If You Miss Out On...

I recently finished a top-350 list for the site and found (as there are each baseball season) some great values in the later rounds. I decided to take a look at some players who can get you similar stats if you miss out on someone in the top-100. Note, I'm not saying that the production will be matched but said production could be closer than you think. Also, the players discussed could be used as a "sleeper" list for those in auctions. I have listed at the bottom of each player my bullish prediction for them focusing on what I think their upside is if everything breaks their way. Thanks to the NFBC for providing the early ADP data.

If you miss out on Mike Trout (ADP: 3), you might want to target Cameron Maybin (ADP: 222).

Obviously it's hard to find any player similar to Trout in the later rounds considering the monster rookie season he had. But I think both players are more likely to contribute with their speed more than their power. Maybin is only two seasons removed from swiping 40 bases so that mark at age 26 is possible to happen again. Maybin changed his batting stance last season and saw better results at the plate. All of his numbers went in the right direction over the second half: strikeout rate (although his walk rate went down), OPS (by 139 points) and LD rate. In addition, Maybin had four more doubles (12) and the same number of home runs in the second half (4) that he did in the first half but in 87 fewer plate appearances. They moved the fences in San Diego during the offseason; that can't hurt his production either.

Bullish Projection: .280 BA, 17 HR, 42 SB, 70 RBI and 90 runs.

If you miss out on Yoenis Cespedes (ADP: 44), you might want to target Michael Saunders (ADP: 244).

I'm not sure anyone in baseball had a quieter season of 19 stolen bases and 21 home runs than Saunders. His batting average (.247) is something to be desired but like San Diego, Seattle made accommodations in the offseason to make the park more hitter-friendly. Saunders finished the season on a high note hitting five home runs, two triples in Sept/Oct, driving a .871 OPS.

Bullish Projection: .265 BA, 25 HR, 27 SB, 70 RBI and 85 runs.

If you miss out on Michael Bourn (ADP: 73), you might want to target Juan Pierre (ADP: 236).

I typically overlook those "safe" veteran players and gamble and go after high-upside players. In this case, I was tempted to discuss a player like Adam Eaton but feel that Pierre, even at 35, is the safer play here. Pierre is slated to open the season in the leadoff spot and had a .351 OBP last season for the Phillies. I think that number is repeatable, especially considering how spacious his home park is. With limited offensive upside in Miami, Pierre should have a constant green light to run and has arguably the best power hitter in the game, Giancarlo Stanton hitting behind him.

Bullish Prediction: .310 BA, 2 HR (inside the park), 45 SB, 55 RBI and 100 runs.

If you miss out on Yovani Gallardo (ADP: 88), you might want to target Lance Lynn (ADP: 192).

Take a look at the 2012 stats between Gallardo and Lynn: Lynn: 3.78 ERA, 1.318 WHIP, 9.20 K/9IP and 18 wins Gallardo: 3.66 ERA, 1.304 WHIP, 9.00 K/9IP and 16 wins The potential career-ending injury to Chris Carpenter has all but assured Lynn a spot in the Cardinals rotation this year. Lynn was outstanding over the first half of the season but struggled during the month of August earning a demotion to the bullpen. During that month he was hit hard but a .397 BABIP was partially to blame. He didn't see much in a spike in his line drive rate (although his walk rate was up) so bad luck was part of the problem. He rebounded to win four straight starts once he returned to the rotation in September before the Cardinals put him in the bullpen to limit his innings to end the season. A full season in the rotation with no innings limit will help his strikeouts and 200 is more than possible. His peripheral stats should improve as well which means there could be a lot of value by landing him on your team.

Bullish Prediction: 20 wins, 3.30 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 205 strikeouts.

If you miss out on Adam Jones (ADP: 31), you might want to target Tyler Colvin (ADP: 247).

It's easy to forget back in 2006 that Colvin was selected with the 13th overall pick. Sometimes players take a little more time to develop (see Alex Gordon) and a change of scenery to Colorado certainly doesn't hurt. The biggest stat here for me isn't any of the five roto categories it's the 420 at-bats that Colvin had last season. That number should increase by a good margin this season and if you pro-rate his last season's stats and compare them to Jones, here's what they would be: Jones: .287 BA, 32 HRs, 16 SBs, 82 RBI and 103 runs. Colvin: .290 BA, 28 HRs, 10 SBs, 111 RBI, and 96 runs. Not too big of a difference, right? There are a few red flags with Colvin. For one, he doesn't take a ton of walks (five percent) and his 2011 season with the Cubs was terrible (a .510 OPS in 206 at-bats). However, he did hit 20 home runs in 2010 in 358 at-bats showing he's been effective in two of the last three seasons. While playing time is a concern, I have to think at some point that Colvin takes over for the old, brittle and intoxicating Todd Helton or an outfielder gets dealt to open up every day playing time.

Bullish Prediction: .300 BA, 30 HR, 15 SB, 110 RBI and 100 runs.

If you miss out on Ryan Zimmerman (ADP: 32), you might want to target Trevor Plouffe (ADP: 246).

Depending on your league, Plouffe may qualify at more than just third base, adding to his value. Plouffe most likely won't help your batting average but I think there is a vast improvement coming on last year's .235 mark. That .235 mark was likely the result of him hurting his thumb in June and the stats back up that theory. Before injuring his thumb in July, Plouffe had these OPS stats by month to start the season: April: .517 May: .654 June: 1.126 July: .819 As you can see Plouffe made adjustments and figured out big league pitching before his injury. He struggled the rest of the season after his injury but should be completely healthy to start 2013. The home park isn't going to do him any favors but surprisingly he hit better there last season (.847 home OPS vs. .655 away OPS). Plouffe flashed his power in the minors as well (hitting 15 home runs at Triple-A Rochester in 2011 in 192 at-bats) so the power is legit.

Bullish Projection: .265 BA, 30 HR, 4 SB, 90 RBI and 85 runs.

If you miss out on Elvis Andrus (ADP: 77), you might want to target Everth Cabrera (ADP: 221).

I've never been a big Andrus backer considering he is supposed to be a stolen base guy but isn't even elite at that. Take a look at the comparison between him and Cabrera from last season. Here are their stats: Andrus: .286 BA, 3 HRs, 21 SBs, 62 RBI and 85 runs. Cabrera: .246 BA, 2 HRs, 44 SBs, 24 RBI and 49 runs. The big difference here is that Cabrera spent time at Triple-A and therefore saw 231 fewer at-bats than Andrus. Cabrera does strike out too much (24.5 percent) but was consistently around a .375 OBP at Triple-A throughout his career. He's only 26 which indicates there could be another level of plate discipline with him considering the minor league track record. Couple that with the increase in at-bats and you've got a solid player given his ADP and scarcity of fantasy value at shortstop. Finally, Alcides Escobar (ADP: 144) is clearly better than Andrus when looking at the numbers as well.

Bullish Prediction:
.285 BA, 3 HR, 55 SB, 60 RBI and 100 runs.

If you miss out on Jonathan Papelbon (ADP: 89), you might want to target Rafael Betancourt (ADP: 193).

I have to think being the Rockies closer is points against Betancourt given the home ballpark and why he isn't being drafted higher. However, Betancourt has put up stellar numbers in his 3.5 seasons in Colorado. His K/9IP rate has been above 9.0 over this tenure for the Rockies and twice over the last three seasons his WHIP has been under 1.00. However, if you own Betancourt, you'll never want to watch a save situation given his propensity to take his time on the mound (it'll seem like eternity watching a save). That being said, he's another among the long line of closers that it's worth waiting for in the later rounds.

Bullish Prediction: 1.80 ERA, .800 WHIP, 90 K and 42 saves.

If you miss out on Eric Hosmer (ADP: 94 - and likely rising), you might want to target Brandon Belt (ADP: 232).

Quick - how old is Brandon Belt? He's 24 but will be 25 toward the end of April. It seems like he's been hyped up for some time and provided he's healthy it appears he'll be in line for the most amount of playing time of his career. In case you aren't familiar with it, Belt's line last season looked like this: .275 BA, 7 HRs, 12 SBs (12-of-14), 56 RBI and 47 runs. There are not many first basemen that will get you the stolen bases outside of both Eric Hosmer and Paul Goldschmidt. Belt has already been working in the outfield (a very slight upgrade if he should qualify there) and again, the good news is that means more than his 411 at-bats last season.

Bullish Projection:
.290 BA, 15 HR, 20 SB, 85 RBI and 80 runs.

You can follow me @KCPayne26 on Twitter


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