|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 6/3/1977 | Team: Yankees | Position: DH|
Profile: For the last few years, Hafner has had a guaranteed starting job — when healthy — by virtue of an eight-figure-per-year contract to be the Indians everyday designated hitter. With the end of that ill-fated deal, Hafner is looking for a new home, and the options may be limited. There are only 15 AL teams, and only so many of them are going to be interested in an injury-prone full-time DH on the wrong side of 30 with a heavy platoon split. Fantasy players will have the same issue — do you really have a roster spot for a Util-only player who you should only use against righties? Even if he ends up on the Yankees as is rumored as of the time of this writing? If so, Hafner will mash for you about half the time, but if your roster isn’t deep enough to platoon him (and weather his inevitable trips to the disabled list), don’t waste the spot. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: What fantasy team couldn’t benefit from a part-time, injury-prone utility-only player with a heavy platoon split? Oh…right…well, if you can afford the roster spot, Hafner will crush righties for you.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 8/20/1985 | Position: 1B|
Profile: Matt Hague suffered through a power drought in Triple-A in 2012, and his chief block, Garret Jones, had a career year in the majors. Hague doesn’t have the traditional skills for a first baseman, which makes his value in 5×5 leagues limited, but even ottoneu owners have no real use for him as long as Jones is crushing it. (Bradley Woodrum)
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 5/25/1980 | Team: Cubs | Position: OF|
Profile: Hairston, 31, turned his career year with the Mets (20 home runs and a 118 wRC+) into a two-year deal with the Cubs this offseason, where he’ll serve as the right-handed matchup bat for their lefty-heavy outfield. Hairston is a very one-dimensional fantasy player whose only real value is his power — he won’t hit for average (.263 in 2012 and .247 career) or provide on-base percentage (.299 in 2012 and .302 career), and he has very little track record of stealing bases (career-high eight in 2012). Hairston mashes lefties and the move to Wrigley Field should help his power a bit, but he’s a limited fantasy option who definitely isn’t an everyday guy. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: Hairston doesn’t do enough beyond hit for power to be an everyday fantasy option, especially since he’s on the short-end of the platoon stick. He’s useful, but limited.
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 5/29/1976 | Team: Dodgers | Position: 2B/3B|
Profile: Hairston’s public perception benefited greatly from a red-hot start in 2012, which helped him keep his batting average above .300 until nearly the All-Star break. That’s an incomplete picture, however, because he missed two weeks early in the season with a hamstring pull and most of the last two months after hip surgery; between the two injuries in May & August, he hit only .261/.324/.364. Hairston’s final wOBA of .320 was very similar to the .325 he put up in 2011, and that’s more than adequate for a veteran who provides eligibility at at least three positions in most formats. Of course, at 37 in 2013, health remains a concern. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: Nearly 37, Hairston doesn’t offer much in the way of power or speed any longer, but providing adequate batting average and on-base skills at multiple positions makes him useful nonetheless.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 5/21/1981 | Team: Angels | Position: OF|
Profile: Josh Hamilton has moved on to Los Angeles after five highly successful seasons with the Texas Rangers. In his last season in Arlington before signing a deal worth $125 million, Hamilton slugged 43 homers and hit .285, driving in 128 runs in the process. While Hamilton’s prodigious power was on display in 2012, he struggled mightily when it came to making contact with the ball. Hamilton’s swinging-strike percentage was a whopping 20% thanks to the left-handed slugger swinging at more balls out of the zone than ever before, and missing them at a career-worst rate. Hamilton has the brand to be drafted as a top outfielder, and rightfully so; but don’t go overpaying for a 32-year-old moving to a bigger ballpark. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Josh Hamilton has signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, leaving Texas after a season that saw him post huge power numbers while swinging and missing more than ever. Hamilton will be a highly sought after player in drafts, but don’t go overpaying for a 32-year-old who may be on the downswing.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 8/16/1980 | Team: Reds | Position: C|
Profile: Hanigan is the type of player that frustrates fantasy owners. He is a solid two-to-three win catcher, yet he provides negligible value in standard rotisserie leagues. Power is non-existent with only two home runs last season, he has never stolen a base in his big league career, and his career-high RBI total is a mere 40, which came back in 2010. He does possess a 12.1% career walk rate — so he can provide value in one category for those leagues that include on-base percentage — but that’s nothing that will excite fantasy owners. Not to mention top prospect Devin Mesoraco still looms in the shadows, poised to steal significant playing time if his bat comes around. In terms of fantasy value, he ranks in the bottom third of the league. He should not be on your team unless you’re absolutely desperate. You’re looking at a John Jaso kind of player with less power. No thank you. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: Hanigan should retain the starting job in Cincinnati due to his plus defense and on-base skills, but neither of those attributes make the 32-year-old particularly valuable in standard fantasy formats.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 3/4/1980 | Team: Reds | Position: 3B|
Profile: Hannahan is slick with the leather but when you swap out his third baseman’s glove for a batting glove, his value drops considerably. Moving to Cincinnati will help a bit, but being pushed into a backup role after getting significant playing time in Cleveland will hurt. An injury almost anywhere on the diamond could move the versatile Todd Frazier off third base and open up a lineup spot for Hannahan, but the chances are he won’t do a whole lot with it (at least not on offense). (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: All field and no hit makes Jack a dull boy (at least for fantasy owners). The Reds will be happy with his defense off the bench, but that doesn’t mean you should draft him.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 8/19/1982 | Team: Orioles | Position: SS|
Profile: J.J. Hardy wasn’t able to repeat his comeback 2011 season in 2012, but he was able to stay healthy, playing 158 games — the most of his career and no small feat for the often-injured Orioles shortstop. While his walk rate once again dipped, which it’s done every year since 2009, and his power numbers slipped as well (Hardy posted a .222 ISO in 2011, which fell to .151 in 2012, much closer to his .168 career average), Hardy remains one of the better power-hitting shortstops in baseball. If he’s healthy, he’ll hit home runs, and drive in runs, and that keeps him a top-10 fantasy shortstop. You could do worse than Hardy, that’s for sure. (Navin Vaswani)
Quick Opinion: J.J. Hardy doesn’t get on base enough, and his defense can’t help your fantasy team, but let’s not focus on the negatives. Hardy hits home runs and drives in runs. For a shortstop, that makes him both a rare breed and a viable fantasy option. You could do worse.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 10/16/1992 | Team: Nationals | Position: OF|
Profile: Had it not been for Mike Trout, Bryce Harper’s rookie season would have been a much bigger national story. While it was just one year, Harper is on track to be among some of the game’s best players. His .352 wOBA was the sixth-highest figure by a 19-year-old ever. The good news is most of the players who produced similar value to Harper at that age saw a nice improvement on their offensive numbers the following season. He also emerged as an aggressive base-runner and a strong base stealer. The power, which is already good, should continue to develop, turning Harper into one of the best fantasy outfielders in the game. That could happen sooner than you might think, too. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Harper’s rookie performance has already put him among the game’s best. He’s a strong candidate to improve next season, and could be one of the best fantasy outfielders.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 7/8/1987 | Team: Pirates | Position: 2B/SS|
Profile: Josh Harrison has two seasons in the 70s wRC+ range. He projects as the Pirates’ super-utility man, and unless his decent minor league numbers translate perfectly into the majors, which they almost certainly won’t, then his fantasy value should be relatively minimal. He has potential, but not without steady playing time. (Bradley Woodrum)
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 3/24/1982 | Team: Brewers | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Hart was a sharp power hitter once again in 2012. He launched 30 home runs for the second time in three years and posted a third straight isolated slugging percentage above .225. His strikeout rate ticked up a bit, but even in striking out nearly 25 percent of the time he has enough raw power to maintain a batting average above .270. His time as a runner appears to be over — he stole just five bases in 2012 after 14 from 2010-2011 — but he’s a solid consistent power hitter, a good choice once the stars fall off the board. After surprise knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, he won’t be available until late May at the earliest. He’ll still be worth picking up if you have a deep enough roster to stash him. (Jack Moore)
Quick Opinion: Once the stars fall off the board, Hart provides as much power as anybody else out there, albeit not until late May at the earliest. Strikeout issues linger, but his batting averages have still been solid to good of late.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 5/9/1984 | Team: Padres | Position: 3B|
Profile: Wow. It would be a surprise if anyone saw a breakout to this degree coming for Headley. He doubled his previous career high home run per fly ball ratio and almost tripled his previous career high in home runs. While expecting some regression is the best bet, he did show this type of power in the minor leagues and some of that regression is going to be offset by the closer fences at Petco Park. Aside from the power, Headley once again stole double digit bases and kept his batting average contributions in positive territory by posting another strong batting average on balls in play. He remains one of the biggest wild cards of the upcoming season, but again should be one of the more valuable fantasy third basemen. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: One of the biggest surprises of the year, Headley broke out in a big way, finally showing the power he hinted at in the minor leagues. Though the percentage play would be to expect regression, the fences moving in at PETCO should offset some of the expected loss of power.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 4/15/1989 | Team: Marlins | Position: 3B/SS|
Profile: The 23-year-old Cuban is known more for his glove than his bat, but Hechavarria has improved the latter aspect of his game to the point where he could be a league-average shortstop or slightly better. After being sent to Miami in the Marlins offseason salary-dump deal with the Blue Jays, Hech will certainly have oodles of opportunity to hold down a starting gig on a club that will be trying to find out if he can handle a full-time role right away. His cameo in Toronto in 2012 was only so-so (.254/.280/.365 over 126 at bats), and his offensive upside is limited — don’t expect more than a handful of homers and low double-digits in steals — making Hechavarria a candidate to be a low-end starting middle infielder (MI) in deep NL-onlies. (Jason Catania)
Quick Opinion: His fantasy ceiling isn’t cathedral-esque, but Hechavarria will have all the opportunity in the world to reach it. The Marlins need to find out who can contribute to their next winning squad, after all.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 12/14/1984 | Team: Reds | Position: OF|
Profile: After surprising fantasy owners with 18 home runs and a .233 ISO in 2011, the 28-year-old outfielder crashed back to earth with only eight home runs and a .265/.315/.401 slash line last season. Any hope for a bounceback fantasy season was curtailed by the addition of Choo and Ludwick this season, regulating Heisey to a fourth-outfielder role with an outside shot at a soft-platoon role with Choo in center. Neither of those situations should provide much fantasy value. (JP Breen)
|Debut: 1997 | BirthDate: 8/20/1973 | Team: Rockies | Position: 1B|
Profile: Todd Helton used to be a mythical beast capable of hitting for elite average and power. For five straight seasons, Helton hit at least .329 and smacked 30 homers (for a frame of reference, that has only happened seven times in the past five seasons). Unfortunately, those five seasons were 2000-2004. Since, injuries have robbed him of what was setting up to become a sure-fire Hall of Fame career. Last season, the injury in question was a torn labrum in his right hip, for which he needed surgery in August. If that wasn’t bad enough, he also needed surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee in November. If the first baseman responds well to his surgeries, he will be the team’s starting first baseman in the last year of his contract, and he will follow the same routine from the past few years — which was essentially to play two out of every three days. Without much power. And a dwindling batting average. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: Helton only played six second-half games in what was easily one of the worst seasons of his career. The other worst season came in 2010, and Helton rebounded in ’11, but his fantasy value for ’13 remains tenuous.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 1/30/1984 | Position: OF|
Profile: It has been five years since Hermida’s breakout 125 wRC+ season, and he’s managed just an 87 wRC+ in nearly 1,400 plate appearances since. The 28-year-old is an up-and-down outfielder who doesn’t do enough of anything to have fantasy value at this point. (Mike Axisa)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 9/7/1987 | Team: Marlins | Position: OF|
Profile: Gorkys Hernandez is expected to start the year as Juan Pierre’s platoon mate, so if there is any time that Hernandez can play himself into a regular role it will be this year. If he does end up winning a starting role in Miami, he could provide a decent amount of stolen bases, though his overall offensive value is rather limited. His stolen-base rate throughout the minors was uninspiring, and his offense was rather awful in his first major league stint. There are better outfielders than Hernandez to speculate on. (Ben Duronio)
|Debut: 1999 | BirthDate: 5/20/1976 | Team: Rockies | Position: C|
Profile: Following two very solid seasons at the plate and signing with the Rockies to become the starting catcher, things were looking up for Hernandez heading into the 2012 season. Then the season started. Hernandez only suited up for 52 games, and the .217 batting average that he compiled in his 196 plate appearances was easily the worst mark of his career. He also posted career-worsts by small margins in walk rate (3.1) and strikeout rate (16.3), and by wide margins in wOBA (.258) and wRC+ (45). Entering 2012, his worst wOBA and wRC+ had been .308 and 76, marks he had posted in 2000 and 2002, respectively. Heading into 2013, he has been passed on the depth chart by Wilin Rosario, and if Rosario improves his defense over the winter, Hernandez’s opportunities will be limited. Even if it doesn’t, Hernandez may see fewer opportunities anyway, as the Rockies’ crowded infield may mean that Jordan Pacheco gets a few more chances to don the tools of ignorance. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: Hernandez was an epic disaster last season when he was healthy — which wasn’t often — and unless the Rockies trade him, the only way he will significant playing time in 2013 is if Wilin Rosario’s fielding doesn’t improve.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 2/1/1985 | Team: Dodgers | Position: 3B/OF|
Profile: Prior to the season, Herrera was so unknown that fan site TrueBlueLA had him ranked as the #117 prospect… no, not in baseball; just in the Dodger organization. But as the 40-man roster was torn asunder by injury after injury, the team had little choice but to promote Herrera in May, and shockingly he was an immediate hit. After his first month, he had a .407 on-base percentage while seeing time at four positions, and while that came with a .410 batting average on balls in play that was clearly unsustainable, it was a bright light in the lowest point of the Dodger season. Predictably, he was unable to keep that up, and he was back in the minors by the All-Star break. Even with the hot start, a wOBA of .304 and a strikeout rate of 23.4% is little to be proud of, and little in his minor league record suggests he has more to offer. This was probably the peak of his career, but hey: at least people know his name now. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: Virtually unknown even to Dodger fans when 2012 started, longtime minor leaguer Elian Herrera was a shocking contributor for about a month before falling back to earth, eventually landing back in the minors — where he’s likely to remain.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 11/3/1984 | Team: Rockies | Position: 2B/SS|
Profile: Herrera has never been an offensive threat, and that didn’t change in 2012, as he posted a paltry 68 wRC+ for the Rockies. What’s worse, his strikeout and walk rates went in negative directions last season, which doesn’t bode well for his future production. Actually, what’s really worse is that the Rockies have as many at least seven candidates for their second and third-base jobs. At the major league level, they have DJ LeMahieu, Chris Nelson, Jordan Pacheco, Josh Rutledge and Ryan Wheeler, all vying for playing time, and Michael Cuddyer and Eric Young are capable of logging infield innings in a pinch as well. Furthermore, there is still stud prospect Nolan Arenado on the horizon. Herrera may have a leg up on everyone but Rutledge because only Herrera and Rutledge are capable of backing up Tulowitzki if he is injured, but this may be the year that Herrera feels the heat. Still, even if he survives to make the opening day roster, it seems unlikely that he will post a fourth straight season with 250 or more plate appearances in a Rockies’ uniform. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: Herrera’s glove has kept him in the majors for most of the past three seasons, but with the Rockies facing a roster crunch at second and third base, his job is no longer safe. Even if it isn’t, Herrera is unlikely to start and shouldn’t be drafted unless you get supremely desperate.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 9/14/1983 | Team: Angels | Position: C|
Profile: John Hester is kind of the classic organizational depth catcher that clubs like to keep around, with a little extra spice. He was called up in Arizona when Chris Snyder got hurt and he was called up in Anaheim when Chris Iannetta got hurt. He has some pop in his bat, isn’t averse to taking a walk, but unless there’s yet another injury or trade in Anaheim, he’s probably third on the depth chart at catcher so his playing time will be limited, if he gets any at all. Should he find himself a starting gig somewhere, Hester, 29, could prove useful. He owns a minor league slash line of .282/.342/.467, averaging a home run about every 30 at-bats and actually hit even better at Triple-A with a .295/.357/.475 line. He might be worth a stash in deep leagues, but without a job, you should certainly look elsewhere for a backstop. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Hester has an interesting enough bat, but he’s buried on the depth chart in Anaheim and is likely to see limited action. Keep looking.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 8/9/1989 | Team: Braves | Position: OF|
Profile: Now that is how you bounce back from an injury-plagued sophomore campaign. Jason Heyward proved doubters wrong last season, hitting 27 home runs and stealing 21 bases — which is more stolen bases than he had in his first two years combined. The power and speed combination made Heyward one of the more valuable fantasy players in the league last year, especially given his cost on draft day. Now Heyward is flying up the draft boards as the 23-year-old avoided the disabled list for the first time in his career and showed the incredible all-around potential he possesses. While his walk rate has headed in the wrong direction after his incredible rookie campaign, the six-foot-five-inch right fielder adapted his swing to allow for more fly balls, which eventually led to more long balls. After posting consecutive seasons with a ground-ball rate higher than 50%, he dropped his rate to 44% while posting a career high fly ball rate of 36.7%. Those numbers are key for Heyward, as extra base hits total and increasing fly ball rate should continue to have a strong correlation. (Ben Duronio)
Quick Opinion: Even with a great third season, we are still awaiting a year in which Heyward puts each of his tools together. That makes him an even bigger target on draft day as his this could certainly be that season. Draft Heyward with tremendous confidence as he takes another step closer to his peak years in an offense that should be very dynamic.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 3/14/1985 | Position: 1B|
Profile: Hill, a long-time organizational catcher in the Cardinals’ system, has just 13 career big league plate appearances to his credit. The Athletics signed him to a minor league deal this winter, where he’ll again play in Triple-A, this time behind George Kottaras, John Jaso and Derek Norris. (Mike Axisa)
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 3/21/1982 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: 2B|
Profile: After Aaron Hill’s 36-homer outburst in 2009 for Toronto, few would have predicted the collapse of the next couple of seasons. He hit 26 out in 2010, but nothing else went right, as his walk rate — never impressive — dropped lower, and he sold out to hit fly balls that turned increasingly into outs. He was even worse in 2011, when even the power was gone. The Blue Jays and Diamondbacks engineered a trade of disappointing second baseman, and Hill managed a nice, if brief, resurgence on the Diamondbacks’ way to the 2011 playoffs. Given the recent past, it seemed like a small-sample fluke, and Hill received a modest two-year extension. In 2012, Hill proved that contract to be one of the bargains of the year, even if no one noticed it. Hill did not hit as many homers (26) as he did back in 2009, but it was still his best season ever, as he finished at .302/.350/.522. Needless to say, fantasy owners should certainly not draft Hill expecting a repeat of 2012, but he has shown that he is a good hitter, and Arizona’s ballpark is certainly congenial to power-hitting numbers. Hill will probably never have an above-average walk rate, but the combination of a better-than-average strikeout rate and good pop leads to good production. Hill probably will not hit .300 in 2013, but he can hit more than 20 home runs and add in double-digit steals. That is very good value from a second baseman. Hill probably is not in the first tier of 2013 fantasy second basemen, but after that group, he is right up there. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: After two horrible years, Aaron Hill revived his career with one of the best unnoticed individual performances of 2012. Don’t expect a repeat. Hill is not a first-tier second baseman, but he will probably be as at least as good or better as anyone in the second tier.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 8/5/1977 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Hinske’s size and age have forced him out of platoon and backup roles — and signing with the Diamondbacks, who have also inked Eric Chavez, should limit his ability even to see regular pinch hit opportunities. He is not fantasy relevant, and would need numerous injuries in front of him to see any type of regular playing time. (Ben Duronio)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 3/5/1990 | Team: Orioles | Position: OF|
Profile: Hoes continued to hit for a solid average at Triple-A in 2012, but his power could use a little more development. He could get some major league playing time in 2013, but it would likely take an injury or two to open up a spot. (Jack Moore)
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 1/15/1980 | Team: Cardinals | Position: OF|
Profile: Matt Holliday is the Toyota Camry of outfielders. He’s not flashy, he won’t be one of the first chosen, but he’s reliably above average every single year. Fantasy owners can count on him to provide roughly 25 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 runs, and a .300 batting average. He’s no longer the stolen base threat he was in Colorado, but that’s splitting hairs. Holliday’s .378 wOBA ranked sixth among outfielders and his ISO was north of .200 for the seventh-consecutive season. Some have expressed concern about his .337 BABIP in 2012, but that actually checked in below his career-average .345 BABIP. Barring injury — which could become a common conditional statement since this will be his age-33 season, and the loss of speed suggest he’s already feeling the effect of age — Holliday will produce as he always does. A potent Cardinals lineup will only help the RBI and run totals, too. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: Matt Holliday remains one of the most consistent fantasy producers available, with only a lack of stolen bases preventing him from being a true first-tier outfielder.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 6/11/1988 | Team: Red Sox | Position: 2B|
Profile: Brock Holt makes contact at a high rate, but there just isn’t any room for him on Boston’s roster. Holt may be worth keeping an eye on if Dustin Pedrioa or Will Middlebrooks succumbs to injury, though. (Zach Sanders)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 10/24/1989 | Team: Royals | Position: 1B|
Profile: Hosmer went from hitting .293/.334/.465 in 2011 to .232/.304/.359 in 2012. His plate discipline saw some change — his walk rate (non-intentional) almost doubled from 5% to 9% and strikeout rate was up just slightly from 15% to 16%. Most of the decline can be attributed to his batting average on balls in play dropping from .314 to .255. His 2011 BABIP ‘should’ have been .284 and in 2012 it should have been .290. He over-performed his BABIP in 2011 by 30 points and under-performed it last season by 35 points. Assuming a 7% BB%, 15.5% K%, 20 home runs, and .290 BABIP, his batting average would work out to be .267. Not good. Not good at all. Besides his likely low average, his home run numbers won’t be great — see his career 12.5% home run per fly ball value. He will provide double-digit steals from the first-base position though. Hosmer was unlucky in 2012 and lucky in 2011. Expect his true value to be somewhere in between those two seasons. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Eric Hosmer experienced a sophomore slump last season after a great rookie season. His average needs to improve in order for him to join the top first basemen in the league.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 11/19/1979 | Team: Phillies | Position: 1B|
Profile: Howard was limited to just 260 at-bats after a slow recovery from Achilles surgery, but his home run power never lost a beat. However, too few fly balls and too many strikeouts kept his 550 at-bat home run pace at just 30, despite a home run per fly ball ratio that was at its highest since 2008. The strikeouts are a problem and his wOBA versus lefties has finished below .300 for the past two seasons. With no defensive value, he could start losing at-bats to southpaws in the late innings of games. Potentially just a two-category contributor now, Howard’s name value likely trumps his fantasy value at this point. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: After missing about three months recovering from Achilles surgery, Howard finally returned to show his trademark power. Unfortunately, that came along with an astronomical strikeout rate, which could render him just a two-category contributor this season.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 12/12/1977 | Position: 2B/3B|
Profile: Hudson, 35, has nothing to offer fantasy owners other than stolen bases, and even those aren’t anything special since he’s only managed 10+ three times in his career. With no average or power left in the tank, O-Hud is an afterthought. (Mike Axisa)
|Debut: 2000 | BirthDate: 12/20/1976 | Position: 1B|
Profile: There doesn’t appear to be much left in the tank for Aubrey Huff. The left-handed first baseman played a marginal role of the Giants in 2012 after an anxiety disorder kept him on the disabled list for much of the season. In 95 PAs, Huff posted a .192/.326/.282 with one home run. I’d be surprised to see a major-league team give him a contract for 2013. Even if one does, keep him far away from your fantasy team. (Wendy Thurm/@hangingsliders)
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 8/2/1984 | Position: 2B/3B|
Profile: It is a sign of the times in Minnesota (clever Prince reference!) that Luke Hughes received 317 plate appearances for the Twin in 2011. It is an even bigger sign of the times that they brought him back in 2012 for 11 more glorious trips to the dish before the A’s selected him off of waivers. Hughes managed 13 plate appearances in Oakland. What isn’t to like about Luke Hughes? He doesn’t walk, make contact, hit for power, or run well. Other than that, Hughes is awesome. It is hard to believe he doesn’t have a contract as of this writing. Liz Lemon’s agent must be working the phones hard for him. It must be doing something, after all, you are reading a fantasy profile for Luke Freaking Hughes. (Matt Klaasen)
Quick Opinion: Imagine a Nick Punto without the ability to make contact, speed, or defense. That Imaginary Nick Punto is still better than Luke Hughes. As of this writing, “The Pride of Perth” has not been listed on Baseball Reference as Hughes’ nickname.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 9/8/1983 | Team: Padres | Position: C|
Profile: After a strong finish to another injury-plagued season in 2011, expectations were running high for Hundley in 2012. He had shown the ability to hit for above-average power and was respected in the organization enough to warrant a three-year deal with a club option in 2015 in spite of the fact that they had just traded for catching prospect Yasmani Grandal. But Hundley fizzled out again due to another injury and was forced to cut his season short due to August surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. While there was talk of trading the 29-year old backstop once Grandal emerged from Triple-A to take over starting duties, it looks like Hundley will be the Padres starter behind the dish to open 2013 as Grandal was hit with a 50-game suspension for PEDs. If Hundley can stay healthy and produce as he did just prior to his DL stints, then he could be a worthwhile fantasy selection. However, Grandal’s suspension ends in late May, so Hundley’s future is obviously very dependent on how his potential replacement fares post-punishment. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Hundley has shown solid potential both at the plate and behind it, but has failed to produce a full season on the major league level due to injuries throughout his career. Back from elbow surgery in late 2011, he was a beast at the plate, but failed to build on that in 2012 as a torn meniscus in his knee ruined his year. If he can stay healthy, he’s worth a look, but with his eventual replacement, Yasmani Grandal, likely due back at the end of May, he is probably playing on borrowed time.
|Debut: 1997 | BirthDate: 7/18/1975 | Team: Tigers | Position: OF|
Profile: Torii Hunter has moved on to play for the defending American League champion Detroit Tigers after five seasons in Los Angeles. Hunter’s years as an Angel were productive – he hit .286 and averaged 21 homers a year – and he ended his time with a bang, hitting .313 while slugging 16 bombs. Hunter’s 2012 numbers were not fully representative of Hunter’s declining talent, however, as his batting average on balls in play was .389 and his strikeout rate was at an all-time high. Tiger Stadium is friendlier to right-handed hitters than Angel Stadium, so Hunter should be able to have a solid 2013 campaign while hitting in front of Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera. Don’t count on him to lead you in any single category, but you can do worse for your third outfield spot in mixed leagues. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Torii Hunter has moved on to play for the defending American League champion Detroit Tigers after five seasons in Los Angeles, and he’s moving into a friendlier stadium. Don’t count on Hunter to lead you in any single category, but you can do worse for your third outfield spot in mixed leagues. (Zach Sanders)
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 4/8/1983 | Team: Angels | Position: C|
Profile: Chris Iannetta’s first year in the American League turned out to be a bit of a disaster; the 30-year-old catcher missed over half the season with an injury, and when he returned, he had a hard time collecting extra-base hits when the ball didn’t leave the yard. Iannetta can certainly hit homers, but he hasn’t posted a decent batting average since his breakout season in 2008. The right-hander has more value in on-base percentage leagues thanks to an outstanding walk rate, but even that may not be enough to make him draftable in any mixed league. Target Iannetta in AL-only leagues, but ignore him in mixed formats. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Chris Iannetta still has power at the plate, but his batting average kills his fantasy value in standard leagues. Target him in AL-only leagues, but ignore him in mixed formats.
|Debut: 1996 | BirthDate: 6/2/1972 | Team: Mariners | Position: OF|
Profile: The Mariners spent decent money to sign Ibanez, who figures to see most of his action against right-handed pitchers. The 40-year-old hit some monster late-season homers for the Yankees in 2012, but outside of Yankee Stadium he produced a .208/.269/.365 (70 wRC+) line with five homers in 216 plate appearances (135 wRC+ and 14 HR at home). Safeco Field is traditionally more friendly to left-handed batters and the walls are coming in next season, but it’s unlikely Ibanez will enjoy the same ballpark benefits as he did in the Bronx. He’s a candidate to pop 15 or so homers, but otherwise he has little rate stat value from the outfield position. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: The walls are coming in at Safeco Field, but Ibanez still won’t enjoy the same ballpark benefits as he did in 2012. He’ll chip in a few homers but not much else, either counting or rate stats.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 1/5/1990 | Team: Red Sox | Position: SS|
Profile: As a prospect, Iglesias has been rated fairly highly because of his elite defense. As a hitter? Well, Iglesias is a top-of-the-line defender. The 22-year-old Cuban owns a career slash line of .264/.313/.314 in the minors, but even that is propped up by his performance in the lower levels. At Triple-A? Try this: .251/.302/.287 — and that’s over more than 700 at-bats. No wonder the Red Sox brought in Stephen Drew to handle short. Iglesias’ role in Boston is now in doubt, but he could be a defensive replacement who sees occasional starts against left-handers in an effort to build his confidence at the plate. But for fantasy purposes, Iglesias should be considered nothing more than a warm body, even by owners in the deepest of AL-onlies. (Jason Catania)
Quick Opinion: No longer a top prospect because of severe deficiencies at the plate, it’s now time to talk about how Jose Iglesias can help his teams — fantasy or real — at all. How, or if.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 12/26/1981 | Team: Tigers | Position: 2B|
Profile: As if being swept by the Giants wasn’t enough, Omar Infante suffered a fractured hand during the ninth inning of Game 4. Surgery wasn’t required, and he’s expected to be ready for next season. Infante had a surprisingly effective year in 2012, clubbing 12 home runs and stealing 17 bases. He faded down the stretch, hitting just .257/.283/.385 in 241 plate appearances with the Tigers. You can make an argument that he’s a fringe starter in a 12 team league, but he won’t offer a ton of upside. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Even with a little regression, Infante should still have some value next season. That’s more a product of how tough it is to get a standout player at second, and less about his ability to perform well. You might be better off gambling on a player with a higher upside at the position.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 5/19/1977 | Position: 3B|
Profile: Inge’s main source of value is his strong defense, which isn’t going to help you win many fantasy leagues. At the plate, he’s capable of popping a few home runs, but he’s going to have a poor average. Inge had shoulder surgery in September, and is facing a six-month recovery period. A free-agent at press time, Inge might get another shot based on his defense, but not his bat. That should tell you all you need to know about his fantasy value. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: After undergoing shoulder surgery, Inge may not be ready be the start of next season. Even if he gets another shot, he shouldn’t be touched in fantasy leagues.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 9/24/1983 | Position: 1B|
Profile: Ishikawa has a great glove at first base but only middling power combined with poor contact ability and iffy platoon splits just isn’t enough to land a major league starting job. The 29-year-old may not even begin the season on a major league roster. (Jack Moore)
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 2/10/1980 | Position: SS|
Profile: About a decade ago,Cesar Izturis seemed like a sort of poor man’s Adam Everett — an excellent defensive shortstop who could not hit a lick. That was his peak. Barely hitting a lick seems like a distant dream, now, as Izturis has not had an on-base percentage over .280 since 2009, when he blew memories of Rickey Henderson away with .294. Who can forget how he wowed former Hank Aaron fans with his four home runs in 2004? Perhaps what is most amazing about Izturis recently is that he still played in 150 games for the Orioles in 2010 despite hitting .230/.277/.268. At least he used to somehow get double-digit steals numbers while being horrible in all other relevant fantasy categories, but age and injuries have put a damper on that. As of this writing, Izturis has not caught on with a club for 2013. If he does, it will be as a utility player at the end of the bench. It is difficult to imagine a league in which he will be valuable. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Cesar Izturis may have been valuable in some very deep fantasy leagues a few years ago. He is not any more.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 9/12/1980 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: 2B/3B/SS|
Profile: After spending the last eight years as an Angel, Maicer Izturis is heading north of the border to play for the Blue Jays. Even though the Blue Jays acquired Emilio Bonifacio from the Miami Marlins during the offseason, it appears that Izturis still has a grasp on the starting job at second base, with Bonifacio being used as a roving utility man. Izturis is a .273 career hitter, and most of his value is going to be related to his batting average on balls in play. He can steal a bag every now and then, but he’s not going to lead your team in the category. If he plays most days, Izturis could manage to hit .270 and steal 20 bags, but hitting at the bottom of the Blue Jays’ order will result in the rest of his numbers being unsatisfactory. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: If playing most days, Izturis could manage to hit .270 and steal 20 bags, but hitting at the bottom of the Blue Jays’ order will result in the rest of his numbers being unsatisfactory.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 5/10/1988 | Team: Cardinals | Position: 2B|
Profile: Jackson makes his money with his glove on the middle infield, not at the plate. The Cardinals have question marks at short and second, but Jackson doesn’t hit enough to have fantasy value even if he gets an extended chance. A powerless average in the .270-range is the upside here. (Mike Axisa)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 8/2/1988 | Team: Cubs | Position: OF|
Profile: Jackson does a whole lot of everything, both good and bad. The 2009 first-rounder is very athletic, with the speed and power to post 20-20 seasons in the majors, and he has a patient approach (12% BB career), too. But the 24-year-old’s swing and off-speed pitch recognition frequently results in his making about as much contact as a blind mime in a boxing match. To wit: Jackson has whiffed in 26% of his minor league plate appearances overall, but an astounding 33% at Triple-A — and a stupid 42% in his major league debut last year (59 strikeouts in 142 plate appearances). He worked hard to overhaul his swing this offseason, but there’s no way he can sustain a big league career while single-handedly maintaining Chicago’s nickname as the Windy City. The Cubs don’t have much in their outfield, so Jackson will get opportunities next season, and if he can hang in there, he could help NL-only owners in homers, steals and perhaps runs. Just beware that the average could be ugly. No, scratch that — it will be. (Jason Catania)
Quick Opinion: Full of promise in most of the roto categories, Brett Jackson also owns at least one huge flaw that lowers his fantasy baseball ceiling. Don’t over-invest because of the power and speed package.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 2/1/1987 | Team: Tigers | Position: OF|
Profile: Always thought to eventually develop power, the surge finally came, as he got his home run per fly ball rate ratio above the league average for the first time and easily set a career high in isolated slugging percentage. He should be able to sustain most of those gains this season. Perhaps more impressively, Jackson finally got his strikeouts under control, as his contact rate was only slightly worse than the league average, rather than significantly so. With his line drive stroke and ability to avoid pop-ups, he once again posted a sky high batting average on balls in play, which combined with the improved contact rate, led to a career-best .300 batting average. Unfortunately, his stolen base total did decline as he was suddenly less successful on the basepaths and didn’t run as frequently with Prince Fielder in the lineup. He should see a small rebound, but 20+ steals might not come again. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Jackson enjoyed a breakout 2012 season as his power spiked and he improved his contact rate, en route to a .300 batting average. A return to stealing 20+ bases would increase his fantasy stock even further, but if not, he should still follow up well as he heads into his prime.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 10/12/1982 | Team: Braves | Position: SS|
Profile: Paul Janish got a chance in Atlanta after starter Andrelton Simmons went down with an injury midseason. Janish’s real life value is all dependent on his defense, as his bat is truly abysmal. This makes him useless in fantasy formats regardless of playing time. He will be the backup behind Simmons this season, so may see time if an injury occurs to one of the Braves’ middle infielders. Either way, he should not be on anybody’s fantasy radar. (Ben Duronio)
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 9/19/1983 | Team: Athletics | Position: C/DH|
Profile: Raise your hand if you thought John Jaso would finish the season with a higher wOBA than Miguel Montero, Mike Napoli, Carlos Santana, and Alex Avila. Indeed, Jaso’s wOBA finished just three one thousandths behind MVP candidate Yadier Molina. Of course, I’m not saying Jaso = Molina, but Jaso quietly produced like an All Star for fantasy managers in 2012 if they could figure out exactly when he was going to play. But most of that is solved with his move to the Oakland Athletics, where he should receive enough playing time to make him quite useful. He was far and away the best hitter the Mariners had, posting a .276/.394/.456 slash line with a wRC+ of 143 (next closest was Kyle Seager at 108) but got such spotty playing time that owning him grew tiresome. The Athletics employ platoons all over the diamond, so Jaso should see regular playing time versus right handed pitchers, and I’m not convinced that he’ll be lifted every time a LOOGY is inserted as Jaso’s had plenty of minor league success versus left handed pitchers. Even in a straight platoon, Jaso ought to fall into 400 plate appearances, and my money is on about 450. If you’re in daily transaction leagues, all the better. He might not hit more than ten home runs, but for a catcher, he’ll contribute capably in average, runs, and RBI. In OBP leagues, Jaso becomes particularly attractive. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: If you’re in an OBP league, you want John Jaso as part of your catching corps. But even in standard leagues, Jaso would serve as a capable second catcher as he should hit for a decent average, provide double-digit homers, and a good deal of runs and RBI. Keep an eye on how the Athletics use him, however — if he’s strictly a platoon player, it obviously impacts his value, although he’s still worth a roster slot with 400 plate appearances.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 3/15/1985 | Team: Cardinals | Position: OF|
Profile: After hitting .305/.373/.400 with 19 steals, Jay proved he can provide real value for your fantasy team at relatively little cost. Some fantasy owners could get scared away by his .355 BABIP, believing his batting average to be due for a major dropoff, but the 28-year-old has maintained a career .348 BABIP by relying on his speed, line drives, and ground balls (19.3% fly balls last year). No reason to believe that BABIP will drop dramatically in 2013. He won’t hit many home runs due to his anti-fly-ball approach, which is reflected by his career .114 isolated slugging percentage, but he will run into five-to-ten homers per year. He also won’t drive in many runs due to his spot in the batting order. If the Cardinals keep Jay atop the lineup, as they did after Rafael Furcal went down with an injury, Jay should see an uptick in his runs scored and ultimately be a top 40-45 outfielder that can be had in the final rounds of most drafts. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: When hitting atop the Cardinals’ lineup, Jay provides an overlooked combination of high average, speed, and runs that makes him a valuable fourth outfielder on your fantasy team… and he can be had late in drafts.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 10/30/1986 | Team: Rays | Position: OF|
Profile: Jennings’ first full season in the majors was a disappointment from an offensive perspective as his power and patience dropped from his half-season debut in 2011. A knee injury kept him out nearly a month early in the season and he went through a prolonged slump until August when he hit .291 with an .878 OPS. That proved to be a mirage as he crashed again in September (.653 OPS). He’ll continue to lead off for Tampa Bay and is already a 15-20 homer, 30+SB threat. His 93% stolen base success rate was the highest in baseball (minimum 30 stolen bases). His plate discipline should improve — his career swinging strike rate is better than the league average and he had double-digit walk rates through the minor leagues — and when it does, there’s no reason he couldn’t steal 50 or more bases. That would make him a valuable commodity in any league format. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: Jennings may hit in the .260 range due to his strikeouts, but has a possible 15-20HR, ~40SB season in him, and that’s gold no matter the league you’re in.
|Debut: 1995 | BirthDate: 6/26/1974 | Team: Yankees | Position: SS|
Profile: Jeter, 38, turned in a near-vintage season in 2012 by hitting .316/.362/.429 (117wRC+) with 15 homers and nine steals. Mechanical tweaks made during a 2011 stint on the DL have helped him turn back the clock and hit .321/.369/.434 over his last 1,048 plate appearances, so this isn’t a small sample anymore. Jeter had offseason surgery to repair a fractured left ankle and there is at least some concern he won’t be 100% ready for Opening Day, but even five months of the Yankees captain is worth more than six months of most players at the position. At his age and with the ankle issue, Jeter is riskier than ever though. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: Jeter has been hitting like the prime years version of himself since a mechanical fix in June 2011, though he is coming off offseason ankle surgery. He might be slowed at the start of 2013 and given his age, there is always concern about an imminent decline.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 10/1/1984 | Team: Braves | Position: 3B|
Profile: During his stint in Arizona, Chris Johnson was actually a solid fantasy contributor. In just 44 games, he hit seven home runs and drove in 35 runs, amassing a .286/.321/.503 slash line. Should he stick in Arizona as the regular third baseman, Johnson should have some value with an ability to sniff 20 home runs and hit for a decent enough average. But word is, the Diamondbacks are in search of an upgrade at third base, so Johnson’s playing time could be limited to a part time role. Oddly, Johnson has reverse splits, hitting .283/.323/.452 versus right-handed pitching while only managing .255/.294/.372 against left-handers, so his ability to be cast as a platoon player isn’t a great fit in a traditional sense. Being a butcher with the glove doesn’t help his case for regular playing time, and his value would be higher as a designated hitter with third base eligibility. Watch his role throughout spring and read any available tea leaves — but make every attempt to do better on draft day. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Brutal defense and reverse splits leave Johnson’s role in 2013 up in the air. Without a regular gig, he’s not going to be real helpful in fantasy, but if the Diamondbacks can look beyond his glove and give him 550 at bats, Johnson could well be (fantasy) useful.
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 12/8/1976 | Team: Braves | Position: OF|
Profile: Reed Johnson continues to get work because he can hit lefties and he’s regarded as a good teammate. He achieved status as a fan favorite with the Cubs even though he didn’t see a ton of playing time. The Braves apparently agreed, re-signing the 36-year-old outfielder this season. With the team’s outfield already set, he’s not an option to see a significant amount of playing time. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Johnson displays enough skills to hang in the majors in spite of his age. His chances of seeing a fair amount of playing time are pretty slim. You’ll want to look elsewhere.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 3/9/1984 | Position: SS|
Profile: Forced into more action due to Evan Longoria’s injury, Johnson was a useful player in May and June, but went downhill very quickly after that. His OPS in July, August, and September never topped .600 and bottomed out at .493. He’s the definition of a replacement player, good enough to fill in for short periods but not suited for extended playing time. He’ll start the season in the same super-utility role as last year, needing significant injury to see playing time — or fantasy value. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: In 531 career plate appearances, Johnson has a .621 OPS, making him a good example of the supply and demand of iffy middle infielders.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 9/19/1978 | Position: DH|
Profile: After a year in the minor leagues with the Indians organization, Nick Johnson played 38 games for the Orioles in 2012, before a wrist injury ended his season. Injuries. They’re how Johnson will be remembered; they ruined what could have been a decent career. A free agent, Johnson has no fantasy value currently. (Navin Vaswani)
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 2/22/1982 | Team: Rays | Position: 2B|
Profile: The 2012 season was Kelly Johnson’s worst. His home runs are down, his contact’s way down, and his strikeouts are way up. Currently a free agent, time hasn’t been kind to Kelly Johnson, who’ll turn 31 in February. Right now, he’s an option in only the deepest of deep leagues, provided he finds full-time work.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 8/10/1979 | Position: 1B/DH|
Profile: Noted Yankee-killer Dan Johnson is likely headed for his third team in three years despite hitting .364/.548/.818 for the White Sox last season. He’s an interesting bench bat for a team that needs to win now, but his playing time is so touch-and-go that he’s barely usable in daily leagues let alone actually rosterable long term. Still, if winning or losing a league on the last day comes down to one home run, the Great Pumpkin has worked miracles before. (Dan Wade)
|Debut: 1996 | BirthDate: 4/23/1977 | Position: OF|
Profile: A finger injury rendered Jones useless in the second half of 2012, and next season he’ll ply his trade with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan. This once-great outfielder is now fantasy irrelevant. (Mike Axisa)
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 8/1/1985 | Team: Orioles | Position: OF|
Profile: Adam Jones tapped into his power last season, clubbing 32 home runs on his way to a breakout year. Very little changed about Jones’ approach at the plate, as his strikeout and walk rates remain the same, but he was undoubtedly a better hitter. Jones murdered fastballs last season, and managed to improve against sliders and curveballs. Entering his age-27 season, it seems plausible to believe he’s finally grown into his power. He’s probably not a candidate to get much better than what he showed last season, but it does seem safe to expect a similar year in 2013. Nothing stood out as incredibly lucky, but nothing fundamentally changed in his approach, either. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Jones had a breakout season at the plate by tapping into his power. While he’s not a candidate to improve again, he should have a similar season in 2013.
|Debut: 1993 | BirthDate: 4/24/1972 | Position: 3B|
Profile: Chipper had a dazzling final season and was useful in daily leagues where you had the opportunity to sit him on his days off, but as a retired player he won’t be helping any teams this year, in fantasy or reality. (Ben Duronio)
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 6/21/1981 | Team: Pirates | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Garrett Jones had a great partial season in 2009, and he had another good one in 2012. Jones hit .274 despite a batting average on balls in play below .300, mostly thanks to his 27 homers. Jones was also able to drive in 86 runs, but his walk rate plummeted, bringing his on-base percentage down below the league average. Jones is on the wrong side of 30, and probably won’t play against lefties, but he’s yet to show signs of slowing. Jones isn’t going to get owners excited on draft day, but he’s a solid selection when filling out your bench, and even a potential steal. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Garrett Jones may be on the wrong side of 30, but he has the ability to help your team in a couple different categories.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 8/3/1984 | Team: Rays | Position: OF|
Profile: By any measure, 2012 was a disappointment for Joyce. He hit just .241 with a .769 OPS, down 56 points from 2011, and missed a month with an oblique injury, hitting terribly upon his return. For the last 2.5 months of his season his OPS never cracked .700. He easily has 20-25 homer power when healthy and is capable of 40+ doubles. His main issue is his platoon splits, with a career OPS more than .230 points higher against right-handed pitchers than southpaws. He owns the right field job in Tampa Bay but will be replaced with a platoon partner against the tougher left handed starters. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: Joyce has excellent power against right-handed pitching and would likely be an all-star (again) if he could hit a lick against lefties.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 3/29/1984 | Position: 1B/DH|
Profile: Kila brings his affinity for walks to Arizona on a minor league contract. He is yet another prospect who never really got a fair shot at earning a job. Unfortunately for Kila, he is buried on the depth chart behind Paul Goldschmidt and probably even Lars Anderson. (David Wiers)
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 3/28/1988 | Team: Red Sox | Position: OF|
Profile: A former top-100 prospect, Kalish has never taken off at the major league level. Partially owing to injuries and partially owing to a lack of available playing time, he totaled just 282 plate appearances through the end of his age-24 season. In them, he hasn’t done much to show that he deserves more playing time, but the potential he flashed in 2010 still looms large. That season, he posted a 153 wRC+ at Double-A and a 125 wRC+ at Triple-A before having a decent but unremarkable major league debut. The last two seasons have been brutal thanks to the torn labrum in his left shoulder, so the Red Sox are hedging their bets despite hopes that he can stake a claim to a significant role in the majors this year. If he does, there is the potential for him to be a 15-15 outfielder with an iffy batting average, but for now that remains a pie-in-the-sky projection. Kalish is a guy to stash on your roster if you have the wherewithal to stash a player, but as an outfielder who doesn’t possess plus power or plus speed, even if he succeeds at the major league level he may not be a very valuable fantasy asset. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: Kalish hasn’t been the player that many have thought he would be, but with his shoulder injury firmly in the rearview mirror, and the potential for playing time at the major league level squarely in front of him, he may just find himself as a decent late-round sleeper.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 6/3/1981 | Position: SS|
Profile: All good things must come to an end, and so too must the magical imagery of the Munenori Kawasaki era in Seattle. A baseball titan whose performance could never be measured with numbers and barely contained in GIFs, Kawasaki was over-matched at the major league level, and will likely return to his native land after being cut by the Mariners in October. He will be missed. (Patrick Dubuque)
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 5/20/1980 | Position: OF|
Profile: For the second season in a row, Kearns failed to earn more than 150 at-bats. With weak contact skills and power that has gone missing, he’s not a consideration in any more than the deepest of leagues. (Mike Podhorzer)
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 2/15/1980 | Position: OF|
Profile: The 33-year-old Kelly is past his “prime.” While he used to provide some power (nine homers in 2010), he looks to be done. He never hit for average (.232 career), but it dropped to .186 this last year. Two pitchers, Hamels (.217) and Kershaw (.207), had better averages in 2012 (70 minimum plate appearances). Also, the power disappeared with only one home run. Finally, he stole two bases which was only one off of his career high. Basically he is not good enough to play and when he does, he produces no value. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Don Kelly is another player in a long line of useless fantasy options who played for the Tigers last season (see Ryan Rayburn, Gerald Laird, Ramon Santiago, Brennan Boesch, and Danny Worth).
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 9/23/1984 | Team: Dodgers | Position: OF|
Profile: There were really three Matt Kemps in 2012. The healthy Kemp, the one we saw in April and the first few weeks after the All-Star break, was all but unstoppable. (That was particularly the case in April, unless you’ve forgotten the 12 homers and absurd .417/.490/.893 line already.) The injured Kemp, sidelined by multiple hamstring injuries, missed nearly two full months between mid-May & mid-July. Finally, there was the “playing through pain” Kemp, the one who hit a lowly.222/.270/.435 in September after hurting himself running into a Colorado wall in late August. That collision led to off-season shoulder surgery, and while he’s expected to be ready for the season, such injuries have been known to affect power. The lack of health is basically the only thing that can slow Kemp down, because National League pitching has certainly proven that they can’t when he’s at full speed. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: When healthy, Matt Kemp is arguably one of the five best players in baseball, blessed with a lethal combination of power & speed. He was rarely at full strength in 2012, leading to a very uneven season, but he remains one of the brightest young stars in the game.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 7/12/1983 | Team: Angels | Position: 2B|
Profile: After a 2011 power surge, Howie Kendrick returned to his old ways in 2012. Even with the dip in power production, Kendrick’s 2012 still made him a seven-dollar player in standard mixed leagues. At this point, it seems like he is what he is, and no changes are likely on the horizon; Kendrick will hit around .285 with 10 homers and 15 steals, and while that’s nothing to sneeze at, it’s also not enough to get owners excited about drafting him. If Kendrick can drop his strikeouts by a couple percentage points, he’ll have a much better chance of raising his batting average and be worthy of starting in mixed leagues. Pay a few bucks for Kendrick, but make sure he’s not the only second baseman on your mixed-league roster. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Howie Kendrick will give you a good batting average, but not a whole lot else. He is worthy of a few of your dollars in mixed leagues.
|Debut: 1999 | BirthDate: 1/10/1976 | Position: 2B/3B|
Profile: Kennedy somehow managed to find a guaranteed contract for 2012 with the Dodgers after two seasons that were awful both on and off the field. Defying the predictions of all, he stuck with the team all season and was actually somewhat better than “atrocious” in part-time play, though he missed significant time with groin injuries and is unlikely to be back in 2013. (Mike Petriello)
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 4/21/1980 | Team: White Sox | Position: 3B|
Profile: One of the bigger surprises of 2012, Keppinger parlayed his excellent season into a full-time job with the White Sox. The 32-year-old was forced into more playing time thanks to Evan Longoria’s injury and took full advantage, hitting .325 with an .806 OPS. His bread is buttered by crushing left-handed pitching and having an extremely high contact rate, both of which he did last season, hitting.376 against southpaws with a .923 OPS and striking out just 5.7% of the time. He has his issues against same-handed pitchers, but showed improvement last year. He has a chance at double-digit homers playing in hitter-friendly Chicago and has the bonus of qualifying at third, second and first base. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: His new ballpark should help his power output, but he’ll need to hit .300 to maintain much value above AL-only leagues.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 6/22/1982 | Team: Rangers | Position: 2B|
Profile: No one is exactly sure where Ian Kinsler will be playing on the diamond in 2013, but everyone knows that he’ll still be eligible at second base. Kinsler’s second base eligibility will drive his value upward, even if his counting stats remain at 2012 levels. Kinsler remains a reliable 20/20 threat even as he enters his age-31 season, but his runs and RBI are what have been pushing him above other second baseman on the rankings lists. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see a .285 batting average or a 30/30 season from Kinsler ever again, but he’ll still be one of the first second baseman selected on draft day. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Ian Kinsler is almost a yearly lock for a 20/20 season, but his runs scored and driven in are what elevates his value. Kinsler will be one of the first second baseman selected on draft day.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 4/3/1987 | Team: Indians | Position: 2B|
Profile: Kipnis burst onto the scene in 2011, posting a .272/.333/.507 line in 150 plate appearances and tacking on seven home runs and five stolen bases for good measure. Pro-rated to a 600-PA season, that would be 28 HR and 20 SB — enough to make Kipnis a potentially elite second baseman. 2012 was not as kind, though. He maintained the on-base percentage, thanks to increased patience and fewer strikeouts, but his average and power dropped considerably. No one is sneezing at a .257 AVG, 14 HR and 31 SB out of a middle infielder, but fantasy owners has to be disappointed with a weak second half. Really, though, Kipnis’s issues came down to a single bad (REALLY bad) month of August. The rest of the year, he gave good reason to believe the improved plate discipline is real and, if that holds up and the power bounces back, you could be looking at a star in the making. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: Kipnis will provide at least good value from the second base slot and potentially could be one of the top players at the position this year. As with any young player, he is no sure thing, but 15 home runs, 20 stolen bases and good numbers across the board should be easily attainable goals.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 10/1/1987 | Position: OF|
Profile: Erik Komatsu has had his moments since being drafted by the Brewers in 2008, but they have been few and far between. He showed enough in the minors to be traded to the Nationals in 2011, then was taken in the Rule 5 draft by the Cardinals from the Nationals in prior to the 2012 season, and then got waived and taken by the Twins… and then ended up back with the Nationals. Komatsu has not shown much in the minor leagues besides pretty good plate discipline, and is currently buried on the Nationals’ depth chart. He does not warrant your consideration in any fantasy draft. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Erik Komatsu’s name may be a bit familiar from transaction reports, but he has done nothing to warrant your time in a fantasy draft, given his minor-league performances and current place on the Nationals’ depth chart.
|Debut: 1997 | BirthDate: 3/5/1976 | Team: White Sox | Position: 1B/DH|
Profile: Konerko has been the model of consistency over the last 14 years at the first base position. He played in at least 122 games, clubbed 21+ homers and knocked in 62+ runs in each of those 14 years while posting a career .283 average. But his home run and RBI totals in 2012 were down for the third consecutive year — and at their lowest since 2008 — due in part to a wrist injury, or potentially his age. If the wrist injury is indeed a thing of the past, Konerko could once again post the type of numbers to finish as a top-ten first baseman in what could be his last season in Chicago. But any 37-year-old holds a decent mount of health risk. Bank on 500-plus plate appearances and get a back-up plan. Then you can take advantage of his cheap price in your next auction or draft. (Alan Harrison)
Quick Opinion: The first base position appears to be more shallow than in it has been in previous seasons, so despite the gradual decline in production, owners in redraft leagues could target Konerko in the middle rounds as a low risk, high reward first baseman or corner infielder.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 2/22/1983 | Position: 1B|
Profile: For years, Kotchman has been proving that a solid defensive first baseman with the potential for a decent offensive season can get a job, but cannot keep a job. Now the Indians have moved on and Kotchman is again looking for a new home. The problem for you, Fantasy Owner, is that Kotchman has only had two fantasy-relevant seasons in his career — and neither of those were really relevant at his position. Now that his defense (at least according to UZR) is declining, he may not even get a chance to put up a semi-fantasy-relevant season for the third time. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: What do you get when you take a first baseman who occasionally posts a decent on-base percentage, never hits for power, and derives his value from his glove? Not someone you want on your fantasy team, that is for sure.
|Debut: 1997 | BirthDate: 12/2/1975 | Team: Padres | Position: OF|
Profile: In the early stages of his career, Kotsay was always one of those solid on-base guys with decent walk totals and some mid-level pop in his bat. He wasn’t prone to strikeouts and even flashed a touch of speed during a handful of his peak seasons. But he hasn’t seen more than 500 plate appearances since 2006 and between the chronic injuries and the part-time play, his value as a fantasy player has all but dried up. He can still draw a walk and he still doesn’t strike out very often, but as age has caught up with him, his contact rates have diminished and his batting average on balls in play has settled into a spot that’s well below league average. That obviously doesn’t help his batting average. Perhaps a stretch against some right-handed pitching could make him worthy of some plug-and-play use in deeper leagues, but even that is a long shot. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: The well-traveled oft-injured 15-year-veteran left-handed bat signed a one-year extension with the Padres in August of 2012 and should have either the fourth or fifth outfielder job locked up heading into the 2013 season. He’s nothing more than waiver fodder in even the deepest of fantasy leagues though, unless he miraculously ends up with a starting job.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 5/10/1983 | Team: Royals | Position: C|
Profile: George Kottaras has his limitations. The main one is that he is a poor defensive catcher. If it weren’t for that, he would probably be a decent starter. He has a high strikeout rate, but not exceptionally high. He takes a decent amount of walks. He has good power. Kottaras does not have an especially big platoon split. His main problem is, again, that teams do not like to put him in the field regularly because of inability to throw out base runners. However, all of this sort of helps Kottaras’ fantasy value in a way. He will not play enough so that his typically low batting average brings down your teams’ performance in that category, but he will jack a few homers for you (even if not as many now that he is playing in Oakland). If you need a cheap second catcher in leagues that let you play, too, Kottaras is a better endgame option than most. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Kottaras is a good hitter for a catcher, but he is held back by defensive issues that curtail his playing time. He is a pretty good second catcher if you are low on draft funds or the pool is limited.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 4/11/1988 | Team: Cardinals | Position: SS|
Profile: Kozma, 24, gave the Cardinals a big shot in the arm by hitting .333/.383/.569 (153 wRC+) in September last season, which is something he’s unlikely to ever repeat again. He produced a .232/.292/.355 (65 wRC+) in 500 Triple-A plate appearances before the call-up after managing a 38 wRC+ at the level one year prior. The Cardinals are expecting Rafael Furcal back in 2013, so Kozma could be relegated back to Triple-A or utility infielder duties. Either way, he won’t have any fantasy value barring another fluky month. Don’t get caught up in the small sample, the track record suggests little production is on the way. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: Rafael Furcal is scheduled to return in 2013, meaning Kozma will likely be relegated to Triple-A or utility infield duties. His hot month of September stands out like a sore thumb compared to the last few seasons, so don’t be fooled.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 6/15/1980 | Team: Phillies | Position: C|
Profile: Thanks to a 25-game amphetamine suspension for Carlos Ruiz, Kratz has some sudden early-season relevance. The 32-year-old career minor leaguer burst onto the scene with some power last season, smacking nine homers and nine doubles in just 50 games (157 plate appearances). Strikeouts and plodding catcher’s legs will likely depress his batting average, but for a cheap supply of catcher power to begin the season — especially in NL-only or two-catcher leagues — Kratz will do well. (Jack Moore)
Quick Opinion: Kratz is suddenly a relevant player this spring with news of Carlos Ruiz’s amphetamine suspension. He’ll supply some power (if little else) until Chooch’s return.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 5/25/1982 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: OF|
Profile: Like so many American Leaguers before him, Jason Kubel seemed on his way to being a bench player before reviving his career with a move to a hitter-friendly National League park (cf. Hill, Aaron). Kubel was a decent designated hitter and comedy outfielder for the Twins until they moved from the Metrodome to the lavishly taxpayer-funded Target Field, after which he was pretty much useless. Then the Diamondbacks signed him as a an outfielder. The desert air agreed with Kubel, as he responded with one of the best offensive seasons of his career, including a career-high 30 home runs. He was still somewhere between bad and horrific in the outfield, where he had to play full-time, but that didn’t hurt his bat. Once you adjust for the difference in parks, he was not a ton better with the bat in 2012 than in 2011, but that doesn’t matter to most fantasy leagues. Kubel is going to be an un-athletic 31-year old, and his power outbreak from 2012 is unlikely to repeat itself fully in 2013. Still, he should retain some of it, and his walk rate did bounce back after reaching a low in 2011. Of more concern is the huge jump in strikeouts due to a big drop in contact, which could be a sign of dropping bat speed. The Diamondbacks’ signing of Cody Ross also makes the the playing time situation in Arizona confusing, too, with Kubel, Ross, and Gerardo Parra all battling for time. Kubel is still worth drafting in most leagues if he is slated to start, but exercise caution, and do not bid expecting a repeat of 2013. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Like most players, Kubel found Arizona’s home park to be congenial to his power stroke. However, given his age and contact issues, do not expect a repeat of 2012, and watch the playing time and depth chart situation in Arizona, too.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 11/5/1982 | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: After a solar-flair-hot start to the 2012 season, LaHair both slumped hard and lost playing time. He has since signed with a Japanese team and will look to make his mark with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. If he does well enough, he could make an MLB encore in 2014, or possibly even 2013, but do not expect much in a fantasy way from him until then. (Bradley Woodrum)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 9/11/1987 | Position: 1B/3B|
Profile: Brandon Laird was selected by the Astros off waivers from the New York Yankees on September 1, 2012 and was immediately thrust into action in Houston. Over the next month, the 25-year-old posted a .257/.297/.371 line, hitting his first home run in 37 plate appearances. That slash line was strikingly similar to what he had generated at Triple-A Scranton, although he hit for a tad more power in the minors. He joins an Astros squad with a variety of outfield options, so it’s hard to see where he might find himself regular playing time unless injury or ineffectiveness provide him some opportunity. And even then, his no-walk, high strikeout, mediocre power profile probably isn’t going to do much for your fantasy squad. He may be able to contribute in the future, but it’s probably not 2013. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Brandon Laird will have to hit well out of Spring to make it as a fourth outfielder on a team in dire need of offensive contributions. While Laird is still just 25 and he’s had some decent success in the minor leagues — even hitting 29 home runs in 201 — there’s not much recent information to suggest any kind of major league breakthrough in 2013.
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 11/13/1979 | Team: Braves | Position: C|
Profile: Laird joins the Braves as a possible starting catcher — Brian McCann may not be 100% and David Ross (signed by the Red Sox) won’t be back. The problem with 32-year-old Laird is he has almost no real baseball talents and even fewer fantasy talents. He can’t hit for power. Three home runs over the past two seasons is fed by a 3% home run per fly ball ratio. He has even less speed with one stolen base over the last two seasons. In 2012, he did find some plate discipline which helped lower his strikeouts and increase his batting average. From 2003 to 2011 he had a 19% strikeout rate and a .241 batting average. In 2012, he dropped his K% to 11% and thereby increased his average to .282. The cause for the drop in strikeouts was a swinging strike percentage (4%) at half of his career value (8%). There is no way to determine if the discipline and contact will follow him into 2013, but it won’t matter if he isn’t getting any at bats as the Braves’ catcher. Laird will probably get into every fourth game or so if he is lucky. Stay away unless he is the starter and only then in NL-only or deep deep leagues. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Gerald Laird’s fantasy value’s ceiling involves him becoming Atlanta’s full-time catcher early in the season.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 1/8/1985 | Position: 1B/DH|
Profile: The Indians have moved on. When you bring in Casey Kotchman, Lars Anderson, Russ Canzler, Chris McGuiness and eventually sign Mark Reynolds, you are making a pretty clear statement on your “first baseman of the future.” Time for fantasy players to move on, too. (Chad Young)
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 11/6/1979 | Team: Nationals | Position: 1B|
Profile: Adam LaRoche had a career-year at age 32. There wasn’t a big difference in his approach, he just hit for more power. He seemed to be locked in at the plate, destroying fastballs and finally hitting sliders at an acceptable rate. The bigger question is whether LaRoche can sustain his performance, which doesn’t seem likely given his age and previous performance. He’s a good bet to hit at least 25 home runs, but counting on 30+ is probably not a great idea. Even back home in Washington, LaRoche has too much history suggesting he doesn’t really own that type of oomph. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: LaRoche had a career-year at age 32, and is probably not a candidate to repeat on that performance next season. He could still be a solid option at first, but probably not a standout player at a deep position.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 8/7/1987 | Team: Red Sox | Position: C/DH|
Profile: When Boston’s season took a turn for the worse last summer, they used it as an opportunity to play some of their younger players, Lavarnway included. Unfortunately, few took advantage of that opportunity, and Lavarnway was no exception. While he once again hit well at Triple-A, he didn’t hit anywhere near as well there as he had in 2011, and when he got to the big league level he flopped completely. In 166 plate appearances with the Olde Towne Team, Lavarnway posted a putrid 18 wRC+. Of the 401 players who had at least 150 PA last season, no one posted a worse wRC+ than did Lavarnway. His power abandoned him last season at both Triple-A and the majors. Across three levels in ’11, he whomped 32 homers, but that number dropped to just 10 last season. So far in the offseason, the Sox have signed David Ortiz and David Ross, and Mike Napoli as well. These actions are hardly an endorsement of Lavarnway, and while 166 PA isn’t much to go on, when you combine them with these signings, it would be hard to say that he will be a major contributor for Boston in 2013. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: It would be hard to view the Red Sox’s offseason actions as any kind of endorsement of Lavarnway’s future with the club, but there is still a chance that he carves out some modicum of playing time in 2013.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 1/18/1990 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: 3B|
Profile: Brett Lawrie’s 2012 season was, for the most part, disappointing. Let’s face it: he set the bar high in 2011, even if it was only 43 games. Lawrie at 23 years old is like most young players: searching for consistency. Most troubling about 2012, however, was Lawrie’s inability to hit for power, as evidenced by only 11 home runs in 125 games and a .132 isolated slugging percentage. Lawrie’s got legitimate fantasy value. He’s projected to — and has the tools to — hit for average, power, and steal bases. While his ceiling may not be as high as it was during his 43-game stretch in 2011, Lawrie’s a better hitter than he showed in 2011. He’s got the ability to avoid strikeouts, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens to his walk rate (9.4% in 2011 and 6.2% in 2012). Lawrie was more patient upon his arrival in 2011, and swung at more pitches outside the strike zone in 2012, perhaps trying to do too much at the plate. Where will Lawrie land? Probably somewhere in the middle, but he’s got the potential to be one of the better all-around third basemen in the American League. (Navin Vaswani)
Quick Opinion: Brett Lawrie’s 2012 season was disappointing, for the most part, especially when it came to hitting for power. But we remain high on his potential as one of the American League’s better all-around third basemen, with legitimate fantasy value. Well, I do, at least.
|Debut: 1999 | BirthDate: 6/20/1976 | Position: 1B|
Profile: Lee, 36, had been steadily declining at the plate from 2009-2011 before really falling over the cliff in 2012. His power vanished (.102 isolated slugging percentage) and his ability to get the bat on the ball (8.0 strikeout rate in 2012) is starting to go to waste now that his batting average on balls in play is settling into the .270-range. Lee had a big reverse split last season that goes against his track record, but even mashing lefties wouldn’t make him an everyday fantasy option. He remains unsigned as of this writing and it’s hard to see a scenario in which he’s fantasy relevant in 2013 without a big BABIP spike. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: Lee has been declining for years and he took a step over the edge in 2012, when his power completely vanished (.102 isolated slugging percentage). He remains unsigned as of this writing and won’t be fantasy useful without a little batted-ball luck in 2013.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 7/13/1988 | Team: Rockies | Position: 2B|
Profile: LeMahieu bided his time at Colorado Springs before injuries gave him a shot with the Rockies last season, and he made the most of it — as he hit .297 and played some slick defense. He continued a pattern of garnering a high batting average on balls in play, but even with a .353 BABIP, LeMahieu still wasn’t an average hitter. His 84 wRC+ was subpar, which might be okay from a fantasy perspective if he stood out in one particular category. Heck, Juan Pierre has a career 86 wRC+, but in the past he has been a valuable fantasy asset thanks to his stolen-base prowess. LeMahieu has no such prowess, as he neither hits home runs nor steals bases with any proficiency. He is essentially a younger version of Jonathan Herrera, and that may give him a leg up on snatching the utility infielder’s job, but you are best to look elsewhere for second base help. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: A batted-ball-luck-fueled second half may help LeMahieu earn a spot on the Rockies’ 2013 roster, but it shouldn’t help him earn a spot on your fantasy team.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 8/14/1988 | Team: Mariners | Position: 3B|
Profile: Seattle Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik recently said that the club “hadn’t forgotten” about Alex Liddi. For a team struggling to find hitting anywhere in their organization, that’s not an optimistic portrait for his opportunities in 2013. Then again, for a team struggling to find hitting anywhere, should Liddi impress in Spring Training, it’s not out of the question he winds up finding himself playing time at first base, third base, maybe even a little outfield. Liddi turned a lot of heads in 2011, hitting 30 home runs in Triple-A over 559 at-bats, and posting a .259/.332/.476 line. After showing decent patience and good contact skills at lower levels of the minors, Liddi has shown a real problem with strikeouts in two brief stints at the major league level. His power isn’t much of a question, but his defense certainly is, and that makes it difficult to swallow a miserable batting average and 40% strikeout rates. If he can manage to bloom late, he could find enough playing time to be interesting in 2013, but don’t draft him as anything other than a speculative grab and bench stash. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Liddi has no defined role in 2013, and even if he did, his low batting average and contact issues might not make him worth a roster spot anyway. His power potential makes him interesting enough to monitor.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 9/18/1983 | Position: OF|
Profile: In his limited plate appearances in 2011, Brent Lillibridge provided some surprisingly useful numbers as he hit 13 home runs and stole 10 bases with a .340 on-base percentage. His follow up to his semi-breakout was not nearly as inspiring. The “Lil Bridge” hit no home runs with either of his first two teams and finished the year with the Indians after playing for both the White and Red Sox earlier in the year. This year, he signed a minor league contract with the Cubs. It is doubtful that he makes any type of legitimate impact in any fantasy league this season. (Ben Duronio)
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 7/17/1983 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: 1B/DH|
Profile: Adam Lind will never again be the player he was in 2009. That season was a mirage. And we were all fooled. You, me, and the Blue Jays. Lind’s fall from grace in Toronto culminated in 2012, when he was outrighted to Triple-A in late May. He played 32 games for Las Vegas, three games for Double-A New Hampshire, and 92 for the Blue Jays last year. To his credit, upon his return to Toronto in late August, Lind showed improvement, hitting .304/.343/.441 in the second half of his season. Used properly, in a platoon against only right-handed pitching, Lind can contribute here and there to your fantasy team in 2013, but he’s got his flaws. While his walk rate improved over 2010 and 2011 to 8.2%, close to his 8.9% walk rate in his breakout 2009 season, Lind’s power deserted him in 2012. He’s a frustrating player to watch. However, according to the powers that be in Toronto, Lind’s going to get a chance to play to start the season, so you might be wise to keep him on your watch list. Remember, that Toronto lineup looks good on paper. While it might be Lind’s final year with the Blue Jays — Toronto can buy him out for $2 million after the season — I clearly cannot quit the man. No matter what happens, we’ll always have 2009. (Navin Waswani)
Quick Opinion: Adam Lind, after playing 32 games in Triple-A in 2012, might be a platoon player at this point in his career. He’s also playing for his contract, with options and buyouts looming. However, it looks like the Blue Jays are set to give him one last shot, and if they can, you can, too. He might yet be able to contribute here and there — home runs and RBI — to your fantasy team, especially if he finds his home-run stroke once again. But don’t get your hopes up. It’s not worth it.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 10/21/1984 | Team: Rays | Position: C|
Profile: Lobaton’s best skill is his patience, as his 12.2% walk rate ranked 13th among catchers with 190+ plate appearances and his on base percentage was higher than his slugging. He provides little else in terms of offensive production as his .078 career isolated slugging percentage would tell you. With Jose Molina firmly entrenched in the starting role, Lobaton will battle fellow backup Chris Gimenez for the number two job behind the plate. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: In AL-only leagues Lobaton is worth a look if anything should happen to the Ray’s starting catcher, Jose Molina.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 9/20/1988 | Team: Nationals | Position: 2B/OF|
Profile: Steven Lombardozzi had a solid rookie season, carving out a role as an ultra-utility man for the Nationals. While he would likely see an increased role on some other teams, Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa should prevent Lombardozzi from seeing a ton of playing time. He’s not going to take walks, but makes enough contact to make his approach work. He’s also not a candidate to hit many home runs. In a full-time role, Lombardozzi has very limited upside. His main asset would be his ability to hit for average, which would probably be… average anyway. Even with middle infield being a weak fantasy position, Lombardozzi won’t do enough to be drafted, even if he stumbles into an increased role.(Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Lombardozzi is most effective in his current role as a utility man. In a full-time role, he wouldn’t do enough to be a strong fantasy option.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 5/7/1984 | Team: Rays | Position: 1B|
Profile: Loney finally made the step from “underperforming his potential” to “downright awful” in 2012, setting career lows in wOBA, isolated slugging percentage, and WAR, at long last motivating the Dodgers to move on. Boston chose not to retain him either after a disappointing six weeks in town, so now Tampa hopes he can find some of the tropical magic that briefly made Casey Kotchman worthwhile. Loney’s a solid defender and strikes out fewer than most, but declining walk rates and power that’s poor from any position — and especially so at first base — make him the king of grounding out weakly to second. You can assume Tampa will keep him away from lefty pitching, which should help somewhat, but the promise that accompanied his debut with the Dodgers has never seemed further away. It’s safe to say that if he can’t turn things around with the Rays, he’s NRI material in 2014. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: James Loney hasn’t hit a home run in his home stadium since 2011, and yes, he is a first baseman. Good luck with that one, Joe Maddon.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 10/7/1985 | Team: Rays | Position: 3B/DH|
Profile: When healthy Longoria is one of the better players in the game, providing ~30 home runs and ~100 RBI at a surprisingly shallow position. Unfortunately, staying healthy has been an issue the past two seasons. He played in just 74 games last season after tearing a hamstring in late April, even if he did manage 17 home runs. The new $100 million man will again be slotted in the middle of a new-look Rays lineup. Since 2008, Longoria ranks in the top five among third basemen in home runs, RBI, and isolated slugging. Still just 27 years old, Longo is capable of an MVP-type season if he’s able to stay on the field for 140+ games. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: Longoria is simply one of the best overall players in the game and a top-flight third basemen who should easily best 30 home runs and 100 RBI for the second time in his career.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 11/24/1983 | Position: 3B|
Profile: This may seem hard to believe, but there was a time when Jose Lopez seemed to be a fairly useful player. In the late 00s, he was an adequate defensive second baseman who made up for an utter lack of walks by making frequent contact and managing to knock a surprising number of balls out of SafeCo Field despite being right-handed: 17 home runs in 2008 and 25 in 2009. In 2010 the Mariners moved him to third base and put Big Free Agent Signing Chone Figgins at second. While Lopez actually seemed to field better at third, it was a disaster all around, otherwise. His power disappeared and, well, that was about all he had going for him at the plate. Lopez was traded after the season, and in brief stints with Colorado, Florida, Cleveland, and Chicago, has basically shown that the probably was not just SafeCo. Now he is set to play in Japan in 2013. Even if he was in the MLB, he would not be worth your time. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Just four years ago Jose Lopez was a somewhat useful, power-hitting second baseman. As of 2013, he might only be useful if you are in an NPB fantasy league.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 1/20/1986 | Team: Royals | Position: OF|
Profile: Lough is the epitome of the Quad-A player. He is good enough to fill in at the big league level, but lacking enough to eventual be bumped back to the minors by a better player. The 27-year-old averaged around ten home runs per season in the minors with about 15 stolen bases, which does a decent job describing his upside. He did hit for a near-.300 average on the farm, though. He spent all of the 2010 to 2012 season in Triple-A besides 20 games in 2012 with the major league team. While he could be useful as a fourth or fifth outfielder, the Royals are mostly set with Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, and Jeff Francoeur in the outfield right now. Jarrod Dyson is a speedy backup who will see quite a bit of playing time, too. Unless the some of the other outfielders are traded and/or hurt, Lough will probably spend much of the 2013 season in Double-A. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: David Lough is the sixth guy in the Royals outfield, so he is pretty irrelevant.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 4/17/1984 | Team: Athletics | Position: SS|
Profile: Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Jed Lowrie got a chance to start, got hot for part of a season, and then got hurt. You can take the oft-injured former prospect out of the Boston and put him in the Houston, but he’s still an oft-injured former prospect. That’s an idiom, right? As I write this, the Astros have apparently fielded trade offers for Lowrie, who is entering his second year of arbitration, but so far they have decided to hold on to him. Lowrie has been streaky, but unless you are Joe Morgan, “consistency” is not too much of a concern. The truth is that when he has been healthy, Lowrie has hit well for a shortstop. He is not a BABIP-heavy hacker, either. He has an above-average walk rate and better-than-average strikeout rate to boot. He has some pop in his bat and will still only be 27 in 2013. The injury problems are a concern, and that has to be taken into account. When Lowrie is healthy, he is an above-average shortstop, though, and that is worth something in a fantasy draft, especially if you can draft another, low-end starting shortstop as insurance.(Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Yes, Lowrie gets hurt all the time, However, all the evidence points to him being an above-average shortstop when healthy, and he could be a nice risk-reward pick.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 6/13/1986 | Team: Brewers | Position: C|
Profile: Lucroy consistently put together impressive numbers to start his minor league career before essentially skipping Triple-A and being forced into the starting role after Gregg Zaun’s injury in 2010. After consecutive underwhelming seasons at the plate, it appears Lucroy has adjusted to major-league pitching and is back to his old self. He hit .320/.368/.513 in 346 plate appearances last year and owned the third-highest wOBA (.378) amongst all catchers with at least 300 PAs. Strikeouts had become a concern in 2011, but he almost cut his strikeout rate in half to 12.7% and only had a 5.6% swinging-strike rate. Some have pointed to his .338 batting average on balls in play as a reason to temper excitement heading into 2013. Lucroy is a line-drive hitter, however, and has a career .315 BABIP. His batting average won’t suffer dramatically if his BABIP comes down to his career average. The Brewers’ potent offense should help his RBI and run totals throughout the year, too. At 26, Lucroy appears to be entering his prime and could be overlooked on draft day due to his injury and lack of plate appearances last year. He could provide real value on draft day. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: After a breakout season in 2012 that was interrupted by a freak injury to his hand, Lucroy appears poised to be a top-ten catcher, providing double-digit home runs and a healthy batting average, and could be a value buy thanks to only 346 plate appearances last year.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 7/13/1978 | Team: Reds | Position: OF|
Profile: Ludwick, 34, moved to the righty-friendly Great American Ballpark in 2012 and had the second best season of his career at .275/.346/.531 (133 wRC+) with 26 HR. It wasn’t just the ballpark either, as his road numbers (131 wRC+) were on par with his home performance (135). The big jump in HR/FB rate (18.4%) did show in his home/road split, however: 22.9% at home and 14.1% on the road. That’s not unexpected. Ludwick’s track record is up-and-down and he was only a bit better than a league average bat from 2009-2011, but returning to Cincy with a great lineup around should mean more high-end fantasy production, especially in the counting stats. Just remember his age. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: Moving to a much more hitter-friendly park improved Ludwick’s homer output in 2012, but he was also very productive on the road. With a great lineup around him, the 34-year-old is primed for a monster counting stat season.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 2/1/1980 | Position: 1B|
Profile: Luna last appeared in more than 30 games in 2006. The definition of veteran organizational depth. (Jack Moore)
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