other category. (Mike Podhorzer)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 8/28/1989 | Team: Astros | Position: 3B|
Profile: In his brief stint in the majors in 2012, Matt Dominguez hit .284/.310/.477 with five home runs over 109 at bats. He didn’t strike out much, avoided free passes like the plague and showed great contact skills. While it seems like we’ve been talking about Dominguez forever, he is still just 23, and there’s potential for fantasy usefulness here. It’s probably optimistic to think that he can replicate that batting average in 2013, but a .250/.300/.400 kind of season wouldn’t shock me. He’s capable of hitting 15+ home runs and depending on his slot in the order, could drive in a goodly number of runs too. And though his glove is irrelevant in your fantasy league, it will mean more chances to make that weak bat stick. He shouldn’t be your first option at third base, but he’s certainly someone you could stash for emergencies. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Dominguez enters 2013 with his first genuine opportunity as an everyday regular. He’ll have a friendly home park, and if his use in September of 2012 was any indication, he should hit somewhere in the middle of the order which ought to provide a decent number of RBI. Still just 23, Dominguez could give you double digit home runs although he may not hit north of .260.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 9/4/1984 | Team: Reds | Position: 3B|
Profile: Once upon a time, Donald was an intriguing piece in the Cliff-Lee-to-the-Phillies trade. Since then, he has put up a .257/.309/.362 line in basically a full season’s worth of part-time playing (603 plate appearances). With seven home runs and 12 stolen bases over that time, he is not an unmitigated disaster, particularly for a middle infielder. Now in Cincinnati, Donald will get a nice boost from his new home park, but who knows where he will find playing time. He likely backs up the Reds’ MI, perhaps even backing up at third (although fellow former Indian Jack Hannahan should have that role covered). If injuries force him into real playing time, he could offer just enough to be a serviceable fantasy MI, but he isn’t worth drafting and sitting on. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: Donald will be backing up a solid middle infeild in Cincinnati and could provide adequate numbers for a fantasy middle infielder when he plays. But that is his upside, and he is unlikely to reach it.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 12/8/1985 | Team: Athletics | Position: 3B|
Profile: Donaldson was sent down in the middle of June for “batting” .153/.160/.235 — and those numbers don’t tell exactly how poorly Donaldson hit. When he came back up in August he (not to mention his batting average on balls in play) came back to stay. After being called up, Donaldson went on a .290/.356/.489 tear and clubbed eight dingers. With no pronounced change in his swing, stance, or grip it is hard to pin down exactly what went wrong in the beginning and right in the end. His BABIP fluctuated harshly and obviously had a strong effect on his overall numbers. If nothing else, Donaldson seems locked in to begin the season as the A’s starting third basemen. I wouldn’t predict him to have a breakout season teammate Josh Reddick, but I would take a late round pick on him to round out my bench. Now that Jed Lowrie is in town, there’s some risk that Donaldson loses playing time with more struggles, but that risk was already there, and now there’s the possibility of some work at first base against left-handers to soften the blow of the threat of any lost time. (David Wiers)
Quick Opinion: It may have taken getting called up, struggling, and getting sent down, but Josh Donaldson surged after his second call up from the minors. He not only came up with big hits, but he had them in big moments. Despite only 294 plate appearances, Donaldson had the fourth-highest Clutch score on a team that won its division on the final day of the season.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 4/3/1981 | Team: Twins | Position: C/DH|
Profile: Ryan Doumit’s 2012 was basically a mirror-image of his career marks: Doumit was four points off his career marks in wRC+ and wOBA. His career triple-slash is .272/.331/.446; in 2012 it was .275/.320/.461. Essentially, Doumit sacrificed a little on base percentage for power, but all in all, he was pretty much what the Twins should have expected. His defense is still much maligned — and fairly so — and national types still aren’t sure why exactly the Twins want or need him, but he’s pretty solid for what the Twins need: a catcher/corner backup type whose bat will play at any of those positions relatively well. So happy were the Twins with Doumit’s production that they signed the beady-eyed redbeard to a two-year, $7 million extension that’ll keep him in Twinstripes through 2015. On the fantasy side, Doumit hits pretty well for a catcher, and should see plenty of time in other places after the trades of Denard Span and Ben Revere. Draft him as a catcher, and bask in his versatility when he gets outfield and maybe even first base eligibility. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Any player with catcher eligibility is useful in fantasy baseball. And that’s what Ryan Doumit is: any player. Exactly who he’s been all along.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 3/19/1984 | Position: 1B/3B|
Profile: If there’s anything to like about Matt Downs, it’s certainly his versatility. Downs played a little at first base, second base, third base, and the outfield in 2012 (even made an appearance at shortstop). But he struggled mightily at the dish, with a .202/.253/.371 slash line although he did kick in eight home runs in just 191 plate appearances. Should he find himself a starting role somewhere, he has enough pop in his bat to be interesting given his positional eligibility. But as it stands, he’s not worth a roster spot. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Downs had a promising 2011 but found himself a not-so-super utility guy in 2012 when his bat started to falter. He needs a starting gig to be useful in fantasy, and right now that looks unlikely.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 5/15/1987 | Team: Twins | Position: SS|
Profile: As it turns out, Ron Gardenhire’s affection for Brian Dozier was a bit misplaced, as the shortstop played poorly despite not making the team out of spring training as it was reported his skipper desired. It’s still unclear if the Twins like Dozier long-term at shortstop, though the latest whispers were that he may have the inside track at second base entering 2013. In the minors, Dozier proved difficult to strike out. He was capable of drawing a walk at times and exhibited more gap power than anything. With second base so wide open in the Twins organization — at least down to Eddie Rosario a few rungs down — Dozier will probably get his fair shot to make his home there in the short term. With that said, he shouldn’t have any semblance of entitlement to a roster spot like Alexi Casilla had, as slick fielders Pedro Florimon and Eduardo Escobar also want a shot at second. That last sentence alone should tell you not to expect any fantasy value out of Dozier in 2013, and maybe not ever. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: He might start somewhere on the Twins infield, but Brian Dozier probably doesn’t deserve a ton of fantasy affection from you.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 3/16/1983 | Team: Red Sox | Position: SS|
Profile: Drew was slow to recover from a gruesome ankle injury, making his debut in late-June. Even after he returned, he struggled to produce, hitting under .200 in July. That didn’t stop the A’s from taking a chance on Drew in August. And while his overall numbers look disappointing, he was able to pick up his performance over the last month of the season, hitting .263/.331/.421. Taking a one-year deal with the Red Sox was probably the smartest decision Drew could make this offseason. He’s entering a good hitter’s park, and should be a candidate for a bounce-back year if he’s finally over the ankle injury. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Drew should be in for a nice rebound year if he’s over his ankle injury. Going to Fenway should help him re-capture his power stroke. He’s a candidate to jump back into the top-10 at short and should go late in drafts.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 2/3/1986 | Team: Mets | Position: OF|
Profile: I suppose there’s at least one reader that checked this page looking for a mea culpa from a certain writer on Lucas Duda. Well, look no longer: I whiffed. The dude did still show a good walk rate, and wasn’t terrible in deep on-base percentage leagues, and he did show league-average power, and he’s still in the team’s plans to some extent, and I did say that he was a dollar-type sleeper… but those might sound like excuses to you. Because he was supposed to have more than league-average power, and he wasn’t supposed to hit .239. Mostly at fault was a leap in strikeout rate (26.1% in 2012, 22.2% career) — his home runs per fly ball (12.5%, 11.3% career) and batted ball mix (.83 ground balls per fly ball, .81 career) were right in line with what he had done before. Had he made more contact, and played more than 459 plate appearances, he could still have gone .280 with 20 home runs and 80 RBI, the benchmarks I set for him. Pro-rate last year’s numbers, and you get within a hair of those numbers even. Of course, the problem is that he’s atrocious on defense and the team has a first baseman. He’s still young-ish, his team needs outfielders and might not value defense as highly as some, and the potential for fantasy utility is still there. He’ll at least get a shot in the starter’s role to begin the season. (Eno Sarris)
Quick Opinion: Don’t get angry about el Dudaroni in 2012. Instead, consider him a possible asset in deeper leagues, especially on-base percentage ones. He still showed patience, and he still has nascent power. Just don’t watch him on defense.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 9/29/1979 | Position: OF|
Profile: Duncan has always shown signs of life with the bat, but has never really developed into the hitter that was suggested by his 2007 season. That great year in Triple-A and a solid major league debut have kept Duncan on the radar for teams in need of a corner bat, and the Indians (as well as any fantasy owners brave enough) got solid value out of him in 2011. His 2012 looks downright horrid in comparison, but a .218 batting average on balls in play will do that too you. With better luck, he could be a decent platoon option against lefties, but may not be that and definitely won’t be more. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: If you look past a batting-average-on-balls-in-play-depressed 2012, there are some things to like, but Duncan is unlikely to play every day and probably won’t do enough to help your fantasy team.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 11/9/1979 | Team: White Sox | Position: 1B/DH|
Profile: In 2011, Dunn was reminding fantasy players that sometimes a sure thing isn’t so sure. Seven straight seasons of 38+ home runs (five with 40+) disappeared into a ugly year — 11 HR, a .159 batting average and a slugging percentage under .300 — and we were left wondering if he was done. 2012 gives us reason to believe his first season in Chicago was an aberration. An .801 OPS and 41 home runs will cure all ills, and Dunn’s fantasy value is no different. Dunn has always been a masher with a low average and, despite turning 33 this off-season, there is no reason to think he is done. Expect some decline, but draft him comfortably with the knowledge that 2011 was a valley, not a cliff. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: 2011 was as flukey as it was ugly for Dunn. Ignoring the potential for decline from the 33-year-old is not a good idea, but passing on his 40-homer power because of a weak season two years ago isn’t either.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 8/15/1984 | Team: Royals | Position: OF|
Profile: After two cups of coffee in the bigs, Dyson finally received a legitimate shot to play in 2012 and turned in a solid 30-steal season, batting .260 with 52 runs scored and a .328 on-base percentage. He batted leadoff for most of the way, and while you’d like to see his contact rates improve more, he posted an above-average walk rate and did a yeoman’s job setting the table for a struggling Royals lineup. A strained lat muscle in August limited his ability to play the field down the stretch, but on days when he wasn’t in the lineup, he was used as the team’s primary pinch runner. With Lorenzo Cain back and healthy in 2013, Dyson will likely open the season as the team’s fourth outfielder with pinch running and late-game defensive replacement responsibilities. He could potentially pose a decent value in deep roto leagues thanks to his speed. And if injury befalls the Kansas City outfield again, Dyson’s value should continue to rise as his workload increases. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Dyson’s first extended look in the majors in 2012 was a positive one and although he will likely be slated as the Royals’ fourth outfielder, his speed will continue to give him value in roto leagues this season. He might be worth a very late flier in some leagues, but more likely he’ll be someone you’ll want to keep on your radar throughout the year for cheap steals.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 12/6/1988 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: OF|
Profile: Eaton doesn’t wow scouts with his tools — or his 5’8” stature — but he hustles like a madman and gets the most of his abilities. The left-handed hitter spent the 2012 season in Double-A and Triple-A, totaling almost 200 hits with impressive gap power (47 doubles) and 44 steals in 55 attempts. The Ohio native has hit more than .300 at every level he’s played at in the minors, and he received a 22-game big league trial at the end of last season. He can play all three outfield positions but, with the trade of center-fielder Chris Young to Oakland, Eaton is currently the favorite to play regularly in his absence. He’ll have to hold off the likes of A.J. Pollock and Gerardo Parra, but he has more upside than the former and more glove than the latter. Another trade or free agent acquisition also remains a threat to the rookie’s playing time. Eaton could be a valuable player to round out a fantasy roster but he’s probably not going to be an impact hitter in 2013. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: With the off-season signing of Cody Ross, and the Justin Upton trade, Eaton’s playing time is in flux. If he does find his way into the starting lineup on a regular basis, expect a solid batting average and a healthy number of stolen bases.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 6/6/1977 | Team: Dodgers | Position: 2B|
Profile: It’s too bad for Mark Ellis that they don’t factor defense into fantasy baseball, because he’d be a star. As it is, he was able to rebound from a horrible 2011 (.282 wOBA, even though he spent half the season in Colorado) with a .312 wOBA that was just below his career average. As second basemen go, he’s almost exactly middle-of-the-road, though the days of double-digit steals & homers seem long ago. More concerning are his continued injury woes, especially because he got on base far better in 37 games before leg surgery in 2012 (.273/.373/.364) than he did in in 73 games after returning in July (.251/.314/.364). At 36 in 2013, Ellis’ best days are behind him. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: This aging second baseman is far more valuable because of his glove than his bat, but showed improvement over a lousy 2011.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 4/9/1981 | Team: Dodgers | Position: C|
Profile: Here’s the list of catchers who had at least a .373 on-base percentage and 13 homers in 2012: Buster Posey, Miguel Montero, Yadier Molina… and A.J. Ellis. The on-base skills weren’t a total surprise, given that Ellis hadn’t had a minor-league OBP below .382 since 2005 — a large part of why many had been howling for him to get a chance over inferior options like Dioner Navarro & Rod Barajas in previous years — but the power was shocking, considering Ellis had just two Triple-A homers in the prior three seasons despite playing at offense-happy Albuquerque. Ellis’ 12.9 walk rate was a top-ten mark among all players, so while it’s fair to wonder if he can repeat that power performance in 2013, he should still be among the more productive backstops in terms of simply getting on base. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: A.J. Ellis didn’t get a shot to play every day until he was 31, but he wasted no time taking advantage of it, pairing expected quality on-base skills with a surprising amount of power.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 9/11/1983 | Team: Red Sox | Position: OF|
Profile: Somewhat lost in the Bobby Valentine traveling circus was the fact that Ellsbury went from nearly winning the American League Most Valuable Player Award in one season to finishing with fewer home runs than Daniel Nava in the next. In 2011, Ellsbury posted a .376 on-base percentage. In 2012, he posted a .370 slugging percentage. A shoulder injury was partially to blame, but how much of the blame rests with the injury is a matter of debate. In looking at his batted ball ratios, it would be fair to say “a lot,” since his batted ball profile didn’t change drastically. He did hit more ground balls than he did in 2011, but his ground ball total was still lower than it was prior to 2011, when his middle name was “ground ball out to second base.” His home run per fly ball rate did fall through the floor, from 16.7% in ’11 to 4.7%. These numbers certainly give the appearance of a guy who was hitting in the same fashion, but whose balls in play weren’t going as far due to injury. If that is the case, Ellsbury should rebound this season, but he has teased us before, and you would be forgiven for being wary. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: When healthy, Ellsbury can be one of the best players in baseball, capable of numbers that will carry your fantasy team. He is also capable of making you addicted to rage-ahol, as his 2012 fantasy owners can almost certainly attest.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 6/15/1987 | Team: Astros | Position: SS|
Profile: Jake Elmore was drafted in the 34th round by the Diamondbacks in 2008, and was mostly unimpressive as a minor-league hitter until 2012, when, as a 25-year-old in the PCL, he hit .344/.442/.465 with 32 steals and earned himself a late-season call-up. 73 major-league plate appearances don’t have statistical significance, so Elmore’s .191/.247/.250 line should not be taken too seriously on its own. However, he had never been a particularly impressive hitter in the minors, nor was he ever especially young for his level. In 2012 the PCL made him look awesome, as it has so many other prospects with far better pedrigrees before him who went on to fail (Brandon Wood being the classic, over-used example). This is not to say that Elmore has not shown anything prior to 2012: He always had good plate discipline (for his minor league career he has walked more than he has struck out) and stole a lot of bases. However, the lack of power and generally unremarkable numbers prior to his batted-ball-luck-inflated hot streak in the 2012 PCL do not inspire confidence, nor does the Diamondbacks’ willingness to let him go to the Astros. At the moment, Elmore is in a playing time competition with Tyler Greene and Marwin Gonzalez at shortstop. Greene’s offense is probably better than Gonzalez’s, and his defense is probably better than Elmore’s, but this is a competition worth watching for your deep league middle infielder spot. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Jake Elmore came out of nowhere to have a monster year in the PCL in 2012, which earned him a brief audition in Arizona. After the season, the Diamondbacks let him go to the Astros, where he is now in a scrum for the shortstop position with Marwin Gonzalez and Tyler Greene.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 1/7/1983 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: 1B/DH|
Profile: Edwin Encarnacion officially arrived in 2012, and the Blue Jays couldn’t have been happier about it. He picked up where he left off to end the 2011 season and posted the second-highest batting average of his career (.280), the highest on-base percentage (.384), and slugging percentage (.557) of his career. His 644 at-bats, 42 home runs, 93 runs, 110 RBI, and 13 stolen bases were all career highs. The question is: can he do it again? Encarnacion can’t be expected to put up those numbers again, considering his .277 ISO was much higher than his .207 career average, but he proved to be a patient hitter in 2012, increasing his walk rate while also not swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone. If he’s batting clean-up in the revamped Toronto lineup, Encarnacion will have every opportunity to put up big numbers again. He’s got what you’re looking for, in terms of fantasy value. I’m thinking late second round into the early third round, on draft day. (Navin Vaswani)
Quick Opinion: Edwin Encarnacion has officially arrived, but can he do it again? While he’ll be hard pressed to repeat last season, he’s got legitimate fantasy value batting clean-up in the revamped Toronto lineup no matter how far his power regresses.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 12/16/1986 | Team: Royals | Position: SS|
Profile: In his second season since being dealt to the Royals in the Zack Greinke trade, Escobar enjoyed a breakout season in which he set career highs in home runs, RBI, stolen bases and batting average, making him one of the best values in fantasy at the shortstop position. Already lauded for his glove-work in the field, Escobar has now become the total package and should be expected to continue his development as a player in 2013 as he enters his age-26 season. He could still learn to take a few more walks and there’s always the possibility that his .344 batting average on balls in play inflated his batting average somewhat, but if he can come close to maintaining that 23% line drive rate, he should be able to keep his on-base percentage in that .330 range. He’ll continue to bat second in the lineup this season which should afford him plenty of opportunities at the plate and if he can repeat his 87.5% stolen base success rate, he’ll have the green light all year long. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: A breakout season that saw him bat .293 for the year with 35 stolen bases has vaulted Escobar up the rankings of a very shallow position. Though he’s light in the power department, he can be counted on for a solid average, good runs scored and a minimum of 30 stolen bases again this season.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 11/2/1982 | Team: Rays | Position: SS|
Profile: Traded twice in the offseason, from Toronto to Miami, then to Tampa Bay, Yunel Escobar is the starting shortstop for the Rays. Even as awful as he was at the plate in 2012,Escobar’s recent past suggests that he’s in for a decent season. He’s rebounded before. And, make no mistake, he’s looking to rebound in Tampa Bay, on and off the field. When Escobar is focused, he can be a productive shortstop, and can provide some fantasy value. When he’s not, when he’s writing inspirational messages in his eye-black, Escobar has been deemed simply not worthy to be kept around. His walk rate dipped in 2012, down to 5.8%, after a career-high 10.3% in 2011; he swung at more pitches outside of the strike zone than ever before. Escobar’s ceiling definitely isn’t as high as I once projected, but I think, at 30 years old, he’s a better offensive player than he showed last year. You’re drafting Escobar in your later rounds, or picking him up on the cheap, is what I’m saying. With Escobar, at this point in his career, you just don’t know what you’re going to get. He could thrive in Tampa Bay, or he could struggle once more — just know that his upside is limited to getting on base and providing a decent batting average. (Navin Vaswani)
Quick Opinion: The wait-and-see approach might be the best one to take with Yunel Escobar. Coming off the poorest season of his career and marred by struggles on and off the field, the shortstop is looking to rebound in Tampa Bay. His ceiling isn’t as high as it once seemed, but if he’s focused, Escobar can be a pleasantly productive shortstop worthy of some fantasy consideration, especially in deeper leagues. He showed a lack of discipline last season and stopped getting on base, though. He’s a big if, basically.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 1/5/1989 | Team: Twins | Position: 2B/3B|
Profile: Because of the vacuous cavern the Twins have had at shortstop since 2010, Escobar will have a decent shot to win the job in Spring Training. Unfortunately, for fantasy purposes, his upside is Brendan Ryan. Yes, that Brendan Ryan, the one with a .633 career OPS. (Dan Wade)
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 4/25/1987 | Team: Nationals | Position: 2B|
Profile: Strikeouts are becoming a pretty significant problem for Danny Espinosa. The NL leader in the category, Espinosa managed to strikeout in 28.7% of his plate appearances last year. His .247 average was actually an improvement over his rookie season, but he’ll never be a candidate to post a strong average if the can’t corral the whiffs. He does make the most of his other skills, hitting a fair amount of home runs for a second baseman and stealing some bases. He’s probably not a candidate to see a massive improvement, but he can have value if you can deal with his poor average — perhaps by punting the category in a head-to-head league. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Espinosa will never post a strong batting average, but does enough to have some value in fantasy leagues. He’ll provide a nice skill set as a late round middle infielder, but you wouldn’t feel great going into the year with him as your starter.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 4/10/1982 | Team: Dodgers | Position: OF|
Profile: In what’s becoming a seemingly annual tradition, Ethier started off 2012 white-hot (.324/.381/.569 through May) before slumping for the rest of the season and fighting injuries, twice going more than a month between home runs. As usual, he was completely punchless against lefty pitching (he was the seventh-worst qualified hitter by wOBA against them) while destroying righties (seventh-best). While his new contract guarantees him at least $85 million over the next five years, it hasn’t quieted trade rumors, and it’s more than a little troubling that 2012 saw him post a career worst 20.1 strikeout rate and a 8.1 walk rate that topped only his rookie effort. Still, if the Dodgers can just manage to avoid letting him make obvious outs against southpaws, his slash stats could easily improve substantially. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: Whether it’s injuries, slumps, or controversies, nothing ever seems to go smoothly for Andre Ethier. Once again, he’s coming off a very up-and-down season, though if he can stay healthy –and if he’s used properly — he has the talent to be one of the better hitting outfielders in the game.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 6/6/1983 | Team: Royals | Position: 2B|
Profile: Falu’s fantasy value lies in him being the least-crappy player in the pool of crappy potential second basemen the Royals plan on evaluating in 2013. Last season was the first time the 29-year-old played in the majors after being in Triple-A since 2009. The switch hitter made the best of the opportunity by hitting .341/.371/.435 with no stolen bases or home runs. The lack of homers is expected, but he should accumulate some stolen bags (21 in Triple-A in 2012) if he has an MLB job. His fantasy value would be generated from him hitting around .300 and accumulating runs with a few stolen bases. He could start the season as the everyday second baseman (over Chris Getz, Johnny Giavotella, and Christian Colon), but more likely Falu will be the team’s utility player. He played at second (14 games), short (five games), and third (five games) in 2012. He will likely be the replacement if Mike Moustakas or Alcides Escobar get hurt. There’s not really a reason to roster him unless he wins the second base job out of spring training or one of the other infielders “Getz” hurt. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: In 2012, Falu was the best hitter among the Royals’ second basemen, which is not saying much.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 2/22/1987 | Team: Angels | Position: 2B|
Profile: Field made a completely unexpected major league debut at the end of 2011, but his 51 plate appearances would prove to be his high-water mark with the Rockies organization. He managed three PA with Colorado this past season, but was leapfrogged on the organizational depth chart by not only Josh Rutledge, but also DJ Lemahieu, whom the team acquired from the Cubs prior to the 2012 season. Field was claimed on waivers by both the Twins and Angels in under a month, and he may have a chance to suit up for the Halos in 2013. Anaheim’s starters are set throughout the infield, but they don’t have a ton of depth at second, third and short, with Andrew Romine being the crux of that depth. Should Anaheim decide to carry an extra infielder, Field could stand to break camp with the team, but he still is a long shot to see any sort of sustained playing time. Even if he does get it, he’s unlikely to make much of an impact, as he wasn’t able to post even decent offensive numbers last season at the hitters’ haven in Colorado Springs. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: There is an outside chance that Field could stick with the Angels as a utility infielder this year, but Andrew Romine figures to be the main backup in the Angels’ infield, leaving Field likely ticketed for a second straight season of Pacific Coast League action.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 5/9/1984 | Team: Tigers | Position: 1B|
Profile: When Prince Fielder signed with the Tigers, the question was what would happen to his power. Miller Park inflated left-handed home runs, while Detroit slightly suppressed them. While Fielder’s home run total did end up dipping, it was actually in away ballparks where the decline occurred. In addition, part of the blame goes to his fly ball rate, which slipped to the lowest mark of his career. To make up for the loss of fly balls, Fielder hit line drives like there’s no tomorrow, which led to a career-best batting average on balls in play. He also made the best contact of his career, resulting in his first batting average over .300. Odds are his contact rate regresses a bit, but his fly ball rate should rebound, ultimately earning him similar fantasy value. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: In his first year with the Tigers, Fielder was a slight disappointment for fantasy owners, posting his lowest home run total since his rookie year in 2006. Assuming his fly ball rate rebounds though, he should again be one of the top first basemen in fantasy leagues.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 1/22/1978 | Position: OF|
Profile: Remember back in undergrad, when you had to read The Metamorphosis and you’d just broken up with your girlfriend/boyfriend and you’d bombed a Calc midterm and you were in the library at eight in the morning hung over and you’re reading this story about how this guy is a cockroach all of a sudden and his family hates him and he’s late for work and his dad throws an apple at him and then his family sells all his furniture and the maid hits him with a broom and then he dies? That is Chone Figgins. Chone Figgins is a cockroach with an apple rotting in his back. (Patrick Dubuque)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 7/27/1986 | Team: Orioles | Position: 2B/OF|
Profile: Ryan Flaherty played 77 games in his rookie year for the Orioles in 2012, and he struggled at the plate. Let’s not go into the numbers; trust me. He played winter ball in the Dominican Republic, and he struggled there, too. Set to compete for a utility job in spring training, Flaherty’s not a fantasy option at this stage of his career. But I’m proud of him just the same. (Navin Vaswani)
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 10/26/1984 | Position: C|
Profile: After Wilson Ramos went down with an injury, Jesus Flores was the undisputed starting catcher for the Nationals. He was pretty awful, even by catching standards, which is saying a lot considering the state of the position. Flores’ performance prompted the team to deal for Kurt Suzuki midseason. With Ramos’ return, that put Flores third on the team’s depth chart. He was non-tendered in late-November. Outside of a 106 plate appearance stint in 2009, Flores’ production in the majors was been underwhelming. His throwing arm is pretty poor as well, making him ill-suited for a major-league backup role at this point in his career. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Flores was non-tendered by the Nationals and is looking for a new team. He’s not going to have fantasy value even if multiple injuries push him into a starting role.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 12/10/1986 | Team: Twins | Position: SS|
Profile: Florimon is a stopgap until someone else comes along to play shortstop for Minnesota. Defense should be fine, offense should not. (Chad Young)
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 1/24/1986 | Team: White Sox | Position: C|
Profile: He has so little major league experience even at 27 that it’s hard to get overly excited about his potential, but Flowers has shown relatively consistent power for a catcher. Now that the White Sox didn’t bring A.J. Pierzynski back, Flowers looks even better since he won’t have anyone pressing him for possible playing time. Whether he has competition or not, he should be a decent AL-Only option and at least a workable second catcher in those pesky two-catcher leagues. Just be prepared for a bad batting average, since he looks like he’ll continue to keep whiffing at an extraordinary rate. (Dan Wade)
Quick Opinion: It looks like Flowers will see an expanded role in 2013. It’s hard to keep calling him the catcher of the future as he’s heading into his age-27 season, but when the alternative was the 36-year-old Pierzynski, he seems like a one-man youth movement.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 6/9/1980 | Position: 2B/3B|
Profile: Fontenot can supply a .280 average when he gets a chance, but the utility man played in just 47 games last year and has just an 83 OPS+ over the past four seasons. Whoo-hoo! (Jack Moore)
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 8/12/1976 | Position: DH/OF|
Profile: Lew Ford made a triumphant return to Major League Baseball in 2012, with the Orioles, after last playing at baseball’s highest level in 2007. Let’s not worry about the numbers Ford posted with Baltimore, and instead marvel at his return to The Show at age 35, because Ford has zero fantasy value. (Navin Vaswani)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 1/14/1987 | Team: Padres | Position: 2B|
Profile: With second base being a relative disaster for the Padres, and prospect Jedd Gyorko not quite ready to make his major league debut, the Padres brought up Forsythe midway through the season in 2012 and seemed to find their much-needed stopgap. Forsythe had struggled in his previous major league stints, looking completely over-matched at the plate, but with strong plate discipline and a vote of confidence from the coaches, he managed to produce solid numbers, batting .273 with half a dozen home runs and eight stolen bases. While it’s probable that he overachieved with a 28.7% line drive rate, his league-average walk rate and solid contact rates helped him achieve a sound .348 on-base percentage. With Chase Headley firmly entrenched at third and Gyorko likely to be given the chance to earn the second base job, Forsythe could end up as the Padres utility infielder, which would limit his value. However, if Gyorko struggles during the spring, Forsythe could end up with another starting gig this year, capable of putting up low-end but respectable numbers at a somewhat thin position. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Forsythe did a solid job plugging the Padres hole at the keystone last year and provided fantasy owners with a respectable waiver option midway through the season. He is expected to give way to prospect Jedd Gyorko this season, but should the Padres infield prospect struggle at all, Forsythe will be there to fill the role for another season. The numbers won’t dazzle you, but they also won’t hurt you should you miss out on better second base options on draft day.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 3/22/1986 | Team: Rockies | Position: OF|
Profile: After a late-season power surge back in 2011, Fowler was once again on many pre-season sleeper lists. This time, he actually made good, more than doubling his home run output and tripling his home run per fly ball ratio. Curiously though, his isolated slugging percentage barely budged, which was the result of his doubles total nearly being cut in half. It doesn’t appear that his actual power increased much, if at all, and so he’s at risk of experiencing a decline in that HR/FB ratio. In addition, that .390 batting average on balls in play from a season ago is not repeatable, so a return to a .270 batting average is likely. Last, we have been waiting for Fowler’s stolen base total to match his speed for years and it hasn’t happened. The odds that the breakout will suddenly come now are getting slimmer.(Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: A perennial pre-season sleeper, Fowler more than doubled his home run total and pushed his batting average out of the .260 range for the first time. However, with no signs of an imminent increase in stolen bases, combined with the risk of regression due to his peripherals, there’s a good chance he disappoints his fantasy owners this coming season.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 6/24/1987 | Team: Braves | Position: 3B|
Profile: While Juan Francisco spent the entire season in the majors last year, he worked as just a caddie for the soon-to-be-retired Chipper Jones and didn’t get a ton of playing time. With Martin Prado being traded to Arizona, Francisco will be given an opportunity to take the third base job for his own in spring training and in the early parts of the season. However, along with Justin Upton, the Braves acquired Chris Johnson, who will be competing with Francisco for the job at the hot corner. Both players are similar in their skill sets, so the competition should be real and could end up being a platoon situation — even though Johnson has hit righties better than lefties throughout his short career. Regardless, Francisco has gotten himself in better shape this season and is likely the better defender of the group, which does not say much as Johnson is a noted butcher defensively. That gives Francisco the inside track at more plate appearances as does being the left-handed portion of the potential platoon. With Francisco’s tremendous power, a season of 400+ plate appearances could very well lead to 15-20 home runs. While that combined with a poor batting average are not very valuable in standard formats, he could be helpful in NL-only or deeper leagues. (Ben Duronio)
Quick Opinion: Francisco’s competition with Chris Johnson should be monitored by fantasy owners despite the mediocrity of the duo. Francisco has dropped his weight and excelled in winter ball, but he will need to perform well out of the gate to win his the battle at third base and keep hold of it throughout the season — especially since the position the Braves would most likely try and upgrade via trade would likely be third base.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 10/23/1981 | Position: OF|
Profile: After a few seasons of being just good enough to be a marginal starting outfielder in Cleveland, Francisco ended up as a part-timer in Philadelphia before playing for three different teams in 2012. In his brief prime, Francisco had roughly average walk and strikeout rates and just enough pop to make his hitting acceptable in the outfield, despite his questionable fielding abilities. One might think he would make a platoon player, and maybe he would if paired with a lefty with a big split, but Francisco himself has a pretty even observed split. Despite his rather limited playing time the last three seasons, Francisco would be useful as a backup outfielder for some major-league team, and there has been some interest in the free agent. However, if he does sign with a team, it is unlikely to be in a role that would make him valuable on draft day unless a rash of injuries thrust him into a starting spot, and even then he would be a low-end spot-filler. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Ben Francisco used to be a nice low-end bargain play, but now in his thirties, he is a generic bench outfielder without much to offer a fantasy team.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 1/8/1984 | Team: Royals | Position: OF|
Profile: After enjoying one of his finest seasons in 2011 — he hit .285 with 20 home runs, 87 RBI and 22 stolen bases — Francoeur regressed mightily last season. He did manage to hit 16 home runs, but he batted just .239, stole just four bases all year and managed only 49 RBI thanks to a dismal .229 average with runners in scoring position. If you’re a believer in the “every other year” theory, then there’s hope for Frenchy to pull his average back up to respectability in 2013, but with a strikeout rate that has gradually increased over the last three seasons along with a reduced walk rate and an isolated slugging percentage that traditionally hovers around league average, the prospect of him producing well overall or a returning to the 20-home run range seem fairly slim. The Royals showed some confidence in him, though, when they traded hitting prospect Wil Myers — who was expected to supplant Francoeur in right field this season. Frenchy is, once again, slated for a full-time role in the Kansas City outfield. For better or for worse. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: To no one’s surprise, Francoeur followed up his outstanding 2011 season with yet another dismal season of pedestrian counting stats and a batting average that helps to ruin fantasy teams. Still, with a full-time role in the Kansas City outfield, he’ll offer some value in AL-only and mixed leagues that start five or more outfielders. Just don’t rely on him to crack the 20-home run barrier again or offer up double-digit stolen bases. His 2012 totals seem to be more the norm than the exception.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 5/24/1982 | Team: Phillies | Position: 3B|
Profile: Frandsen sits well behind Chase Utley and Michael Young on the Phillies’ depth chart. Expect him to be the first man in if (when?) one of the ancients hits the DL, but an 83 career wRC+ gives limited room for optimism if (when?) that happens. (Jack Moore)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 2/12/1986 | Team: Reds | Position: 1B/3B|
Profile: The top five ISOs for third basemen last year consisted of Miguel Cabrera, Aramis Ramirez, Adrian Beltre, Pedro Alvarez … and Todd Frazier. His .225 ISO was the fourth highest among third basemen who had at least 400 plate appearances last year. At 27 years old, he’s hitting his prime and plays in a great ballpark for power hitters. His .354 wOBA was also in the top ten for third basemen last year. Frazier provides upside at a relatively strong position, but fantasy owners should be wary of his tendency to swing-and-miss. His 12.3% swinging-strike rate ranked second to only Pedro Alvarez among third basemen, and his 36.6% O-Swing% shows patience is a bit of an issue. If pitchers adjust in his second full season, he may hurt owners in the batting average department, and we already know he won’t steal many bases. The signing of Jack Hannahan this winter — and the Scott Rolen rumor — suggests the Reds may have a quick trigger to platoon him if he slumps at all to begin the season. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: Now that he projects to be the full-time starter, power-hitting Todd Frazier could transition from surprise Rookie of the Year contender to top-fifteen third baseman in your fantasy league.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 9/12/1989 | Team: Braves | Position: 1B|
Profile: Look deeper into Freddie Freeman’s numbers and you’ll see he improved in some very key areas that you want to see from a second-year player. His walk rate and isolated slugging percentage improved while his strikeout rate dropped, and he got better as the season progressed. In fact, Freeman’s battle with his vision during the middle of the season should make him a bit of an undervalued asset on draft day this year. From July on, Freeman hit .257/.362/.466 with 14 homers and 50 RBI. As a player who started the year off looking like more of a hacker than a hitter, he continued to focus on his plate discipline and put together a rather impressive sophomore season. With a 23-year-old, six-foot-five-inch frame, Freeman’s power potential has likely not been reached quite yet. While expecting 30 home runs this season may be a stretch, it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility for the big first baseman. He is obviously not an elite player compared to his peers at first base, but he is a quality guy to grab late as he is moving key stats in the correct direction and is slated to hit cleanup behind Jason Heyward and Justin Upton. After posting 90+ runs and RBI last year, those totals should be at worst matched with a healthy campaign. (Ben Duronio)
Quick Opinion: Freeman is no star at first base, but he is a solid, reliable, and has likely yet to reach his full potential. He won’t help at all on the bases but if his batting average on balls in play reaches a mean between his rookie year of .339 and last year’s .295 mark, he should be able to post a respectable average, 25 home runs, and get close to 100 runs and RBI. Those numbers are not other-worldy, but they are also nothing to scoff about.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 4/28/1983 | Team: Cardinals | Position: 3B|
Profile: Coming into his age-30 season, Freese has become one of the premier offensive third basemen in all of baseball. His .365 wOBA ranked sixth amongst qualified third basemen, and his .372 OBP ranked at fourth-best. Even better for fantasy owners, the Missouri native has increased his power numbers in consecutive seasons. His .174 ISO and 20 home runs represent career highs. He’s no longer an average-only option at third base with modest home run numbers. Given a full season, Freese has proven he can hit 20+ home runs and has also shown that he can sustain a high BABIP — as his career BABIP over 1234 plate appearances is .359. A spike in his swinging-strike rate (11.3%) is a bit concerning, especially since the late bloomer turns 30 this March, but it did not result in a dramatic increase in his strikeout rate. He will also benefit from a potent Cardinals lineup and should occupy the fifth spot in the batting order behind Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig, likely increasing his RBI opportunities. Freese is comfortably a top-fifteen option at third base in 2013 and has a great chance to be a top-ten fantasy option when all is said and done. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: Freese is not one of the sexiest options at third base, but he has seen his power numbers increase each of the past three seasons and is now comfortably a top-fifteen fantasy third baseman.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 11/20/1981 | Team: Rays | Position: OF|
Profile: A fan favorite who took the game by storm for a month in 2011, Fuld missed much of the 2012 season following wrist surgery. He returned in July and got worse as the season went on. The role the Rays have used him in perfectly fits his attributes – he’s a fourth outfielder more valued for his defensive prowess than his bat. He’ll claim that role again this season, pinch hitting and running and making the occasional spot start. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: Fuld’s biggest plusses are his speed and defense, the former of which doesn’t matter if he’s on the bench and the latter is useless to fantasy owners.
|Debut: 2000 | BirthDate: 10/24/1977 | Team: Cardinals | Position: SS|
Profile: It doesn’t seem that long ago when Furcal regularly hit double-digit home runs and stole 25+ bases. Don’t let that reputation mislead you. The last time Furcal accomplished that was 2006 with the Braves. Furcal is now a light-hitting, injury-prone shortstop who compiled a .298 wOBA last year, which ranked lower than Jamey Carroll, Ruben Tejada, and Jhonny Peralta. What’s worse, his .082 ISO was the third-worst amongst shortstops who had 500 plate appearances last year. He can still provide double-digit steals, if healthy, but that’s the extent of his value at this point. After all, he has only hit .251/.314/.347 over the last two seasons. And playing in Busch Stadium won’t help his power numbers rebound. Furcal is perhaps a late-round flyer, but there’s a legitimate chance Pete Kozma continues to infringe on his playing time. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: Once a top-10 fantasy shortstop, 35-year-old Furcal may finally be slipping off the radar due to injuries and below-average production at the plate.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 11/14/1989 | Team: Phillies | Position: 2B|
Profile: Galvis will have to fight both Michael Young and Chase Utley for playing time in 2013, both battles he is unlikely to win, so we don’t even have to mention Yuniesky Betancourt. Galvis’ spot on the depth chart and a .267 wOBA in 2012 bode poorly for his fantasy value. (Jack Moore)
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 7/26/1985 | Team: Brewers | Position: 1B|
Profile: Gamel was primed to be reduced to an afterthought in Milwaukee after Norichika Aoki’s outbreak allowed Corey Hart to move to first base last year, but with offseason surgery keeping Hart out for the first six weeks or so of 2013, Gamel’s back in the mix. The 27-year-old has struggled in every MLB opportunity, compiling just a .296 wOBA in 269 scattered plate appearances. The good news is he’s improved his minor league contact rate immensely — he was up around the Ryan Howard 30 percent mark when he first reached Triple-A but sliced it to just 15.4% in his age-25 season. The question is if his power can play at first base — his best minor league isolated slugging percentage was .229, and that came as a 25-year-old in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He should be able to hit for a decent average, but the run and homer production isn’t likely to impress anyone. His at-bats will be valuable for the first six weeks in a Milwaukee lineup that led the National League in runs in 2012 — it’s just unlikely he’ll do anything to keep a full-time job past Hart’s return. Designated Hitter and pinch-hitter duties are much more likely for the second half of the season. (Jack Moore)
Quick Opinion: Gamel gets another chance to show what he can do at first base as a knee injury will sideline Corey Hart for the good part of the first two months of the season. Will he do enough to earn consistent playing time? Doubtful — he doesn’t have the ideal power for a first baseman — but he should be solid against right-handed pitching and could earn more playing time if he plays well in Hart’s absence.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 6/12/1991 | Team: Tigers | Position: OF|
Profile: Gracia moved quickly through the Tigers’ system after being signed as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela. Now 22, the right-hander hit for a good average (.319) in 51 plate appearances in 2012, but only had one extra base hit. One item to keep in mind, of the 51 PA he had, 34 were against lefties. He should be able to hit for some power after putting up double-digit home runs in the minors over the last two seasons. Besides the power, he has a bit of speed by averaging almost 20 stolen bases in his last three minor league seasons. The main problem holding back his ceiling as been his strikeouts. In the last three years respectively, he had a strikeout percentage of 22%, 22% and 26%. In 2012, his K% dropped to 19% in Triple-A and 20% in the majors. The high strikeout rate put a drag on his minor league batting average. With Austin Jackson in center and Torii Hunter in right, he looks like he will be in a platoon situation with the left-handed hitting Andy Dirks in left. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Avisail Garcia’s playing time during the postseason may make him over-valued on draft day. He may be platooning with Andy Dirks in left field.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 8/24/1983 | Team: Yankees | Position: OF|
Profile: An elbow injury that eventually required surgery limited Brett Gardner to only 16 games in 2012, but he’s set to return to action in 2013, and will likely start in the outfield for the Yankees. When he’s healthy, you know what you’re going to get with Gardner: he gets on base, and he makes things happen. Runs and stolen bases, that’s what Gardner’s all about, and there’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, it’s my opinion that the Brett Gardners of the baseball world ought to be more appreciated. Even if their fantasy value is mitigated by a lack of power and a so-so batting average. (Navin Vaswani)
Quick Opinion: Brett Gardner is set to return from an elbow injury in 2013, one that cost him all but 16 games in 2012. If he’s healthy, he’s worthy of fantasy consideration, thanks to the stolen bases and runs he’ll contribute to the Yankees lineup. On-base percentage matters, and Brett Gardner is living proof. Let nobody tell you otherwise.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 11/29/1983 | Team: Rangers | Position: OF|
Profile: Craig Gentry doesn’t bring anything in the way of power to the Rangers lineup, but he hits for a high average, steals a few bases, and plays superb outfield defense. The departure of Josh Hamilton has left a hole in center field, so there’s a chance Gentry could earn more at bats in 2013. If the Rangers opt to go with internal options in center, he will have to battle it out with Leonys Martin for playing time, and odds are manager Ron Washington would start the year platooning the two. If, for some reason, Gentry gets entrusted with an everyday job, the right-hander is a solid pickup in deeper mixed leagues, and an excellent pickup in AL-only leagues. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: If, for some reason, Craig Gentry gets entrusted with an everyday job, the right-hander is a solid pickup in deeper mixed leagues, and an excellent pickup in AL-only leagues.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 8/30/1983 | Team: Royals | Position: 2B|
Profile: The Royals have a cluster-$#@% at second base and Chris Getz is right in the middle of it. All of the players in the scrum are not good enough to start regularly which makes it a merry-go-round of who has the hot bat this week. If Getz is able to get the starting job, he could be an okay(ish) play in deep or AL-only leagues. Getz has no power with two total home runs in over 1300 plate appearances, and he’ll hit for a mediocre batting average from .250 to .270. His saving grace is the fact that if he was given 600 PA, he might be able to steal thirty bags. If he starts, he will be worth the play for those stolen bases, otherwise waive him for a player with talent. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Chris Getz is a serviceable fantasy player, but real world baseball keeps him from playing much.
|Debut: 1995 | BirthDate: 1/8/1971 | Position: 1B/DH|
Profile: After he hit 13 homers in 152 plate appearances for the Rockies in 2011, multiple players lobbied Giambi to come back for yet another “one more season.” He did, but was a near complete waste of a roster spot. He hit just one homer in 113 PAs in ’12, and posted a sub-.100 isolated slugging percentage for the first time in his 18-year career. He missed all of August, and in the two months surrounding it (that would be July and September, just in case you weren’t sure) he managed to tally only two singles and four walks in 24 plate appearances, 21 of which came in a pinch-hitting capacity — his last game started came on July 1. When the offseason began, Giambi interviewed for the Rockies’ managerial job, but when he didn’t get it, he oddly declared that he would like to play for one more season. Whether he does or doesn’t, you probably shouldn’t be lining up to get him for your squad in any capacity. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: It’s been four seasons since Jason Giambi was an everyday player, and after last season’s showing he probably isn’t even the fantastic bench option that he was for the Rockies in 2009 and 2011. Nothing to see here. If you really need your slugger nostalgia fix, maybe you could try Lance Berkman?
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 7/10/1987 | Team: Royals | Position: 2B|
Profile: Giavotella missed a golden opportunity last year when he was tabbed the favorite for the starting second base job but failed to deliver any type of production during Spring Training. He began the season at Triple-A Omaha and, with strong play in the minors and an injury to Chris Getz, earned himself a call-up in May, but again, struggled to deliver at the big league level, batting just .217 through 21 games. He received another late season call-up but continued his struggles with too many strikeouts and not enough walks. He’ll be given another opportunity to win the job heading into 2013, but if he fails to improve his plate discipline, then no matter how much he’s improved his defense, he’ll be nothing more than a platoon player at best. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Giavotella has improved his defense but continues to struggle with his plate discipline at the major league level. He’ll be given another shot in 2013 to earn the starting second base job, but unless his bat comes around even just a little, he’ll be nothing more than a part-time player. If he does win the job, then he’ll be worth a late-round flier in roto leagues.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 7/18/1987 | Team: Giants | Position: 3B|
Profile: Since being drafted by the Giants in 2008, Gillaspie has made slow, steady progress through the minor leagues. Unfortunately his skill set shows little upside and even in two seasons in the hitter-friendly PCL, he hasn’t seen a real growth in the power department. He does display solid plate discipline and he doesn’t strike out too often, but that’s not going to be enough to earn him more playing time than a cup of coffee or an injury replacement. And now working against him on that front is the fact that Pablo Sandoval doesn’t have any more hamate bones to break. (Howard Bender)
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 12/27/1982 | Team: Rays | Position: C|
Profile: The 30-year-old ended the season as the Rays second catcher, thanks in part to his hitting and to injury to Jose Lobaton. He’s a capable backup and helped the Rays out quite a bit in September, posting a 1.066 OPS, albeit in 36 plate appearances. He hits southpaws well (.292 average) but should basically avoid righties at all costs. He enters 2013 in a competition with Lobaton for the backup job behind Jose Molina. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: Competing to be a backup catcher is never the best way to show fantasy value, and Giminez is not going to buck the trend.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 9/10/1987 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: 1B|
Profile: In 2012, Paul Goldschmidt showed that his brief surge in late 2011 was no fluke. Indeed, he actually made great strides in improving the most worrisome aspect of his 2011 game — contact. Goldschmidt is probably never going to have a better-than-average strikeout rate, but his plate patience and power make that quite acceptable. He will only be 25 to start 2013, so his offensive game is still likely to improve in most relevant aspects. He is also in a home park congenial to his game. The batting average will probably come down, which will hurt, but a .270/.340/.470 line seems like a reasonable, and perhaps conservative projection for 2013, and is a good chance for more now and in the future. As far as power is concerned, 20 home runs should be no problem, and 30 or more is a possibility in 2013 and after. Goldschmidt might not yet be quite in the top tier of mixed-league first baseman, but he is definitely knocking on the door. Do not be afraid to bid significantly on him. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Paul Goldschmidt showed that 2011 was no fluke with a 2012 performance that saw him improve his game in many respects. People are going to know about Goldschmidt, but given that he is at an age where there is probably still some upside remaining, do not be afraid to make a strong bid for his services.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 7/19/1987 | Team: Indians | Position: 1B|
Profile: Yan Gomes made his rookie debut for Toronto in 2012, and it was mostly forgetful. A utility player seemingly rushed through the Blue Jays system, Gomes has a lot of work to do in order to figure out big-league pitching; he struck out 32 times in 98 at-bats last year. Traded to Cleveland in November, he’ll compete for a job with the club in spring training, but probably won’t have any fantasy value. (Navin Vaswani)
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 11/22/1980 | Team: Red Sox | Position: DH/OF|
Profile: Believe it or not, but Jonny Gomes had a higher wRC+ than Josh Hamilton in 2012. That doesn’t exactly translate to fantasy purposes, but it is nonetheless telling about the talent that Gomes has. Sure, you have to take Gomes’ numbers with a grain of salt given he accrued just 333 plate appearances, but when he was in the lineup, he produced. Gomes posted the highest home run per fly ball rate of his career in a notoriously pitcher-friendly park. Now that he is in a home park that is much more conducive to scoring runs — particularly for right-handed power hitters — expect Gomes to see a healthy boost to his counting numbers. He still struggles against fellow righties, and might find himself in a platoon, but his ability to smash southpaws and not embarrass himself against right-handed pitchers (101 wRC+ last year) makes him a solid late round pick in case he does get the full-time job. (David Wiers)
Quick Opinion: Jonny Was Good (with apologies to Chuck Berry). An excellent platoon season in Oakland netted Gomes what might be a full time gig in Boston. A right-handed power hitter in Fenway makes for a good combination; especially in total bases or OPS leagues.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 12/4/1985 | Team: Brewers | Position: OF|
Profile: Now this is the Carlos Gomez we were promised when he emerged with the Mets six (!) years ago. Although the on-base skills still aren’t there (.305 OBP; 4.4% walk rate), Gomez turned from a ground-ball machine to a fly ball hitter. He finally harnessed his power in doing so and turned a 19 home run season in just 452 plate appearances. Throw in the ever-present speed — 37 stolen bases, just six caught stealings — and Gomez was a waiver wire superstar despite his limited playing time. Even with some regression next season, increased playing time thanks to the elimination of a center field platoon in Milwaukee should lead to similarly sharp counting stats. The strikeouts will always suppress the batting average, though. (Jack Moore)
Quick Opinion: With 19 home runs and 37 stolen bases, Gomez broke out in 2012. He’s just 27 and finally unleashed what was always a big-time power tool. Some regression could be in store, but increased playing time thanks to the breakout should help cancel some of that out.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 9/7/1984 | Team: Red Sox | Position: 1B/3B|
Profile: Gomez has been a Triple-A slugger the last couple of seasons, hitting 24 home runs in both 2011 and 2012. He was adequate after being called up to the Red Sox following the earth-shattering Nick Punto trade, but his batting average was partly inflated by a lucky batting average on balls in play. He is a dark horse candidate to stick with the Sox again in 2013, but the team has pushed hard for external options during the offseason, which would doom Gomez to minor league depth again. (Colin Zarzycki)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 3/14/1989 | Team: Astros | Position: SS|
Profile: The Astros may have drafted Marwin Gonzalez in the 2012 Rule 5 Draft, but you shouldn’t make the same mistake in fantasy ball. Even with Jed Lowrie gone, this defense-first shortstop doesn’t have enough of a bat to figure in. We’re talking the 2011 version of Brendan Ryan with half the plate appearances. Just stay away. (JP Breen)
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 2/15/1977 | Team: Brewers | Position: SS|
Profile: Gonzalez was off to a fast start with the Brewers before a torn ACL ended his season. He seemed to enjoy escaping Turner Field’s deep left field. Gonzalez hit four home runs in his 24 games — much more like his time with the Reds (.403 SLG), Red Sox (.417) and Blue Jays (.497) than with Atlanta (.377). Gonzalez has good pull power for a shortstop but offers little else at the plate. Still, he’s back in the same solid hitter’s park, so his power might make him worth watching. He should at least get regular playing time. (Jack Moore)
Quick Opinion: Gonzalez offers enough pop to be worth a look if he can get at-bats. He get bonus points for returning to Milwaukee’s hitter’s haven.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 5/8/1982 | Team: Dodgers | Position: 1B|
Profile: Considering he was hitting .300/.343/.469 at the time of his shocking trade to Los Angeles, the extent of Gonzalez’ supposed decline would seem to be overstated, especially once you note the mess of a situation in Boston he was in. Still, there’s reason for concern here, because not only did he struggle to live up to expectations in his brief time with the Dodgers, his walk rate and his isolated slugging percentage each have declined yearly since their 2009 peak — and at 31, he’s not getting any younger. But even if we don’t see the Gonzalez who dominated in San Diego again, he’s only one year off a fantastic 2011 and managed to rebound from a tough Dodger start to hit .330/.372/.491 after September second. A top-ten first baseman still provides a lot of value, even if his best days are likely behind him. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: Adrian Gonzalez’ days as an upper-tier elite hitter may be behind him, but there’s still more than enough here to make him a very valuable first baseman — especially to Dodger fans scarred by years of James Loney.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 10/17/1985 | Team: Rockies | Position: OF|
Profile: For the second straight season, CarGo battled through some nagging injuries that may have hampered his performance at the plate. Still, he managed to reward fantasy owners as usual with his exciting power and speed skills. One major concern for Gonzalez is his declining fly ball rate. Obviously, as a power hitter who calls Coors Field home, the more fly balls, the better. If he were to return to the 30 home run plateau, he would need to lift the ball on a more frequent basis. If he does manage to stay healthy, then his 2010 performance, minus the batting average, could happen again. As a result, he’s one of the few top-tier hitters who you could still potentially earn a profit from. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Despite missing some time due to various ailments once again, CarGo contributed nicely in all five categories. Although his power has declined a bit, his skills remain strong and at age 27, is right in the middle of his prime.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 4/22/1988 | Team: Dodgers | Position: SS|
Profile: Blessed with electrifying speed, Gordon made enough of an impact in a 2011 cameo that the Dodgers gave him a starting job for 2012 and hoped his raw talent would make up for his inexperience. Unfortunately, it couldn’t have gone worse in every possible way. Only one player with at least 300 plate appearances had a lower wOBA than his .253; on defense, no shortstop with as much playing time had a worse UZR/150. To add injury to insult, his season essentially ended after injuring his thumb on July 3, and by the time he returned in September, Hanley Ramirez & Luis Cruz had frozen him out of a job. Only 25 in April, Gordon still has time to grow, but he’s unlikely to be an everyday player in 2013. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: Dee Gordon is quite possibly the fastest man in the majors, but all that speed won’t matter much if he can’t learn to hit… or field… or stay healthy.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 2/10/1984 | Team: Royals | Position: OF|
Profile: Alex regressed a bit from 2011 when he experienced his best season ever. The 29-year-old lefty will hit around 20 home runs, sport a .280-.300 average and steal double-digit bags in his average season, it looks like. Those numbers are good. No one number really stands out, but each will be above-average in all but the shallowest of leagues. He has been able to main a consistent walk (~10%) and strikeout (~20%) rate over the years. One “issue” surrounding him is his position in the lineup. He thrived in the leadoff spot, but the Royals would like for him to move down into one of the power positions. His run-RBI mix could be all over the place, but the total of each should be around 180 total. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Alex Gordon is stealthy good. Above-average numbers across the board.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 8/10/1990 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: OF|
Profile: Anthony Gose made the jump to the big leagues in 2012, playing in 56 games for the Blue Jays, thanks to injuries and Travis Snider’s departure via trade. Gose made an impact not with the bat but on the field and on the bases. He struck out 59 times in 166 at-bats, and while he’ll never be confused for a power hitter, his .096 isolated slugging percentage left a lot to be desired, even in an admittedly small sample size. With Melky Cabrera signed to play left field in Toronto, and Rajai Davis on the team, Gose will likely start and spend much of the year in Triple-A Buffalo, where his bat could use some more seasoning. In order to be successful at the MLB-level, Gose must learn how to get on base and make consistent contact, and he could get his opportunity should Colby Rasmus have another sub-par season. Right now, Gose’s fantasy value is limited to stolen bases, should he find himself up with the big club in Toronto, but, even then, it’s unlikely he winds up on your fantasy team. (Navin Vaswani)
Quick Opinion: Anthony Gose got a taste of big-league pitching in 2012, and he was overmatched. In other words, he struck out a ton. Due to start the 2013 season in Triple-A Buffalo, Gose can’t contribute to your fantasy team right now, but he and the Blue Jays hope that will change in the near future.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 11/8/1988 | Position: C|
Profile: The switch-hitting Grandal was a highly-touted prospect in the Reds system but was deemed somewhat expendable given the fact that they also had the equally, if not more, impressive Devin Mesoraco knocking on the major league door as well. So he was shipped to the Padres as part of of a big prospect trade during the offseason where he was expected to quickly ascend to the major league roster. While with the Padres Triple-A affiliate, Grandal posted a solid .186 isolated slugging percentage and actually walked more than he struck out. With a struggling Nick Hundley landing on the disabled list and only journeyman John Baker behind the dish, Grandal’s promotion was a no-brainer. At the big league level he posted numbers very similar to those at Triple-A, but had his season interrupted with an oblique strain. He returned shortly thereafter and finished the season, batting an impressive .325 for the month of September. Grandal was slated to open the season as the Padres primary backstop, but a 50-game suspension for testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone now pushes his 2013 debut to early June. His numbers were never considered gaudy at any point in time, so it is not yet known how this will affect his overall performance. However, missing the first two months of the season will certainly put a crimp on his overall fantasy value. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Grandal was slated to open the 2013 season as the Padres primary backstop but a 50-game suspension for testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone will keep him out for the first two months of the season. His batting eye and overall plate discipline aren’t likely to change, but you might want to hedge your bets on his power production a little bit until we see how he performs upon his return.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 3/16/1981 | Team: Yankees | Position: OF|
Profile: Granderson, 31, has emerged as one of baseball’s elite power hitters following some mechanical adjustments in August 2010. While another 43 homers might not happen, he’s as close to a lock for 30+ as you’ll find. Granderson’s career-low batting average (.232) stemmed from a career-low batting average on balls in play (.260) despite no significant change in his batted ball profile, plus his walk rate (11.0 BB%) was in line with his career norms. You’re going to have to live with the strikeouts (career-high 195 in 2012), but few outfielders offer the potential for 40+ homers and double-digit steals like the Yankees’ center fielder. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: Fantasy owners will have to live with Granderson’s strikeouts, but there is reason to expect his .232 AVG to rebound following a career-low .260 BABIP and no significant change in his batted ball profile. Few outfielders offer legitimate 40+ homer potential, and Granderson will chip in double-digit steals as well.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 11/2/1986 | Team: Brewers | Position: 1B/3B|
Profile: Green jumped onto the scene in 2011 when he destroyed Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .336/.413/.583 slash line and .427 wOBA, but he has only managed a .268 wOBA in limited time at the big league level the last two seasons. It would be interesting to see what he could do with consistent at-bats. The Brewers have a rock-solid infield, though, so he’s not about to receive that opportunity anytime soon, barring injury. (JP Breen)
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 2/21/1981 | Position: PH/PR|
Profile: One of the feel-good stories of the year, Greenberg signed a one-day contract with the Marlins and got his first official Major League at-bat after being hit in the head with the first pitch he saw back in 2005. Although he struck out, it will be an experience he’ll never forget. (Mike Podhorzer)
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 8/17/1983 | Team: Astros | Position: 2B/SS|
Profile: Tyler Greene’s performance improved after a trade to Houston, but that’s faith praise. He hit just .246/.278/.460 while filling in for an injured Jed Lowrie. The power he showed in the minors finally manifested itself last year. With a lot of whiffs. Don’t count on any better of a batting average — obviously he’s a risk for worse — but if you’re punting the category or in a deep league, you could use Greene’s power and speed on the cheap. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Greene finally displayed some power last season, but wasn’t able to show enough other skills to make him a worthwhile investment. He should see some time next season after Jed Lowrie was traded to the Athletics.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 2/18/1990 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: SS|
Profile: The trade from Cincy to Arizona helps Gregorius for two reasons. First, he’s no longer stuck behind the perfectly competent Zack Cozart. And second, the D-backs clearly must believe in Gregorius’ talents after essentially dealing Trevor Bauer to get him. The 23-year-old Amsterdam-born shortstop is known more for his glove than for his bat, but he’s not quite the pushover at the plate that, say, the Red Sox’s slick-fielding Jose Iglesias is. Still, it’s tough to get too excited about a career .271/.323/.376 line, and it’s not like Gregorius is adept at aiding his fantasy value by pilfering bases either (30 stolen bases vs. 23 caught stealings since 2010). He’ll have a chance to beat out Cliff Pennington and Willie Bloomquist for the D-backs starting job out of spring training, but a full season at Triple-A might not be a bad thing in the long run. Don’t expect a heck of a lot in 2013, but Gregorius could enter the NL-only middle infield (MI) ranks by 2014, once he’s settled into his new org. (Jason Catania)
Quick Opinion: Maybe you don’t want to get as excited about Didi as the Diamondbacks did, but there will still be leagues where the shortstop finds himself fantasy useful.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 2/21/1983 | Team: Mariners | Position: OF|
Profile: Franklin Gutierrez’s career has played out like a bad episode of House. Last year it was a pectoral tear, followed by a concussion, followed by a groin pull that ended his season. He mixed in some sort of stomach issues for good measure. We’re simply never going to know what could have been for the defensive genius, as the sheer variety of his injuries have prevented him from making any progress as a hitter since his 2009 breakout season. He’ll be back in 2013 to handle center field when he can, though one wonders how long the leash will be this year with a capable center fielder in left (Michael Saunders) and plenty of spare pieces to push into the corner outfield positions. Don’t draft him, but do keep an eye on him; if he’s healthy in spring training and starts the season hitting like 2012 and not 2011, he has the potential for double-digit home runs and steals. There’s also a chance he develops lupus.(Patrick Dubuque)
Quick Opinion: Despite everything that’s happened, Franklin Gutierrez is the starting center fielder for the Seattle Mariners. This exact moment. On December 16. Unless he fell down an elevator shaft this morning.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 1/28/1986 | Team: Rays | Position: OF|
Profile: 2012 was a lost year for Guyer, at least after he underwent season-ending surgery in May on his left, non-throwing, shoulder to repair a torn labrum. Entering his age-27 season, he’ll have to prove he’s fully recovered from the surgery to earn a job right away, as he still has options remaining. He’s hit for average in the minors and is a good defender with 15-20 homer power. The injury recovery may remove some of the pop but if all goes well he’ll see time as a reserve this season. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: Guyer could become a valuable bench bat for the Rays if his shoulder injury is behind him.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 6/14/1984 | Team: Padres | Position: OF|
Profile: While Guzman made a solid impression in the second half of 2011, the Padres showed that they weren’t fully convinced he was ready for full time action when they traded for Yonder Alonso and signed free agent Carlos Quentin during the offseason, pushing the young, right-handed bat down the depth charts. But playing as a fourth outfielder/back-up first baseman might be where Guzman tops out in his career — he is really just an average defender who doesn’t really have much in the way of power or speed. He’s already 28 years old and has just a season and a half of major league experience under his belt. His walk rate and ISO are right around league average and while his strikeout rate is also usually in that range, he did spike to over 22% last season with extra work. With the oft-injured Quentin playing in front of him, Guzman is likely to see another year of roughly 300 plate appearances, but he shouldn’t be counted on for more than 10 home runs or a .260-ish average. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Guzman will spend another season as the Padres back-up first baseman and fourth outfielder. Without much in the way of power or speed, his fantasy upside is certainly limited. However, with the oft-injured Carlos Quentin playing in front of him, he should still log some playing time in spurts.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 10/4/1982 | Position: OF|
Profile: Tony Gwynn is a fantastic defensive outfielder, but when given a chance to start every day after Matt Kemp’s injury, he hit so poorly that he was DFA’d despite being in the first year of a two-year deal. Now 30 and with a long track record of offensive ineptitude, Gwynn has little relevance. (Mike Petriello)
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