Hhmmm… so right field. You’ve got your no-brainers in Vladdy, Berkman, Abreu (who I almost put in my “up” list), and Markakis. And you’re not going to forget about Maggs and Rios… I’m going too take you a little deeper into the right field pool in this article and hopefully show you some great late round value, and maybe some later round guys who you should go ahead and let fall.
Luke Scott, Baltimore
I told you I was going to dig a little deeper than the norm. Now while Luke won’t actually be manning right field in ’08 (thanks to Markakis) he will have that eligibility in most leagues. Luke has been one of those guys who have struggled to see the field on a regular basis during his short career. The key this year is that he was an important part of a fairly big deal this off-season when Baltimore moved Miguel Tejada to Houston. Unless Baltimore trades for another outfielder, Luke has a pretty clear shot at receiving a full time gig in left field this year. Luke has already displayed a little of his power potential by hitting 18 home runs in 369 part-time at-bats last year. Luke is also right in the middle of his prime power potential years at the age of 29. While you might say that the Baltimore lineup is anything but stellar, that just means that Luke will likely see most of his ABs somewhere in the middle of that lineup, which will give him his fair share of opportunities to rack up some decent RBI and run scored totals for relatively nothing come draft day. Don’t break the bank going after this guy, but also don’t be surprised if he is still on the board in the last round of your draft… And a guy who I’ve got down for .270/24/80 with the potential for more, is a steal that late in a draft!
Jeremy Hermida, Florida
Ahh yes, everyone’s favorite sleeper is back. This time we are talking about a 24-year-old with almost 800 MLB at-bats under his belt. Not to mention the taste of success going .340/.401/.555 in 256 post All-Star break ABs last year. He’s not going to give you those 15+ stolen bases he was touted to have coming up, but he has the potential to help everywhere else. He does have a great eye at the plate even if he hasn’t shown all of that potential to this point. Just like with Luke Scott, Jeremy is stuck on a below average offensive team with Miguel Cabrera on the move to the AL, but once again this also means more ABs in the middle of that Florida lineup which will give him a solid amount of RBI opportunities with Hanley and Uggla in front of him. I’m not sure there is a lot more that can be said about Jeremy as he has been over-analyzed over the last couple of years! Just know that he is coming off a very solid second half of ’07 and he now has another year of experience to draw from. Look for Jeremy late in your drafts, he’ll likely still be there and he’ll give you very good value in return!
Matt Kemp, LAD
Mr. Kemp seems to be on everyone’s radar this year. That may be a pretty good idea in keeper and dynasty leagues but I think it may be a year early for redrafts. Kemp has all the potential in the world but at the same time he’s still only 23 years old and has a limited amount of experience. My biggest concern, and what I think he will continue to struggle with this year, is his plate discipline. Kemp has 446 career major league at-bats and he has a 25/119 BB/SO ratio… ugh! Another concern is that the Dodgers have a fairly crowded outfield with Andruw Jones, Andre Ethier, and Juan Pierre still with the club. I like Kemp for the future and he may even do fairly well this year, just keep in mind that everyone else likes him this year too! In order to get him you will likely have to pay for him with a middle round pick, and I don’t see that as good value!
Rick Ankiel, St. Louis
You are looking at everyone’s love child from ‘07. Don’t be the guy to draft Ankiel this year. The kid has some pop but he’s got to make contact with the ball before it will fly, and this is where I think he will falter this year. Ankiel is a talented athlete but let’s not think that after 5+ years without a stick in his hands on a regular basis that he can spend a couple years in the minors and come into the bigs and become a .270/25 type of a guy. Ankiel will likely struggle to hit .250 and MLB pitchers will learn (if they haven’t already) where not to throw the baseball against him. This will leave him with less than 20 home runs in ’08 and struggling to get regular playing time. Don’t be surprised to see him go off the board before the last few rounds of the draft, just make sure you are spending your picks a little more wisely and look elsewhere!
Jason Jarvis is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Jason in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of J35J.
Questions or comments for Jason? Post them in the Cafe Forums!
Want to write for the Cafe? Check out the Cafe's Pencil & Paper section!