Fantasy Perspectives: Minnesota Twins
by, 02-26-2012 at 04:19 PM (806 Views)
One of my fantasy leagues started its draft this past week, so I thought it might be a good time to start writing a little about fantasy baseball. I will likely participate in three or four leagues this year, and each is a little bit different. One of my leagues is a keeper league with major and minor league rosters. It is a 5x5 roto league. Another league is a weekly head-to-head, points league. Another league is only on the weekend. I’m in one ten team league and two 14-team leagues. There are American or National League only leagues. Fantasy baseball is so much fun, but there are so many formats, so be sure to understand the system before your draft.
One thing that is always interesting to me is to see where Twins players will be drafted in fantasy leagues. In recent years, there have been quite a few Twins players who went high in drafts. This season, there are several Twins players who will be drafted, but fantasy owners will have to consider risk-reward when selecting many of them.
Two years ago, Joe Mauer was a Top 5 pick in most fantasy league formats. Even last year, he was taken in the first two rounds in most drafts. In 2012, he will likely be the third catcher from the AL Central to be drafted, behind Cleveland’s Carlos Santana and Detroit’s Alex Avila. He should also be drafted behind Brian McCann. At that point, however, Mauer falls in line now with the likes of Mike Napoli, Matt Weiters, Miguel Montero. Depending upon your confidence in his return from injuries, you could take him in the 5th round, or he could slide several rounds.
Because he is eligible at catcher and will likely be an everyday player, Ryan Doumit should be considered a sleeper in many leagues. If you draft two catchers, take a flyer on him in the late rounds. Mauer and Doumit will likely have some position flexibility depending upon your league’s rules.
Two years ago, Justin Morneau was a first-round fantasy selection. Last year, he still was drafted high because few knew believed his concussion would drag on as long as it did. At this point, Morneau should not be drafted in the first 15 rounds because of the risk and because there are so many good offensive first basemen. He could be taken as a late-round sleeper pick and just hope that he can stay healthy and eventually return to his typical production.
If Alexi Casilla performs like he did after mid-May last year, and up until his season was cut short with injury, he’d be worth a last-round flyer as depth in the middle infield, eligible at shortstop and second base. Jamey Carroll is an on-base machine with eligibility at both middle infield positions, but his lack of power probably keeps him from being drafted. If you believe Danny Valencia will play like he did in 2010, he’s worth a late round pick as the backup 3B for your roster.
As it relates to the Twins outfielders, their fantasy value is going to be different based on the type of league. If your league is heavy on on-base percentage and home runs, then Josh Willingham could be a middle-round option. If Stolen Bases are one of your categories, then Ben Revere and his quest for 80-100 steals could be taken fairly early (maybe even as early as the 8th round or so). Denard Span is the most well-rounded of the trio providing extra base hits with on base percentage and some stolen bases. At the end of the day, in most leagues, all would probably be drafted around the same time, likely in rounds 14-18.
Again, the type of league you are in and the scoring systems will dictate who gets drafted where. Do “Wins” matter? Do strikeouts and innings pitched matter? Are categories like ERA and WHIP included?
Scott Baker is the Twins best pitcher, but there are likely going to be question marks surrounding his elbow and durability. He likely provides good ERA, WHIP and K/9. Francisco Liriano has the talent to be very good, but he is such an anomaly. If he is right, he has the ability to be a Top 10-15 pitcher in baseball. If he pitches like last year, you don’t want him on your roster. The goal with Carl Pavano, Nick Blackburn and Jason Marquis will be to eat a lot of innings and not be too far below league average in terms of ERA. None will walk too many batters, but all will give up a lot of hits.
I’d recommend Baker as an option around the 12th round with Liriano following a few rounds later. Unless you have a very deep league, the other three starters likely would not be drafted.
We all know that Matt Capps was pretty bad in 2011. But from a fantasy baseball perspective, he is a viable draft option as a closer. All closers accumulate Saves. Capps does so by walking so few that he generally has a low WHIP. And, through most of his career, he has posted very good ERA. His 2011 strikeout rate is alarming. As it relates to your fantasy baseball draft, Capps should be one of the final relievers drafted. In fact, a couple of set up men like Kenley Jansen should probably be drafted ahead of Capps. In fact, you’ll need to consider whether or not you think Glen Perkins will take over the closer role at some point or not.
A year ago, Kyle Gibson was drafted in some fantasy baseball drafts. The thought was that he would be called up in June and be a difference-maker the final four months of the season. In 2012, there are not any Twins minor leaguers that should be drafted at this time. That said, there are some to put on your Watch List right away. If the Twins need a starting pitcher, Liam Hendriks could be the first called up. If Justin Morneau is out, see if the Twins go to Chris Parmelee to replace him. And, if there is a need in the outfield, the Twins could go to Joe Benson.
Based on my above thoughts, here is a summary of where Twins players could be drafted in an average 12-14 team league with 24 rounds.
Please feel free to discuss.
- Joe Mauer (Rounds 5-8)
- Scott Baker (Rounds 12-15)
- Josh Willingham (Rounds 12-15)
- Denard Span (Rounds 14-16)
- Francisco Liriano (Rounds 14-16)
- Ben Revere (Rounds 15-17 – Top 10 rounds if SB are valued in your league)
- Ryan Doumit (Rounds 16-18)
- Justin Morneau (Rounds 20-22)
- Matt Capps (Rounds 21-23)
- Alexi Casilla, Jamey Carroll, Danny Valencia, Carl Pavano (Rounds 23-24)