I like being the only one saying something on a player. I do. It works against me sometimes — hello, Cody Asche 2014 sleeper! — sometimes it works in my favor — hello, Michael Brantley 2014 sleeper.  Michel Saunders reminds me of Michael Brantley, and I don’t think it’s because they share a first name, but it could be. Psychology is a weird phenomenon. One day you’re a finicky eater, the next day you’re trying anchovies on your pizza and aren’t totally grossed out. Maybe Saunders is our anchovies. Gross to a lot of people, but not reprehensible if you give him a try.  Going into last year, Michael Brantley’s high in power was 10 homers, and his high in speed was 17 steals. Obviously, that didn’t stop him from being a top ten fantasy player in 2014.  In 2012, Saunders beat both of those Brantley numbers easily; he blazed a trail of badonkadonks and monkey butts with 19 homers and 21 steals. That year should’ve put Saunders on the map, but he hit .247.  Fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!) don’t like low averages.  Why?  I don’t know, ask them.  Then Saunders didn’t equal that year in 2013, and was injured-slash-unownable for a lot of last year, so Saunders disappeared into an abyss of 5th outfielders, who are grabbed off of waivers then dropped like a sack of potatoes.  If I didn’t think he was capable of reaching the heights of 2012 again, I wouldn’t even waste your time, but for s’s and g’s let’s take us into the 2nd paragraph with a little… Anyway, what can we expect from Michael Saunders for 2015 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

I love guys that can contribute 20 homers and 20 steals without a high price tag.  If a 20/20 player can luck into a solid average, they’re a top 20 fantasy player overall.  That alone makes Saunders a sleeper.  When he hit 19 homers in 2012, his HR/FB% was 15. That’s way above his career average of 10.9, and it feels a bit high to expect, but — and this is a J. Lo-sized but — he only had a 34.6 FB% that year.  That feels low.  He’s easily exceeded that every year that he’s been in the majors.  If he stayed healthy last year and only had a HR/FB% of 13.1 as it was last year, he would’ve had 17 homers.  He also hit .273 last year while cutting his K-rate.  If Saunders would’ve hit .273 with 17 homers and his usual 15-20 steals, we wouldn’t even be having a conversation about him.  He’d be obviously on everyone’s radar.  Oh, and he’s 28 years old, still firmly in his prime years.  Sure, we should throw out spring training numbers always, but last spring Saunders cut his K-rate from 25.2% to 11.4%.  Wouldn’t even bother talking about it, if he didn’t continue to cut his K-rate in the regular season.  In 2012 during his quasi-breakout season, he swung at 30.2% of pitches outside of the strike zone.  Last year?  Only 22% of pitches.  In 2012, he swung at 70.9% of pitches inside the strike zone.  Everything he saw, he swung at.  Now he’s waiting for his pitch, and he only swung at 65.2% of pitches inside the zone.  Saunders needs to do three things to be a huge value grab in 2015.  A) Stay healthy. B) Hit at least .270. C) There’s no C.  We can’t do anything about A, and B looks like it’s well within his reach. Right now, I’m seeing Josh Donaldson in the Blue Jays projected lineups in the two hole and Saunders batting 7th.  I don’t think that’s done changing.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like Reyes, Saunders, Bautista, Edwin, Donaldson and Martin.  You think that might just be the best lineup Saunders has ever been in?  Oh, yeah, he’s in line for a huge year.  For 2015, I’ll give him the projections of 82/18/68/.276/20, with upside from that.  Yes, I want him on every team I draft next year.

 
  1. Racehorse says:
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    Grey

    Am I showing my age if I say that Michael Saunders reminds me of a more muscular Von Hayes? anyway…

    Considering the Orioles lack of movement (at the moment) in replacing Cruz and Markakis, if Steve Pearce sniffs 500 ABs in 2015 would you prefer Pearce over Saunders?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Racehorse: Wasn’t Von Hayes was the 5th brother of the Fabulous Thunderbirds? Nah, good name… I’d want Saunders…

      • Big League Wood says:
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        @Grey:

        Does Pearce have a job?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          He should

  2. Joel says:
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    Great write up. Can I get you opinion on Gregory Polanco? Do you think he takes a step forward and actually becomes fantasy relevant this season? Thanks

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Joel: Thanks! He doesn’t have a starting job right now

      • Joel says:
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        Fair enough

  3. Tigres says:
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    Thanks Grey. I think Jays were among lowest in SB attempts last yr. Team philosophy or just reflection of last yrs lineup? Wonder if it could affect his SBs. Like the move for power & counting stats, tho.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Tigres: Reflection of last year’s lineup…

  4. Dan The Silly Met Fan says:
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    If you had to pick… Saunders or Schoop? I have Schoop who I just picked up becuase of your last sleeper post.

    Thanks Grey!

  5. A very satisfied 2014 Brantley 21st Round owner here (thanks); & would be thrilled to experience a similar return from Saunders. Very possible that the Blue Jay lineup gets it’s annual overhyping, but you’d have to think that he’s a very late round selection. How long do you think that we can wait to garb him in a 12 Team league?
    Also very glad that you did not die Albright; and sincerely hope that you’re feeling better.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @zombie: I can’t picture him being drafted prior to where you got Brantley this year… Thanks, me too!

  6. Powerslave says:
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    Value Question, by the way , Hope You’re feeling better!, H2H 14 Team League that has TB as offensive category, How would that affect the value of Mesoraco and Yan Gomes, plus what kind of SP should i ask for, when shopping Mesoraco?, Thanks!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thanks! I am… They’re top 5 catchers in that league… I’d want a solid top 30 SP

  7. SwaggerJackers says:
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    @Grey: What kind of OBP do you expect out of Saunders?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      .350-ish

  8. JeF With 1 F says:
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    I love you

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Muah!

  9. Five-On-One says:
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    Good morning, Grey. I was looking for your thoughts on Didi. Now that he has a starting gig (or at least the better side of a platoon situation), what are your expectations? Or are you saving this topic for a future post?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I’ll go over him tomorrow with all the rest of the offseason moves that go down today

  10. Big League Wood says:
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    thoughts onn Homer Bailey and Danny Salazar for 2015 ?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I’ll go over them

      • Big League Wood says:
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        @Grey:

        Cool. Looking for a #4 right now.
        Rankimgs out in January?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, mid-Jan

  11. Swfcdan says:
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    Fucking hell, know what the most annoying thing about fantasy is? You start working on a deal with someone who seems very interested in your guys, then next time you go to respond back you find the deal for that guys already been done before you can even freakin give him your best offer. WHY DONT PEOPLE WAIT TO SEE THE BEST OFFER THAT COMES IN FIRST.

    I could have probably beaten his offer, but because the guy has a crazy fuckin trigger finger, I lose out on him (a $12 Goldy). And he just made the 2nd best team a whole lot better….great job asshole.

    Doncha just hate guys that do that?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      You should’ve just sent him your best deal to begin with…

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Grey: He wanted a 3 for 1 deal. I was hoping/expecting to get a little something else back, just a higher minor league pick is all I was wanting. Everyone always comes in slightly below their best offer surely? Else how do you ever win trades ;)

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          You’re not saying what you offered, so hard to say

          • Swfcdan says:
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            @Grey: Offered Gattis ($4), deGrom ($4) and F Adams ($0) for Goldy ($12, 1 year remaining) so was all for a 1 year rental. But I also wanted just to swap a 2nd round milb pick for a 1st, to replace the one I traded away.

            Anyway it seems he preferred another offer which clearly didn’t look as good to me, but what can ya do about it.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              And what did he accept?

              • Swfcdan says:
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                @Grey: Pandoval ($10) Kluber (2) and Walker (1). I guess Kluber was the main scoop.

                Obviously all these guys have to be extended so +$3 for 1 year, +$6 for 2 or +8 for 3. Anyway im over it, just pees me off when guys get so hasty to accept without listening to all offers. Heck the offseason aint going anywhere fast despite our wishes!

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Yeah, they got a better deal than you were offering…

                • goodfold2 says:
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                  @Swfcdan: sometimes people get worried that the better offer out of 2 that they got so far was so good they had to jump right now, worried the previous kluber owner would trade him to somebody else. Especially if the 4th owner (you are the 1st owner) made some comment like “I’m busy talking to somebody else about kluber as well” or something like that.

                  • Swfcdan says:
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                    @goodfold2: True, true.

  12. Swfcdan says:
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    Oh and just reading that sleeper post, not always sold on them but this time Iam. Michel Saunders on every team next year please fantasy baseball gods.

    What round or dollar value you taking him at next year?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Similar to Brantley last year… Couple of bucks, 200-ish pick

  13. Wake Up says:
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    36th

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      39!

  14. gareth says:
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    His past few moves have looked pretty questionable on paper but I’d be wary of mocking or writing off Billy Beane before we get the full picture of what he’s up to.

    What he’s done in Oakland all those years on a shoestring budget is nothing short of miraculous.

    Dude’s been written off and questioned so many times but the doubters usually end up eating humble pie.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I don’t think he’s been doubted in about 12 years

      • gareth says:
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        @Grey: Some of those A’s blog comments are pretty scathing in relation to Beane and his past few moves. Some talking about not renewing season tickets, giving up on the franchise ect ect.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Probably not a team blog out there that doesn’t hate their respective management… In the grand scheme, Beane’s considered a genius by most… Though maybe the dismantling of his team has taken some shine off…I admittedly haven’t read other site’s comments

          • gareth says:
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            @Grey: it’s tough for a fan base to lose players they become attached to. It seems like the heart of the A’s order last year (Moss, Donaldson & Cespedes) were hugely popular. Same thing goes for guys like Reddick and Doolittle.

            My perspective is that I’ve been on the other side, and it sucks. When the Indians traded off Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, C.C. Sabathia for “a bunch of guys” it was not fun to see that and the whole retooling/rebuilding thing.

            In hindsight though, those trades netted the Indians Carrasco, Masterson and Brantley, so it turned out ok in the end.

            *Sigh.* Small market nessecity. Never get attached!

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yeah, true… Donaldson is hard to justify, but the Red Sox don’t even want Cespedes and I think the A’s fans will be glad they dumped Moss…

            • goodfold2 says:
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              @gareth: what did masterson do for ya? you did get that one STL OF prospect i guess.

    • Swfcdan says:
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      @gareth: True but he is just ripping up their team for fun right now. They lose Donaldson without getting either Sanchez or Norris back, and now Moss for some lousy prospect. Would the Indians have budged on either of Frazier, Ramirez, Lindor you think?

      Anyway good deal for the Tribe, if Kipnis fixes himself you guys could have a really good year in 15 and beyond. You think Kipnis offseason routine was the main cause of his suckitude last year? Trying to beef up and hit more homers, he ended up as a mess (frustrated keeper owner of him lol).

      • gareth says:
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        @Swfcdan: I owned kipnis last year and it hurt like hell. I burned an early pick on him too (how I wish I grabbed Altuve).

        I think he rebounds next year. He’s a gritty Utley/Pedroia type who’s failings last year would have given him the impetus to prove the doubters wrong.

        Truth is he bulked up to hit home runs last year. His body changed too soon and I’m sure the oblique injury was a direct result of this. He came back way too soon to “help” the team and wasn’t right physically or mentally the rest of the year. His power vanished.

        A full offseason to get himself right should do the trick. Expect him to come to spring training less bulky and built more for durability in 2015. Then If he’s using the opposite field with authority in his at bats I’d be genuinely exited.

        • Swfcdan says:
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          @gareth: Yeah I’ve had no luck with the guy at all, traded EE for him (other contract factors involved) midway through the ’13 season and seen nothing but suckitude from him since! But I know theres a ballplayer in there somewhere, and at 2B (and $12) he’s too good to give up on.

          Totally unrelated topic, you got yourself a new cat yet? Im a cat owner too, had these 2 for nearly 3 years now since they were kittens. Fun times. Really recommend you get a younger one if you want another, mine have been so cool I’d forgot cats could be like this.

          • gareth says:
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            @Swfcdan: We have a few cats still. The cat I use as my avatar did not pass away. The kitty who passed away was alot older and had health problems later on in her life. No rush to get a new one at this stage.

            • Swfcdan says:
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              @gareth: Oh right didn’t realise you still had other cats for company. Thats cool then.

              I’m just glad how my cats now don’t spend all day lazing around at their age getting fat, they actually do stuff!

    • Mr. Han's Militant Vegans says:
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      @gareth: Big Oakland fan… moves don’t worry me one bit!

  15. weas says:
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    I saw this headline and thought, “didn’t Michael Saunders already break out last year?” and then i realized I was thinking about Michael Brantley. I get those two guys confused all the time…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Hopefully not too many others will too

  16. Eliezer Vergara says:
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    Hey Grey,

    1.Brantley a sell high candidate in dynasty leagues?
    2. N.Walker, D.Wright and Yelich for Donaldson and Tanaka or Gerrit Cole?
    What do you think?
    Thanks!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      1. What can you get for him? 2. Donaldson and Cole

  17. J-FOH says:
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    Everything gets turned into an Indians discussion. I think the kitty needs his own fan boy blog. He can call it scooping the box.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I think Scooping the Box might be taken with NSFW images

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Grey: doesn’t everything these days sound like a NSFW phrase?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, that’s true… Except that…That didn’t sound very NSFW… BTW, I bought vape this weekend… Rosie Cheeks from Coil Oil…Solid shizz…

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Grey: what does it taste like?

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Now that rings of NSFW!

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Grey: is it really sweet?

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Is that NSFW again? Yeah, it’s fruity, which I like… I also got another one that is Red Licorice, which is what it sounds like…

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: it’s fruity? that sounds NSFW

                    Is the red licorice one called carnage and only comes in 30ml bottles. If so, then it’s the same one I told you about back in August

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Red licorice sounds NSFW… Crap, now everything I say sounds that way… Red Licorice is Tasty Vapor and is in a 15 ML…

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      @J-FOH: try a softer touch with yourself….dah…. NSFW

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: meh, I would try the sinner but the rest look over done by others. I hate when I read descriptions from companies that have no clue about flavor. Calling something savory when it has nothing savory in it makes you look dumb…. The container looks cool

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Meh, description, schmcription…It tastes good…

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: I have no tolerance when people call flavors savory when they have no idea what it means

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      I flavor describing Nazi, eh? Fair enough… I don’t like when people pinch my cheeks without asking first, so I can empathize…

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: noted, and to clarify is that your butt or face cheeks? or is that a blanket thing to include family, wife and dog? I don’t to commit any snafu’s

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      You heard of blank checks? This is blanket cheeks, all day every day!

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: got it. no cheeks of any kind of anyone you may know now or in the future

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Yup, it’s a hard and fast rule…Damn, that sounds NSFW too…

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: I can do that….damn NSFW again!

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      This has gone on longer than I expected… Damn NSFW too!

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: don’t be so hard on yourself…NSFW

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Yeah, sometimes I beat myself up…NSFW

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: that was weird

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      What? Too much?

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: you can never have enough. its buffet life! ….yeah thats a NSFW title

                    J-NSFoW

    • gareth says:
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      @J-FOH: Hey, I mentioned the A’s too!

  18. frankgrimes says:
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    Stupid me said to self
    “you don’t need brantley late in this draft
    you have Bruce rios Harper and trumbo”
    note to self grab Saunders never doubt greys wisdom

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Grimey, is that you?

      • frankgrimes says:
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        @Grey:
        stupid me misspelling me own email!

        • frankgrimes says:
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          @frankgrimes:
          Twice Ha

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Ha, there ya are!

    • KB says:
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      @frankgrimes: I struggle with this too. A lot of the best fantasy producers are OF or 1B so you draft them early… but then a lot of the best sleepers are OF or 1B so you don’t draft them because you’ve already drafted so many OF/1B earlier, especially if you aren’t drafting pitching early. In a keeper I have Springer, Upton, McCutchen and Rizzo. That pretty much only leaves my UTL open for Saunders or Arcia or any other sleeper caliber OF or 1B later in the draft.

      So while I also like Saunders this year, it seems like you’d almost have to make a concerted effort early in the draft to leave a spot where it would still make sense to draft him later.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @KB: also depends on the size of your league. We talk a lot about 5 OF leagues in here, like the RCL.

      • FrankGrimes says:
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        @KB:
        Yup. And in my two main leagues 12 & 15 team the one is a keeper with small bench that I pretty much use for pitching.
        The other its impossible to “wait on” anybody worth anything since
        It’s such a big league. You gotta nail your reaches or use your faab aggressively.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @frankgrimes: same reason i had brantley nowhere (except that team that i had all CLE/DET/MIL players), i had gordon/rios and others in pretty much every league.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @goodfold2: same as abreu, even though he was at top of my draft board for like 3 rounds or more, i already had 2 of fielder/rizzo/goldy/votto etc. i guess i should grab a third 1B before other positions sometimes if the value is good enough and trade later.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, that happened to me with Abreu too

          • goodfold2 says:
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            @Grey: and you had him ranked quite high, same thing happened with rizzo in leagues where i didn’t end up with him. pujols is the other name (one of the 2 1B i did get pretty much everywhere last year). rizzo/abreu at top of draft board for many picks.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yup, Rizzo was one I had high, but I had a 1st baseman by then too

  19. dillon dobies says:
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    ok – the A’s have traded Cespedes, Donadlson, and Moss. Why not – they’re loaded with power with guys like Sogard and Callaspo. How can I get Billyy Beane to join my Scoresheet league so I can trade with him?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha… He’s not going to have anyone to trade to you soon…That’s once he sheds Samardzija…

    • A Wesley Snipes Life says:
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      @dillon dobies: that cespedes trade won’t look too good if lesta walks.

  20. goodfold2 says:
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    you’ve been saying brantley and saunders are almost the same (to the point a few years back where i was surprised brantley wasn’t white, or saunders wasn’t black, whichever guy’s face i saw 2nd) for like 2 or more years now. It would be hella funny if saunders actually had huge breakout season and you were the only pert to be right about the two of them in back to back years. You could give the “what me worry” look and say “hey, they’re the same person”, of course if the one broke out the other one would soon.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Ha, yup! It’s obvious, they’re the same person.

Comments are closed.