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We fill out the 2011 fantasy baseball rankings with the last few hitters, the top 10 utility players for 2011 fantasy baseball.  These players are only eligible at DH aka Utility.  Frankly, I don’t think you should draft any of these designated hitters.  They don’t allow enough flexibility.  For example, what if you had Travis Hafner clogging up your Utility spot last year and you really wanted to pick up Jose Bautista?  You would’ve been wretched, retching on all fours to borrow from The Decemberists.  These guys have no position eligibility for fantasy baseball.  As with past rankings posts, this top 10 for 2011 will be broken up into tiers, and their 2011 projections will be included.  Anyway, here’s the top 10 utility players for 2011 fantasy baseball:

1. Adam Lind – This is the first tier.  Lind is the only one in this tier.  I call this tier, “Lind will bounce back, check his eligibility in your league.”  Went over Lind’s projections in the top 20 1st basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball.  (Note: Has 11 games at 1st base and 16 games in the outfield.)

2. Vladimir Guerrero – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Ortiz.  I call this tier, “These guys will tempt you to draft them.  Don’t.  Okay, draft Vlad if he has outfield eligibility in your league.”  Went over Vlad’s projections in the top 40 outfielders for 2011 fantasy baseball.  (Note: He only has 19 games in the outfield.)

3. David Ortiz – Big Popup’s HR/FB% went from 17.2% in 2007 to 14.8% in 2008 to 13.4% in 2009 to 19.0% in 2010, which was actually near his career norm.  So that means at 34 years old, Ortiz stopped the career slide and reverted back to his old ways or it means he had one last good year and will go back to the career slide this year.  I’m guessing on the latter.  2011 Projections:  80/27/100/.255

4. Luke Scott – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Matsui.  I call this tier, “Don’t draft these guys under any circumstances.”  I don’t mind picking Scott off of waivers when he’s on one of his hot streaks.  If you draft him and keep him on your team, you probably autodrafted.  You’re also not reading this so I can say whatever I want.  I was the one who used your Seven Samurai Criterion Collection DVD as a coaster.  That’s for not even knowing Kurosawa until the Barenaked Ladies mentioned him in one of their songs.  Scott’s projections are in the top 80 outfielders for 2011 fantasy baseball. (Note: Scott has 19 games at 1st base and 14 games in the outfield.)

5. Hideki Matsui – I worry about you and your fantasy baseball team if you even consider drafting Matsui.  If he’s on the board and you’re considering drafting him, go for an upside pick.  2011 Projections:  50/18/70/.270  (Note:  Matsui has 18 games in the outfield.)

6. Jim Thome – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until the end of the list.  I call this tier, “Now would be a good time for the AL to revert back to the pitcher hitting.”  People convince themselves Thome is a good bet on draft day.  “Hey, he hits 25 homers!  That’s better than a flyer on some guy who I’m not even sure is getting playing time.”  That’s you.  And that’s incorrect logic.  If, say, Reid Brignac is not getting playing time when you draft and Thome is, you’re still better with Brignac because when it’s the day before the season starts and Brignac is suddenly the starter, guess whose value shoots up?  Thome’s value never goes anywhere.  Ever.  It’s like this, do you buy a penny stock of Atari hoping they regain their past glory even though they haven’t done anything new in 20 years and their factory is three Chinese men passing around a porn magazine or do you buy a penny stock of a hot shot new company that may or may not burst onto scene?  Go with the hot shot.  2011 Projections:  50/22/60/.255

7. Jack Cust – Another Atari.  Cust kayin’.  2011 Projections:  60/20/70/.235

8. Travis Hafner – More like ColecoVision.  2011 Projections:  45/15/55/.265

9. Dan Johnson – I could see telling people to pick Johnson off waivers during the season, but unless he has 1st base eligibility in your league (14 games) and your league is an AL-Only league, there’s no reason to draft him.  2011 Projections:  60/15/70/.245

10. Jake Fox – I almost put Nick Johnson here, but I was afraid if I ranked Johnson, he would read it, get excited and throw out his back.  As for Jake, I still have the “Unathletic like a Fox!” t-shirts.  As soon as he hits, they hit the market.  2011 Projections:  30/10/40/.245

  1. Howard says:

    @Grey 12 team 5×5 roto keeper 32 roster spots:
    C Napoli
    1B Howard
    2B EYJ
    3B Longoria
    SS A Cab
    OF J Up
    OF Krispie
    OF Werth
    OF Bruce
    CI Bautista
    MI Rayburn
    DH Berkman
    UT Lawrie
    SP Lester
    SP Greinke
    SP Mad Bum
    SP D Hudson
    SP Jo Lease
    RP Broxton
    RP Nunez

    I didn’t actually draft Bautista but picked him off waivers and I may have waited too long to take a closer. Still 12 rounds to go. Where do I need the most improvement granted that in the 20th + is getting to flier territory. Thanks and love the Decemberists reference!

  2. JoeC says:

    @Howard: MI, in my opinion, because EYjr isn’t guaranteed very many at-bats because of Lopez, Jose and because he can’t hit (doof!).

    You need BA help too. Does anyone on your team hit .300?

    Another solid starter would be good too. Someone who you know is gonna get his 180 IP (think Lackey or Arroyo). Your staff is 2nd-year-pitcher heavy.

  3. Ned Shakeshaft says:

    AL-only auction types: it’s never a great idea to go out of your way to fill the DH-Util slot early, and it’s especially true this year. You’ll get an awful lot for a buck late in the auction. Cust kayin’.

  4. Mike says:

    Just about spit out my Frosted Flakes this morning at, “More like ColecoVision”. Long time listener, first time caller. Great stuff Grey.

  5. Mets fan says:

    Grey you wouldn’t draft Lind at all if he’s only dh elgible? The reason is my league is done on espn and he’s been going crazy late like 14-15 rd would he Be worth drafting that late regardless?

  6. boomer19 says:

    Hi Grey. First time poster. I just got back into fantasy ocd mode and made a trade that I’m getting ripped on for. I dealt Tulo and Crawford for Miggy and Holiday. I thought I did ok. Am I just looking through rose/grey colored glasses? (Sorry not a dh post but this list makes me sleepy…)

  7. Josh says:

    Grey, I was just reading that it sounds like Borbon is Texas’ every day center fielder this year, although I’m sure he gets bumped occasionally for Murphy to play in Left and Hamilton to slide back to center. Either way, he’s a guy that climbed draft boards last year and didn’t deliver, but has a full season of experience and great speed. He’s gotta have a better year than last year right?

  8. Rabbit says:

    How did you even find 10 guys for this list? These guys make me year for the Top Catchers post. Well, not really.

  9. Rabbit says:

    That’s “yearn”. I meant to say “yearn.” Or “crave.” Or maybe “pine.” But not “year.” Stupid typing fingers.

  10. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Howard: Agree with everything JoeC said.

    @Ned Shakeshaft: Hehe

    @Mike: Thanks!

    @Mets fan: 15th round in what? 12 team league? I might take him that late, depending on how my team is built.

    @boomer19: You did fine, don’t mind the trade. Who’s ripping you? A Rockies fan? Red Sox fan? Rockies/Red Sox fan — A Rox Sox?

    @Josh: Yeah, he’ll get some press from me if he’s the starter.

  11. RandomItalicizedVoice says:


    I don’t see anything wrong with that trade. Certainly nothing to “rip” on.

  12. Kwaz says:

    How do you feel about Thome in a 12 team mixed league w/deep starting rosters and 6 bench spots? Toying w/the idea of drafting him and only starting him when his team is vs RHP (assuming he lands somewhere)

  13. Wilsonian says:

    @boomer19: naw man, I agree with Grey and Random. I think that’s pretty fair. Miggy could be the best overall player in the fantasy world and Holliday and Tulo’s numbers are comparable. Tulo might be slightly more valuable because of his position, but he won’t be the August/September Tulo of last year all year in 2011.

  14. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Kwaz: He’s already landed somewhere. I wouldn’t draft Thome anywhere.

  15. With the Super Bowl coming this Sunday, we only have to wait a week until the sports networks shift focus of their off-season coverage on the 2011…

    NFL Draft. :-\ Baseball gets no love on ESPN, but here it gets gang raped! Anyway, three orders of business.

    First off, I’m not dead. In fact, I’ve been writing movie reviews and ramblings for the pop culture website, KitchenSnark along with a gentleman you may all be familiar with, Rudy Gamble. I’ll be starting to come back here regularly now that daddy needs his baseball fix.

    Second, I’m sure I’m way behind on this, but I thought I’d mention a TV show called The League. It’s a comedy about a group of friends who are in a fantasy football league together and their lives. I think it airs on FX… not sure. Anyway, I acquired Season One this past weekend and sat down with my wife to watch a couple episodes and we ended up watching the entire season in one sitting. She’s then squeezed as many episodes of Season Two into each of the past two nights. It’s hilarious, even if you don’t play fantasy sports (like my wife).

    Finally, transitioning seamlessly from a show about fantasy football, I have a question about fantasy football. I do not partake, nor do I even watch the actual games. However, I have a bunch of friends who are in a competitive league and pre-season, during a night of too many drinks, I made a claim (based on no knowledge whatsoever) that Mark Sanchez would be in the top 15 QBs come the end of the season, and about a half dozen of my friends took that gentleman’s bet. Just wondering if, when I see them next and I open my mouth, will it be filled with crow or can it spew appalling epithets directed at my friends, as well as their wives and children. Anyone know?

  16. Smokey

    Smokey says:

    A sign of the baseball apocalypse in Baltimore, Josh Bell was working out in the offseason with, wait for it , Brady Anderson. Check back in three days to find that Bell has been suspended 50 games for PED’s

  17. @Grey: Yeah, but they use strange words over there like “kicker” and “defense”… it scares me! Seriously though, I looked around but have no idea where to find end of season rankings. I was hoping someone here might just… know.

  18. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Smokey: That’s hilarious.

    @Awesomus Maximus: I didn’t watch any football this year and Mark Sanchez sounds like a Latin fusion chef. Or a guy I might’ve went to high school with.

  19. Wilsonian says:

    I, for one, LOVE football. Doc was probably pretty sick of me by season’s end. But I hate that ESPN pretty much passes baseball by. This is my true allegiance and one true love, and it hurts me so that “the Network” would rather show Mel friggin’ Kiper and his terrible mop on his head talking about where he thinks some guy will get drafted. Why do people care? He’s NEVER right, it’s like the dude just throws darts at a board, and you know the best way to find out where someone is drafted? Huh? Anyone? Oh, it’s when the draft actually friggin’ happens…

    *End rant*

  20. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Wilsonian: Yeah, I sorta despise football because of the focus it takes away from baseball. But chocolate and vanilla, I suppose.

  21. Wilsonian says:

    @Grey: unfortunately, football has become the mecca of bringing in the money when it comes to sports in the U.S., which still sucks for the publicity of baseball, but thank God it wasn’t FUTBOL that took over the money maker status. The infestation of Vu Vu Zelas could lead to unimaginable proportions and have serious ramifications.

  22. Nick Johnson just saw his name in your post and strained one of his eyeballs. It will be a week to 10 days before he’ll be able to resume baseball activities.

  23. Jay says:

    @Grey: So, would you say these DH guys (especially #4 -#9) are, instead of being worth draft picks, better suited to filling in your UTIL spot(s) when all the upside picks don’t pan out?

    I mean, I think a lot of these guys can make positive contributions to my team, but I guess it’s better to use that last auction dollar on, say, Justin Smoak, because if he hits 4 HRs in the first week, he’d cost $30 FAAB. If someone like Luke Scott does the same, maybe he only costs $5 FAAB to add.

    But I’d still drop around $5 in the auction to get Lind, Ortiz, or Vlad.

  24. Howard says:

    @JoeC @Grey Thanks, I get the point. Maybe too late to draft %#& Ichiro. Just kidding! Will work on your suggestions.

  25. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Wilsonian: True

    @[email protected]: Ha!

    @Jay: I’d drop $5 for Lind or Vlad too, assuming the latter ends up somewhere. You are better with a $1 Smoak though for your reasons mentioned.

    @Howard: No problem.

  26. Yep, I said it! says:

    @Grey: is Raburn starting in LF this year? His trade value in one of my leagues (where he’s 2B eligible) has bottomed out ever since Boesch got listed ahead of him in depth charts at other sites. Is he going to get enough ABs to be a draftable sleeper this year in 1-year leagues? Cheers!

  27. wilsoniam says:

    anyone have a good reference guide on what values should be tied to guys in an auction/strategies for an auction draft?

    we have a keeper league, and its always been a snake draft, but now we are going to auction style…ive not done one before…

  28. Swagger Jackers says:

    @Grey: That’s funny that you hate football because it takes attention away from baseball. With that logic, you hate everything in the universe that doesn’t positively impact baseball in some way. Do you own stock in sunflower seeds?

  29. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Yep, I said it!: He’s getting enough ABs to own if he’s 2nd base eligible. I don’t even know if Leyland knows who’s starting for them. We’ll know more during spring training.

    @wilsoniam: We’ll have auction values soon.

    @Swagger Jackers: No, just football.

  30. Dom says:

    @wilsoniam: my league did the same transition a few years back. We simply dumped all the keepers and started new. It worked out well for us, finally had a chance to go after some players other teams had locked up. Plus we couldn’t find any other way that everyone would agree to

  31. Swagger Jackers says:

    @Grey: Just so you know, stock for ConAgra Foods (the makers of David Sunflower seeds) is on the rise… Cust Kayin.

  32. @Wilsonian: @Grey: It bothers me simply that the NFL gets year round coverage, regardless of what it takes away from; t’s annoying. It’s like if The Weather Channel had programming about the possible snowfall in the coming winter during their July broadcasts, complete with Flack Strom and his sleeper pick for the top ten cities by total accumulation.

  33. Jay says:

    @wilsoniam: Hey wilsoniam, if you do an auction with keepers, make sure you calculate inflation. If a lot of good players are kept for low prices, it may make sense for you to spend upwards of $60 for Pujols. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Matthew Berry and several other fantasy columnists discuss it every spring.

  34. Actually, I shouldn’t limit it to just the NFL. The coverage spreads into NCAA and I think I actually saw an ad for a show that will cover what colleges top high school football prospects will be going to (no joke, I’m completely serious).

  35. Salty Balty says:

    Do your thoughts chage regarding Ortiz and Scott in a league that uses OBP and SLG?

  36. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Swagger Jackers: I bought a food stock once — Boston Market — and I vowed never to buy a stock on an empty stomach again.

    @Awesomus Maximus: Eh, I more don’t like it takes away from baseball during pennant chases and playoffs, but I’m more indifferent the rest of the football season.

    @Salty Balty: And you’re playing them at UTIL? Not really, maybe bump them up a round or two. You’re still killing your flexibility.

  37. yo-yo says:

    Is Thome worth a $2 keeper in daily transactions league? I’d only plan on starting him vs. right-handed pitching.

  38. nmdunkel says:

    I just can’t believe you dropped an Atari reference in a Thome paragraph. I mean, I know he played back when Matt Williams was a stud an all…but COLD, bro!

  39. Grey

    Grey says:

    @yo-yo: Don’t know your options, but more than likely I wouldn’t keep him.

    @nmdunkel: Matt Williams – nice.


  40. nmdunkel says:

    @ Awesomus Maximus/#16

    I’m sure I’m way behind on this, but I thought I’d mention a show called Friends. It’s a comedy about a group of friends who are in a fantasy world together and their lives.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. Was wondering why you hadn’t commented in awhile, although I sort of only realized it after you said so.

  41. Up in this Mug says:

    @Grey: @Awesomus Maximus: Totally agree on this. I couldnt get the NLCS on any of the fifty HDTV’s at my local sports bar when the game was on a saturday. College footbal?!? We are talking about the NLCS here!

    Denver doesnt really have baseball fans.

    I saw Tulo at PF Changs the other night though, that was cool. Sitting with Fowler and Giambi. Giambi is friggin’ huge, made Tulo look like a Goonie.

  42. Salty Balty says:

    My league has 2 UTIL spots . . .

    14 teams, 5 keepers per team, in a 9×9 (AVG, OBP, SLG, K, R, H, RBI, HR, SB). Power gets pretty scarce and I don’t have a premier 1B. I was giving some thought to drafting Scott and platooning him at 1B (he qualifies in my league and its daily moves), perhaps with someone like Moreland.

    Thanks in advance. Love your blog.

  43. ThE sHiT says:

    @Grey: Good morning Grey! Im getting so fired up for the season already. Your posts have been superb thus far. Keep up the great work. BTW, thanks for adding me on Facebook, I now am your first friend, when listed alphabetically.

  44. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Up in this Mug: A Goonie — that’s awesome.

    @Salty Balty: No problem. Thanks!

    @ThE sHiT: Good morning! Thanks for the kind words!


  45. Pete says:

    Nice “Unathletic like a Fox” that’s why he can play five positions. How about a new T, Grey = Moron

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