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Mid/Late-Round Draft Help-Hitters

We welcome Scott Martin to the front page, better known as ‘marty1841’ and
owner of over 10,000 posts on our message board. 

As the baseball season is closing in, more and more leagues are getting closer to their draft date. We’re beginning to get a better understanding of who may be winning some of the positional battles in many places, and injuries are putting other stars on the sidelines. As you prepare for your draft, remember that you can still find some significant help in the latter rounds of a draft. Owners who drafted Cliff Lee or Carlos Quentin in deeper leagues last year were richly rewarded for it. Here’s one player at each position that can significantly help your roto team this year:

Shin-Soo Choo, OF (CLE)

While you might not be able to get Choo as late as you may have snagged Quentin last year, he can certainly be had in the latter part of your draft. His numbers may not jump off the page, but if you take a closer look, you’ll see how helpful he can be on your rotisserie team. In a mere 317 AB, he hit .309/14/66 while scoring 68 runs and stealing four bases. There’s no doubt in my mind that those are high-end numbers for him, but they could still translate to a nice turnover in the middle-to-late rounds. The numbers he’s put up in the minor leagues suggest that you should see a boost in his stolen base totals (he’s had 40 in AA and 26 in AAA) translate to closer to 20. In short, you can have yourself a relatively cheap 20/20 player, with solid five-category production. Think of him as a cheap version of Bobby Abreu. So, as your league mates are grasping at straws and banking on Jeff Francoeur, take a shot on Choo and the statistical goodness he can provide you.

Mike Fontenot, 2B (CHC)

Anyone who can get you 15 HR at 2B is a plus. Anyone who you can draft in the last few rounds in your league as a backup 2B who can get you 15+ HR is a 2B is someone you certainly would like to have on your team. As others are loading their rosters with average-killer Dan Uggla, with perennial-bust Rickie Weeks, and overpaying for Mark DeRosa, savvy owners can still reap the benefits of getting a solid 2B late in the draft. Fontenot may have to look over his shoulder for a while, as Aaron Miles was given a decent contract this offseason. However, Fontenot has routinely produced solid numbers at the minor league level, and he translates into a nice middle infielder option. Again, the numbers are not particularly flashy, but he can contribute for you, and he may be a player who may hit .290/15/55 in a nice Cubs lineup. Don’t count on him as your sole 2B, but he could be a solid contributor late. He’s especially valuable late in NL only leagues.

Kendry Morales, 1B/OF (LAA)

Late draft pick. Great average possibilities. Multi-category availability. Morales can do a lot for your squad. He appears to have a stranglehold on the 1B job in

Anaheim, though he may not have that positional eligibility yet for you, as he only played six games at 1B last year. Morales has continually hit for a fantastically high batting average in the minors, but possesses about as much speed as Bengie Molina.  Morales’ power numbers won’t jump out at you, but there is hope that he can be a decent power threat, though it’s very doubtful that he can put up 30+ HR, in my opinion. Think of him along the same lines of James Loney, and you can routinely get him much later in the draft. In fact, in many shallower leagues he’s not being drafted at all. Take a late flier on him, since the job is his to lose. If he starts off fast and you don’t draft him, he’ll be plucked of the waiver wire quickly.

Mark Reynolds, 3B (ARZ)

Reynolds is Steve Balboni reincarnate. He set a MLB record last year, having struck out an unbelievable 204 times. He vows to cut down on that this year, but I’m not buying it. His track record in the minors is a strikeout at about 25% of the time, so he translates to striking out to roughly 150 times yearly, which is still a ton. Still, the power potential he can help you with is undeniable. Anyone who can get you 30/100 should be on your roster, somewhere. However, he won’t be winning any batting titles in his career. That being said, as a player who you can draft with confidence as your backup 3B or corner infielder in deeper leagues, you can certainly do this with confidence.

Felipe Lopez, 2B/SS/3B/OF (ARZ)

It pains me to recommend this guy, as he’s burned me in the past. After showing he was bound to be a 20/20 contributor in 2005, I kept him in a shallow keeper league.  At bats rose the next year, and the power numbers were cut by more than half. He stole 44 bags that year, so even with less power, he had value. Then, in his first full year in

Washington, Lopez proceeded to break his owners’ hearts. His numbers were horrible, as speed, power and average all declined. Average increased again after he was signed by the Cardinals after being released by the Nationals. I vowed never to draft him again. But now he’s in

Arizona and has a lot of young talent around him.  Temper your expectations with Lopez, but as a late round pick, he can be a steal.  He can be had in the very latter rounds of shallow leagues, and the mid-late rounds of deeper leagues. He’s a great pick as a MI, and a solid backup player in even shallower leagues. The position eligibility that he acquired last year will be a huge asset as well, as he should be eligible at 2B/SS/3B/OF. I’ll be rolling the dice with him, but this time anything he can add is a huge plus.

Others to watch for:

Felix Pie, OF (BAL)

Adam Jones, OF (BAL)

Gordon Beckham, 2B (CHW)

Josh Fields, 3B (CHW)

Andy Laroche, 3B (PIT)

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