Fantasy Baseball Draft 2013: Recapping Round Eight
(71) I Love Griffey- Mat Latos, Cincinnati Reds: Latos’ inaugural season with the Reds was quite the successful one. He won 14 games, struck out 185 batters and posted an ERA of 3.48. He pitched 209.1 innings last season, which ranked 9th in the NL. His inning count has improved steadily over the past three seasons, allowing the 25-year old Latos to continue to grow as a player. Towards the end of last year, he began pitching deeper into contests, ultimately finishing the season with two complete games (4th in NL). Latos is one of the brightest young arms in baseball and has a good lineup behind him. Expect him to pitch more innings and post positive numbers in his second year with the Reds.
(72) Team 9- Aramis Ramirez, Milwaukee Brewers: You know, I think it’s unfair that Ramirez possesses the dreaded “injury prone” title. Take a look. He has played 149 games in back to back seasons, along with 124 in 2010. Pretty impressive for a guy who will be turning 35 in June. Ramirez has also batted for at least .300 and hit 25 home runs the past two seasons. Despite being a power hitter, Ramirez has been great as a contact guy as well, hitting a career-high 50 doubles in 2012. He is a good bet for 20-25 home runs, 100 RBI and at least .290 batting average and he is falling in drafts because of his age. Heck, in the eighth round, I’ll take that production.
(73) Team 8- Jordan Zimmermann, Washington Nationals: It appears that Zimmermann is recovering well from Tommy John surgery back in 2010. He has now started 58 games combined over the past two seasons and has won a solid 20 contests. 2012 was a pretty good year for the 26-year old. He finished 7th in the National League in ERA (2.94) and averaged less than two walks per nine innings, which ranked 11th in baseball. Zimmermann makes for a solid number two fantasy pitcher and a tremendous number three guy, and look for him to see his innings increase.
(74) Team 7- James Shields, Kansas City Royals: Shields will certainly have to adjust to not playing at home in a dome. Sorry, didn’t intend to rhyme. Anyway, Shield’s sported a career ERA of 3.34 at Tropicana Field. But on the road, he has struggled more, posting a 4.49 ERA. His former team, the Rays, have a much better defense than Kansas City does, which also hurts his value. Still, Shields is a very good pitcher and could be a solid number three fantasy guy. He will get you a lot of strikeout (223 in 2012, 3rd in AL) and is very durable, starting in at least 31 games in every season since 2006.
(75) Team 6- Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks: One of the promising and exciting up-and-coming first basemen in the game, Goldschmidt was pretty successful in his sophomore season. He hit 20 home runs, 82 RBI, batted a solid .286, but get this, stole a ridiculous 18 bases. You won’t see many first basemen stealing 18 bags, let alone 10. Now of course, don’t expect that many steals in 2013, but Goldschmidt may be on the verge of exploding in the power department. He took a great step as a player last season, cutting his strikeout rate and becoming a more patient hitter. Don’t expect him to bat for .280 or steal 20 bags, but the skill is there and could be a 30-35 home run guy.
(76) Team 5- Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians: After hitting 27 home runs in 2011, Santana dipped to 18 in 2012. However, he still improved in many areas. First of all, he stuck out less, his batting average went up from .239 to .252 and his on-base percentage increased by 14 points. He holds great value in points leagues because he has the power to hit around 20 home runs, but he also can get you walks (91 in 2012, 3rd in AL). Of course, he is also eligible at the first base position, playing 21 games at the corner last season, raising his value even more.
(77) Team 4- Alex Rios, Chicago White Sox: Rios can be referred to as a roller coaster player. His stat lines every other year are up and down, up and down. Dating back to 2009, his batting average totals are as follows: .264, .247, .284, .227, .304. His home run totals? 3, 14, 17, 21, 13, 25. Clearly it is difficult to predict what exactly you are going to get from Rios on your fantasy roster. The talent is most definitely there and if he can play consistent, expect at least 20 home runs and 15-20 steals. If not, you may be in some trouble.
(78) Team 3- Aaron Hill, Arizona Diamondbacks: After you get passed the elite options at second base, Hill is great value. 2011 certainly wasn’t kind to him, hitting just eight home runs and 61 RBI, all while batting a very poor .246. Fast forward to 2012 and he looks like a completely different player. Hill hit 26 home runs (awesome for second base), 85 RBI and batted .302. The power is legit and he can get you anywhere between 15-20 stolen bases. However, it is hard to trust his batting average, as his averages have been all over the place throughout his career, ranging anywhere from .205 to .302. Still, he is having himself quite the Spring and will get plenty of opportunity as the D-Backs potential number three hitter.
(79) Team 2- Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds: All Spring long, fantasy owners have been scratching their heads. Will Chapman stay be a closer or a starter? Finally, we have some clarification. After flirting with the idea of moving him into the rotation, Chapman will in fact remain in the bullpen. It’s a good thing too, because outside of Craig Kimbrel, there is no closer I’d rather have. He finished 2012 with an ERA of 1.51, struck out 122 batters and posted 38 saves (3rd in NL). We all know what his fastball is capable of, but if he continues to implement his breaking stuff into his game, while lowering his walk rate some more, he could make the case for the number on relief pitcher in fantasy.
(80) Team 1- Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies: In my eyes, Rollins is one of the more undervalued fantasy players, probably because he plays the shallow position of shortstop. His low batting average keeps him from being a dominant option, but the rest of his stats are still impressive. When healthy, he is without a doubt a 20-home run, 30-steal guy (see last season). Rollins will turn 34 in November, which is something to take not, but 2012 was the first time since 2009 that he played a full season, so perhaps that is something he will build off of. A rare combination of power and speed at his position, Rollins still holds good value because usually it is either one or the other. If his supporting cast of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and company can finally stay healthy, expect the Phils’ leadoff man to put up some solid numbers.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.