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2011 Players to Watch

Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Salty hopes to play pepper with the Green Monster

Just a few days until the regular season begins and here’s a few guys you should have your eyes on for 2011.  They are solid value picks that will carry you to your fantasy baseball league title.

Mike Aviles, Royals, 3BMike Aviles will hit leadoff for the Royals this year.  He started the ’10 season in the minors after recovering from Tommy John surgery.  Aviles is a lifetime .298 hitter and hit 8 homers and stole 14 bases last year.  He showed power in September when he hit 6 long balls.

Madison Bumgarner, Giants, SP — Madison Bumgarner is still only 21-years-old and on the stellar Giants staff, he won’t be leaned on too much.  Probably doesn’t matter; Bumgarner already has 2 playoff wins and 1 World Series win to his credit.

J.J. Hardy, Orioles, SS — Just a few years ago with Milwaukee, J.J. Hardy was a 24 and 26 homerun player.  Moved from cavernous Target Field to cozy Camden Yards, we see Hardy as the Sleeper Pick of the Year and a 20 homerun guy for the O’s.

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays, SP — Great control and a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate for Tampa Bay.  Hellickson made it look easy last year by going 4-0, 3.47, with a 1.10 WHIP last year.

Hong-Chih Kuo, Dodgers, RP — Kuo had such a good season last year that he made the all star team as a setup man.  His final numbers were amazing: 1.20/0.78 in 56 games plus 12 for 13 in saves after Jonathan Broxton went down.

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates, OF — Andrew McCutchen was .286/16/56/33 in his first full season in Pittsburgh.  McCutchen is a player that can help you in all fantasy baseball categories and could be a 20 homerun 40 stolen base guy in 2011.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox, C — Salty teased the Rangers with greatness and the Red Sox thought enough of him to make him their primary catcher going into the season and moved Jason Varitek to a backup role.  Salty, only 25, blasted 11 homeruns in limited duty in 2007.

Mike Stanton, Marlins, OF — Mike Stanton missed the fist 24 games of the Marlins spring season with a strained quad then made his debut on March 24 and hit 2 homeruns and drove in 7 runs in his first game.  Not bad.  Stanton hit 22 homers in just 359 at bats last year and is a favorite for being the biggest breakout player of the 2011 campaign.

Danny Valencia, Twins, 3B — With Nick Punto gone, the 3B job belongs to Valencia who is coming off of a .311/7/40/2 season in just 299 at bats.  In a full time role, Valencia is a 20 homerun, 80 RBI guy.

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