Fantasy Baseball 2012: Early Trade Targets

Apr 8, 2012

joe-mauer
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By Jordan Hall

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Garage sales. Oh garage sales. Nothing is a testament to the American spirit like garage sales. Rolling the dice, driving around on your day off looking to turn someone else’s trash into your treasure.
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Last summer, my fiancé decided that a particularly glorious Saturday morning in late July would be perfect for the high adventure of the garage sale circuit. After an endless stream of garages filled with things she referred to as “cute,” we finally hit something that left a mark.
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It was a giant oval table and it was filled with underwear. Used underwear. While I was initially repulsed and astounded, a sort of wonder came over me, thinking, “somebody’s really going to buy used underwear at a garage sale?” And the answer was yes, somebody did buy a couple pair while we were there. I also found a classic MC Hammer cd while I was there; gold by any definition of the word.
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Turning someone else’s trash into your treasure is not a concept that is unique to garage sales. The same thought can be used in fantasy baseball. While some people meticulously pick out and target each player on their roster, most have a bit of a haphazard style when it comes to drafting their team. Just because someone owns a player does not mean that he values them.
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Here is a list of guys that are being undervalued in the fantasy world right now. These are guys that I think you can get for under market value and that will return you much more then their draft position in output. Trading in the early going is always risky because everything is still a mystery. You might end up with a couple pair of used underwear but I like the chances that these guys turn into
gold for you.
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Alfonso Soriano may be the most maligned player in baseball right now but the guy can still hit. Despite his advanced age he’s still a tantalizing power/speed combination. He figures to hit in the middle of the Cubs order and drive in a fair amount of runs. There’s a lot of forgotten potential with Soriano, try to take advantage of that.
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Joe Mauer is going as the 4th or 5th catcher taken. There was a point in time when he was referred to as the best pure hitter in baseball, don’t forget that. He still carries a lot of name recognition but many owners have forgotten why. Mauer has had a classic spring and looks to be fully healthy. I don’t think 20 homers and a .320 average are out of the question this year. Grab him now before he starts to evoke memories of the old Joe.
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Ryan Raburn has always had tremendous pop, he’s just lacked the opportunity. This season figures to be the season he gets enough at bats to make an impact. The fact that he qualifies at second makes him even more attractive as a breakout candidate. He will have runners on base for him and he has proven he can crush a fastball. 30 homers and 100 RBI’s are not unreasonable with good health, after his stellar spring. Lowball his owner before he breaks out in the regular season.
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While were on the topic of the boys from the Motor City, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the whole of the Tiger’s outfield. All three outfielders are going to be fantasy studs this year. Austin Jackson will sit atop the Tigers’ potent lineup. He will score tons of runs and has been given the green light to steal. 30 to 40 stolen bases are reasonable to expect. Brennan Boesch may be the most under respected outfielder in baseball. Hitting before Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder will allow him to see all kinds of pitches to hit. He should excel in average, runs, RBI’s and homers. He’s a star sheet stuffer. Delmon Young will be the beneficiary of  hitting behind those two sluggers. RBI opportunities will be aplenty for Young, who seems to have been reborn in Detroit. All three are in for massive seasons. Send your trade offers now.
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17-7 with a 2.33 ERA. Not a bad year right? Well that was Clay Buchholz 2010 campaign. Last year was riddled with injuries but he is back now. I would expect his strikeout rate to jump this season and obviously he’s going to win a lot of ball games with the Sox behind him. He’s got incredible natural ability and it’s guys like that that dominate the strikeout category. He’s about to take a step into
ace status. This is your last chance to deal for him before he takes that step.
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Ryan Dempster had a down year by his standards last year and still wasn’t bad, registering 191 K’s and 202 innings. Two years ago he was even better, striking out 208 guys and winning 15 games. At age 35 he’s obviously regressing in his skill set but he was unlucky last year as well. The price is right, buy now.
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Feel free to drop me a line with comments at www.twitter.com/lefthandsmoke23



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