Spring air, the smell of a hot dogs, a men who yells, "Cold beer here! $15 (haha)" What does this mean? That's right, baseball season is around the corner - it's here! And that means time to get your fantasy rosters lined up to prepare for what's ahead. So in order to get you ready for the 2012 MLB fantasy baseball season, here are some tips and tricks of the trade to give you the ultimate fantasy baseball cheatsheat.
For those of you in keeper leagues, these are players to target now who should produce now and into the future.
Scott Rolen, CIN, 3B: Sure, go ahead. Write him off as the "injured man." But Scott Rolen is here, and he is here to stay. The 36-year-old righ-hander has the same birthday as me. He turns 37 on April 4th, and I expect his better days to come. Over the last 3 seasons alone, he's hit 3, 20, and 5 HRs respectively. With his combination of power, glovemanship, and speed (3 stolen bases vs. 4 caught stealing over the last 3 seasons combined) - you have yourself a mid-to-top tier keeper at the "hot corner."
Clint Barmes, PIT, SS/2B: Now hold your horses, you are saying, "The man from the Rockies?" Not so fast, cowboy. This is the man now on the Pirates. B-aaarrrr-mes (Pirate voice). You know he can run (3 SBs last year) and you know he can get on base (career .302 OBP), but did you know he can hit for average too? That's right: Clint Barmes is a career .252 hitter, and has hit for a lower average than that over the last 3 seasons. Isn't that a bad thing? Not when you consider the change of scenery. The move to Pittsburgh should kickstart Barme's career and remind him of better days.
These are undervalued players whom you might be able to nab in the later rounds of your fun fantasy draft with friends.
Albert Pujols, ANA, 1B: Who? I thought he retired from the Cardinals? Exactly - that is what people will think. But the big slugger just moved to the AL where he will play bat for the Anaheim Angels. Pujol's stock is dropping faster than Kim Kardashian's pants when she sees an NBA player (topical). Just by looking at his numbers, you see he's on the decline. Last year he had a career lows in BA (.299) and OPS (.906). Those sloppy numbers along with his ever-increasing age (32) will scare many fantasy owners off. But don't be fooled - this kid can hit. So grab him and nab him and stash him on your bench as a possible back up 1B or utility player.
Brian Fuentes, OAK, RP: The first "pitcher" to make this list, Brian Fuentes is poised to have a monster year. Coming off of a season where he averaged almost a 2K:1BB ratio, Fuentes has the opportunity to close for the Oakland Athletics (Moneyball). In short, look to steal Fuentes in the 3rd or 4th round of your draft.
As is the tradition in the John Haskell Fantasy Baseball Roundups, we'll take a look at the "peeper." The peeper is the player who would look the most attractive if he was a woman.
Jimmy Rollins, PHI, SS: Although I think Ian Stewart is one of the most sexy men in the league, Jimmy Rollins would look the prettiest as a woman. I'm sure that Seth Reiss will agree with me partly because he's mentioned to me at least twice that he suffers from "jungle fever." But Rollins has a cute little gap in his teeth and a small stature, making him unique, compact, and just a little bit different than your normal girl -- and that is what makes him the 2012 peeper.
Thank you for reading, everyone, and good luck in your respective fantasy baseball leagues! Play ball!