The infidels are coming. They are storming the stronghold and sieging the castle. Cover your children’s eyes and lock up your grandmas. As a general rule, I’m not drafting a middle “infidel” early unless it comes at great value or I’m tinkering with the zig strategy. Scarcity has over taken too many owners who pass up great numbers to fill a positional need and have been blinded by the fact that numbers are numbers. As I’m writing this, I’m looking at all the great depth for MI and I wonder why the heck should I even be writing this. It’s pretty obvious that there is great upside late by reading Grey’s coverage of second base. Add to that some of the bounce back golden oldies, and you got generations at the keystone. Speaking of golden oldies, did you all catch the ridiculously redumbasshatily things Brandon Phillips had to say the other day?
This list will be of players drafted from the 20th round on or at pick 229 on, if you prefer it that way. I’m using ESPN ADP which by the way, gets lazy and labels everyone after 260 at 260. Go figure. In an RCL, 300 players are drafted, so depending on strategy, you can use these as either late grabs or if you are in deeper leagues they are must owns.
Micah Johnson, 2B – Locked in a position battle with Carlos Sanchez and apparently Gordon Boredum Beckham, Johnson is coming into the crosshairs of others fantasy baseballers. As of now, he is playing the best of the three and Ventura has said he’s going to let the 2nd base battle play out. Prospect writer and Mike Schmidt look-a-like Mike has him as the number 3 prospect in the White Sox system and says his speed grades out at an 80. The hamstring injuries last year hurt his numbers after swiping 84 across 3 levels. Zips has him projected with 31SB’s if he lands the job and I can get on board with that. Before moving up to AAA last year he had over 800 AB’s with a walk rate above 10% (woo-hoo) then followed that with a 5.3% over 302 AB’s (boo-hoo). That’s going to be important to get those stolen base numbers up where we want them. Either way he has speed, you can get him late and if he loses the job or gets stuck in a platoon then he becomes the Jarrod Dyson of the middle infield.
Brad Miller, SS – Wait! What? Yup, I went to Grey’s 2014 cupboard of love and promise and dusted off an old copy of this sleeper post. I’m assuming that link will get edited out if Grey has anything to do with it. With the fantasy master lothario already going over every other good late rounder at the shortstop slot I figured since we are taking upside flyers we might as well talk about a post hype sleeper. Regardless of how bad his average was last year he still showed some pop by belting 10 home runs (tied for 11th most among shortstops w/300 AB’s) and had an .144 ISO, which was the 8th highest among shortstops with at least 400 AB’s. His first half of 2014 was a weird one where he hit 8 of homers and had a triple slash line of .204/.273/.330. Then, in a limited role, showed some life in the 2nd half when he put up a .268/.330/.464. To build on the case of him adjusting his game in the 2nd half was the dramatic changes in his batted ball profile when he cut his FB% by a little under 8% and raised his LD% by a little over 9%. Why does all this matter FOH? Well my friends over the net, it means that he stopped pressing and trying to club everything over the wall and corrected the errors in his approach. Or at least, thats how I’m seeing it. After his competition, Chris Taylor, broke his hand, Miller is now in sole possession of the shortstop role in Seattle. Most likely he’ll bat 9th, which in AL can be a good thing and he has been having a good spring! Hey wait, you can’t say that? Oil well, I just did and IDGAF. He is working his tail off trying to make sure Taylor is stuck on the bench when he returns. He has been showing a good eye at the dish where he has a 6/5 K/BB. If you are going FrankenInfidel then go give Miller a whirl. Deeper leagues better bookmark this page and RCL battycallers better not forget the post hype lives on in the land of razz and funny.
Luis Valbuena, 2B, 3B – I already covered him in the catchers and corners post in case you missed it. He’s worth the flyer, trust me. So go ahead and pour yourself a nice glass of Angel’s Envy and toast Wake Up who added nicely to the discussion in the comments the other day.
Jonathan Schoop, 2B – He was a December sleeper call by Grey so I don’t need to do all the statty stat dance here. Click the link and read the good word. What I’ll remind you of is he has power, has a job, has power, will go thru slumps, has power, can get crazy hot, has power, can dance like a robot.
Devon Travis, 2B – This is my deep league flyer for the middle infidel and another player of opportunity. With the offensively blah Maicer Izturis going down with a groin strain it opens the door for the highly rated prospect acquired in the Anthony Gose to Detroit deal. Mike went over him in the Blue Jays Minor League preview and points out how he does a little bit of everything but nothing that jumps off the page. Draft with caution and watch the Toronto situation.
FrankenInfidel – For those that read the Catchers and Corners post, you know what I’m talking about. Take the same idea for catchers and apply it to your middle infidel spot until you either come up with a gem or some careless owner drops a roster worthy player. It always seems to happen in the MI spot…trust me I know what I’m doing. This strategy is especially good in RCL’s and daily moves 12 and 10 team leagues. Deeper leagues can be a little tougher to do this. Don’t worry my over the net friends, Grey will always let you know who is hot, Hitter-Tron is your best friend, and I write Creeper of the Week where I always trying to stay up on the less desirable players that might be able to help you out for the week. One week you might be trotting out the Donkfidel Jonathan Schoop or Francisco Lindor’s placeholder Jose Ramirez for a little SAGNOF. It’s all stats combined at the position when the season is over.
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