2011 Players to Watch
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, 3B — Mike 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.