This is a series of articles of five things you have to know before you draft. You can follow Jeff on Twitter: @Fantasy4G
1. Josh Hamilton might be an Angel, but the devil is always in the details.
Hey, did you hear that Josh Hamilton signed with the Angels? Uh yeah, duh. And what about Justin Upton, did you know he’s a Brave now? Surely, but you may not have noticed Martin Prado on the other end of that trade, and there’s a good chance that you haven’t thought about what that means for his fantasy numbers this year.
It’s easy to process these factors during the season because of the immediacy of the impact each of these moves carries with it.
The off-season moves happen in a flurry that is hard to properly evaluate when compounded with the long wait before the season starts. In other words, a lot happens in a short amount of time, and it’s too far removed from the action to care about.
But these moves matter, and if you do your off-season homework (or just read my columns – you know what, just read my columns) and pay attention to detail, then you’ll be more prepared for the draft than the competition. Lets take a look at some of these players and see what impact it should have on how you value them on draft day.
Josh Hamilton, LA Angels of Anaheim
Most of the preseason attention being directed at Hamilton relates to his potential off the field distractions. Whether those concerns are real or not, I can’t say. What I know is that he’s leaving a hitter’s paradise for a more pitcher friendly home stadium, which doesn’t bode well for his fantasy prospects when combined with his increased strikeout rate from last year (up 8% to 25.5%) and his ever-present injury concerns.
It’s also clear that Hamilton pressed, and struggled as a result, during the second half of the season as the on-field pressure and off-field scrutiny converged. I’m going out on a limb here, but something tells me the scrutiny and pressure will only increase with a new team and big new contract.
Most still see Hamilton as a mid/late second round pick. I wouldn’t take a chance on him until the middle of round three, just ahead of Jason Heyward and the 9th OF off the board.
R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays
Generally, the first thought that comes to mind with R.A. Dickey (I refuse to address him by his last name only; it still makes me giggle) is that his Cy Young season in 2012 was a fluke. But take a look at the numbers and you might be surprised. R.A. Dickey’s statistics for the last 3 years are, in a word, consistent. In two words: consistently excellent. The only outlier I find is in his increased k/9 last year, as he jumped from 5.8 k/9 in ’11 to 8.9 k/9 in ’12.
The obvious argument against R.A. Dickey is the effect of his move from the NL East to the AL East. While that is a factor worth consideration, he’s a knuckleballer with a groundball percentage that will be around 50%, so my concerns are minor. Right now, our friends at ESPN have him at #15 in their rankings. I think he’s worthy of a spot just inside the top 10. And would you really be surprised if he ends the year as a top 5 starter? Not this guy. You could do a lot worse than R.A. Dickey in the sixth round, which is probably where he’ll be taken in most drafts.
Mike Napoli, Boston Red Sox
It’s my first column, so lets keep this positivity flowing. The move to Boston will make Mike Napoli a draft day steal for those wise enough to take him. He’s eligible at catcher and first base, and will most likely play most of the year at first base, which should alleviate our concerns about his troublesome hip. He’s also a powerful right handed hitter with a fly ball percentage just shy of 45% for his career. Green Monster, party of Mike Napoli.
Your draft is all about finding value where others have missed it. I believe Napoli, with a 14th round price tag, will hit the numbers we expected from him as a 6th round pick last year.
Other fresh faces I like: Jose Reyes, Justin Upton, Zack Greinke, Ryan Dempster, Trevor Bauer
Fresh faces I’d pass on: Josh Johnson, Shin-Soo Choo, Michael Morse, James Sheilds, Tommy Hanson
Sneak peak – Day Two: Jose Bautista will be valuable, but not nearly as valuable as you might think