What a season! In some ways, the 2012 season seemed too
short as it does not feel it has been nine months since the Fantasy Sports
Trade Association Experts draft in Las Vegas. Other days when the team is not
performing up to expectation, it feels like I have been managing these players
Most leagues have just a few days left as the regular season wraps up on Wednesday.
I have enjoyed writing each week (some weeks more than others depending on my
team’s performance) to keep those following the Sharks team up to date. Let’s
take a look at some of my best picks of the season as well as those I wish I
could have back. How will these players rank in 2013?
– Slow start, then
Bautista began swinging a hot stick. Unfortunately, he injured his wrist after
the All-Star break. After a brief return, he re-aggravated the injury. thus
ending his season. Without injury, he likely would have hit 40 or so home runs
with an average around .250. In 2013, Bautista will no longer possess third
base eligibility, which will remove him from his status as first-round pick. Will
he be viewed as another Adam Dunn?
Chris Young – After an impressive 2011, Young shot out of the gate in
the preseason and April. Unfortunately, nearly one-third of his production came
in the first three weeks of the season as Young never returned to full-time
status after a shoulder injury. There are rumors that Young will no longer be an
Arizona Diamondback next season. With 20 home run, 20 stolen base potential, he
is still a potential sleeper next year if he falls too far.
Nelson Cruz – The hesitance for drafting Cruz has been the fear of injury.
Therefore, wouldn’t Cruz owners be thrilled that he has played nearly every
game this season? Unfortunately, he has only managed 24 home runs, 94
runs batted in, and eight stolen bases, while batting .262. Cruz fell considerably
below his projections and may be a question mark for next year.
Roy Halladay – Halladay has been one of the most consistence aces
in the last decade. Whether his performance can be blamed on age or rust from
injury, Halladay finally began to show weakness. He will finish the season with
the second-highest earned run average and walks-plus-hits-per-inning-pitched of
his career. Injuries and a slow start seemed to plague Philadelphia in 2012. Halladay
will fall on draft boards next year, but don’t underestimate his ability to
make a full rebound.
Rickie Weeks – Weeks struggled early on, but gradually made significant
improvements. He hit 12 home runs with nine stolen bases and a .261 average
after the All-Star Break. Although it was “too little too late” for most
owners, some picked him up off waivers to enjoy a solid second half. At second
base, Weeks still has a high ceiling with 20 home run, 20 stolen base potential
Derek Jeter – Even some hardcore New York Yankee fans were ready
to hand the Yankee captain a walker instead of a glove this season. Instead,
Jeter rebounded from last season’s campaign and will finish with around 100
runs, 15 home runs and nine steals. If Jeter can swipe a bag in the next two
games, he will return to his elite form of double-digit home runs, steals, and
a batting average well above .300. He is ranked second overall at shortstop in
most leagues, ahead of names including Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Jose
Reyes and Elvis Andrus, who were likely drafted a few rounds ahead of him.
Joe Mauer – Mauer is another consistent veteran that received a bulk of
skepticism from analysts before the season. The former MVP was able to remain
healthy for most of 2012 and should finish as second ranked at his position. Carlos
Santana, Mike Napoli and Brian McCann were just a handful of names that owned a
higher average draft position. Mauer was just one of several catchers that completely
outperformed their pre-draft rankings, including Yadier Molina, A.J. Pierzynski
and Wilin Rosario. It will be a mystery to see how backstops are ranked next
year, but expect Buster Posey to hold the top spot with Mauer somewhere in the
Ian Desmond – In his third full season, Desmond did not just take a
positive step, but rather a leap. In his first two big league seasons, Desmond
hit 18 home runs. In 2012, he hit more than both seasons combined, with 25 home
runs, along with 21 stolen bases and an average just below .300. With the Washington
Nationals improving each season, look for Desmond to continue to flourish.
Alfonso Soriano – It was not that many years ago that Soriano was a
first-round pick. Although age has caught up to him, he is still a very
productive fantasy baseball contributor. Drafted in the 22nd round, Soriano
provided the Sharks’ team with generous output of 32 home runs, 108 runs batted
in, and a solid .263 average. He was the most consistent bat for the Chicago Cubs.
Soriano will certainly get forgotten again next year and may not repeat his
2012 line, but don’t completely count him out yet.
Jim Johnson – With literally two closers left on the board, I chose Johnson.
With only limited closing experience, I optimistically wished for 20 saves and
would count on Joakim Soria and Andrew Bailey for the bulk of production in
this category. Soria was lost to injury before the season, and Bailey was also
sidelined nearly all year. Johnson did not just perform well, he led all of
baseball with 50 saves in 53 opportunities with an earned run average of 2.53. The
Baltimore closer was one of the biggest sleepers of the season. He should be considered
a Top 10 closer in 2013.
Good luck over the final two days of the season!