Ok, this one feels like I’m cheating. First off, I tell you I don’t like having to buy him as a backup for my 3Bs and now I’m telling you to pay attention to him. Not to mention he is technically not going outside the top 300 ADP on mockdraftcentral as of right now. Ok now that I’ve listed all the reasons I’m a downright hypocrite, this has to be the cheapest 3B,2B, soon to be SS in ESPN leagues player that should be a lock for .280 10/15 with 450 ABs with room for more power and speed in a very solid lineup. There seems to be this strange belief that Nick Punto is somehow going to eat into his at-bats at SS this year. Really? If the Red Sox were that concerned with their defense, they could bring up their homegrown Rey Ordonez – Jose Iglesias – and move on. Nick was brought around to be a utility player on an older team. He’ll most likely be used when someone gets hurt, as a late defensive replacement or just to be a little Punto (spanish puns! ¡Muy bien!). Mike Aviles is going around 278 ADP so you don’t have to be jumping out of the gates to get him in a standard league. In deep league formats that play more than one at each infield position, Mike Aviles on your bench is a huge asset as he can fill in for days off and injuries to your main lineup. Plus if you draft Zack Cozart and he’s a bust, you have a great consolation prize in Aviles to back him up.
Still not convinced? Ok, let’s do a quick player A vs player B experiment. In 614 at-bats, this shortstop is projected by Bill James to hit .279 with 16 homeruns and 15 stolen bases. If we give Aviles the same amount of at-bats for his season projections, he hits 14.75 HRs and steals 20 bags while hitting .279. I think the .75 HR is what happens when you try for an inside the park homerun and trip on grass, a la Braun last year. But more to the point, who is he being compared to here you ask? Asdrubal Cabrera, someone who will be gone before the 8th round is over in even a standard league. Now due to his likely 9th spot in the Boston lineup, I do not see him getting 600 at-bats this year. Despite that, it’s not like it’s a bad thing to bat in front of Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez. He’s going to see good pitches in that spot in the lineup and have a sneaky chance at scoring 60 to 70 runs. Think of Aviles as someone who can plug your team’s holes when they need it…no wait, let me rephrase that. He’s not going to win you your league, but he’s sure going to help you keep that lead up when someone in your infield goes all Ian Kinsler on you and gets a hangnail that sidelines them for a month. There, that sounded like it could be watched on ABCDisnESPN.