Fantasy analysts are always talking about players that they are “planting their flags in” (Am I supposed to feel dirty when I type that?) each year. I used to think this was a bad idea, as it might lead to poor draft day decisions. Now that I am more seasoned I realize that we all develop an affinity for certain players each year. I’m not talking your studs though. Anybody can tell you to draft Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun, or Roy Halladay. For me, planting your flag requires you to step out on a limb of sorts. These are the players that you feel, for whatever reason, are going to be big hits for the upcoming season. For this article, I want to take a look at three players in which my flag has been metaphorically planted.
Last week in my live-blogged mock draft I explained how excited I was about getting Morse on my squad. I referenced this video clip, and talked about how much I liked his swing. Well I decided to take it a step further and look to see what his numbers said. The numbers that caught my eye were his increased line drive rate, coupled with his decreasing ground ball rate. Match those with an 85% contact rate and I see no reason why he can’t sustain a BABIP similar to his 2011 average of .344. I predict a .290 average, 30 jacks, 90 RBI, and 70 runs scored.
Yes, he pitches for the lowly Astros. Yes, he probably won’t accumulate many wins. But if you’re chasing wins as a fantasy strategy, this might not be the website for you. Not only can you snag Bud late in drafts, you will be getting an amazing bargain when you do. He lowered his walk total last year, while actually increasing his innings pitched by 33. His 2011 ERA of 3.77 matched perfectly with his xFIP of 3.73. His k/9 rate sits right at 8.5, and with a swing and miss rate right around 30% I see potential for a true breakout year. I think Bud finishes the year with 197 IP, 205 K’s, and an ERA of 3.78.
I know, I know, we haven’t even seen him face big league pitching yet. And to be honest I have no statistical evidence to support this pick. Sometimes though, you just have to go with your gut. Blind faith is counter-intuitive to almost everything I believe, but I am also a fan of legalized gaming. Thus, I have no problem taking a gamble on Cespedes. I might even reach a few rounds early just to get him. To win your fantasy league you have to hit at least one grand slam on an unknown player. For me, this is the guy. No prediction here. Just going with my gut that he completely outperforms the value of the draft pick I get him for.
You can follow Griffin on Twitter- his handle is @sp_flips. Feel free to support, harass, or share any thoughts you have and he will be sure to reply.