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In the second installment of the grading process, it’s helpful to look at those sleepers I, Albert Lang, just nearly missed on – basically guys who were a push. These are players who were almost successful sleepers picks but walked too many, gave up too many HRs or just swung and missed a ton.

Dan Uggla – This is the most miraculous push in the history of the world. After Uggla’s horrendous start to the season, he rebounded to bat .234 but with 35 HRs.

Jimmy Rollins – Consensus had Rollins as a top 5 option. Rollins is 6th at the position. However a bigger pre-draft split was where he should fall overall. I thought Rollins could push 15-20 HRs and 25-30 SBs, but rest on the low end of each. He had 14 HRs and 28 SBs. We also saw his average stay below .275. If you drafted Rollins in the top 50, you are probably somewhat disappointed.

Colby Rasmus – Rasmus was a tricky player to write about all year. I liked him, but the hype was a little ridiculous. While I would rather have Nick Swisher, I thought Rasmus was capable of hitting .260 with 20-25 HRs and 15 SBs. Petty squabbles in St. Louis and poor health have Rasmus at 14 HRs, five steals and a .235 average. I was clearly wrong on my projection.

Jason Bartlett – I thought Bartlett could get back to batting .275 (didn’t happen: .251), but I also thought he was a good bet to reach 20 – 30 SBs (he has 23). It’s a wash, but with how bad the SS position has been, he’s been a useful figure in 2011.

Nick Swisher – God it is disgusting how dirty good Brian Cashman is – he absolutely stole Swisher from Kenny Williams. Still, the entire fantasy community also seems to sleep on Swish, as he was the 33rd consensus OF. Well, he is the 31st OF, so they were closer in terms of ranking.

Gio Gonzalez – I had Gonzalez as the 42nd best SP, consensus put him around 49, and he will end up about 46th overall. So maybe I overvalued him…or maybe not.  I predicted a 4.00 ERA and 1.35 WHIP with 200 Ks. Right now, he has bested my ERA prediction (3.41 ERA) and come very close to meeting my WHIP prediction (1.37 WHIP). He has 177 Ks, so he’ll likely fall a tad short of 200.

Will Venable – While, technically, I had Venable ranked higher than most people, I still warned against the hype I saw building. Specifically, I said that his ceiling of a .320 OBP and the amount of balls he swings at out of the zone wouldn’t get him anywhere near the 30 steals he approached last season. Well, he currently sits at 26 – whoops. I did add in the caveat that we could see some weird things with the Padres this year, i.e., that in the absence of any real offense, their players would be running silly and that could artificially buoy Venable’s SB number. So, I was sort of correct in my Venable assessment.

Mark Reynolds – It’s so weird to be wrong about a known commodity. I had Reynolds buried on the draft board (22nd 3b), whereas consensus had him a bit higher. I believed he was a .240 hitter with 35 HRs and 10 SBs. He has actually batted worse (.222) and has 36 HRs and just 6 SBs, but has come in as the 6th best 3b for the year. What a dreadful position.

Edwin Jackson – Partly because he was born in Germany, partly because I believed in the Chicago White Sox pitching coaches, I thought Jackson would have a nice year. I expected an ERA in the 4.25-4.50 range with 170 Ks. He has fallen short of the Ks (he has just 146) but his ERA has been a nice surprise (3.85). Sure the WHIP is miserable, but he wasn’t that bad of a pitcher.

Chris Iannetta – I had Iannetta as a sleeper for the millionth year in a row, expecting a .250 hitter with 15 HRs (with upside as well). Well, Iannetta has batted just .236 this year but does have 13 HRs. He hasn’t helped at all down the stretch though and has really sputtered out. It would be nice if he batted anything other than eighth, but you have to play the cards you’re dealt.

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  1. Tony says:
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    wow was 3B terrible or what this year?

    If reynolds batting .222 claims the 6th best at the position that tells you something!

    I had wright in one league and AROD in my RCL. Terrible. Zimmerman was hurt all year almost. In the words of barkley…. TURRIBLE!

    Bautista was such a crapshoot, most saw him as risky, and he pans out. This was the year to pass on 3B, and take a chance on beltre or Aramis later on….

  2. @Tony:

    Yeah – i mean everything thinks that 3B was bad this year – but my god it was worse. It’s like all those mediocre SS from a few years ago invaded (i guess they sort of did).

    Anyway, it makes you think about the twin Blue Jays 3b options — does position scarcity push Bautista to #1 status given all of the OF/1B/SP talent clouding the scene? I dont think so, but I’m willing to listen to the argument. In addition, what about Lawrie. I think he’ll be top 10 (which is odd considering I dont trust sophomores), but does he have any Gordon Beckham in him?

    Zimmerman continues to confuse. If he could stay healthy, he’d be the next Aramis Ramirez — but you gotta show up.

    I like Bautista this year – had him in a ton of league — cant imagine he isnt a 1st/2nd rounder next year though which increases his risk exponentially. It’s not like he’s young…

  3. Hey guys – i’m at meetings from 9 – 12 but will try to respond on the fly and will definitely respond once i get back.

    So who were some of the guys you kept waiting on that ultimately sort of did/didnt pan out? Uggla was mine…just kept holding, like Braveheart.

    Lets commiserate on 2011, think about strategy/kepers for 2012 and talk play-offs!

  4. Tony says:
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    @Albert: Bautista in my eyes is definitely a 1st rounder next year, will i draft him with my first pick? NOPE. The guys hit more hr’s combined in the past two years than anyone else in baseball by like 20…. He’s a legit stud, i just for some reason still dont trust him. I think he’ll have an ADP around 5-8th overall next year. I draft 4th in my long time money league. I wont take him there. Guys like zimmerman, etc should slip in drafts and if they can put up a healthy year we know what they can do, we’ll see i guess….

    I snapped up Uggla because the dbag of my league that i dont like dropped him, held on til he went on a 30+ game hitting streak then never let the guy live it down that he dropped him…. even tho i finished outta the playoffs its the little things that matter!

    Rangers vs Brewers world series….. Brewers win, and Prince will be a CUB next year…

  5. Jake says:
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    You believed Reynolds was a .240 hitter w/ 35 HR and 10 SB, but still just#22 overall at the position? Who did you have ranked directly in front of him? That’d have to be a monster 3B class to have 35 HRs not even break the top 10.

    Bautista is definitely the #1 3B for 2012 in my book. Would give Longo some consideration, but Joey Bats has been too dominant (and healthy) for 2 straight years to pass on him. With how much 3B sucks, I honestly wouldn’t argue with someone for wanting to take him in the top 3 overall in drafts next year.

    As for someone I held on to for way too long — Justin Morneau. Should’ve dumped him by the start of May.

  6. mc serch says:
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    @Albert: 3B will be even worse next year methinks….everyone of the 3B drafted in the first 3 rounds last year is now a question mark for me and has slipped (Wright/Longo/Zimmerman/Youk) and like Tony I still don’t trust Joey Bats….guys taken later like Beltre and Aramis acquitted themselves well but I dont see risking a 3rd round pick on either guy….its still a long way to 2012 but I’m thinking that unless Wright/Longo fall into the 3rd Round I’m gonna wait on 3B and see how far Zimmerman/Youk/Beltre/Aramis fall and take the last one standing

  7. Tony says:
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    @mc serch: 3B might just be a position i kinda punt or whatever, look to fill at a later point in the draft. I agree if wright came to me in the 3rd round, which in my one league will be an early pick in the 3rd, i’d take him, i could see it happening too, if he stays healthy he’s still david wright, but breaking your back? he came back and showed he could play last year that just doesn’t sit well with me…. and reyes will be gone, teams were already throwing around him and he was striking out an alarming rate, now he’ll have NO ONE….. i guess we’ll see about some of the guys u named once mock drafts start back up.

  8. JMonte says:
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    Pedron F’n Alvarez, when he was up he sucked. Held onto him when he went down hoping he would correct things… and he still sucked when he came back up… what a dbag… completely useless and maybe the biggest failure this year in fantasy…..with Dunn a close 2nd.

  9. Wake Up says:
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    I don’t think Longoria will be a question mark and am excited at the thought that he will probably slip down draft boards.
    31 HRs in 483 ABs (I’m looking for 40 HRs 120 RBIs next year)
    with an AVG back in the .280s (.239 BABIP)

  10. T.J. says:
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    OK, I finished second in my 16-team, mixed league, 6×6 (R and OPS, K and QS), H2H, 9 P/9 H lineup, $260 budget (for 23 players) league this year. Managed to keep almost all my players. Limited to only 7 keepers. Who would you keep heading into 2011:

    Avila, $5
    Trumbo, $5
    Ackley, $5
    Asdrubal, $2
    Ellsbury, $34
    Upton, $33
    Hart, $12

    Sabathia, $35
    Cliff Lee, $32
    Stauffer, $1
    Kuroda, $2 (if he stays in USA)
    Norris, $2

    I’m thinking (in order of preference):
    Lee
    Ellsbury
    Cabrera
    Upton
    Avila
    Sabathia
    Trumbo

    Advice?

  11. He has 177 Ks, so he’ll likely fall a tad short of 200.

    Hmmm…I tend to agree. In fact, I will bet you $100 he will end the season with 197 strikeouts.

    Chris Young was sort of a wash for me. I mean, dude gave me a 20/20+ season, but his average was a knife in the face. Conversely, Michael Young had a glorious average, but 11 home runs is about as exciting as having your uncle touch your penis.

  12. Jake says:
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    @T.J.:

    Which Upton is that? I would assume Justin…

    I agree with your 7 though. Don’t love the price on Sabathia, but I assume almost all of the big guns will be gone after keepers, and you probably need a couple yourself. If you do think there’ll be a decent amount of “ace” pitchers available at re-draft though, I’d consider Stauffer @ $1 or Hart @ $12.

  13. T.J. says:
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    You’re right, it’s Justin. Sorry about that.

    Stauffer really tanked down the stretch, but he might have been injured or worn out before they shut him down. Ended up with a mediocre K rate.

    Hart is probably #8.

    Re: keepers, one guys has already said he plans on keeping Halladay at (::gulp::) $52. I don’t know about F-Her ($42), The Freak ($42), and Cain ($18). I figure Kershaw ($31), Verlander ($29), Price ($27), Haren ($24), Weaver ($23), Hamels ($22), Romero ($13), Beckett ($8), Chris Perez ($7), Fister ($5), Kennedy ($7), and Shields ($3!) will be kept.

    With QS and Ks, along the the H2H format, relievers are almost worthless (including closers).

    I forgot to mention Carpenter at $16, but I think he’s just too expensive, right?

  14. @Tony:

    Agree completely – there are a lot of people in the mix for top 10/12, b ut Bautista’s power (especially with Howard/Tex declining a bit and obviously Dunn) is hard to replace.

    Ryan Zimmerman will be interesting – I have no clue where he’ll go. At a certain point we need to factor in missing time, but he might get one more pass next year. he is totally capable of being in the top 3 at the position.

    Congrats on Uggla – that’s the reason i held him all year (was also lucky to have Zobrist/Lawrie to fill in at 2b) and it certainly paid off down the stretch.

    I like your prediction, but i got the Rangers taking this one. Their left-handed starters could really neutralize Fielder

  15. @mc serch:

    I agree — 3b (especially with the decline of AROD and the WTF of Wright) is in a free fall.

    I love Youk, but those injuries (and his seeming inability to stay healthy playing 3b are incredibly worriesome). I’ve always liked Wright (where can you get that power/speed combo in a 3b), but he hasnt put it together in awhile and seems prone to bouts of swinging and missing which will kil some teams weak-to-weak.

    It might just be one of those positions where you need to kind of wait and recognize that everyone is going to be scrambling.

    i dont understand swing mechanics so its hard to trust what Joey bats has done, but I did take him most everywhere and dude can flat out get on base, which will help across the board.

  16. @Wake Up:

    Agree completely on Longoria — it’ll be interesting if people back of him — if they do i’m scooping him up in the mid second round.

  17. @T.J.:

    Avila is worriesome given how Leyland has rode him down the stretch. Still worth the money, but I’d try to trade him.

    Ackley, Asdrubal, Ellsbury and Justin Upton are in.

    I’d keep Staufer/Kuroda/Norris as they would go for me. I feel like you can replace the pitching, but i’d take Lee over Sabathia and save the money,.

    So basically, Asdrubal/Ellsbury/Upton/Ackley/Kuroda/Norris and Stauffer or Lee would be my choices.

    Does that help, JT?

  18. @ChrisV82:

    Thanks Chris – this series was written before the season ended….but you are a regular Biff Tannen!

    With you on Young (until that uncle comment – lolzzzz) – but really i think it was a health issue for him. Give him an off-season to recover and 30-30 with a decent (.250) average is certainly plausible. If things are good, i’m going to be all in on Young again.

  19. @T.J.:

    I still think you only need one ace, really and Cliff Lee will fit that bill nicely — pair his price tag with the savings on the other players and you can get a lot of well priced starters to fill the gaps, but you know your league better and can exploit their tendencies. i just think it’s easier to replace the pitching than the hitting.

  20. Tony says:
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    @Albert: i dont think Longo makes it past #12 in ANY draft come spring… thinking you’ll get him mid 2nd rd in a shallow 3B pool? not happening.

    I do kinda agree on the rangers beating the brew crew, they’re tough with all those leftys and we all know they can hit. HA and this is IF the brewers can get by the cardssss

  21. @Tony:

    I think it’s certainly plausible. Longoria was ranked at 15 by ESPN – not saying they are gospel but i know a lot of drafters that just print out their lists and go from there. In most competitive leagues, he’ll probably go higher, but would you take him over Fielder? Ellsbury? Votto? Halladay? Cano? Verlander? Upton? Kemp? I’d take him over the pitchers and probably Fielder/Votto but others might not

    Right the Cards are no easy out – i do think the Brewers are better – but going up 2-1 was huge for the Cards — both teams are very good. I just like the balance of the Rangers and think (if they beat the Tigers) they can shut down the national league, especially the Brewers.

  22. Tony says:
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    @Albert: id take longo over ells, cano, kemp and upton, and ANY pitcher…. id probably take votto or fielder before him tho, my preseason top 5 for next year would be Pujols, Miggy, Braun, Votto, TULO…. sitting at #4 in my league i’ll be happy with any of those first 4, i like TULO but i dont think i wanna start my draft with him. Im not sure about putting KEMP in the top 5 yet i think he will be in the discussion…..

  23. Albert Lang

    Albert says:
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    @Tony:

    Ohh — I love Ellsbury (had him #2 overall going into 2010, whoops). Anyway, think he has a dynamic skillset. Cano still dominates a relatively shallow position (although nowhere near as shallow as 3b it appears).

    Yeah Tulo is scary — typically starts slow (which can put you in a hole) and has injury concerns.

    I think a top 5 is near impossible — a top 10 might be hard (in no particular order):

    Pujols/Miggy/AGON/ELLS/Kemp/Bautista/Cano/JUpton/Braun/Gradnerson/Votto/Fielder/etc.

  24. Tony says:
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    @Albert: i will own granderson no where next year, if he’s going 1st round i’ll laugh….

    the rest i can’t really argue with….. crawford will rebound too, he’s going to be a value once again next year….

    if ells goes back to 8hrs and 50sbs is he a first rounder? or is he raja davis?

  25. Tony says:
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    ya gotta throw cargo into that mix u listed too…..

  26. Albert Lang

    Albert says:
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    @Tony:

    Only once in a full year did Ellsbury go 8 hrs/50 SBs. He did 9 HRs/70 SBs two years ago….

    Even including his 2010 (18 games) he has averaged 12 HRs and 42 SBs. He’ll be way better than that. I’ll take Ellsbury very early next year (or hope he falls late in the first).

    CarGo’s in the mix – but his H/R splits are a little annoying…agreed that CC will rebound.

  27. KB says:
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    16-Team Yahoo! H2H 14 scoring categories (HR, RBI, R, SB, AVG, BB, TB, W, SV, HLD, ERA, WHIP, K, K/BB)

    I need to choose 5 Keepers from the following:

    Joey Votto
    Troy Tulowitzki
    Rickie Weeks
    Ryan Zimmerman
    Desmond Jennings
    Brent Gardner
    Zack Greinke
    Yovanni Gallardo
    Craig Kimbrel
    Jose Valverde
    Heath Bell

    Leaning towards Votto, Tulo, Zimm, Weeks, Greinke – What do you think?

  28. Wake Up says:
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    I don’t think Ells will put up first round numbers.
    CarGo is a 2nd rounder.
    Kemp is top 5. easy.
    Crawford won’t be this bad again. But, he is also a glorified SAGNOF!
    I’d have a hard time taking Granderson in the 1st as well.
    2B is deeper but Cano is head and shoulders above the rest of the field. He will put up 1st round numbers again. Esp. batting in the 3 hole for a full season.

  29. Albert Lang

    Albert says:
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    @Wake Up:

    Ellsbury third in runs (oddly behind Grandy/Kinsler), 14th in HRs, 10th in RBIs, 9th in SBs (behind Kemp then some relatively crappy players -sorry ichiro-); 9th in average.

    Find another player that can do that. Even if the HRs dial back to the 20 range (and he’s always had decent pop), it’ll just increase his SBs. His HR/FB rate wasnt ridiculous by any stretch….

    Bottom line – if you want speed and dont want to hang onto guys like Emilio Bonifacio, Ellsbury will get you everything.

    Either you buy into Grandy’s revamped swing or you dont. if you dont, not sure why you’d draft him in the 5th. if you do, you have to expect similar numbers, which puts him in conversation for the top 15 or so players. Not saying, i’d take him there as there is some risk, but you shouldnt be shocked if he’s a top 5 offensive producer.

  30. mc serch says:
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    @Tony: I agree with most of what you said….but can’t see taking Longoria over either Cano or Kemp….Longo is not a first rounder for me, whereas Kemp/Cano are….who is going to protect Longoria in the TB order next year? I don’t think Ben Zobrist is scaring anyone…the weakness of that lineup might become a factor

  31. For the record, I would definitely take Cano over Longo (Cano was in my top 5 this year). I also think I’d take Kemp over him.

    I’m not worried about lineup protection though — think Longo will do just fine and could chip in a few steals. However he does have some risk associated with him, which knocks him down a peg.

  32. Wake Up says:
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    @Albert: I realize that Ells put up first round numbers this year. The question is, will he do it again? I’m not sure where you are getting that he has always had decent pop? 20 HRs is by no means his baseline and this was most likely his career year. As for other players that can do that, I like Braun and Kemp to do that again next year much more.

    I don’t like to pay for speed when it comes so cheap. It could be Bonifacio or Crisp, Gardner, Maybin, Revere, Pagan, Bourgeois and countless others.

    I also don’t think that it has to be all or nothing with Granderson. That’s a false argument, of course all things in between are still possible. Probable even. I like him. I think he will be a top 25 player, but if I’m going OF in the first round, I’m probably looking elsewhere.

    I’m with you on Cano and Kemp over Longo. And Longo being fine protection wise. His problem wasn’t not seeing strikes, it was hitting strikes right into gloves. He shouldn’t be so unlucky next year. Good talk.

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