Fantasy Sports R Us

Well, what do ya know ? The New Year is here at last...and with it, will soon come those all-important fantasy baseball drafts. Now’s the time we all begin to ponder who to take with our first round picks. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to choose between Trout or Cabrera. No losers there. But the odds say we’ll likely be wrestling instead with choosing between the likes of Cargo, Votto or Braun. Is Kershaw really worth a top 12 pick ? Should Cano’s slot be lower as a Mariner or Fielder’s higher as a Ranger?

But let’s face it. We’re all pretty familiar with the names, numbers and resumes of the elite performers. They get the lion’s share of the experts’ analysis and, in turn, our attention. As a result, it can be hard to go too far wrong in the first few rounds, barring serious injuries, of course.

But history shows, in fact ,that it can often be the later rounds that actually can hold the key to our team’s eventual overall performance. Two years ago, for instance, if you had picked up journeyman knuckle-baller, R.A. Dickey, in the later rounds to fill out your pitching staff, you would have found FAT CITY for sure throughout the 2012 season. Last year, FAT CITY was found in spades by all those who invested a mid-round pick on Oriole free swinger, Chris Davis.

But Davis wasn’t the only citizen of FAT CITY last year, just maybe the Mayor. Any of these mid or later round guys turned out to be outstanding value picks, especially when their numbers were compared to what one leading fantasy expert publication, 2013 BASEBALL FORECASTER (baseballhq.com), had projected last January...

                                                                          RUNS    RBI    HR    AVE    SB

Chris Davis, 1B, BAL                     (Projected)     74      91     29     .257      3
                                                           (Actual)       103    138     53     .286      4

Josh Donaldson, 3B, OAK             (Projected)    53      57     13     .244      6
                                                           (Actual)         89      93     24     .301      5

Jean Segura, SS, MIL                     (Projected)    60      44       4     .276    33
                                                           (Actual)         74      49     12     .294    44

Dominic Brown, OF, PHIL              (Projected)    65      62      11    .249      7
                                                             (Actual)         65      83      27   .272       8

Daniel Murphy, 2B, NYM                (Projected)    58      59        8    .295      8
                                                             (Actual)         92      78      13    .286    23

Jason Castro, C, HOU                    (Projected)    44      36        9    .244      1
                                                            (Actual)         63      56      18    .276      2

Brandon Moss, 1B/ OF, OAK         (Projected)    34       39      13   .246       2
                                                            (Actual)         73       87      30   .256       4


                                                                               W/L      K      ERA      WHIP

Patrick Corbin, SP, AZ                    (Projected)    7/7   105      4.23       1.36
                                                            (Actual)       14/8   178      3.41       1.17

Bartolo Colon, SP, OAK                  (Projected)   4/6      52      4.25       1.42
                                                            (Actual)       18/6    117      2.65       1.17

Francisco Liriano, SP, PITT            (Projected)   9/11   158     4.97        1.44
                                                            (Actual)        18/9   182     3.36        1.26

Shelby Miller, SP, STL                    (Projected)     9/5      98     4.01        1.25
                                                           (Actual)         15/9    169    3.06         1.21

Julio Teheran, SP, ATL                   (Projected)     3/2      31     4.62        1.36
                                                           (Actual)         14/8    170     3.20        1.17

A number of others found FAT CITY, too for their owners --hitters like Marlon Byrd, Michael Cuddyer, Nate McLouth, Brian Dozier, Pedro Alvarez and Chris Johnson, plus pitchers like Matt Harvey, Hyun-Jin Ryu , Alex Cobb and Jhoulys Chacin. There’s no real telling where next year’s gems will come from, but there’s also no question that paying some careful pre-draft attention to the mid and lower round landscape can give us all a far better shot at finding our own fantasy FAT CITY in 2014 !

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