As drafting season is upon us, we all reach that point in the draft where we take a chance on value players. Those are the players who you can have in the later rounds but put up numbers comparable to guys taken in rounds 1-5. Think about it, last year Carlos Gomez was going in rounds 10-13 and if you pulled the trigger you would have gotten stats comparable to guys going in the second or third round. I tend to lean towards the younger guys with at least a full season in the majors under their belt because I enjoy chasing the breakout season at a low price. In the earlier rounds, I’ll draft the big names who I know are more reliable and can carry my team. While there are seemingly infinite buy low options in the outfield, that isn’t the case everywhere. Here is a value sleeper at each position for you to take a flier on.
Catcher: Devin Mesoraco – Cincinnati Reds
Mesoraco was a well known prospect in 2011 and has increased his power over the past couple of years. Now that Ryan Hannigan has departed Mesoraco is the unquestioned starter. He has good gap power and projected to be similar to Billy Butler when he first came up. In a good lineup like the Reds have he has potential for a breakout season in 2014.
Projections: Avg: .260, R: 60, HR: 15, RBI: 65, SB: 3
First Base: Ike Davis – New York Mets
Davis is facing a make or break season and while he has good power and potential for a good average, he must overcome the notorious slow start. Davis is in an improved lineup this season so I think that will help him a bit. Then couple that with the fact that he isn’t battling an injured oblique like last season, he can be a low cost source of power.
Projections: Avg: .245, R: 76, HR: 24, RBI: 65, SB: 5
Second Base: Anthony Rendon – Washington Nationals
Rendon should win the second base job in spring training, unless he plays awful or Danny Espinosa shines. That uncertainty diminishes his value somewhat, but that’s why he is in the value bin. He has very quick hands which let him use the entire field and if all things break right he can have a Matt Carpenter like breakout. Don’t expect too many homeruns but average should be solid.
Projections: Avg: .285, R: 55, HR: 14, RBI: 60, SB: 10
Third Base: Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies
After a disappointing rookie season Arenado has a lot to live up to, but I have a lot of confidence in him to have a breakout season. Arenado has good gap power and has a habit of driving in runs through his minor league career. His glove is good enough to stay at third base so the value here could be monstrous.
Projections: Avg: .280, R: 75, HR: 20, RBI: 75, SB: 5
Shortstop: Jimmy Rollins – Philadelphia Phillies
Rollins is a player who is in slow decline, but still has value to help in multiple categories. Also, last season’s statistics have gotten into enough people’s head so he will fall far in the draft. I think he was a big victim of being the only bat in the lineup. When healthy, the Phillies lineup has the potential rack up runs. A big if, but if Utley, Howard, Ruiz, and Brown are healthy he should find his way closer to 2012 Rollins than 2013 Rollins.
Projections: Avg: .255, R: 65, HR: 14, RBI: 62, SB: 22
Outfield: Chris Young – New York Mets
Young will probably be available when your last roster spot needs to be filled and he may be exactly what you need. He will not hit 30 homeruns in Citi Field, but 20 homeruns and 20 stolen bases is totally realistic. He will hurt you when it comes to batting average, but he should be great value very late in the draft being that he can help in homeruns, rbis, and stolen bases.
Projections: Avg: .225, R: 60, HR: 22, RBI: 70, SB: 20
Starting Pitcher: Josh Johnson – San Diego Padres
There were not many pitchers who had a worse season than Josh Johnson’s 2013 season, but I think he makes an incredible comeback with his move to the National League West. He could get you great numbers for a very late pick relatively. His strikeouts stayed on par to his career numbers so at least his ability to miss bats is still there.
Projections: W: 12, SV: 0, K: 155, ERA: 3.35, WHIP: 1.25
Relief Pitcher: Rex Brothers – Colorado Rockies
Brothers is a very dynamic relief pitcher who is the next in to close in Colorado after LaTroy Hawkins falters. He has impeccable stuff with a great strikeout ration of over 1 per inning. He could have a entrance similar to Greg Holland, but is more likely to be a cut below. Projections: W: 4, SV: 18, K: 85, ERA: 2.12, WHIP: 1.10
Good luck matching your bargain basement needs this season and here is a helpful hint before you go; keep a close eye on set up men with low WHIPs and high strikeouts, they will eventually be raking up saves on someone’s team.
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