There isn't much in the Oakland lineup to be happy about in terms of fantasy value. Josh Willingham is doing what he usually does, hit fastballs out of the park. He has 12 round-trippers as well as 46 RBIs and one DL-stint. Not a startling season, but for a shallow position like left field, Willingham provides plenty of power as well as run production and is likely to be traded to a better offensive team potentially boosting his numbers. Coco Crisp has 27 stolen bases and not much else. Rookie second baseman, Jemile Weeks has a .319 average and 10 steals in just 35 games and is a solid second half waiver wire option. From the offensive side, there isn't much else to look for in the Oakland lineup in 2011.
In 2012 however, there is one player to take a deeper look at come draft day. Third baseman Scott Sizemore is thriving with his new team. Once a Detroit Tigers top prospect as a second baseman, Sizemore is starting everyday and hitting .271 with 4 home runs and 15 RBIs. Sizemore who snapped an 0-for-17 slide on Saturday had been on fire for Oakland and has been a fixture in the heart of their lineup since he came over in a trade from Detroit.
At 26 Sizemore doesn't have much time left, if any, with the prospect label still attached. His best season came in 2009 when he hit .308 with 17 homers, 66 RBIs and stole 21 bases between double-A and triple-A. He got off to a hot start in 2010 at triple-A before being tried out with the big league club, but he flopped when he arrived in Detroit and hit just .224. The story was the same in 2011, he hit .408 in 23 games at triple-A, but managed to hit just .222 with Detroit in 17 games.
Sizemore has plenty of value in deeper leagues this season because of his power/speed combination and potential to hit for a good average, not to mention his dual position eligibility at 2B/3B. The A's don't have anybody in the minor leagues breathing down Sizemore's neck which means he has the starting third base job locked down for the remainder of this season and possibly all of next season. They have even been trying out one of their top infield prospects, Grant Green, at outfield positions to be able to keep Sizemore at third.
But Sizemore will be even more valuable next season as he is likely to bat second or fifth in the Oakland lineup, thus giving him plenty of opportunities to hit. A broken record hasn't repeated itself as many times as the baseball experts have when it comes to Sizemore's expected breakout, but if it is going to happen, 2012 will be the year. Make room for him as one of your sleepers at third base next season.