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Late Round Fantasy Draft Gems

BeeZee’s Note: Today we’re giving the on deck circle to Kerel Cooper of OnTheBlack.com – a Mets video blog. He is here to drop some analysis on late round fantasy baseball gems. Hope you enjoy his insight.

Milton Bradley fantasy baseballWith the start of the 2009 Major League Baseball season set to begin in a few weeks, most of us are in the midst of preparing for our fantasy baseball drafts. We all know that the Hanley Ramirez’s, Jose Reyes’s and Albert Pujols’s of the world will be swooped up early in the draft. These top tier players are always important to the success of any fantasy team.

But its those late round picks and sleepers who could be the key to walking away with your fantasy leagues trophy.

Below is a list of five players who I feel could be picked up in the late rounds that will add tremendous value to your team throughout the season.

Milton Bradley, OF, Chicago Cubs: 2008 Stats: .321 avg., 78 runs, 22 homers, 77 RBI, 5 steals. Bradley was leading the AL in average for a good part of last season. Even though he is injury prone, when he’s in the lineup he is a very serviceable fantasy player.
The OF position is very deep and I think Bradley will fly under the radar.

I project Bradley could be picked as late as the 11/12th round, if not later. With the numbers he put up in Texas last year, I think he will put up even better numbers playing in Wrigley Field (if healthy) in a line-up that features Soriano, Aramis and D-Lee. We all know Bradley can hit, it’s always been a question of his health.

Carlos Delgado, 1B, New York Mets: (.271/96/38/115/1). I think the consensus is that Delgado won’t have as good a year in 2009 as he had last year. For the most part, I agree. There are a couple of X factors which could prove us all wrong.

  1. Delgado is in a contract year. He is 37 years old but I doubt that he’s done playing. If he wants a job next year, he has to show that he can still hit.
  2. The Mets are moving into CitiField this season and no one knows how that field will play. If it’s a hitters park that could help pad Delgado’s stats.
  3. First base, while deep, leaves some room for sleepers in the mid rounds. Delgado will get drafted in the 10/11th round.

Chien-Ming Wang, P, New York Yankees: (8 wins, 54 strikeouts, 4.07 ERA, 1.32 WHIP in 2008). Coming off of injury, Wang is a risk. I think his upside is worth the risk. I project Wang to be picked in 13/14th round. I think he can provide excellent value to the back end of your fantasy rotation.

Because the Yankees now have C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, I think Wang will be matched up with a lot of no. 3 and no. 4 starters from other teams. With that said, if healthy I see no reason why Wang cant pitch 200 innings and win 15+ games.

Matt Lindstrom, RP, Florida Marlins: (3 wins, 5 saves, 43 strikeouts, 3.14 ERA, 1.45 WHIP). I don’t think most owners pay too much attention to closers after you get past the top 10. I think Lindstrom will fly under the radar because:

  1. Because his 2008 stats are unimpressive
  2. This will be Lindstrom’s first season as the Marlins closer.

The Marlins are going to surprise a lot of people this year and win more games then people expect. Lindstrom has excellent stuff and should rack up a decent number of saves. I project Lindstrom to go in the 14/15th round.

Melvin Mora, 3B, Baltimore Orioles: (.285/77/23/104/3). Mora’s numbers were not that bad considering he’s 37 and plays for a bad Orioles team. Mora will be a free agent at the end of the year, so that provides some extra incentive this year. I don’t think Mora can be counted on to be your week in week out third baseman, but if you are looking to fill a roster spot and need a fill in from time to time, Mora should be more than serviceable. I project Mora to be a 15/16th round draft pick.

There will be plenty of value and serviceable players in the late rounds, it’s all about filling a need and sometimes being a bit lucky.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Good luck this year!

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