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Living in Minnesota and having a son that loves Michael Cuddyer I’m not sure I get the proper perspective as to how Cuddy is viewed on a national level. He is owned in the vast majority of fantasy leagues so that should serve as some indication.
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Cuddy got off to a brutal start hitting .226 in April. He managed just four RBI, but hit three home runs. He stepped up his game in May as the Twins dealt with injuries. He hit .300 for the month with two home runs and nine RBI. Cuddy was just getting started. As we roll into July, Cuddyer closes the chapter on a June in which he hit .323 with 15 runs, five home runs, 17 RBI, and four stolen bases. Talk about stuffing the stat sheet.
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Even more valuable than his production is his versatility. Both for the Twins and for fantasy teams alike.  He has played 43 games in right field, 21 games, at first base, and 13 games at second base. Last year he played 84 at first, 66 in right, and 14 at third base. In 2009 he played 117 in right and 34 at first. The modern athlete isn’t often willing to accept this kind of change. The fact that Cuddy does it with a smile just reinforces how valuable his is to the Twins.
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Cuddy should keep on producing. The past two year his first and second half splits were nearly identical. He’s not going to guarantee you a fantasy title, but he’s entering July hitting .283 with 33 runs, ten home runs, 30 RBI, and seven stolen bases. That production and the ability to juggle him in your lineup as you see fit is invaluable to fantasy owners. While he’s not the straw that stirs the drink, he’s the glue that helps patch your holes and keep the boat afloat.
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All of the players have average draft positions at Mock Draft Central of 200 or higher.
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First Base:  Ike Davis, New York Mets
Davis, hitting behind Jose Reyes and David Wright, has plenty of room for growth in his second season. Not that his .271-73-19-71-3 rookie debut was disappointing. I think the Mets will have one of the better offenses in the National League this year if they can stay healthy. Davis will reap the rewards. Ike’s ADP is 201.
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Second Base:   Omar Infante, Florida Marlins
There are a few things I like about Omar. First, he hit .309 over the past three years. Second, with second base, third base, and outfield eligibility he provides great flexibility for fantasy owners. Finally, his ADP of 232 makes him an exceptional value.
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Third Base: Placido Polanco, Philadelphia Phillies
If you’re looking for home runs or stolen bases at third base, you can look elsewhere. He should however contribute in the other three categories, especially while Chase Utley is out and the number two slot is his. He’s a decent option at a 243 ADP.
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Shortstop:  Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers
Peralta is another three category producer. He should score a fair amount of runs (averaged 79 over past six years), hit a decent amount of home runs (averaged 17.8 over past six years), and drive in a decent amount of RBI (averaged 78.5 over past six years). He also gives you third base eligibility, and is a nice value at a 253 ADP.
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Catcher:  Russell Martin, New York Yankees
The Yankees could breathe new life into Russell Martin’s fantasy value. It seems like forever ago that he was a fantasy star, but he’s only 28. In the Yankees offense and calling Yankee Stadium home, I expect Martin to be solid, but not spectacular, which is fine given his ADP of 249.
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Right Field:  Michael Cuddyer, Minnesota Twins
Cuddy gives you outfield and first base eligibility. He hits a decent clip (.270 hitter), scores a fair amount of runs (93 in each of the past two years), has some pop (14 HR last year), is a decent run producer (averaged 87.5 the past two years), and even swipes a few bases (combined for 13 the past two year). He’s just a solid addition any fantasy team, and with an ADP of 225 the price is right.
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Center Field:  Peter Bourjos, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Talk about value, Bourjos has an ADP of 363. Bourjos has excellent speed, making 30 stolen bases seem like a reasonable number. He has some power too, which could lead to double-digit home runs. It may be a year early, but he certainly seems like a nice bargain.
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Left Field:  Jose Tabata, Pittsburgh Pirates
I’m expecting big things from Tabata. I’m not looking for power numbers, but he should hit around .300, score 90+ runs, and steals 30+ bases. If you miss out on some of the other speedsters (Bourn, Pierre, Gardner), Tabata can be a solid backup plan.
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Starting Pitcher:  Ian Kennedy, Arizona Diamondbacks
Kennedy went 9-10 with a 3.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, .228 BAA, and 168 strikeouts in 194 innings last year. He was 5-3 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and .219 BAA after the All-Star Break. With an ADP of 215 he’s a rock solid addition to any fantasy staff.
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Closer:  Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins
There are a number to choose from, but given Nathan’s past dominance and 206 ADP, I went with him. Nathan was a top five closer before Tommy John surgery. He is getting his stuff pack, and could easily be a top ten closer in 2011. The Twins tied for 13th with 40 saves last year despite losing Rauch. Even if Nathan isn’t all the way back, he should still be good enough to save 30 games while posting a low ERA and WHIP.
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