After 56 years without a World Series title, the San Francisco Giants pulled together one of the most magical seasons in baseball history. Led by Bruce Bochy’s Dirty Dozen the Giants literally did the impossible by not only winning the NL West, but also making their way through the National League powerhouses, and winning it all against a formidable Texas Rangers ball club.
And during the 2010 season, fantasy owners were showered with options right out of the gate—mostly pitching—in an effort to help them dominate their league.
But it was during the postseason that we all became habituated with some unexpected players that showed flashes of fantasy brilliance.
Now, as we approach the 2011 fantasy baseball season, many people are wondering if some of these players can pick up where they left off, and afford their team a hot commodity steeped in value.
Let’s take a closer look at the San Francisco treats.
Impact Players (Hitters):
- 1. Buster Posey, Catcher: The youngster came out of the gate swinging…literally. In only 108 games, Posey cemented his mark in fantasy hitting an impressive .305, with 16 HR and 67 RBI. In the 2011 fantasy baseball season, owners should be viewing this kid as a top draft pick at the backstop. Keep in mind two things, though:
1. Bochy has already said that Buster Posey will not play first base…so he is likely to lose his eligibility.
2. Bochy also has stated that Posey will play about 135 games this year, making his already impressive 2011 projections very tasty.
2. Andres Torres, OF: Torres is an interesting character in the sense that we really don’t know what’s going to come out of him in 2011. Torres could conceivably build on his career 2010 stat line (.252/.320/.431 16 HR, 26 SB), but he could also wind up flattening out.I believe the kid will keep right on course with where he was in 2010, but the real value is in his ADP at 288.88. Savvy managers will collect various ADP results and find the middle ground for a specific player, and with Torres, 288 is about right for a guy who was a Top 40 fantasy OF last year….bet ya didn’t know that, did ya?
- 3. Cody Ross, OF:Talk about a postseason run!!! Cody Ross came alive in the Giants march to the title, hitting .294 with five homers despite being no better than average during the regular season. Cody Ross is a guy who will give you about 20 HRs this year, 10+ SB and around 80 RBI, and could even be considered a borderline sleeper.
For where his ADP falls (392.06) and other options in front of him that aren’t as tasty, (Seth Smith, Chris Coughlin, Fred Lewis..really?) Ross comes along with tremendous value in the back end of your draft.
If he’s available that far in to your 2011 fantasy baseball draft, I strongly suggest scooping him up.
The Pitching Staff: The following is a preliminary look at the projected lineup and what you could expect.
|1. Tim Lincecum: Old Timmy still remains one of the best SP in the league. I think you all know that.|
|2. Matt Cain: Cain is quietly solidifying his place as a top notch fantasy option at SP, just like Mr. Lincecum…so if you miss out on the first kid, you can always grab Cain. Matt Cain is 27-19 with a 3.02 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP over the past two years, and while he won’t throw quite as many strikes as Lincecum, he is still just as reliable for a far cheaper price (88.73 ADP).|
|3. Jonathan Sanchez: Sanchez is a pretty well rounded pitcher out of San Fran who has improved upon his ERA, WHIP, and strike count each of the past three years. But Sanchez has also walked a ton of batters (4.6 career) and has seen his pop-up rate increase as well, which suggests several suspicions ranging from a temporary peak, to being a wolf in sheep's clothing. I would exercise caution in where you draft him. He’s no better than a nice SP4 option in my opinion.|
|4. Madison Bumgarner: Bumgarner had a pretty good debut in 2010 going 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA, but he also had some trouble putting guys on base (2.1 BB/9) which is cause for concern. Bumgarner did provide a nice 7.0 K/9 rate despite only racking up 86 whiffs in 18 games started. Still, he’s a nice later round pickup.|
|5. Barry Zito: Zito is nothing special to look at, even in NL only formats. Zito has seen a decline in his strike totals the past two years, hasn’t had a winning season in four, and with a 6.8 K/9 rate accompanied with an inflated 3.7 BB/9 rate, you’d be better to pass for other options.|
Potential Sleeper, Cody Ross – OF: It’s hard to imagine Cody Ross making a big splash in this year’s fantasy season, I know.
But the value of the player can often become the X-factor that helps separate you from the competition, which is the type of player Cody Ross shows himself to be:
- In auction drafts: 5 bucks average.
- In most league formats: 21st-22nd rounder.
- 5x5 rank roughly 260.
- Average projected ownership/started percentage: 35/18.
When you compare his price and ranking to his 162 game avg over his career, his value begins to surface and take shape:
Not bad at all for a guy who will be grabbed in the back-end of the draft. And keep in mind—for all you newbies—grabbing an extra outfielder who has both good fantasy peripherals and good draft value goes a long way for your team over the course of 162 games.
Ross is also in his contract year, and at only 30, the guy is going to have to put some sort of real value on his head if he is to continue to work in the bigs next season.
Another thing to consider is that Bruce Bochy has basically said that Ross will bat eighth in the lineup which is particularly good for him, since that’s where he did most of his damage in his career.
The perfect spot in the lineup for him, a quality guy who can give you 20+ HRs and even 10 SB each year, a low end fantasy draft grab, and a player who wants to build upon his breakout performance in the 2010 postseason.
Yup, he’ll be a sleeper in 2011.
Pablo Sandoval was told to either drop some weight, or be sent to the minors…so he dropped 40 freaking pounds, and he'll be an interesting player to think about if you enjoy having multiple guys at the hot corner on your team.
And do not forget about The Beard and Company....seriously click the link because it's funny stuff.
San Francisco’s bullpen is one of the best in the National League with Brian Wilson (the best closer in the game right now IMO) Jeremy Affeldt, and Sergio Romo leading the way.
The other player I want to mention is rookie Brandon Belt.
This is a guy who will not find his way on the Giants roster by opening day, but he will get a chance to play this season, and I would strongly suggest you give him a look in your draft, especially those of you in deeper leagues and keeper leagues.
For a full write up on him please read Brandon Belt, Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch.