|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 7/6/1992 | Team: Orioles | Position: 3B|
Profile: Manny Machado went through the usual rookie struggles last season. He was far too much of a free-swinger, walking in just 4.5% of his plate appearances. He did show solid power, hitting seven home runs in 202 plate appearances, and he has a track record of adding value on the basepaths. He’s a good bet to be in a full-time role next season, but it will probably come at third, where Machado would have much less value. His value would increase substantially if he moved over to short, where he could be a fringe starter in most leagues. He’ll be just 20-years-old this year, so he may need more time to adjust to the majors. He might not become a star next season, but he’s still on the path to be a very promising player in the future. His positional eligibility will play a big role on whether he’s worth a mid-round pick, and J.J. Hardy is still under contract until the end of 2014. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Machado is far more valuable as a shortstop, but is slated to play third next season. At just 20 years old, he can’t be expected to perform like a star immediately, but his potential makes him an intriguing late round pick.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 6/30/1982 | Position: OF|
Profile: After batting .172 in 32 games for the Royals in 2012, Maier now owns a career .248/.327/.344 slash line at the big league level. Kansas City finally gave him his walking papers and he picked up a minor league deal with the Red Sox shortly thereafter. If he couldn’t hold a fourth outfielder job with the Royals, Boston hardly seems like a place where a turnaround will occur. (Howard Bender)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 8/16/1986 | Team: Brewers | Position: C|
Profile: Maldonado grabbed fantasy owners’ attention after a blistering June that saw him hit .274/.338/.493 with five homers. He’s a free-swinging catcher who can punish a mistake with legitimate power to the pull side and up the middle. With Jonathan Lucroy now healthy and coming off a big season, however, Maldonado should slide back into a reserve role. He projects to have little fantasy value outside a sporadic five-to-ten homers off the bench over the course of the season. (JP Breen)
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 11/17/1983 | Team: Orioles | Position: OF|
Profile: Since 2006, Nick Markakis has appeared in less than 147 games in just one season — 2012, due to a busted thumb. Over that span, Markakis’ 1,198 hits is third-most hits of any outfielder and ninth-most of any big leaguer. Perhaps he’s done stealing bases — he was never that fleet of foot to begin with — and his power is nice enough, but doesn’t lead to big home run totals. And at 29, there’s some aging and health risk involved. But at least owners can fall in love with Nick Markakis’ greatest asset, his .295 career batting average, especially if you gambled on a slugger with a .250 average earlier in your draft or auction. (Alan Harrison)
Quick Opinion: Markakis may get overlooked early in your fantasy drafts due in large part to the underwhelming power and speed combination. But, the right fielder deserves more credit, and attention, considering he has been one of the most consistent outfielders to play the game for the good part of the last decade.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 7/2/1988 | Team: Nationals | Position: 1B|
Profile: Various injuries prevented former first-round pick Chris Marrero from playing until late August. He’s been passed by Tyler Moore on the depth chart, and would need the Nationals’ corner infielders and outfielders to suffer multiple injuries in order to receive playing time. (Chris Cwik)
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 6/26/1986 | Team: Indians | Position: C|
Profile: Marson will likely find himself playing a decent amount, as Mark Reynolds and Carlos Santana share first base and designated hitter, as well as Santana’s share of the catching duties. But all those plate appearances won’t provide much fantasy value. (Chad Young)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 10/9/1988 | Team: Pirates | Position: OF|
Profile: The “multi-tooled talent” is at hand! Starling Marte has had his cup of coffee, and now enters 2013 as the leading candidate for the left field and leadoff roles. His plate discipline issues will probably suppress his sophomore year value, but for keeper leagues and ottoneu franchises, Marte is an exciting bet. He has slaughtered minor league pitching through every level of his pro experience and will be hitting in a lineup featuring Andrew McCutchen, which could portend additional RBI chances if his power develops quicker than expected and he finds himself in the heart of the lineup. Do not expect too much from Marte in his first full season, though. He will only be 24, and has plenty of time to prove his worth, but he only had a 99 wRC+ through his first 182 plate appearances. He should be better in 2013, but young position players can take time. (Bradley Woodrum)
Quick Opinion: Marte is a long-term investment coming to roost. He makes the most sense in keeper leagues and ottoneu franchises, but there does exist the potential his gaudy minor league performances translate into some early big league success.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 3/6/1988 | Team: Rangers | Position: OF|
Profile: As bad as Josh Hamilton’s departure was for the Rangers, it was that good for Martin. The 24-year-old Cuban defector has a broad skill set that should allow him to hit for average as well as some power, steal bases, draw walks and score runs. He’s played well in the minors since signing in the middle of 2011 — .323/.388/.503 slash stats with good contact rates — so all that’s left is proving himself in the majors… as Hamilton’s potential replacement. As long as the Rangers don’t bring in another centerfielder before next season, Martin should at worst enter 2013 in a platoon with Craig Gentry until he shows he can swim. If given 400-plus at-bats, Martin should hold his own in average, swipe 15-20 bases and approach double-digits in home runs. The kicker will be whether he does well enough to hit at or near the top of the order at some point, which could pump up his runs total. Bottom line: Martin is draftable as a starting outfielder in mixed leagues that use five at the position, and his value jumps in keeper formats. (Jason Catania)
Quick Opinion: Martin registers in all five categories, and has an opportunity waiting for him in the Texas outfield, finally. How much power and speed he finally shows, we’ll see, but hopefully the Rangers don’t sign a free agent to take that opportunity away from him.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 2/15/1983 | Team: Pirates | Position: C|
Profile: In his two seasons in the Bronx, Martin clubbed 18 and 21 homers respectively, while adding more than 50 runs and RBI in each campaign. And although Martin didn’t appear to be as swift on the basepaths as he did as a Dodger, he swiped 14 total bases as a Yankee — an added bonus most catchers fail to provide their fantasy owners. Expecting that power again might be folly — his new home stadium is not as forgiving to long fly balls — but he’s good for double digits most years anyway. His potential suitors shouldn’t expect another .211 season from Martin either, as it appears he was hampered by a .222 average on balls in plays, down 60 points than his career average. Russell Martin should provide fine production for those investing a late pick in single catcher leagues, or in the late teens of NL-Only and two-catcher leagues. (Alan Harrison)
Quick Opinion: Russell Martin agreed to a two-year deal with the Pirates, moving him back to the National League after a two-year stint with the Yankees. The Pirates may have been interested in Martin’s arm in an attempt to keep teams from running all over them again in twenty-thirteen, but fantasy leaguers should keep a keen eye on Martin late in their standard mixed drafts for possible value at the catcher position.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 12/23/1978 | Team: Tigers | Position: C|
Profile: The middle-rounds would be a good time for redrafters to target Martinez in 2013 — there the risk is small enough that he could provide surplus value even if he doesn’t fully rebound towards his career .303/.370/.469. Prior to the injury, Martinez saw a steady decline in home run production in each of his previous four full seasons (25, 23, 20,12), so potential suitors may not want to select him if you’re team is lacking in the long ball department. But feel confident in the former catcher’s ability to provide steady production in the batting average, runs scored and runs batted in categories for some nice balance on your roto squad. Just make sure he’s a catcher before you invest. If he isn’t, he’s a last-round dollar-type utility play at best. (Alan Harrison)
Quick Opinion: Martinez missed the entire 2012 season due to a knee injury suffered in offseason workouts, but he’s expected to be fully healed and ready to contribute by the start of spring training. If he’s as healthy as expected, Martinez should be a sure bet for another .300 or better season with double-digit long balls out of the sixth spot in the Tigers’ potent lineup.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 8/21/1987 | Team: Astros | Position: OF|
Profile: J.D. Martinez is currently slated to be the Astros’ starting left fielder in 2013, and given Houston’s lack of talent on the major league level, he is probably going to get a lot of playing time there. That alone should get your attention, particularly in NL-only leagues. However, while he should be drafted in most NL-only leagues, he’s still a low-end option. Although he was seen as a sleeper going into 2012, he simply hit terribly. One cannot really pin it on random variation in batted ball luck, either. Martinez walks at a slightly above-average rate, but that’s not enough to make up for below-average contact rate and power. The 2011 numbers that got him attention are not all that impressive, either, other than a higher batting average on balls in play. Martinez will be 25 at the beginning of the 2013 season, and while that is young, it is not that young. There is some upside here, so he’s definitely worth a look over older low-end options. Do not let him go undrafted, but do not expect a budding superstar, either. Martinez being an average corner outfielder in 2013 would be something of a surprise. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Martinez is somewhat young, and there is some upside there. However, he has shown very little in terms of fantasy potential in more than 600 major league plate appearances. He is a low-end option with a chance of being a bit more.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 9/16/1982 | Position: 2B|
Profile: Martinez was one of the worst hitters in the league last year and his pedigree offers little reason to expect significant improvement. (Jack Moore)
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 10/10/1988 | Team: Astros | Position: OF|
Profile: He’s 24 and already with his second organization, but Fernando Martinez has only amassed 275 plate appearances in the major leagues. Part of that is health — last year was the first time in his career that he even managed 500 plate appearances in a calendar year. Another part of that is an inability to translate his minor league statistics to the big leagues. He used to get a lot of credit for being so young at every level, but after he kept repeating those levels and getting a year older without improving key peripherals, that benefit of the doubt went out the window. His strikeout rate just kept getting worse, his walk rate never improved, and his defense moved him to the corner outfield in the meantime. The overall package now looks like it lacks a standout tool, at least not for his current position. Though his team may need him to fill up the lineup card, fantasy owners may want to avoid him. Fittingly, deep leaguers needing a warm body may be able to stomach a poor batting average, but top prospect George Springer is coming fast, and he has more patience, power, and speed than F-Mart. (Eno Sarris)
Quick Opinion: It took until his third attempt at Triple-A, at 24 years old, but Fernando Martinez finally put together 500 plate appearances with a gaudy-looking batting line. He’s probably still a guy that strikes out too much, walks too little, and only has power that’s slightly better than league average to depend on him for much.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 8/26/1985 | Team: Twins | Position: OF|
Profile: Mastroianni was probably the best Twin that nobody had ever heard of in 2012, amassing 1.5 wins above replacement in only 186 plate appearances thanks to excellent baserunning and very good defense. And in case you didn’t get the memo, he’s now the likely starting centerfielder in the wake of the Denard Span trade. Mastroianni has no power, but he puts the ball on the ground, runs like hell, steals bases in bunches, and plays a very good centerfield. Remind you of anyone you’ve heard of? So he’s not exactly the next Ben Revere, but he should be able to hold down center until Aaron Hicks proves ready. Fantasy-wise, Mastroianni could be a very sneaky late-round pickup for stolen bases, and maybe even runs if he leads off. (Yikes.) (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Though the probable starting center fielder of the Twins has some flaws, his assets — wheels and defense — should keep him in the starting lineup long enough to provide fantasy value. If his batting average ends up being okay, he might even make some mixed league rosters.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 7/23/1982 | Position: OF|
Profile: The Cubs leaned on utilityman Mather in 2012 like a Disney villain leans on a crooked cane. He played every position except second, short and catcher — yes, he even pitched. But he likely begins 2013 in Triple-A, trying to remember what to do with the wooden stick thing that performed no useful tasks for him in 2012. If he gets a callup, even then, his fantasy stock is low. (Bradley Woodrum)
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 3/31/1983 | Team: Marlins | Position: C|
Profile: Believe it or not, Jeff Mathis actually held up the massive 2012 winter trade between the Blue Jays and Marlins. Jeff Mathis! Toronto didn’t want to give him up, and the Marlins weren’t making the deal without him being included. The deal got done, of course, and, with Miami, Mathis finds himself on his third team in three years. He’s scheduled to back up Rob Brantly behind the plate. Although he had the best offensive season of his career in 2012, posting a .277 wOBA and 77 wRC+, Mathis has zero fantasy value, because fantasy baseball doesn’t care for defense. (Navin Vaswani)
Quick Opinion: Jeff Mathis is a backup catcher who can’t hit. If you draft him, you deserve what you get. That is: zero fantasy value.
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 6/12/1974 | Position: DH/OF|
Profile: Godzilla may never have lived up to the power ceiling indicated by his nickname, but he was a valuable major league outfielder and a class act throughout his ten-year career. Now he’s done with the MLB, though, so make sure he’s not in your draft lists. (Erik Hahmann)
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 4/19/1983 | Team: Twins | Position: C/DH|
Profile: And that’s great news for fantasy owners; expanded position eligibility makes Mauer that much more valuable to most, depending on the amount of games your league needs to qualify at an additional position and the starting lineup your team needs to field. The Twins’ effort paid off as Mauer was indeed able to stay healthy and play in 147 games — the most of any season in his career. He triple slashed .319/.414/.446 with eight long balls, 81 runs scored, 85 RBIs and eight stolen bases en route to a five-win season. As previously noted, Mauer is unlikely to post the sexy home run totals he did in 2009, however, his ability to hit for average and create runs (140 wRC+ in 2012) make him an elite option at catcher — or wherever else you can plug him in — for the upcoming season. (Alan Harrison)
Quick Opinion: Joe Mauer is coming off of another stellar, albeit not sexy, season as the backstop of the Minnesota Twins. Backstop? Well, that sort of changed in 2012 as well, as the Twins’ began to give the three-time batting champ an opportunity to play first base and to be the designated hitter in an effort to preserve his health.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 11/6/1983 | Team: Astros | Position: OF|
Profile: Justin Maxwell may have finally found a home, at least for the time being, with the rebuilding Astros. After years of sporadic playing time with the Nationals and Yankees, Maxwell got a shot in Houston and made the most of it, mashing 18 home runs in just 352 plate appearances while playing good defense in (mostly) center field. Maxwell certainly has his warts — although he is a patient hitter who draws an above-average number of walks, his kryptonite is what it has always been: contact, or, more precisely, the lack of it. Maxwell has a career strikeout rate over 30 percent. Although his power and patience along with good defense mean he is probably at least a league-average player in major league baseball, his appeal is somewhat selective in fantasy ball. Over a full season, he can probably hit at least 20, and maybe 30 home runs. He will also add a few steals. However, a batting average of .250 or over would be a lucky surprise, which also holds back his on-base percentage. Maxwell will have particular appeal in leagues which differentiate between outfield positions or linear weights leagues in which batting average (or on-base percentage) are not separate categories. He also has value in traditional leagues, as does any player with the potential to hit 20 or 30 home runs with a few steals, just be wary of what he can do to your batting average (or on-base percentage), as well as the limited counting stats he will provide due to the poor talent surrounding him. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: In 2013, Justin Maxwell finally got a shot at regular playing time, and showed just how foolish teams have been to pass him over by mashing 18 home runs in just over half a season of playing time. He has contact issues that limit his value, but should be drafted in all NL-only leagues and most deep mixed leagues.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 12/21/1983 | Team: Phillies | Position: OF|
Profile: Though Mayberry has shown good power throughout the minors and majors, his isolated slugging percentage dipped to just .150 last season, a level that ranked second-worst of his professional career. The decline was primarily the result of a dramatic decrease in fly ball rate. The odds suggest that his FB% will rebound, but the drop was still rather curious. So we know that Mayberry should provide some power, but unfortunately he has struggled against righties to the tune of a .301 wOBA against them, compared with a .371 mark versus southpaws. That futility against righties is going to cut into his at-bats and guarantee that he’s just a part-timer. Draft Mayberry for some cheap power in deep leagues with deep benches and daily moves, anything above and beyond is just gravy. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: The 29-year-old Mayberry is no longer a prospect, but he possesses excellent power. That’s about the only positive to be said about his skill set, however, as he strikes out too much and has been brutal against right-handed pitching throughout his career, which is going to prevent him from ever becoming a true full-time player.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 4/4/1987 | Team: Padres | Position: OF|
Profile: As a prospect hyped by so many early on, Maybin has struggled to find himself at the major league level. After three injury-riddled seasons with the Marlins, Maybin had an impressive debut season with the Padres in 2011, only to take a slight step back in 2012. Though there is definitely a modest form of power potential in his bat, Maybin’s game is really his speed and defense. Going from 40 steals in 2011 to just 26 in 2012 with a declining success rate is frustrating to both the Padres and his fantasy owners. He did make a modest improvement on his strikeout rate and he started to hit more line drives, but without drawing more walks and a batting average on balls in play under .300, his on-base percentage dropped from an unimpressive .323 to an unsettling .306 last season. His job in center field is secure heading into 2013, but Maybin will need to improve his on-base skills to bring his overall value in fantasy back to where owners feel safe drafting him in mixed leagues. He’ll turn just 26 when the season opens so there is still plenty of hope for him. Maybe he should understand his place as a table-setter and leave the run-production to the bigger bats in the lineup. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Maybin is entering his age-26 season and possesses all the skills to be one of the league’s premier table-settters. While his stolen base total dropped last year, he did make other improvements at the plate and fantasy owners should feel confident in drafting him as a third outfielder this season.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 5/23/1985 | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: McBride was part of the package that came over in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, and though the Rockies haven’t received much from the other two players they received in the deal, McBride has definitely been the weak link. Oh, McBride did hit .346 at Triple-A Colorado Springs last season, but considering he was 27 and playing in a hitter’s haven, it wasn’t quite as impressive as it normally would be. He finally got a cup of coffee at the major league level, and that was even less impressive, as he walked just one time in 81 plate appearances. McBride hit half of his balls in the air, but didn’t quite have the power to make them miss gloves, as his .308 slugging percentage would attest. Given the fact that the Rockies are already facing a roster crunch, and the fact that he was outrighted off of the club’s 40-man roster early in the offseason, it is highly unlikely that he will see much time in the majors in 2013. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: The minor league warrior is likely to keep on warring with Pacific League pitching forces rather than plying his trade at the major league level.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 2/20/1984 | Team: Braves | Position: C|
Profile: Entering last season, there was an argument to be made that Brian McCann was the game’s top catcher, due to him consistently performing in the top-five among backstops over his first six years in the majors. In having a down year last season, those talks have evaporated. McCann posted career lows in nearly every offensive category, but much of his struggles were due to a torn labrum which required offseason surgery. It is currently uncertain if McCann will be ready by opening day, which in fantasy circles actually makes him a buy-low candidate, as does that unsustainably-low batting average on balls in play (.234). Following his health reports will be key if he is a player you are considering as a target, but if he comes back healthy he should provide plenty of fantasy valuable hitting behind some quality players such as Jason Heyward and the Upton brothers. In his contract season and potentially his last in his home town of Atlanta, McCann will be making every effort to put together a quality, healthy season. If you are willing to look at last season as a lost season due to injury, McCann could be a big steal on draft day. (Ben Duronio)
Quick Opinion: Things did not go as planned for one of the game’s most consistent players last season, but a return from injury in his contract season makes him a big target for an owner willing to take on a bit of risk at the catcher position. He is still on the right side of thirty and does not have an expansive injury history, so follow McCann’s progression through spring training and draft him with confidence while other owners pass him up.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 4/2/1981 | Position: 2B/OF|
Profile: Mike McCoy is the Blue Jays’ unheralded utility man, who’s probably racked up more air miles flying to and from Las Vegas and Toronto over the past two years than many people will accumulate in their entire lives. The bad news: McCoy has zero fantasy value. The good news: the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate is now in Buffalo, so should McCoy ever be needed in Toronto, the journey won’t be as arduous. (Navin Vaswani)
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 10/10/1986 | Team: Pirates | Position: OF|
Profile: Andrew McCutchen was very good from 2009 to 2011, but he stepped it up a notch in 2012. McCutchen posted all-world offensive numbers, hitting 31 homers and stealing 20 bags, all while maintaining a .327 batting average. The jump in power production is a tad surprising since the right-hander hit more balls on the ground in 2012 than ever before, but another year of physical maturation could result in the 26-year-old maintaining his numbers. Odds are McCutchen’s batting average will fall, as even he isn’t good enough to sustain a .375 batting average on balls in play year-after-year. If you want McCutchen on your 2013 roster, you’re going to have to take him in the first round, and since he doesn’t steal elite-level bags, and that batting average will likely regress, he may be a tad over-rated. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Andrew McCutchen has turned himself into an elite fantasy outfielder, so if you want him on your 2013 roster, you’ll have to take him in the first round.
|Debut: 1999 | BirthDate: 9/24/1974 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: SS|
Profile: Laugh all you want, but John McDonald is on a major-league roster and you, in all probability, are not. He has a reputation as a great glove man, but as much as teams love to talk about defense and guys like McDonald “making everyone else better in the field,” he’s received more than 300 plate appearances during only one season in his bizarrely long career. Maybe it is cruel to talk about his lack of power — after all, 2013 all-baseball mini-mascot Jose Altuve was cheered for hitting seven home runs in about three times as many plate appearances as it took McDonald to hit six. Gotta love that the Diamondbacks’ park. Flukes aside, McDonald does not hit for power, average, take walks, or steal. He’s a desperate endgame pick if you need to meet playing time minimums and have no other options. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: If you think having a fantasy write-up for John McDonald is funny, that is nothing compared to him getting two-year deal from the Diamondbacks.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 11/17/1978 | Position: OF|
Profile: A first-round pick way back in 1997, Darnell McDonald made a minor fantasy splash in 2009 and 2010 when the Red Sox, depleted by injuries, gave him playing time. In 2010, especially, he proved to be fairly useful as a stopgap. As a fourth outfielder, he sort of made sense, as he could play center field acceptably, and had just enough pop and plate discipline to get by. He faded away from the Sox and ended up getting a few plate appearances for the Yankees in 2012 before finishing in the minor leagues and becoming a free agent. McDonald is now in his mid-30s and offers little in the way of upside, so even if he does find his way onto a major league roster before your fantasy draft, it probably will be as a reserve. If he does make it onto a 25-man roster, he still is not a draft target. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: McDonald has had his uses in the past, but he currently does not have a team, and if he does, he still probably is not worth drafting.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 10/12/1982 | Position: 1B|
Profile: Still relatively young, Casey McGehee declined quickly. He signed a one-year deal in Japan, and isn’t likely to play in the U.S. this season. (Chris Cwik)
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 3/4/1985 | Team: Pirates | Position: C|
Profile: Michael McKenry pounded 12 home runs in his 275 plate appearances as the Pirates’ backup catcher. He had just as good power numbers in the minors, but with framing expert Russel Martin now on the roster, McKenry likely returns to the reserve catcher role in 2013. His offense is certainly good enough, though, to warrant a starting spot in deeper leagues that start two catchers. (Bradley Woodrum)
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 10/28/1981 | Team: Orioles | Position: OF|
Profile: Nate McLouth went from being cut in May to starting a playoff game in October. The Orioles were happy with his production, and decided to bring him back for another season. McLouth hasn’t been a useful fantasy asset since 2009, and has struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness the past couple of seasons. If he manages to play himself into a full-time role next season, he’ll have to prove that his (modest) power is really back in order to be fantasy relevant again. Either way, a great batting average is probably not in the cards for the career .248 hitter. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Nate McLouth managed to extend his career after a decent showing in Baltimore. He’s been pretty bad in recent years and will be fighting for a full-time role. There’s too much uncertainty to justify spending a pick on him.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 6/19/1988 | Team: Reds | Position: C|
Profile: Heading into the 2012 season with all the hype and expectations that come along with a top-prospect label, Mesoraco face-planted with a .212/.288/.352 slash line over only 184 plate appearances. He clearly suffered from a low .234 batting average on balls in play, but he also failed to make solid contact at the plate. His 16.7% line drive rate ranked as the fourth-worst line drive rate amongst the 58 catchers to accumulate at least 150 plate appearances a year ago. Still, fantasy owners shouldn’t completely write off Mesoraco after one down season — he’s only one year removed from hitting .289/.371/.484 with 15 home runs in Triple-A. The 24-year-old catcher also maintained his plate discipline, posting an above-average walk rate and a below-average strikeout rate. If he can snag enough plate appearances away from Ryan Hanigan — which is not a guarantee with Dusty Baker as his manager — he could rediscover his swing and rebuild his fantasy value. If you’re a believer, grab him in the late rounds of your fantasy draft. Otherwise, keep him on your radar and be prepared to claim him on waivers if he shows signs of life early in the year. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: Mesoraco fell flat in his rookie season in 2012, but he still has double-digit power potential at a premium position and all the tools that made him the Reds’ top prospect a year ago. He’s worth a late-round flyer — and in keeper leagues, maybe more.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 9/9/1988 | Team: Red Sox | Position: 3B|
Profile: Hitting 15 homers in your first 75 major league games is a good way to get yourself noticed, but missing the end of the season is a good way to be forgotten. Middlebrooks did both of those things, though the latter wasn’t by choice — a fractured wrist cut his season short. Power sometimes comes back slowly following a wrist injury, and since power is the main part of Middlebrooks’ game that could be bad news for him. But given that the Red Sox were conservative with his injury and that he will have had the entire offseason to rebuild his strength, he may not suffer the same setbacks. Many have pointed to Middlebrooks’ below-average walk rate as a red flag, but closer examination shows that perhaps the concern is overblown. For starters, Middlebrooks saw more pitches per plate appearance (3.88) than league average (3.82). Second, he wasn’t quite as hacktastic as his walk rate would lead you to believe — both is O-Swing percentage and his Swing percentage were under league average. He’s unlikely to ever walk more than he strikes out, but there is reason to believe that he can maintain the batting profile he posted last year. And that is a good thing. Don’t let Middlebrooks slip too far in your draft. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: Assuming Middlebrooks is fully recovered from the wrist injury that ended his 2012 season, he could be primed for a breakout season.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 7/13/1982 | Team: Cardinals | Position: C|
Profile: Like a fine wine, Molina continues to get better and better with age. Most expected the Cardinals backstop, who turned 30 during the middle of the 2012 season, to have reached his peak during his breakout 2011 campaign, but he turned right around and set new career highs in every one of the five basic roto categories, as well as on-base percentage, slugging and wOBA. He easily produced a season worthy of consideration amongst the top five catchers in the game. Given the fact that his .189 isolated slugging percentage last year was considerably higher than his career average, it’s difficult to expect a return to the 20-home run plateau, however, with such outstanding plate discipline and such a strong read on opposing pitchers, you can probably expect his remaining totals to be comparable to what we’ve seen over the past two seasons. His price tag continues to rise, but with the way he has produced lately, it’s hard to say he isn’t worth it. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Just when you thought you couldn’t squeeze any more out of Molina, he turns around and improves even more on his 2011 breakout campaign. His 2012 totals moved him into the top tier of backstops, with his .315 average, 22 home runs and 12 stolen bases. He might not reach the 20-home run mark again this year, but the rest of his numbers should make him worthy of his higher draft position.
|Debut: 1999 | BirthDate: 6/3/1975 | Team: Rays | Position: C|
Profile: There are few better at the defensive aspects of catching than Molina. That said, there are few worse on the offensive side of the game. Molina played 102 games in 2012, the most of his career and will start again in 2013. He had career highs in home runs (8), RBI (32) and steals (3) as a result. The problem is, those totals are not worth owning in nearly any format. He has a career .632 OPS and there isn’t reason that will improve considerably in 2013. Only the deepest of AL-only leagues should consider him come draft day. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: Molina is a starting catcher in the simplest definition of the word but doesn’t produce enough value to be worth your fantasy roster spot.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 11/28/1989 | Team: Mariners | Position: C/DH|
Profile: Jesus didn’t save the Mariners offense, but Montero did flash some of the expected power that fantasy owners were hoping for in his first major league season. He finished with a .260/.298/.386 line, with 15 home runs, and although that is probably considered a disappointment among owners, he is just 23 years old and owns a .308/.366/.501 average slash line over five minor league seasons. While Montero might not be a long-term catcher in real baseball, he will have eligibility behind the plate in 2013, and for dynasty managers, it’s likely that eligibility will run into 2014 as well. With the fences moving in at Safeco and a year of experience under his belt, an improved offensive performance should be on the horizon. Expect Montero to hit for better average, walk a little bit more, and reach the 20-home run-threshold. If Seattle can bring in a stronger supporting cast, he could wind up with a nice stock of RBI to boot. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: In Jesus Montero you have a player with catcher eligibility who should play almost every day and finish the season with something akin to a .275/.340/.450 line and potentially 20 home runs. At just 23, his best offensive seasons are still in front of him. Grab him while he’s cheap.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 7/9/1983 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: C|
Profile: Miguel Montero has started to show up on “Most Underrated” lists, and in his case, the tag is justified. While he does play in a nice park for hitters, his numbers as a hitter are impressive even once taking that into account. He is also a catcher, of course, and though his bat probably is part of the reason no one notices, he is a good defender, too. Montero’s glove isn’t going to help you much in fantasy, but his hitter’s park will. In terms of raw offensive value, 2012 was Montero’s best season, and he will not be 30 until the middle of 2013. On the bright side, Montero saw his walk rate spike in 2012. On the other hand, after having a nice contact rate in 2011, it dropped back down a bit in 2012 as his strikeouts went back over 20 percent. Montero is not going to carry many fantasy teams, but he will give good value for the position — .280/.360/.440 with around 15 home runs is nice production from a catcher in most leagues. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Montero is not a superstar catcher like Buster Posey, but he is a good hitter at a shallow position. He could be a draft-day bargain if the other owners are asleep.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 6/29/1987 | Position: OF|
Profile: Jeremy Moore has some nice minor league stats, demonstrating decent patience, plate discipline, power and good speed. But unless he’s traded or there’s some kind of opportunity which unclogs the logjam in the Anaheim outfield, Moore is likely to either start in Triple-A or come off the bench as a pinch runner in 2013. (Michael Barr)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 1/30/1987 | Team: Nationals | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Virtually every bench player on the Nationals had a strong season, and Tyler Moore was no exception. Though he slugged 31 home runs in the minors in both 2010 and 2011, Moore was never considered a strong prospect. The power translated to the majors last season, as Moore slugged 10 bombs in 171 plate appearances. With the team re-signing Adam LaRoche to man first, Moore will reprise his role as a backup at first and in the outfield, where he can supply nice power off the bench. The strikeouts would be a concern in a full-time role, and would limit his average, but he might hit a decent amount of home runs and should be picked up quickly in the even of an injury to Jayson Werth or Adam LaRoche. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: The Nationals are set at first base with Adam LaRoche. Moore probably won’t get a ton of playing time, but could be a decent source of power if he does happen to fall into a full-time role. Strikeouts will limit his average.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 11/17/1983 | Position: 1B/3B|
Profile: Scott Moore finally got a chance to at semi-regular major-league playing time in 2012, and acquitted himself pretty well for the rebuilding Astros. He played mostly the infield and outfield corners and even some second base, and hit a respectable .259/.330/.448 over 228 plate appearances. That did not keep him from being outrighted after the season, although he was then signed to a minor-league deal with an invitation to Spring Training by Oakland. Teams could, and have, done worse for a four-corners utility man. Moore does not have exceptional plate discipline, but it is not horrible, and his power is adequate. However, he really seems better suited as a National League player, and Oakland already has sufficient depth at the positions Moore can realistically play. Even if he looks like he will make the team later in the spring, he is not worth drafting. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: In 2012, Moore showed that he might be useful a four-corners bench player. However, even if he manages to make a team out of Spring Training, he is not worth drafting.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 6/20/1983 | Team: Mariners | Position: DH|
Profile: Kendrys Morales struggled to regain his power stroke early on, but as the year wore on, the switch-hitter began mashing more balls out the yard. While he’s on the tail end of his prime years, another offseason to rehab from his devastating injury should result in improved numbers for Morales. Moving from Angels’ Stadium to Safeco Field may appear to hurt him on the surface, but both parks play similarly for left-handed hitters, which is the side of the plate from which most of Morales’ games will come. Morales will be hurt by the lack of support around him in Seattle, but as long as he stays healthy, he’ll be worth a handful of dollars in standard mixed leagues. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Morales will be hurt by the lack of support around him in Seattle, but as long as he stays healthy, he’ll be worth a handful of dollars in standard mixed leagues.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 4/21/1987 | Team: White Sox | Position: 3B|
Profile: Hopefully, like the edible mushroom that shares his name, Morel enjoys shady areas — the acquisition of Jeff Keppinger will mean plenty of time in the dugout for him. Once a reasonably well-liked prospect, Morel has now been replaced via trade and then via free agency; the White Sox have turned sour on Morel and fantasy owners should do the same. (Dan Wade)
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 9/6/1985 | Team: Rangers | Position: 1B|
Profile: Mitch Moreland smashed 15 homers in only 114 games with the Texas Rangers in 2012, missing time due to injuries, general roster competition, and his platoon splits against left-handed pitchers. With Michael Young and Mike Napoli each playing for different ballclubs in 2013, Moreland now has a much clearer path to consistent playing time against right-handed hurlers. Odds are the 27-year-old will be benched against southpaws in favor of Mike Olt, but that could actually be a blessing in disguise for fantasy owners who don’t check matchups regularly. Moreland is going to be worth starting in AL-only leagues, and he’s not a bad Corner Infield option in mixed formats. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Mitch Moreland has power, plays in a good ballpark, and is just entering his prime years. Moreland is worth a selection in most formats, despite being a platooner.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 7/2/1980 | Position: OF|
Profile: Morgan can offer speed should he find playing time, but 2012 proved that expecting him to hit like an everyday outfielder on a consistent basis is, unfortunately, a pipe dream. (Jack Moore)
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 5/15/1981 | Team: Twins | Position: 1B/DH|
Profile: From a casual glance it would appear that Justin Morneau had a disappointing season, but in reality, it was a tale of two half-seasons. Not only did Morneau fare better in the second half — .793 OPS versus .752 — but he was basically his old self versus righties. Morneau carried a .378 wOBA versus right-handers in 2012 — career .380 mark — but lefties absolutely tortured him. To be sure, Morneau has always struggled against southpaws (.315 career wOBA), but 2012 was some kind of exception as Morneau’s feeble .252 wOBA was aided by a strong finish to the season (against lefties, relatively speaking). If Morneau can continue his resurgent trend versus lefties going into 2013, there has to be at least a non-zero chance he can return to the vicinity of his career marks, notably his .357 career wOBA. He may be entering his age-31 season, but Morneau has committed himself to a strict diet and and terrific workout regimen, and as a result is hoping to stave off father time for at least one more payday following 2013. As far as a fantasy recommendation goes, he will probably be a decent value pick at first base if he stays in Minnesota — a distinct possibility — but if he’s moved, there are plenty of better parks for left-handed power, which could make him a steal. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Just staying healthy was a step forward for Morneau, but there was more to like about the Twins’ first baseman in 2012. Now 31, keep him low on your draft lists, but don’t forget his name. A move to a new park and lineup might rejuvenate his fantasy value.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 8/25/1987 | Team: Marlins | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: After a strong first full season in 2011, Morrison’s 2012 was cut short at the end of June when his right knee continued to give him problems and eventually required a second surgery. His biggest problem offensively the past two seasons has been batted-ball related. However, his batted ball distribution and good power suggest that there is upside here, and perhaps a significant amount. Hitting .270, for example, as opposed to .230, would go a long way to reestablishing his fantasy value. With the move to full-time first baseman for the Marlins, he has a better chance to stay healthy, but how his recovery will go from knee surgery remains a question mark. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Morrison’s season ended early due to a knee injury and he was a disappointment while actually on the field. He still possesses good power and better batted ball luck could lead to an acceptable batting average, so he does have upside, but the injury risk still looms.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 3/22/1982 | Team: Mariners | Position: OF|
Profile: Michael Morse attempted to prove that walks are overrated last season. Morse walked in just 3.7% of his plate appearances, which was one of the worst rates in the league. He still managed to hit for a high average and showed that his power wasn’t a fluke. His free-swinging ways could come back to bite him at some point, but until that happens, he’s a solid option in the outfield. He now has much less value in his new home — not only is Safeco a pitcher’s park, but he’s surrounded by corner outfielders, first basemen and designated hitters. He’ll probably emerge from the scrum with significant playing time, and the walls are being altered in Seattle, but the 31-year-old has seen his ceiling lowered with the trade to the Mariners. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Morse is capable of putting up solid numbers despite a terrible walk rate. Now with the Mariners, his role is up in the air, and his power numbers may suffer.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 9/16/1983 | Team: Athletics | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: After cranking 21 home runs and posting an incredible .291 batting average, Brandon Moss is looking like a prime regression candidate. Prior to his green and gold fever, Moss barely hit his weight in over 700 MLB plate appearances. His 30% strikeout rate is more than a little alarming and his age, 29, isn’t in his favor either. He was lightning in a bottle for almost 300 PAs in 2012, but that will almost certainly be the high-water mark for him. Even with the majority of the first base PA’s, it is hard to recommend drafting Moss alongside other first basemen. His upside is repeating 2012, and that just isn’t likely; especially given his .359 batting average on balls in play. (David Wiers)
Quick Opinion: Brandon Moss, strikeouts, and you! Moss’ 2012 season was exhibit A in baseball random variation. Sleepers can catch fire and help power a team to the playoffs. Moss did just that.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 9/11/1988 | Team: Royals | Position: 3B|
Profile: Moustakas’ first half of the season (.268/.327/.490 with 15 home runs) was great. In the second half, his production dropped significantly (.211/.261/.325 with five homers). The most likely cause for the drop in production is an accumulation of injuries. He had hamstring problems in May, and knee problems in July and August. Finally, he missed the last few games of the season with a groin injury. Even if he comes back 100% healthy in 2013, he needs to address a couple other issues to maximize his value. First, he needs to get his 18% infield fly rate down. It was the fourth-highest value among qualified hitters in 2012. Also, a lower strikeout value (20% in 2012) would be helpful. His batting average won’t be great — about 40% of his at-bats end in a strikeout or a pop up. Besides the low average, he has good power potential. Don’t be surprised to see him hit 30+ HRs. Moose Tacos should not be avoided, just know the risk associated with the low batting average and non-existent speed. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Last season started out as breakout season for Moustakas, but injuries may have derailed him in the end. Expect a rebound in 2013.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 3/10/1983 | Position: 2B/3B|
Profile: It took him eight years, but Murphy has finally accumulated enough at-bats for a full season’s worth. He has decent power (.168 career isolated slugging percentage), but weak contact ability and poor batting averages on balls in play have doomed him at the plate and will limit his opportunity for additional playing time.(Mike Podhorzer)
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 10/18/1981 | Team: Rangers | Position: OF|
Profile: Finally getting a chance to almost play every day, David Murphy strutted his stuff during the 2012 campaign, ending the season with his best offensive performance to date. Murphy may be on the wrong side of 30, but he should still be able to post quality numbers once again in 2013. Expecting the left-hander to match his .304 batting average is unrealistic, but reaching his .285 career mark is entirely likely. Assuming Murphy can escape the injury bug, double-digit homers and steals are also likely, making Murphy an intriguing fourth outfielder in standard mixed-leagues. If he can keep some of his 2012 gains against lefty pitching, there’s upside to be third outfielder. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: David Murphy is now entrusted with an everyday job in Texas, and another solid campaign as a fourth fantasy outfielder is on the horizon.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 4/1/1985 | Team: Mets | Position: 2B|
Profile: Last season, 82 players had more than 600 plate appearances. Only four of them had fewer combined home runs and stolen bases than Daniel Murphy. Of course, batting average is a strength for the Mets’ second baseman, which makes him more interesting than Carlos Lee, Yonder Alonso and Yunel Escobar — but Michael Young had the least combined homers and steals, and he provides a cautionary tale. Young has long had strong batting averages, built mostly on ground balls, line drives, and a little speed propping up his career batting average on balls in play (.334), but when his BABIP dropped below .300 for the first time in 2012, the former Ranger had a .277 batting average and was one of the worst regulars in baseball. Murphy might look like he has Young’s skills, but line drive rate does not correlate well year-to-year, and his lack of secondary skills make him a risky bet for fantasy value. Remember how long it took him to hit his first home run last year, and then think on the fact that he’s only twice in his career topped double-digits in stolen bases. He’s not even a lock to continue playing second base — though his defense improved, he’s suffered two season-ending injuries making the turn on a double-play, and isn’t a natural in the field. (Eno Sarris)
Quick Opinion: The Irish Hammer stayed healthy for a full year, and displayed his customary line-drive-driven batting average, but for a guy named after a tool with some thump, his lack of power makes him a risky bet in fantasy leagues. Consider him a fantasy utility infielder or a late-round deep-league second baseman at best.
|Debut: 2000 | BirthDate: 11/14/1978 | Position: OF|
Profile: Between hamstring issues, a fractured hand, shoulder problems and Tommy John surgery, Nady has been a Red Cross poster boy for Major League Baseball over the last few season. He’s failed to appear in more than 82 games in each of the last two seasons and spent more time last year on the disabled list than he did in games for either the Nationals or the Giants, the two clubs silly enough to actually try and get some use out of him. 2012, with its .184/.253/.316 slash line and 22.3-percent strikeout rate over 59 games, should probably have been his last year. The Royals felt differently and signed him to a minor league deal to boost their depth at the outfield positions within the organization. There is but the slimmest of chances that Nady actually breaks camp with the big club this spring and should probably be ignored in most fantasy formats. Yes, even in the deepest of leagues. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Nady’s days as a starter are long gone and with the way injuries have taken a toll on him over the last few years, his days as even a part-timer are numbered. Having recently signed a minor league deal with the Royals this offseason, Nady will compete for a bench spot with the big club this spring. But even if he does earn a roster spot, his fantasy value is incredibly limited.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 10/31/1981 | Team: Red Sox | Position: C/1B|
Profile: Mike Napoli’s 2012 didn’t live up to his terrific 2011; his strikeout rate rose to an all-time high, and his wRC+ was the lowest it’s been since 2007. His strikeout rate is supremely confusing, since his underlying numbers do not suggest a ten-point swing in K%. Other than the strikeouts, Napoli’s numbers were pretty consistent with the rest of his career numbers, and it’s easy to see him having a bounceback in Boston. Fenway is going to be a good home for Napoli, and playing first base a vast majority of the time will help keep the right-hander happy and healthy. Since he’ll still be eligible at catcher, Napoli is worth at least a mid-round pick. The open question is when his hip condition will slow him down — it’s a risk to end his career. Don’t overpay, considering. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Mike Napoli had a down year in 2012, but he has a good chance to right the ship in Boston. He’s still worth at least a mid-round pick. As long as his hip’s health holds.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 2/22/1983 | Team: Red Sox | Position: OF|
Profile: Nava has never been Plan A for the Red Sox, but in two of the past three seasons he has proven to be a decent Plan B — and if it wasn’t for some Josh Reddick guy in 2011, Nava may have well been a decent Plan B in all of the past three seasons. Power is not a big part of Nava’s game, but his patience plays, and with it he has just enough pop to have a league-average bat. While he has a decent arm, Nava doesn’t have much range, and the Red Sox have done everything possible to keep him out of right field in the majors. This has limited him to left field, where the team will have Jonny Gomes in 2013. The bigger part of that platoon is currently open, and while the team would likely prefer that Ryan Kalish seize that opportunity, there is a good chance that Nava will see time in left as well — especially if Kalish ends up being needed in center or right field. As such, Nava isn’t a guy you want to be drafting unless you have a very deep American League-only league, but he is certainly a guy to watch on the waiver wire, just in case. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: Nava has proved effective in stretches, but his value in 2013 is tied directly to the fate of Ryan Kalish. Should Kalish prove capable at the major league level, Nava will be relegated to fifth outfielder status.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 10/31/1987 | Team: Orioles | Position: OF|
Profile: Yamaico Navarro has shown great promise in the high minors, and he finally get a chance to show his skills in 2013. Even with Clint Barmes entrenched at shortstop, Navarro may be able to steal playing time away should the veteran struggle early on. Navarro may be small in stature, but he’s shown some power in the minor leagues, and he’s also more than willing to take a walk. 150 at bats, spread over three seasons, have not given the 25-year-old a fair chance to exhibit these skills, and even though PNC Park will kill any power potential he has, he could be an interesting waiver wire pickup in on-base percentage leagues. (Zach Sanders)
Quick Opinion: Yamaico Navarro has shown promise in the high minors, and 2013 may finally be the year that he gets an extended look in the bigs. Navarro could be an interesting waiver wire pickup in on-base percentage leagues.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 8/17/1987 | Position: OF|
Profile: Neal will have a shot to be the fourth outfielder in Cleveland, but he hasn’t put up a truly impressive season since A-ball in 2009. (Chad Young)
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 9/3/1985 | Team: Rockies | Position: 3B|
Profile: After three separate stints at Triple-A, Nelson finally got an extended look at the big league level. He needed an inflated batting average on balls in play to hit .300, but does seem to have the batted ball profile necessary to maintain a mark above the league average when it comes to batted balls. He has some pop, although his home run total will be limited by a low fly ball rate. He has shown a bit of speed in the past, but that has almost completely disappeared and a full season may bring just a mid-single digit stolen base total. As rosters stand now, he currently projects as the starting third baseman, but it would be a surprise if that lasted all season given his poor defense at the hot corner. Since he qualifies at second base, he still makes for a decent option in deeper fantasy leagues if he opens the year with a starting job. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Nelson performed admirably in a half season with Colorado and now finds himself atop the depth chart at third base. He won’t standout in any category, but does possess a bit of power and speed and shouldn’t hurt you in batting average.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 8/7/1987 | Team: Mets | Position: OF|
Profile: Nieuwenhuis, 25, is the only true center fielder on the Mets’ roster as of this writing. He had a nice big league debut in 2012 (92 wRC+ in 314 plate appearances), but extreme contact (31.2 strikeout rate) and platoon (.180 wRC+ vs. lefties) issues limit his usefulness. New York already has a lefty-heavy lineup and that could squeeze Captain Kirk off the roster, but he also figures to be among the first recalled when a warm body is needed. He’ll have to show some serious improvement in that strikeout rate in Triple-A before being considered fantasy useful, however. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: Severe contact and platoon issues limit Nieuwenhuis’ usefulness, though his ability to play a legitimate center field will get him time on the Mets’ roster. There’s work to be done before he can be counted on as a regular fantasy option though. A lot of work.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 9/25/1977 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: C|
Profile: Even in the Annals of the Fraternity of Journeyman Backup Catchers, Wil Nieves’ tale is unremarkable. Maybe that is unfair. How can one pick between the classic Wil Nieves seasons? Obviously, it has to come from his legendary sojourn with the Nationals. But is it 2009, when he received 249 plate appearances? Or 2008, when he put up a stunning .261/.309/.341 line? Who can leave out his farewell campaign in D.C., when he smacked three dongs? Nieves may be on a resurgence: after getting only 54 plate appearances with the Brewers in 2011 (shame shame, Ron Roenicke!), he received 89 between Colorado and Arizona in 2012. Still, you might want to wait to put Nieves on your draft board until he reaches a Paul Bako level of awesomeness. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Wil Nieves is definitely someone to watch just in case Paul Bako doesn’t come out of retirement.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 8/26/1982 | Position: 3B|
Profile: Jayson Nix is your standard utility infielder: no hit, decent glove, plays three infield positions. He’s thirty now, so what you see is what you get: A .230 hitter with single-digit power and speed, maybe a couple of walks here and there. The Yankees were quick to re-sign him for 2013, however, because of the fragility of their infield situation. The team has lost its admiration for Eduardo Nunez, so Nix will be the first man to step in for 34-year-old Kevin Youkilis, 37-year-old Derek Jeter, and 31-year-old Robinson Cano. Okay, Cano’s not old, but he’s human. People slip in the shower. So what we’re looking at is a mediocre hitter who could earn 300 or 400 PAs if things break right; if your league is so deep that playing time trumps talent, keep Nix in mind. Otherwise, please don’t. (Patrick Dubuque)
Quick Opinion: When he isn’t doing things that result in the loss of beloved American heroes, there isn’t much interesting about Jayson Nix. But with the Yankees infield situation, he’ll have opportunities to get into the lineup.
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 10/30/1980 | Team: Phillies | Position: OF|
Profile: Nix offers little at the plate aside from power, but one tool is enough to hold down a fourth outfielder job. The eldest of the Superfluous Y clan (younger brother Jayson forms the duo) has 48 home runs over his last 997 plate appearances dating back to 2009. If he stumbles into extended playing time thanks to the wear and tear of the dog days of summer, he’ll be worth a look as a cheap power option. In your deepest leagues. (Jack Moore)
Quick Opinion: Nix has cemented himself as a fourth outfield option with power — enough to make him worth a look should he luck into extended playing time.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 2/14/1989 | Team: Athletics | Position: C|
Profile: A little bit of power and a strong on-base percentage? From a catcher? I’ll take two, please. Luckily for the Oakland A’s, that is exactly what they have in Derek Norris and John Jaso. Norris is going to be the likely catcher of the future in Oakland, but with Jaso on the roster — and cheap — one can assume that some sort of time-share will be in place. Norris has a ton of offensive upside; he could easily hit 20 home runs and steal 10 bags while getting on base at a high clip. Norris’ average won’t ever dazzle you, since he strikes out too much, but he does enough good things as a catcher to warrant a roster spot in two catcher leagues. For those of you in keeper or dynasty formats, grabbing Norris now while he’s just 24 could be a smart play. (David Wiers)
Quick Opinion: The catcher of the future in Oakland. Without wading too far into the abyss of Chuck Norris jokes, Derek Norris managed to flash the tools that could make him a round-house-kick-to-your-fantasy-league-mates’-faces.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 6/15/1987 | Team: Yankees | Position: 3B/SS|
Profile: In 38 games for the Yankees in 2012, Eduardo Nunez posted the best slash line of his short career, hitting .292/.330/.393 in 100 plate appearances. His .312 wOBA and 93 wRC+ were career highs, too, and, yes, I know, we’re talking about a small sample. He stole 11 bases. Make no mistake: Nunez is a bench player for the Yankees, nothing more, and if he makes the team it will be as a utility infielder. But New York’s old, and with Alex Rodriguez out until mid-summer, Nunez could see some playing time should more injuries occur. He can quietly steal you a few bases in a short stretch, but that’s about where it begins and ends. (Navin Vaswani)
Quick Opinion: Eduardo Nunez is the Yankees’ utility infielder, and the extent of his fantasy contributions are a few stolen bags here and there, should he find himself in the lineup. Fantasy-wise, move along, there’s nothing to see here.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 7/15/1978 | Position: C|
Profile: Fun Fact: Miguel Olivo has never posted a season with a negative WAR. Despite what felt like a disastrous 2012 in which the itinerant catcher lost his job twice and hovered around the Mendoza Line for months, Olivo finished off with numbers similar to his career norms. This may be a comfort to him, but is unlikely to do the same for fantasy owners, for whom seeing the name of “Miguel Olivo” on their roster must have been a symbol of bad luck or previously unpunished crimes. Olivo won’t be back in Seattle next season, so depending on his new home, his numbers may see some sort of mid-thirties dead-cat bounce. But it’s unlikely that he’ll see the playing time to matter, and it’s unlikely your fantasy league ignores all the categories (runs, walks, batting average, life) that Olivo is so terribly bad at. (Patrick Dubuque)
Quick Opinion: Unless your fantasy league has only two categories, and those categories are home runs and passed balls, Miguel Olivo is not someone you should be thinking about on Draft Day, or really any day.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 8/27/1988 | Team: Rangers | Position: 1B/3B|
Profile: Profile: He strikes out too much. He’s old. Yes, there are negative elements to Mike Olt’s game preventing him from being an elite prospect. But, don’t allow his negative attributes to discolor your analysis and dissuade you from pursuing one of the minor league’s top sluggers. He couples huge raw power with a selective approach, making him an major threat in three of the five traditional categories. He will be especially dangerous if your league considers walks or on base percentage. Olt’s biggest asset over the next two seasons may be his position eligibility as he could be the Rangers’ primary back up at first, third and in the corners. Playing time may be scare early on, but an injury or a trade could quickly make Olt a starter. (JD Sussman)
Quick Opinion: Mike Olt may be a versatile fantasy asset as he should see sporadic playing time at first, third, and the outfield with the Rangers. His power output will justify his a roster spot despite a subpar batting average. (JD Sussman)
|Debut: 1997 | BirthDate: 11/18/1975 | Team: Red Sox | Position: DH|
Profile: Ortiz posted a career-high 175 wRC+ in 2007, but had not posted a mark of 160 or better in any other season until 2012. Last season, Ortiz’s 169 wRC+ was bested only by Joey Votto among players who tallied at least 350 plate appearances. One of the reasons for the increased performance was that Ortiz continued to cut his strikeout rate, and posted a higher walk rate than K% for the first time since 2007. He also posted a .290 or better isolated slugging percentage for the first time since … wait for it … 2007. Alas, his season was ended by a right Achilles injury that may not have been handled in the best way, as the Olde Towne Team was eager to get him back in the lineup so that he could help save the season from the disaster that it ultimately was. That didn’t happen, and if the injury lingers into the spring, you might just consider it Bobby Valentine’s final present to the team. But assuming Ortiz is healthy, he might just post his first season with a .300 or better, 30 homer campaign since, you guessed it, 2007. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: Ortiz proved that he wasn’t ready to fade away into the sunset just yet, as he put up a banner campaign before a right Achilles injury dashed his season. If healthy, expect another big season from Big Papi.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 1/28/1977 | Position: 1B|
Profile: Lyle Overbay has never had the big power numbers one likes to see out of a first baseman, but at least for a few years in Toronto he was pretty good, combining his modest power with a decent plate approach to give at least average overall production for his position. Since leaving Toronto, however, Overbay’s never-impressive power faded badly, and that has been the primary reason he has started bouncing from team to team. He has not even slugged .400 over the last two years, which is a bad sign for a first baseman who is now in his mid-30s. This is probably just about the end for Overbay, who is looking at having to accept a minor-league deal with some team. Barring a miracle, he should not figure into your draft day plans. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: A few years ago, Lyle Overbay had a combination of average and above-average offensive skills that made him a decent player. Age has taken its toll, however, and he may be just about finished as a major-leaguer, which means he is finished as a fantasy option, too.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 1/30/1986 | Team: Rockies | Position: 1B/3B|
Profile: Pacheco’s best offensive skill is his ability to make contact. That’s usually a good thing when playing half your games in the thin air of Colorado, but when it comes along with limited power, it simply leads to an empty batting average. He has shown a bit of pop in the past, but that was back at Single-A in 2009, and it has been MIA ever since. With position eligibility only at the corners in most fantasy leagues (losing his catcher eligibility), he’s going to be a last resort for fantasy owners. But, given the uncertainty at the corner spots for the Rockies heading into spring training, there is yet another strong opportunity to grab consistent playing time for Pacheco. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: It’s hard to believe that Pacheco managed to garner 505 plate appearances at the corners while providing below average offense and defense. But he did, and with Todd Helton’s status up in the air and question marks at third base, he may come close again and contribute little else besides batting average to fantasy owners.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 7/2/1981 | Team: Giants | Position: OF|
Profile: Pagan returned to his 2009-2010 form in 2012, after an injury-plagued and offensively-challenged season in between. He hit for average, showed gap-to-gap power, and ran with good speed and smarts on the base paths. His overall line was .288/.338/.440 in 154 games, the most games he’s ever played in one season. But after raising his walk rate to 8.3% in 2011, Pagan saw that fall back to 7.3% in 2012. At the same time, his strikeout rate spiked from 11.7% to 14.7%, a troubling trend. His 29 stolen bases was a significant drop-off from the 32 he stole in 2011, in 127 fewer plate appearances. Pagan succeeded in large part due to a .329 batting average on balls in play, a marked improvement over the .285 BABIP he produced in 2011, and nearly the same as the .331 he posted in 2010. If his BABIP falls back to earth again, watch out. (Wendy Thurm/@hangingsliders)
Quick Opinion: The Giants believe Pagan is at the peak of his career; the question is whether you should believe that, too. Pagan saw his power return after a lackluster 2011 campaign, and with it came 15 triples, his career high. But be careful: Pagan’s walk rate dropped and his strikeout rate rose in 2012. Pagan also turns 32 next July, so there are big questions about whether he’s peaked, or is just a late bloomer.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 11/25/1988 | Team: Astros | Position: OF|
Profile: Jimmy Paredes is a pretty big boy at 6’3″, 200, but that didn’t stop him from swiping 37 bags in just 124 games at Triple-A in 2012 to go along with a respectable .318/.348/.477 slash line. His brief cup in 2012 was ugly, however, posting a .189/.244/.230 line without a four-bagger while demonstrating a frustrating penchant for the swing-and-miss. Paredes has decent power and very good speed but he walks very little and hasn’t shown passable contact rates in his roughly 250 major league plate appearances. Paredes is kind of a man without a position right now, as he’s competing with Scott Moore and Matt Dominguez at third base and the team featured him almost exclusively in the outfield in 2012. He’ll need to have a particularly impressive Spring to make the team out of camp, and even if he does, there’s little guarantee of consistent playing time. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Paredes has good speed and decent power, but he’s probably not going to have a regular gig in 2013 unless there’s a big surprise or a significant shakeup in the Spring. Should he find consistent work, Paredes could provide double digit home runs and excellent steal potential. But don’t hold your breath.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 2/24/1988 | Team: Twins | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Parmelee’s parallel universes haven’t always suited him well. He went from decent in the minors and mashing in the majors in 2011, to doing the exactly the opposite last season. To his credit, he was much better once he was liberated from the minors for the last time, hitting .269/.322/.472 down the stretch. Parmelee’s future is a bit more clear presently, as he’s currently slated to start in right field for the Twins following Ben Revere’s departure. It’s really hard to say what to do with the former first baseman on the fantasy side. From his prospect days, Parmelee isn’t projected as anything more than a mid-teens home run threat with maybe .800 OPS upside. Then again, this was before he went all Trevor Plouffe on the International League in 2012. He’s not a fantasy stud, and probably not even a fantasy starter, but he’s a former top prospect who came on late in Triple-A after being just good the past few seasons. Weirder things have happened. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Former first base prospect, now probable starting right fielder for the Twins, Chris Parmelee hasn’t always had big thump in his bat. But in short stretches he’s shown the sort of power that would make him useful in most fantasy leagues.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 5/6/1987 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: OF|
Profile: Gerardo Parra’s skills — average offense, good outfield defense — translate to more real world than fantasy value. That is not to say that he had no fantasy value in the past, as regular playing time led to decent overall production, especially in category leagues where his double-digit steals made him quite playable in most NL-only leagues and deep mixed leagues. However, the Diamondback’s puzzling moves with the outfield during the offseason have put his playing time in doubt. Prospect Adam Eaton is supposedly going to be the center fielder in 2013, and at this point it looks like Justin Upton is staying put in right. That leaves left field for Parra, Jason Kubel, and free agent signee Cody Ross. Something has to give. This is a situation to watch, as someone is likely going to be traded, and even so, Parra’s playing time could be be lessened unless he gets a starting spot somewhere else. Parra is a lower-end fantasy starter in NL leagues when he is getting regular playing time, and until the situation in Arizona resolves itself, he should be ranked lower than that. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Parra is an acceptable low-end fantasy starter when he is getting regular playing time, but Arizona’s off-season moves have put his 2013 role in doubt. Move him down your rankings and watch carefully.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 10/31/1985 | Team: Athletics | Position: 2B/SS|
Profile: Parrino has spent his six-year professional career working his way through the Padres farm system and has made some short appearances on the big league level over the past two seasons. He doesn’t offer much in the way of offensive prowess as he has hit just .200 with a .059 isolated slugging percentage over 79 major league games and has never swiped more than eight bases in any given year on any level. Traded this offseason to the Oakland A’s, Parrino will actually get a legitimate shot to compete for the starting shortstop position this spring with the likes of Hiroyuki Nakajima and Adam Rosales, neither of whom are likely to show much power either. Nakajima is the front runner, but ask the Twins about bringing over a middle-aged Japanese shortstop, even if they did have good numbers across the pond. If by some chance Parrino does earn the job, AL-only and deeper mixed leaguers might give him a real late look if they don’t want to fight for a top five player at what is expected to be a super-thin position again. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: While a move from San Diego to Oakland is considered lateral, at best, Parrino, a career minor leaguer and perennial back-up, just might get a bigger opportunity to play now that Stephen Drew is headed to Beantown. He’s known more for his glove than for his stick, but the A’s have shown in the past that they’re willing to sacrifice some offense for better quality defense. That won’t help you much in fantasy, but if he can win the shortstop job over Hiroyuki Nakajima this year, he’ll have some value in AL-only and deeper mixed leagues.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 12/13/1989 | Team: Braves | Position: SS|
Profile: Pastornicky was given a golden opportunity to become the starting shortstop for the future in Atlanta last year, but his defense was simply not up to snuff and his bat was far from it as well. In time, there is reason to think that Pastornicky could be a useful bench option and potentially hit well enough to spot start at second base, but his days as a regular major league shortstop are likely long gone. He does not have fantasy relevance in likely any format for the time being. (Ben Duronio)
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 2/25/1985 | Team: Reds | Position: OF|
Profile: The Reds fifth outfielder has shown some inconsistent power in the minors and some speed in the Majors, but that power has failed to translate to the bigs in nearly a season’s worth of at-bats. His skills though aren’t as much of a concern as his playing time, which will be limited once again unless disaster strikes the Reds outfielders all at once. (Mike Podhorzer)
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 4/13/1983 | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: How should Steve Pearce be categorized? Is he more of a Quad-A slugger or plain ol’ replacement-level player? It is a question for the ages, even if both answers work. Most likely, he is the classic Quadruple-A slugger — ambiguously flitting between corner outfield spots and first base (a sign of having no position), destroying the ball for years in the high minors, and then flopping whenever he briefly makes an appearance in the majors. His strikeout and walk rates in the majors are okay, he simply has never hit for power when he gets his shot. Pearce is going to be 30 in April, this might be his last chance to have any sort of fantasy write-up. Let’s all share a moment of silence. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Steve Pearce is the classic Quadruple-A-slugger — he mashes in the minors, fails in the majors. He is going to be 30, and does not warrant your consideration other than as a paradigm example of a certain type of player.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 8/17/1983 | Team: Red Sox | Position: 2B|
Profile: It was definitely a tale of two seasons for Pedroia. In the first half, he had to deal with both injury (to his thumbs) and distraction (Bobby Valentine vs. Kevin Youkilis), and it showed in his performance — he hit just .266/.326/.400. The malaise did not continue in the second half though, as he hit a much more Pedroia-like .318/.372/.508, and flashed both the power and speed that we are accustomed to seeing from the diminutive California native. The second half numbers couldn’t save him from the worst season of his career — his .344 wOBA was 15 points lower than any of his other full five seasons — but it is an encouraging sign moving as we look to 2013. How much his first half dampens his value is a matter of debate. On the one hand, his full-season numbers don’t look as strong, particularly in the RBI department. On the other, even with the diminished numbers, he’s still pretty clearly a top-five player at the keystone, and may still go high as a result. But whether he slides in your draft or not, he should still be a player in which you feel confident. And there are few second baseman that you can say that about. (Paul Swydan)
Quick Opinion: Even after the worst season of his big league career, Pedroia remains a top-five second baseman, particularly after his strong second half.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 6/1/1988 | Team: Giants | Position: OF|
Profile: Lauded mostly for his defensive abilities and high minor league batting average, Peguero will likely spend much of this season on the shuttle back and forth between Triple-A Fresno and San Francisco. His plate discipline is considered mediocre, at best, and his bat is in need of more seasoning in the minors. But if the Giants deal with injuries or seek a bench player whose specialty is late-inning defensive replacement, then Peguero could see a fair amount of time at the big league level provided he excels at Triple-A first. (Howard Bender)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 2/22/1987 | Team: Mariners | Position: OF|
Profile: That Carlos Peguero isn’t in Korea right now – meaning right this instant, on a Seoul subway car – is a minor miracle. Perhaps cognizant of his imitations, Peguero treated his quick stint in the majors in 2012 like an eight year-old playing The Show, swinging from the heels at every single pitch he saw. The result: 57 plate appearances, two home runs, one walk, 28 strikeouts. He has the fourth lowest Zone% in baseball for players with 50+ PAs (36.1%) and yet the twelfth highest Swing% (57.5%), only making contact on 40% of those pitches outside the zone. If Carlos Peguero existed in a world comprised solely of Eric Miltons, he might have a career, but in our own universe he’s gone from being a poor version of Adam Dunn to a poor version of Wladimir Balentien. (Patrick Dubuque)
Quick Opinion: Carlos Peguero is still an all-or-nothing hitter, but does not provide the “all” nearly as often as one would assume given the expression. Unless he completely alters his approach at the plate, his major league career is likely over.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 5/17/1978 | Team: Astros | Position: 1B|
Profile: The newly signed Houston Astros’ designated hitter had the worst season of his career in 2012. His walk rate remained stellar (fifth best in baseball) but his already-enormous strikeout rate soared to 30%. That’s fine if you’re Adam Dunn, but when your isolated slugging percentage drops to a career low .157 — worse than Kyle Seager — those strikeouts become unacceptable. His average once again dropped to a league low .197 and he hit just 19 homers after having 28 the previous two seasons. Moving out of pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field should help, though he had better home numbers than road last season. He has a starting job and still has enough power to warrant consideration in the later rounds of your draft. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: He had a major power outage in 2012 and will be surrounded by a worse team this season, but Carlos Pena still has the potential for a cheap 20+ home runs.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 7/18/1985 | Team: Braves | Position: SS|
Profile: Ramiro Pena’s an Atlanta Brave now, signed from the Yankees as a depth infielder. He’ll compete for a utility job in spring training, and won’t be contributing to your fantasy team in 2013. But thanks for thinking of him. (Navin Vaswani)
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 1/7/1982 | Team: Tigers | Position: C|
Profile: With the emergence of Sal Perez, Brayan Pena became just a smiling backup catcher. Even those days are ending. The 31-year-old has been declining for three seasons — his wOBA has dropped each season (.326 to .288 to .277 to .254). Over the past three seasons, he hit .245/.284/.331 combined, too. He has shown no power recently. He hit six home runs in 2009 in 183 plate appearances. In 640 PA over the last three years, he has hit the same six homers. The Royals brought in Adam Moore (.196/.232/.306 in his career) for Pena’s backup catching position so Pena was released and signed with the Tigers. He will be Alex Availa’s backup with Victor Martinez possibly catching a few games also. Pena has no value unless the other two go down with injuries. No reasonable explanation exists for considering rostering Pena unless you are looking for players to “add” to your roommate’s team after he accidentally left his team logged on. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Brayan Pena looks to be a backup catcher which means he is slow, has no power, can’t hit for average. Is there fantasy value in that sort of package?
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 4/13/1983 | Team: Giants | Position: OF|
Profile: While Pence has managed to produce five straight seasons of 20-plus home runs with respectable numbers in three of the remaining four primary roto categories (his steals have dropped to single digits over the last two seasons), owners looking to draft him in 2013 should pay close attention to his splits from last year. While he was enjoying a perfectly fine season for the Phillies, batting .271 with 17 home runs and a .346 on-base percentage, his numbers suffered dramatically with the move to AT&T Park. Through 59 games with the Giants, Pence hit just .219 with only seven home runs and a woeful .287 OBP, and if you look at his overall numbers in San Francisco over the last three years, you’ll see that he’s only batting .254 with just six home runs over 138 at-bats. Couple that with his increase in strikeouts over the last two seasons and you’ve got some red flags to keep in mind when looking to draft this year. He should still offer up numbers worthy of drafting this year, but you may want to hedge your bets on him. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: After years of relative consistency, Pence might not be as desirable on draft day this year after his work in his new home, AT&T Park. He struggled mightily down the stretch last year and could pose the question as to whether or not he can hit with the same level of consistency all year as he once did, now that he calls a pitcher-friendly park his home. If not, then his stock will drop even further.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 6/15/1984 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: 2B/SS|
Profile: If Cliff Pennington is your starting middle infielder — let alone shortstop or second baseman — then your fantasy season is already in jeopardy. He gets a boost due to moving from O.co to the desert, but power — even in the form of doubles — just isn’t Penny’s game. Move along.(David Wiers)
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 5/28/1982 | Team: Tigers | Position: SS|
Profile: After two forgettable seasons from 2009 to 2010, Peralta got himself back on the fantasy radar with a strong 2011. Then 2012 happened and he reminded us how inconsistent he continues to be. While he is making better contact now than he had during his first couple of years in the majors, his batting average on balls in play and home run per fly ball ratio have been up and down over recent seasons. That makes it much more difficult to confidently predict what he will do this upcoming season. With a return to the 40%+ fly ball rate level and another jump in HR/FB rate, he could revisit 20 home runs. But, that might be too much to ask for. His batted ball profile seems favorable for BABIP though, so that should rebound. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Coming off his best offensive performance since 2005, Peralta was a bust last season, disappointing many a fantasy owner. His batting average on balls in play and power continue to oscillate, and a return to the 20 home run days may be a long shot unless he can push his fly ball rate above 40% again.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 5/10/1990 | Team: Royals | Position: C|
Profile: Though a torn lateral meniscus derailed the first half of the 2012 season for Perez, he proved his worth and his mettle when he returned and exceeded everyone’s expectations with a .301-11-39 second half in just 305 plate appearances. He was always known, throughout his time in the minors, as someone who would provide a strong batting average, but the power he showed was far more than anyone expected. His contact rates are tremendous and he doesn’t whiff very often, though he could improve his on-base percentage if he would become just a little more selective at the plate and draw a few extra walks. Still, he gives very little to complain about and should be a staple behind the plate in Kansas City for a long time, having signed a five-year deal during the spring of 2012. He might not hit for the same power moving forward, but he should definitely be considered once the top five at the position are off the board. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: A quick ascension through the minors made some skeptical, but after a solid call-up in 2011 and an even more impressive 2012 that was delayed by knee surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, Perez has made believers of many. He’ll provide a solid average with decent pop, and while he might not be one of the top ten backstops off the board in drafts this year, he’ll certainly provide stats worthy of that spot by season’s end.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 4/9/1986 | Position: OF|
Profile: Petersen is expected to compete with Justin Ruggiano for the Marlins starting center field job. However, having shown little offensive ability with Miami and only average defense, he’ll be a long shot to win the job and earn positive fantasy value outside of the deepest of leagues. (Mike Podhorzer)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 1/23/1987 | Team: Indians | Position: 2B/DH|
Profile: Phelps has never been a big-time prospect for the Indians, but he has pretty consistently hit the ball well in the minors. Perhaps a bit old for each level, he has shown just enough pop and patience to intrigue, without ever breaking out and looking like a future star. In 114 major league plate appearances, he has put up a disappointing .173/.239/.269 line that even a a weak batting average on balls in play (.213) can’t explain away. Phelps doesn’t have a spot with the Indians as of now, but he can play multiple infield positions and may get a shot. The problem is, he hasn’t shown he can do much when he gets that shot. His versatility is valuable to a real team, but not enough for a fantasy team. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: Despite good minor league numbers, Phelps has never been a particularly exciting prospect, and his brief major league line backs this up. Even if he plays, don’t expect much.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 6/28/1981 | Team: Reds | Position: 2B|
Profile: Since joining the Reds in 2006, Phillips has been able to stay relatively healthy, enabling him to play in at least 140 games in each of his seven seasons with the team. In those seven seasons, Phillips averaged just over 20 homers, 80 runs scored, 80 runs batted in and 20 stolen bases while hitting at a .279 clip. That batting average is interesting — Phillips has power and speed and hits the ball on the ground, but hasn’t been able to post a career batting average on balls in play over .300. That’s because he isn’t a great line drive hitter, and that doesn’t look likely to change. Although you can expect Phillips’ power and batting average numbers to fall in line with his career norms again in 2013, it’s unlikely that his stolen base total will return to that of his glory days. He is turning 32 this year, and age comes for everyone, even the steadiest producers. (Alan Harrison)
Quick Opinion: For the good part of the last decade, Brandon Phillips has provided some of the most consistent fantasy production across the standard five categories from the second base position. Re-drafters in 2013 should once again feel comfortable snagging Phillips after the marquee second basemen are off the board, and expect more of the same consistent production.
|Debut: 2000 | BirthDate: 8/14/1977 | Team: Marlins | Position: OF|
Profile: The 35-year old speedster has been an ageless wonder, as he still managed to swipe 37 bases, while getting caught just 7 times, in 2012. Fresh off a new contract with the Miami Marlins, he should play close to full-time in left field and hit atop the batting order. He continues to make league-leading contact, which should ensure he contributes positively in batting average, despite a career batting average on balls in play right around the league average. He obviously has no power, so he is going to hurt in both home runs and runs batted in. However, he should once again be a solid three category contributor, with the potentially to dramatically boost your stolen base total. And he should be cheap, too. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Pierre continues to do what he does best — make excellent contact, score runs and steal bases like there’s no tomorrow. Now a Miami Marlin, he should play nearly every day atop the lineup and once again earn solid fantasy value.
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 12/30/1976 | Team: Rangers | Position: C|
Profile: Even though Pierzynski landed in one of the few places in baseball that will be as hitter-friendly as his previous home in Chicago, regression is a virtual certainty given his age and previous year’s level of success. He is going into one of the best possible situations for a hit-first catcher of his ilk, since Geovany Soto isn’t anyone the Rangers have sunk much money into or expect all that much out of. Even if he ends up hitting at the designated hitter spot in the lineup the way Mike Napoli did, his catcher eligibility makes him an attractive option in AL-only leagues or any two-catcher leagues. He probably won’t platoon at first, since he’s a lefty just like Mitch Moreland. And don’t expect him to duplicate last year’s power output again. (Dan Wade)
Quick Opinion: It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Pierzynski had to suffer through steroid rumors last season, after all, in this post-Barry Bonds world, 35-year-olds who hit a career high number of home runs are almost certainly going to come under suspicion. This is a patently ridiculous state of affairs.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 9/9/1984 | Team: Giants | Position: 1B|
Profile: In the first half of 2012, Giants manager Bruce Bochy used Pill in a sometimes-platoon with Brandon Belt at first base. Eventually, Bochy came to see that Pill’s alleged power threat — his “ability to knock one out” — wasn’t consistent enough to outweigh his otherwise meager skills at the plate. Pill hit only .210/.265/.352 in with a 16.7% strikeout rate in 114 plate appearances. Don’t invest in him. (Wendy Thurm/@hangingsliders)
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 6/15/1986 | Team: Twins | Position: 3B|
Profile: Plouffe came out of nowhere to have one of the hottest streaks we saw this side of Mike Trout in 2012. From May 28 to July 3 (30 games), Plouffe hit .319/.379/.756 with 15 home runs, 28 RBI, and 22 of his 38 hits went for extra bases. Of course, from July 4 on, Plouffe hit .221/.274/.343 and again raised doubts within the Twins organization whether he could hack third base defensively or if he’d ever hit right-handers consistently. The Twins aren’t exactly back at square one with Plouffe, but he isn’t above reproach. He’s currently penciled in at third for the Twins in 2013, but Terry Ryan has insisted he’d bring in competition. With that potential window closing, it looks as though Plouffe will yet again man the hot corner for the Twins in 2013. And why not? The club isn’t likely to be very good, and at some point the former first-rounder has to sink or swim. Fantasy-wise, Plouffe has potential to pop 30 home runs in full-time duty, but may only do it with a bad batting average, a sub-.800 OPS, and a tenuous grasp on a starting position. He’ll be an extremely risky play in 2013. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: If power at third base is all you need, Plouffe might be your man. Asking for anything else beyond is stretching it. He’s already a risky draft pick in any league.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 3/18/1976 | Position: OF|
Profile: “Scotty Pods” still offers speed and a near .300 average in his late 30’s, but needs to find playing time first. He’s unlikely to be draftable, but could end up being a waiver wire streamer again in 2013 for owners needing cheap steals if the injury bug bites someone’s outfield. (Colin Zarzycki)
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 10/10/1975 | Team: Marlins | Position: 3B|
Profile: The new Miami Marlins’ third baseman, Polanco still makes excellent contact, but offers few other skills worthy of attention by fantasy owners. The career .299 hitter hasn’t actually hit for a beneficial batting average over the past two seasons as his batting average on balls in play has fallen below the league average and whatever power he used to possess has disappeared. At best, he is now a one-category contributor. His playing time is also far from secure as he will likely be battling the typical cast of characters, some of which have much more upside, that a rebuilding team might desire to give opportunities to. He remains a last resort for deep league owners only. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Polanco used to contribute a strong batting average and decent totals in the counting stats to earn sneaky fantasy value. With the batting average now in question and little else in the other categories, the newly inked Miami Marlin will be a questionable choice in fantasy leagues.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 12/5/1987 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: OF|
Profile: A.J. Pollock might be knocking on the door for many teams, but on a Diamondbacks team that keeps adding outfielders when they had too many at the beginning of the off-season, he does not have a clear shot at playing time. That is not to say that Pollock is a super-prospect, despite being a first-round draft pick in 2009. He never showed much power or patience in the minors, although he does seem to have good contact skills. In his brief 2012 sojourn in the majors, he did not embarrass himself. In the minors, he played mostly center field, which would lower the expectations on his offense. Despite all of this, the Diamondbacks currently have more outfielders than they know what to do with, so barring being traded to another team, Pollock has almost no current fantasy value. Even if he did get a starting spot, he would likely be a low-end fantasy player with little to offer beyond some steals. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Pollock might be an okay fourth outfielder or even a marginal starter on some teams, but with Arizona’s outfield situation overcrowded as it is, he has no place to play, and thus no fantasy fantasy value.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 3/27/1987 | Team: Giants | Position: C|
Profile: Very few players begin their playing careers the way Posey has since his major league debut in 2009, and the ones that have are certainly mainstays in the discussion of first-ballot Hall of Famers. Among the hardware in his possession right now over less than three full seasons are two World Series rings, a Rookie of the Year Award, one National League batting title, an NL Comeback Player of the Year award and one NL MVP. Even more impressive are the numbers he put up in 2012 when you realize the brutal leg injury he suffered less than a third of the way through the 2011 season. He posted a slash line of .336/.408/.549 with 24 home runs and 103 RBI with a double-digit walk rate and a better-than-average strikeout rate. His first half was impressive enough, as he batted .289 with 10 home runs and 43 RBI, but his second half was downright nasty — .385 with 14 home runs and 60 RBI in 16 fewer at-bats. Given his skill set, the fact that he also plays first base which gives him more at-bats than your average catcher, and that he’s just entering his age-26 season, it’s hard to imagine anything less from him in 2013. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Posey hits for both power and average, has an above-average walk rate, a better-than-average strikeout rate and possesses a career slash line of .314/.380/.503 with a .379 wOBA. He will be the first catcher off the board in every fantasy draft and will be worth every penny you pay for him. Draft with extreme confidence.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 10/27/1983 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: OF|
Profile: Prado had a very nice bounce-back year after hitting just .260 in 2011, and now will get an opportunity to hit in one of the best hitting ballparks in the league as he moves to Arizona. This past year, he added speed to his arsenal which made him even more fantasy relevant, while also adding positional eligibility at shortstop and second base for most formats. Going forward, if he is able to add mid-teens home runs with mid-teens steals, along with his regular .290-.310 batting average, he can be a very productive and useful fantasy player. The fact that he can be used in multiple positions and plays every day enhances his value a ton as well. His walk rate increasing to a career high of 8.4% (min. 50 plate appearances) is a solid quality as well and if that trend continues he could see more opportunities to steal and score runs. (Ben Duronio)
Quick Opinion: Prado is a very useful fantasy player due to his multi-position eligibility and ability to help a team in almost every facet. He is not great specifically at any one category, though his batting average is usually well above the league mean, but he can help in four categories and will likely bat first or second in a solid offense. Prado is expected to play third base this year in Arizona, so his multi-position eligibility could expire after this season.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 7/25/1985 | Team: Pirates | Position: OF|
Profile: Over the last three seasons, Alex Presley has destroyed Triple-A and Double-A pitching, but has only 626 combined MLB plate appearances to show for it. Presley, at the time of press, appears stuck behind Starling Marte and Travis Snyder in the playing time game, but if he breaks through, he makes for a viable waiver wire acquisition for any fantasy team needing outfield depth with steals potential. (Bradley Woodrum)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 2/20/1993 | Team: Rangers | Position: 2B/SS|
Profile: The best prospect in baseball, Jurickson Profar reached Texas as a 19-year old after a strong season in Double-A. In most organizations, the incumbent would be moved for a player as talented as Profar. Unfortunately, Elvis Andrus is amongst the best defensive shortstops in the game and a deal is unlikely. In 2013, Profar’s potential for playing time won’t match they hype surrounding the young shortstop. In dynasty leagues, Profar is amongst the safest bets around and should produce seasons with batting averages around .285 and on-base percentages around .360, while adding up to 20 home runs and 20 steals through his prime. (Mike Newman)
Quick Opinion: The best prospect in baseball doesn’t have a starting spot waiting for him yet.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 1/16/1980 | Team: Angels | Position: 1B|
Profile: If any other player was going to be 33 and was coming off of a season in which he had posted career-worsts in walk rate, isolated power, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, wOBA (and wRC+), home runs, and had had his worst strikeout rate since his rookie season, we would say that his goose is probably cooked. When that player is Albert Pujols, well, it feels a little bit different. If in a career-worst season a player can hit 30 home runs and slug .516, just how bad can he be? Pujols is very unlikely to be “bad” in 2013. however, he is at an age where most players enter a steep decline. Moreover, he seems to have nagging injuries every year. Still, only twice in his career has he played in fewer than 150 games, and in those seasons he played in 143 (2006) and 147 (2011). Even if he still plays in a lot of games, age and the effect of small injuries are probably taking their toll on his physical skills. Whatever the cause, Pujols’ plate discipline has changed since 2011, when he started swing at substantially more pitches outside of the zone, and this has resulted in a substantially lower walk rate. This probably also relates to the decline in the rest of his skills. Part of the decline in his raw numbers is probably due to moving to the American League, where he is facing superior pitching. Pujols is likely still an excellent hitter. His past seasons are still relevant, and in addition to his 30 home runs in 2012, he also hit 50 doubles. A full season of Mike Trout leading off in front of him and Josh Hamilton hitting behind him will also boost his counting stats. However, Pujols may not be one of the top-ten overall hitters in baseball any more, and Joey Votto has probably passed him as the best fantasy first baseman; Prince Fielder may have as well. Pujols is still likely a very good and maybe even great player. One can never count a monster like him out completely, but adjust your expectations, draft position, and price accordingly. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: If any other player had displayed the combination of age and decline that Albert Pujols has over the last couple of years, we would say that his goose looks cooked. Albert Pujols is not just any player, so his goose probably needs to stay in the oven a while. Just don’t leave it in there all afternoon.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 11/8/1977 | Team: Dodgers | Position: 2B/3B|
Profile: Nick Punto was, somewhat unfairly, the bane of “smart fans” during his runs with the Twins in the early aughts. While it was true that Punto’s offensive value was restricted by an utter lack of power, he actually always managed to have a pretty good walk rate to make up for it, and added in good baserunning. More significantly, he was a good defensive infielder. Teams have done worse, much worse, in selecting middle infielders, even starting ones. However, the things that made Punto valuable to major league teams did not really translate to fantasy (other than in leagues where steals were an especially scarce commodity), and as he has aged into a definite bench role, that is more true than ever. During each of the last two seasons, Punto has received fewer than 200 plate appearances, so even if he does have a surprisingly good year (as he did in 2011) with the stick, it will not translate to much value. He is pretty far down the Dodgers’ depth chart as of this moment, and even if he gets moved, it probably will not be in a situation in which he can start. Even if he somehow did land a starting gig, he would only be a low-end fantasy option in deep leagues. At the moment, he really is not an option at all. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Nick Punto may have been underrated earlier in his career, but not in ways that really mattered to fantasy owners. He might have been an low-end option for steals a few years ago, but those days are probably behind him now.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 8/28/1982 | Team: Padres | Position: OF|
Profile: Carlos Quentin was hurt by the move to Petco, but still managed to put up his best offensive season since 2008. Like most hitters, Quentin’s slash line was down in San Diego, but unlike most hitters, he’s strong enough to still hit for power in that park. Quentin’s problems remain the same. He isn’t going to hit for high averages, and he’s a sure bet to miss a significant amount of games due to injury. Sometimes those injuries are even due to one of his best skills — being hit by a pitch. Even though he performed well last season, he didn’t make his Padres debut until late-May. He’ll be a useful asset, but you can’t expect him to play 130 games. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Quentin had his best offensive season since 2008, but his value is limited by injuries. He’s a strong player when he’s on the field, but he’ll miss a significant number of games each season.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 10/24/1981 | Position: 2B/SS|
Profile: For probably the first time in his major-league career, Omar Quintanilla was somewhat useful in the major leagues in 2012. He managed passable offensive numbers for a middle infielder in brief playing time as both a Met and an Oriole. He even popped a career-high four home runs. Quintanilla is back with the Mets in 2013, at least through spring training. Try to contain your excitement on draft day, however. Quintanilla does not have much in terms of plate discipline or power. Unlike some part-time infielders, he does not steal bases, either. In other words, even if he ends up being the first option off of a bench for some team, he offers little to nothing in terms of fantasy usefulness. Guys like Quintanilla are available on the waiver wire in pretty much every league all the time. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Omar Quintanilla had the best year of his major league career at the plate in 2012. Celebrate by not having him anywhere near your draft day cheat sheet.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 4/17/1981 | Position: 2B/OF|
Profile: Ryan Raburn’s 2012 was horrible. He hit .171/.226/.254 in 222 plate appearances and forced the Tigers to trade for Omar Infante. He was dependable from 2009 to 2011 by averaging 15 home runs per season and hitting .275. His stats my have been brought down by a leg and thumb injury. Even if he is 100% healthy, he will have problems finding everyday playing time at second or in the outfield for any team. He strikes out way too much and adds no speed or defense. If for some reason he becomes a starter, he may get back to his 2009-2011 glory. Well, probably not, but we can all wish can’t we. If he is able to hit like he did previously, he does provide some roster flexibility since he is qualified at both 2B (32 games) and OF (52 games). (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Useless might be too kind a term for Ryan Raburn’s 2012 season. Injuries may have derailed his season, so there is a chance for improvement.
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 6/25/1978 | Team: Brewers | Position: 3B|
Profile: Ramirez is one of the most consistent options at third base, and at 32, he has shown no signs of slowing down. Fantasy owners can expect 25+ home runs, 100+ RBI, and a batting average hovering around .300. The RBI numbers should stay solid, as the Brewers return everyone from an offense that scored the most runs in the National League last year. Miller Park also treated him well, as his .240 ISO was the highest since 2006. He continues to swing at pitches out of the zone (36.2% O-Swing%) and does not provide many walks, but he consistently produces in spite of that. Not to mention he swiped a career-high nine bases last season. While he may not reach double-digit steals in 2013, it’s worth noting Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke loves have his players run on the basepaths — the Brewers’ 158 stolen bases led the league last year. Stolen bases are just icing on the cake for Ramirez, though, as his primary value lies in his combination of high-average, high-power production. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: Last season, Ramirez launched at least 25 home runs for the ninth time in the last ten seasons and proved he remains one of the best third baseman available in the “non Miguel Cabrera” division.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 9/22/1981 | Team: White Sox | Position: SS|
Profile: A career high in stolen bases (20) was about all that the artist formerly known as the Cuban Missle did right in 2012. His power — already on a long decline from the heady days of his 20-homer debut — bottomed out at nine home runs and a .099 isolated slugging percentage. His walk rate — already bad — cratered down t0 2.6%. And though he had a decent batting average on balls in play (.290), didn’t strike out much (12.4%), and has a little foot speed, he couldn’t get his batting average over .265 and into positive territory for fantasy owners. If his power rebounds a little, and he gets a little luckier on balls in play, he could still give you a double-double in home runs and stolen bases, but his walk rate will always hurt his runs and RBI totals, so his ceiling is not high. Ramirez is an option in AL-Only leagues and deep mixers with a middle infield slot, but his days as a top-twelve option are looking like they are over. (Alan Harrison)
Quick Opinion: Alexei Ramirez saw his batting average, runs scored and home run total fall in 2012 for the third consecutive year. His inability to take walks (2.6 BB%) destroyed his ability to get on base (.287 OBP%) and almost definitely help destroy any fantasy teams he was present on.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 12/23/1983 | Team: Dodgers | Position: 3B/SS|
Profile: It almost didn’t matter if Ramirez played shortstop or third base for the Dodgers in 2012, because when your predecessors are Dee Gordon & Juan Uribe, it’s hard not to look good. A .282/.344/.527 August did a lot to endear him to Dodger fans, even with his September slump, but it did a lot to hide the fact that his walk and strikeout rates with the Dodgers were career-worsts. Still, he successfully bounced back from a lousy 2011 to post his fifth 20/20 season in six years, and while a full season at shortstop may not make him a favorite among the Dodger pitching staff, it remains difficult to find such offensive production from the position. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: One of the first refugees from the sinking Miami ship in July, Hanley Ramirez returned to shortstop in Los Angeles and provided an immediate boost before tailing off along with the rest of the team in September.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 8/10/1987 | Team: Nationals | Position: C|
Profile: A torn ACL limited Ramos to just 25 games last season, which was a damn shame, because his rookie year was pretty promising. Ramos’ .335 wOBA at age-23 put him among some of the best catching prospects in recent memory. Ramos has said that he expects to be ready to go by spring training, so the injury shouldn’t be an issue next season. The team did hold on to Kurt Suzuki, but he shouldn’t be viewed as a threat to Ramos’ playing time once he proves he is healthy. Because of the injury, Ramos’ draft stock won’t be very high. Take advantage of that, as he could finish at a top-10 catcher by season’s end. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: You’re drafting Ramos based on his rookie year numbers, which were actually pretty promising. His injury will likely cause him to be ranked fairly low in drafts, which means you get a top-10 catcher at a bargain price.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 2/17/1976 | Position: 3B/SS|
Profile: At age 36, Ransom played in a career-high 90 games. There’s a reason for that, as Ransom is quickly exposed when given long stretches of playing time. He’s relatively patient at the plate, and can provide some power off the bench. But his 31.9% career strikeout rate has always prevented him from getting a full-time role. Currently a free-agent, Ransom has value on a major league bench, but his role prevents him from being fantasy relevant. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Ransom is easily exposed the more he plays. That’s unlikely to change as he enters his age-37 season.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 8/11/1986 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: OF|
Profile: Colby Rasmus’ 1.4 WAR was dead-last among qualified center fielders in the American League in 2012. His .289 OBP was also last among the same group. The bottom line: Rasmus hasn’t delivered on his potential. Not yet, at least. That’s the bad news. There is some good news: Rasmus his 23 home runs, tying his career high, and had 75 RBI, establishing a new career high. That means he’s got some, if limited, fantasy value. But he strikes out too much, doesn’t walk enough, and he can’t steal any bases. Rasmus, for the most part, is a flawed baseball player, and dreams of him being a 20/20 man are all but dead. He’s 26, and I’m a sucker for potential, but it’s important to face facts. Unless his plate discipline improves, Rasmus isn’t going to do anything but disappoint. Right now, he’s a gamble, a late one, worth a few bucks, maybe, or even just one, in your deeper or AL-only leagues. (Navin Vaswani)
Quick Opinion: Colby Rasmus hit 23 home runs and established a new career high with 75 RBI, so offers some, if limited, fantasy value. He remains a flawed baseball player who can get by on his potential for only so long. Rasmus can’t hit left-handed pitching, and unless his plate discipline improves, he’s not going to do anything but disappoint. A late pick in your deeper leagues, at best.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 2/19/1987 | Team: Athletics | Position: OF|
Profile: Entering 2012, Bill James predicted Josh Reddick to hit .249/.312/.457 in limited playing time, as he was generally considered a fourth outfielder for the Boston Red Sox. After being traded to what was constantly referred to as a less hospitable environment, not only did Reddick just about match those predictions with a .242/.305/.463 line, but he blew away expectations with 32 home runs. The big reason for the power boost was a modest increase on fly balls to about 50% and a huge jump in home runs per fly ball at 14% over his 7.4% in 2012. Don’t be too concerned about the HR/FB rate though. While it’s possible that it settles down some in 2013, the American League average is still right around 12% and that includes the likes of Jamey Carroll and Ben Revere, so 14% could be the new normal for Reddick. His final batting line was hurt somewhat by tough luck (.269 BABIP vs. .296 xBABIP) but also by a rough September where he hit just .164/.214/.295. Take that month away and you’ve got .262/.327/.505, which is much more palatable in standard Roto leagues. Going forward, don’t discount Reddick’s power, it appears to be genuine. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Josh Reddick turns just 26 in February, and there’s no glaring reason to expect he can’t repeat his breakout 2012 performance. The big uptick in home runs per fly ball ought to be sustainable, although if he continues to hit 50% fly balls, his batting average might never see daylight on the other side of .260. That’s probably a small price to pay for 30 home runs, 90 RBI, and a fistful of steals.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 10/12/1983 | Team: Orioles | Position: OF|
Profile: As it stands now, Reimold appears poised to share left field duties with Nate McClouth, likely getting most of his chances against left-handed pitching if it turns into a time share. Owners willing to take a flier on the righty outfielder late in their drafts — or consider making him a one-buck player in their auction — hope to see more of the output we saw from him in 16 games last season. While 16 games is indeed a small sample size, it’s worth noting he batted .313 with five homers, six doubles and 10 RBIs in 69 plate appearances, good enough for a 153 wRC+. If by chance Reimold is able to pick up where he left off in 2012, the Orioles’ brass may be forced to find an everyday spot for him in their lineup. It’s not like Wilson Betemit will block him from regular playing time at designated hitter if Reimold fulfills his promise of power, patience and speed. (Alan Harrison)
Quick Opinion: Nolan Reimold has been a post-hype sleeper for what feels like two or three consecutive seasons now. And the same may be said heading into 2013 as the outfielder is expected to be fully recovered from the neck surgery that abruptly ended his 2012 campaign after just 16 games.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 5/3/1988 | Team: Phillies | Position: OF|
Profile: You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the Ben Revere. The good Revere is a scintillating defender in centerfield, making highlight-reel plays on an almost nightly basis. The good Revere is also among the game’s best at making contact: he did so on over 97% of pitches that were in the strike zone in 2012. That Revere also puts the ball on the ground about five times as often as he does in the air, good for using his otherworldly speed to beat out tons of infield hits. He is also an adept base thief, something which should only improve hitting atop of the Phillies order. But the bad Revere is still scary. The bad Revere doesn’t even have warning track power. The bad Revere’s career wOBA is .287. His OPS .642. The bad Revere rarely takes a walk, and has a throwing arm so bad it would make Juan Pierre and Johnny Damon blush. Revere did get better at quickening his release, and he gets to the ball as good as anyone. But his value is almost solely tied to baserunning and defense, so if either slumps, he could be a total zero. In the National League, however, he should still rack up a ton of stolen bases, making him a very attractive fantasy play. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Ben Revere, your new fantasy Juan Pierre. Actually, pretty much your new real-life Juan Pierre, too.
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 6/11/1983 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: SS|
Profile: Reyes will now join his third team in three years as he moves North to Toronto and becomes familiar with loonies and toonies. The speedy shortstop might see a small boost in power as the Rogers Centre inflates both triples and home runs. On the speed front, he stole about the same number of bases last year as the prior year, but over 130 additional plate appearances. His days of stealing 60+ appear clearly over, but the Jays aren’t afraid to run, which should lead to another 40+ thefts. Reyes had always made good contact, but that skill jumped to an entirely new level in 2011 and he sustained it in 2012. If he could come close to a repeat, he should be assured of contributing strongly to batting average as well. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: The now-former Marlin, Reyes really wasn’t all that different last year than in 2011, except for a significant decline in his batting average on balls in play. The new Blue Jays leadoff hitter is unlikely to ever return to being that 60-steal guy he used to be, but 40 swipes is still plenty valuable for fantasy owners.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 8/3/1983 | Team: Indians | Position: 1B|
Profile: Mike Podhorzer noted that the change to Progressive Field could negatively impact Reynolds’ 2013 home run production and increase the number of times he strikes out. Additionally, the guy hit .221 in each of the last two seasons, making the now slower-footed corner infielder a liability in at least two of the five standard roto categories. With more strikeouts and fewer home runs in his new digs, he’s even less attractive. For the owners who just can’t stay away, Reynolds could be a fit for teams in search of some cheap power late in their drafts despite hitting 14 fewer long balls in 2011 than 2010. (Alan Harrison)
Quick Opinion: Reynolds signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Indians this offseason, a move that could potentially deflate his fantasy value.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 4/1/1983 | Position: 2B/3B|
Profile: It doesn’t say a lot about your season as a whole when you’re best remembered for fainting at first base after being hit on the forearm by a pitch from Franklin Morales. Ryhmes was one of the many replacement level infielders the Rays used while Evan Longoria nursed a hamstring injury. He was a useful for the month of May, hitting .277 in 71 appearances but lacks the patience, power, or base-stealing ability necessary to be a factor. He had just five extra-base hits in 137 total plate appearances and finished with a .584 OPS. The Nationals signed him to a minor league deal this offseason to bolster their infield depth. You should stay away. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: If Rhymes makes a major league roster it will be as a utility infielder, a warm body to fill a position for a game here and there — his defensive and offensive abilities aren’t up to par with Major League standards.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 2/18/1981 | Team: White Sox | Position: OF|
Profile: If I ran an amusement park, I would absolutely open a ride called the Alex Rios. The highest highs, the lowest lows, and never a dull moment in between. After three straight years with a wRC+ between 110 and 122, Rios has alternated 77, 108, 59, and 125. The thing is, there is clear pattern that has to do with more than odd and even numbered years: what you really see is five years of 108-125 wRC+ with two heavily-(negatively)-batting-average-on-balls-in-play-influenced seasons mixed in. In 2009 and 2011, he posted BABIPs of .247 and .227 while the other five yeras have been between .284 and .304. Last year was a career year and he won’t quite repeat, but I would put my money (or draft slot) on a decent BABIP and a another .800+ OPS with around 20 HR and 20 SB. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: The only givens in life are death, taxes, and Alex Rios alternating awesome and terrible seasons. The pattern says 2013 will be down; logic suggests it will be in the middle — worse than 2012, better than 2011, and well worth drafting.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 7/3/1978 | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Despite all the “#RBImachine” jokes, it seemed clear to all but Dodger general manager Ned Colletti that Juan Rivera’s brief 2011 resurgence was a mere hot streak in a long season of mediocrity in Toronto & Los Angeles. Installed first in 2012 as the primary left fielder and then as half of a truly awful first base platoon before being supplanted at both, Rivera never found his groove and is likely headed for an NRI at best in 2013. (Mike Petriello)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 8/8/1989 | Team: Cubs | Position: 1B|
Profile: In just his age-22 season, Anthony Rizzo clapped 15 homers through 368 plate appearances (a pace of 24 homers per 600 PA) and hit a solid .285/.342/.463 slash. Can he translate that 116 wRC+ into even better numbers in 2013? He should. Though Cubs fans may feel he cooled off as the season went, his numbers stuck pretty close to the 110 wRC+ mark even after his hot start. Perhaps the best news was that a change in his swing mechanics seemed to have fixed some of his contact problems, which bodes well for his batting average. In his age-23 season, Rizzo will get full-time PA and should go early or expensive in most any draft. If not, make sure you are the one who has him. He may not be the best first baseman in fantasy, but at worst, he ranks in the back of the top tier. (Bradley Woodrum)
Quick Opinion: Rizzo had impressive numbers as a 22-year-old. He will get prime treatment both in the form of lineup placement and playing time. Because he is not fully proven just yet, he likely ranks as the cheapest of the top tier first basemen.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 9/19/1980 | Team: Rays | Position: 2B/3B|
Profile: The Rays somewhat surprisingly tendered Roberts a contract for 2012, so they’ll pay him a decent wage to serve as a right-handed infield bat. The 32-year-old was unable to repeat his 2011 success (18 HR, 18 SB, 107 wRC+) in 2012 (12 HR, 10 SB, 77 wRC+), but double-digit homers and steals from a second- and third-base eligible player is surprisingly hard to find. In deep leagues, Roberts is a nice sleeper given all of the left-handed starters in the AL East. You’ll just have to watch your lineup daily and find a platoon partner. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: Roberts will serve as a right-handed platoon bat for the Rays, where he offers double-digit homer and stolen base potential. Just keep an eye on the lineup and sit him against righties.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 10/9/1977 | Team: Orioles | Position: 2B|
Profile: An aging Brian Roberts has spent the good part of the past two seasons on the disabled list with a variety of ailments, but appears to be healthy with Spring Training on the horizon. When he was last healthy in 2009, Roberts paid steady dividends in the stolen base, batting average and runs scored categories, which gives him modest upside to go with his heaping servings of risk. Outside of AL-Only leagues, Roberts is barely a late-round flier that could potentially provide a mid-round return on investment if he is able to remain on the field. Jonathan Schoop is the fall-back plan should Roberts’ back/hip/whatever not stay intact this year. (Alan Harrison)
Quick Opinion: Roberts is probably going to say something about the best shape of his life sometime soon, and to give the veteran credit, he is healthy… right now. Given his modest upside and all the risk that his body represents, he’s a deep league bench pick at best.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 9/1/1987 | Position: OF|
Profile: Trayvon Robinson was given an extended look in Seattle and that look demonstrated a serious deficiency in making contact with the baseball and an almost obsessive intent on striking out. After a 2011 Triple-A performance that turned a lot of heads with 26 home runs over just 400+ plate appearances, it really says something that an offensively-starved team traded him for a player with a career wRC+ of 67 simply because that acquisition could play the infield. Robinson now finds himself in Baltimore where he’ll fight to keep himself on the big league squad. He’s young enough and he’s had enough success at high levels of the minors that he could turn things around, but it’s probably not going to be this season. A deep league flyer at best for 2013. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: For the offensively starved Seattle Mariners, Trayvon Robinson was worse than Eric Thames and Eric Thames was pretty lucky to be on a major league roster in 2012. That’s probably all you need to know. An Oriole now, Robinson will try to improve enough to be a bat off the bench.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 10/30/1984 | Team: Cardinals | Position: OF|
Profile: Shane Robinson clapped three homers in just 181 PA in 2012, but even that modest power may have been a fortunate aberration. Owners looking for a fourth outfielder with good defense and single-slapping talents probably own a real baseball team, not a fantasy one. (Bradley Woodrum)
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 2/16/1985 | Team: Pirates | Position: PH/PR|
Profile: Clint Robinson has destroyed minor league pitching (.308/.382/.520 career). Like Kila Ka’aihue who did the same before him, he didn’t get on the Royals’ big league roster because they already had enough first base and designated hitter types. Kansas City traded him to the Pirates where he is third on their first base depth chart behind Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez. Robinson’s MLB playing time looks limited except in interleague games when he may DH. One possible option would be a first base platoon with Sanchez facing lefties, Robinson taking righties, and Jones in the outfield. He has the potential to be a late bloomer and could contribute with power and average (sorry, no speed here). He has basically no value until he gains a significant role, and even then, the ceiling is low. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Clint Robinson is a Triple-A designated hitter and should be valued accordingly.
|Debut: 1994 | BirthDate: 7/27/1975 | Team: Yankees | Position: 3B/DH|
Profile: Once the greatest player in the game (both fantasy and reality), A-Rod has battled seemingly constant injuries over the last few seasons. The 37-year-old had left hip surgery in January and is expected to miss up to six months, meaning he may not return until July. Rodriguez remains a productive hitter when he’s actually on the field (.272/.353/.430, 114 wRC+ in 2012), just not as historically productive as he once was. The ceiling here seems to be a return to his 2011 output (.276/.362/.461, 125 wRC+) with a healthy hip, but the floor is obviously very low. As he has been for the last few years, A-Rod is one of the riskiest bets in fantasy. (Mike Axisa)
Quick Opinion: January hip surgery could keep A-Rod out until July and further hasten a decline that is already four years old. He could have a big second half or be completely useless, but at least the injury means you won’t be tempted to spend much on draft/auction day.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 4/26/1985 | Team: Rays | Position: 2B/3B/SS|
Profile: Rodriguez began the season as the Rays starting shortstop, but ended up seeing time backing up at third and second base thanks to the injury to Evan Longoria and his own general ineffectiveness. A two-win player the previous two seasons, Rodriguez’s already middling offense eroded as he hit .213 with a .607 OPS. The addition of Yunel Escobar and the return of Ryan Roberts severely limit Rodriguez’ chances of seeing much playing time in 2013. And it was likely he was only a high-strikeout lefty-killer platoon mate to begin with. (Erik Hahmann)
Quick Opinion: He used to murder lefties and play a lot of shortstop, but these days it looks like Sean Rodriguez is a super-utility player at best. Not a lot of fantasy value there.
|Debut: 1996 | BirthDate: 4/4/1975 | Position: 3B|
Profile: Scott Rolen had his second consecutive disappointing year, as he appeared in fewer than 100 games and recorded a wRC+ of 93. At this point, Rolen has stated that he is open to returning to the Reds but in a reduced role. With Todd Frazier’s emergence, Rolen will not be fantasy relevant even if he opts to return to baseball for his 18th season. (Ben Duronio)
|Debut: 2000 | BirthDate: 11/27/1978 | Team: Phillies | Position: SS|
Profile: Rollins has been money in the bank for years now with his power and speed combination, primarily hitting atop the Phillies lineup. Though never a high average hitter, in recent seasons he has actually hurt fantasy owners in the batting average category. A low batting average on balls in play that hasn’t exceeded .275 since 2008 is mostly to blame. Rollins hit a ton of pop-ups last year and he made contact at his worst rate since 2003. Combine that with his highest home run per fly ball rate since 2007, which is sure to regress, and warning signs abound. A drop in power without a rebound in batting average is a strong possibility and at age 34, his speed could wane at any time. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Even at age 33, Rollins keeps on going, providing his fantasy owners with a nice combination of power and speed at a weak position. There are some chinks in the armor though, so a repeat is unlikely.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 12/24/1985 | Team: Angels | Position: SS|
Profile: Andrew Romine hit .412 in the major leagues! Ahem, in 21 plate appearances. He’s organizational depth, and if things go really well for Romine, he’ll be a late inning glove, a left handed bat off the bench, or a pinch runner in 2013. Carry on. (Michael Barr)
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 11/22/1988 | Team: Yankees | Position: C|
Profile: Catcher Austin Romine is behind Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli on the Yankees’ depth chart, which likely tells you all you need to know about Austin Romine. Projected to start 2013 in the minors, he will reportedly have an opportunity to move up New York’s aforementioned depth chart. It’s still hard to imagine a leap that ends in him providing any fantasy value. (Navin Vaswani)
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 5/20/1983 | Team: Athletics | Position: 2B/SS|
Profile: As late as mid-December 2011, it looked like Adam Rosales might be the A’s starting shortstop. As a shortstop, he doesn’t embarrass himself at the plate nor in the field. He is a below-average hitter, but even given the excellent college that he went to *ahem Western Michigan University ahem* it is hard to see Rosales starting 150 games for an aspiring playoff contender. Clearly, the A’s brass thought the same thing and thus brought in Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima. Rosales will still probably be the A’s primary utility infielder, but for fantasy purposes you can be like the All-American Rejects and just Move Along. (David Wiers)
Quick Opinion: Looking at Adam Rosales through rose(ales) colored goggles, he’s the little middle infielder that could. Rosales is the perfect 25th man for a real baseball team. He can play all four infield positions and even has a few innings of left field under his belt at the major league level. That being said, his bat plays the way one would imagine a 25th man’s: not very well.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 2/23/1989 | Team: Rockies | Position: C|
Profile: An injury to incumbent Ramon Hernandez opened the door for Rosario to take over the everyday catching duties in Colorado. And boy did he take advantage. Among players with at least 400 plate appearances, Rosario’s .260 isolated slugging percentage ranked ninth in baseball and his 25.5% home run per fly ball ratio ranked fifth. Even more amazing is that he put on this power display after never having received one at-bat at Triple-A. While the percentage play is to expect some sort of regression in his power, he should receive more at-bats this season as the starter from opening day, possibly offsetting any home run rate decline. He may also enjoy a batting average on balls in play spike, which could keep his batting average in positive value territory. All in all, he should remain one of the more valuable fantasy catchers even with terrible plate discipline. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: In his rookie campaign, Rosario took the league by storm, flashing immense power and posting a respectable batting average. With the promise of more playing time and possibility of better batted ball luck, he could earn similar value again, even if his homer rate regresses a bit.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 3/19/1977 | Team: Red Sox | Position: C|
Profile: In 663 plate appearances for the Braves from 2009-2012, Ross hit .269/.353/.463 with 24 home runs and 94 RBI. He acted as the top backup in baseball behind one of the top catchers in baseball over that time frame, and now may have the opportunity to receive more time with the Red Sox as Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s backup. With “Salty’s” poor on-base skills, Ross will have the ability to pry more and more time away if he is able to hitand play defense as he did in a part time role in Atlanta. Moving to a better ballpark for right-handed hitters should help balance out the expected drop in numbers if he receives more plate appearances against same-handed pitchers. At the very least, he will be a sneaky option in daily leagues to start when the Red Sox face a left-handed pitcher. (Ben Duronio)
Quick Opinion: The backup in Atlanta played better defense and had better on base skills. Even if Ross ends up being stuck as the backup all season in Boston, he still has a much better chance to see more regular play in Boston than he did in Atlanta. Keep an eye on how Ross is utilized in spring training and early in the season to get a better idea of how to gauge his fantasy usefulness.
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 12/23/1980 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: OF|
Profile: After enjoying a bounceback season within the friendly confines of Fenway, Ross was squeezed out of the Red Sox outfield picture by the signings of Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes. He eventually wrangled a three-year deal from the Arizona Diamondbacks, switching back to the National League after a one-year absence. Ross joins a crowded outfield in Phoenix, and therefore, there’s a real possibility he ends up with closer to 500 plate appearances than 600 — extrapolating his Boston numbers out to a true full-time role is a risky proposition. While Chase Field’s park effects typically signal improved production from hitters versus the majority of other big league parks, Mike Podhorzer broke down the Fenway/Chase comparison and discussed Ross’ prospects for 2013. Fenway’s Green Monster tends to aid right-handed hitter batting average on balls in play thanks to increased singles and doubles, but also hurts homers. Because of this, Ross may see a small uptick in home runs per fly ball but also a corresponding decrease in BABIP and other non-HR hits. He’s a pretty safe bet to come close to replicating his 22 homers from a year ago, but owners expecting dramatic improvement on those numbers are likely to be disappointed. (Colin Zarzycki)
Quick Opinion: Now with the outfield-laden Diamondbacks, Ross can’t be counted on for a season of full-time at bats, even with a new $9-million-per-year salary. Since he offers little in the speed/average departments, his value stems from his pop, and with 2012 ISO and home-run-per-fly-ball improvements that aren’t out of line with career norms, penciling him in for 20 homers should be a safe bet.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 7/28/1986 | Team: Phillies | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Ruf excited people with his minor league numbers last year, but the list of successful major leaguers who took until age 26 to reach Double-A is nonexistent. He has slow hands and a slow body. Let somebody else bet on his eye-popping stats; the pedigree doesn’t support him doing much of anything in the majors. (Jack Moore)
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 4/12/1982 | Team: Marlins | Position: OF|
Profile: Ruggiano spent parts of six seasons at Triple-A and at age 30, earned a career high 288 at-bats with the Marlins. He showed excellent power, a willingness to steal a base and even hit for average. However, while the power appears mostly for real, as does the speed, his batting average is headed for a steep decline. Although he has typically posted strong batting averages on balls in play in the minors, a .401 mark is simply unsustainable. With a poor contact rate, he might struggle to contribute positively in batting average. That said, if he does win the center field job, and given his competition, he likely will, he makes for an interesting gamble who has a real shot at going 20/20 with enough playing time. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: After essentially a full career in the minor leagues, Ruggiano had a breakout half-season in Miami, showcasing an intriguing power/speed combination. He is expected to compete with a cast of underwhelming characters for the starting center field job and could be a nice value pick in fantasy leagues if he wins it.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 1/22/1979 | Position: C|
Profile: Ruiz would have been a big riser in everyone’s pre-season catcher rankings… until he got caught. He always possessed a strong contact rate which led to excellent batting averages, but his power was typically uninspiring. Not only did his home run per fly ball ratio nearly triple from his 2011 season, but his doubles rate surged as well, easily leading to a career high in isolated slugging percentage. While his average fly ball and home run distance did jump last season, it was still not high enough to be confident in a repeat of that level of power. As such, a regression has to be expected, but how much is the million dollar question. At worst, fantasy owners should enjoy a solid batting average and reasonable run and RBI numbers, so Ruiz should remain a good valuable fantasy property when he returns from his 25-game suspension. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: After a breakout season that included a surprise power surge, Ruiz’s 2013 outlook has become murky after being suspended 25 games for a second positive amphetamine test. Without knowing exactly how that affected his performance, it’s difficult to determine how sustainable his power spike is.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 4/21/1989 | Team: Rockies | Position: SS|
Profile: With Troy Tulowitzki hurt, Rutledge was eventually called upon to take over at shortstop and he did not disappoint. Although the 23-year old had nary an at-bat at the Triple-A level, he displayed both power and speed, while making acceptable contact. One concern though is his low walk rate which will limit his on base percentage and may make it difficult for the Rockies to keep him in the number two hole in the lineup. A drop toward the bottom of the order would obviously hurt his fantasy value. He should open the year as the team’s starting second baseman and while he does have 15/15 upside over a full season, his lack of high minors experience and potentially weak OBP both make him a risk. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Rutledge filled in admirably while Troy Tulowitzki was on the shelf, showing off a nice power/speed combination. He is expected to open the year as the Rockies’ starting second baseman and could be an all-around contributor, while eventually boasting eligibility at two shallow positions.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 3/26/1982 | Team: Mariners | Position: SS|
Profile: If defensive metrics count in your league, Brendan Ryan could be useful, but in almost any other imaginable format, you really need to do better than what Ryan provides with his bat. His batting average alone could sink your standard Roto squad and there’s not much added value anywhere else in his game other than perhaps a dozen steals. You could probably get more fantasy value from Harvey Manfrenjensenden. (Michael Barr)
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