All in on de Aza
His draft ranking sure hasn’t shown it, but come September, Alejandro de Aza might just be one of the biggest draft day steals of 2012.
Skepticism from drafters, to this point, has circled around his light power totals and lack of opportunity. While his power numbers do leave a little to be desired, the opportunity part seems to have been solved. He’s projected to start the season as the White Sox’ leadoff hitter—a slot that should afford him ample opportunity to make good on his base stealing ability and batting average potential.
With the 700+ plate appearances that batting atop the White Sox lineup is sure to bring, he should finish the season among the top 20 outfielders in fantasy. Regressing his on-base skills and lineup strength, de Aza should supply between 100-110 runs to go along with 60-70 RBI. Combine that with double digit home runs, a .290+ batting average, and 35-40 stolen bases, and you have quite a player.
Plugging this line into FantasyPlayerRater.com’s points calculator, he’d be worth about 2.7 roto points above average in 10-team leagues—exceeding such standouts as Andrew McCutchen (1.78 points, ADP: 25.67), Hunter Pence (1.89 points, ADP: 42.86), and Jay Bruce (1.42 points, ADP: 39.92).
His major league resume may be somewhat short, but that’s fine. With a suprisingly low draft price (MockDraftCentral has his ADP at 228.65, while ESPN drafts have him at 225.7), he’s a classic low-risk, high-reward play. This is a guy you want on your team—he’s talented, has the opportunity, and comes extremely cheap.
One league I’m in lets members keep one player for 2013 at the round you drafted him in ’12. I took de Aza in the 19th—and I’m planning on having him lead my squad again next year for this highly discounted price.
There’s a bit of risk with any player taking over starting duties for the first time—scouting reports, attrition, expectations. But, de Aza’s a five-category contributor with a 400-plate appearance track record. He’s a great guy to bet on and you won’t regret it.
Three-hole huge for Starlin Castro
For a fantasy shortstop, Starlin Castro is quite the complete player. He fills out the stat sheet quite well, with a good combination of average, speed, and even a little bit of pop. For Castro, the question mark is whether he can overcome a poor supporting staff to contribute the runs and RBIs to justify his lofty draft ranking (Mock Draft Central ADPMockDraftCentral ADP: 41.88, ESPN ADP: 57.9)
News that Castro will be batting in the three-hole (MLBDepthCharts) this season should alleviate those concerns. Though he doesn’t have the power typical of that lineup spot, it won’t hold back his ability to pile up the RBIs. In fact, the difference between him batting in the three hole and batting leadoff is substantial—about 20 RBIs (we regressed his RBIs to 75 in the three-hole, versus 55 leading off).
Those 20 RBIs are nothing to scoff at—FantasyPlayerRater.com has that difference in lineup spot contributing about a full point to his value in 10-team leagues. That point will come up big when you’re jockeying for position in the standings come September. Whether Castro can hold onto the three spot all year is another issue—but he’ll be all fun and games while he can.
Beachy could walk among league elite this year
And that’s good for you—Beachy is perhaps the biggest pitching bargain of this draft season. He’s a potential No. 1 starter who has fallen far down the rankings to 114.15 according to MockDraftCentral and 135.3 in ESPN leagues.
Plugging in his plate discipline characteristics and batted ball profile, Beachy’s translated numbers point to a 3.00-3.10 ERA, 1.05-1.10 WHIP, and 9.5-10 K/9. Needless to say, this is an extraordinarily valuable pitcher. FantasyPlayerRater.com rates that profile as 5.53 points above average—comparable to Justin Verlander (5.31 points, ADP: 9.24) and better than Cliff Lee (4.00 points, ADP: 20.58).
Though he should be discounted somewhat as a pitcher taking on a full season load for the first time, Beachy is the exactly the kind of guy you want to bet on, having enough skill to finish among the top 10 pitchers of 2012.