Fantasy baseball player scarcity - NL

by Nicholas Minnix on February 4, 2010 @ 16:00:00 PDT


Fantasy baseball player scarcity: AL | NL | MLB

A quick overview of the depth at each position in NL-only fantasy baseball leagues

A feel for where the abundance or dearth of worthwhile fantasy baseball players lies will help you determine when and where it's best to target those at certain positions and seek value in your fantasy baseball drafts.


Depth: Shallow | Distribution: Balanced

It shouldn't be difficult to come up with a starter, which may bring the price of the Atlanta Braves' Brian McCann back to the pack - the Chicago Cubs' Geovany Soto - a tad. Few low-end No. 1s have real upside, save for perhaps Chris Iannetta (Colorado Rockies), and several are declining.

Which brings us to Miguel Olivo, who represents the few possible worthwhile investments. In two-catcher formats, be wise with your dollars, or invest in a "sure thing" and hit the wire hard for No. 2. A couple of low-dollar options - Jesus Flores (Washington Nationals) - may prove to be bargains. Target true upside and spend the extra dollar there.

First basemen

Depth: Deep | Distribution: Balanced

There's the St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols - highly unlikely to warrant the dollars - and then everyone else. From the Milwaukee Brewers' Prince Fielder to Adam LaRoche (Arizona Diamondbacks), you can get by.

New York Mets CL Francisco Rodriguez
Comfortable spending big on K-Rod?

You'll find suitable bodies - Aubrey Huff (San Francisco Giants) - and mild bounce-back plays - the D-backs' Conor Jackson is eligible - for the corner. A few prospects - Logan Morrison (Florida Marlins) - could shake up the field too. This is a spot where you can shop smartly and save.

Second basemen

Depth: Intermediate | Distribution: Top-heavy

It seems barren, but.... The Philadelphia Phillies' Chase Utley and the Cincinnati Reds' Brandon Phillips are pretty much surefire investments, but they won't come cheaply. If you miss there, you might find the so-called next best names overpriced considering their limitations or absent track record.

Plenty of injury-prone choices like Freddy Sanchez (San Francisco Giants) provide potential bargains with degrees of upside. You'll find cheap MI plays - such as the Pittsburgh Pirates' Akinori Iwamura - or a couple with upside - say, Eric Young Jr. (Colorado Rockies) or Blake DeWitt (Los Angeles Dodgers).

Third basemen

Depth: Intermediate | Distribution: Bottom-heavy

It's a catch-22. Doubt about the New York Mets' David Wright and the Arizona Diamondbacks' Mark Reynolds lingers. Do your homework on the doubtable. Down a couple of tiers, you'll find the skilled hoping to break out or the walking wounded hoping not to break. All bring enough to warrant a starting spot.

It's a potential wasteland afterward. Maybe the Milwaukee Brewers' Casey McGehee is the real deal or Andy LaRoche (Pittsburgh Pirates) grows a bit more. Most choices are uninspiring, though. The move of Chase Headley (San Diego Padres) back here is a boost.


Depth: Intermediate | Distribution: Balanced

A couple of typically top-tier options, like Jose Reyes (New York Mets), are quite risky. Several mid-range options split, though; a few (such as the Arizona Diamondbacks' Stephen Drew) could earn money, and a few (say, the San Diego Padres' Everth Cabrera) could easily - easily - lose some.

This market is a bull. You may have to spend, so spend on a high baseline. You'll find some MI potential, such as Brendan Ryan (St. Louis Cardinals) or Ian Desmond (Washington Nationals). True end-gamers are lacking.


Depth: Intermediate | Distribution: Balanced

There's reason to be skeptical of those outside even the top handful. Michael Bourn (Houston Astros). NL outfielders lack luster. You'll find reason to pause with many players, like the Milwaukee Brewers' Corey Hart or the Philadelphia Phillies' Raul Ibanez, in the mid-range tiers. Know who you like, and don't chase.

You might justify a high-dollar player here because you could have a shot at a number $10 types who could return more than that (the Milwaukee Brewers' Carlos Gomez) or at least be adequate (the Atlanta Braves' Melky Cabrera). You'll have to secure them early, of course; if they're all that's left, expect inflation. You'll find a number of choices for the end game.

Starting pitchers

Depth: Deep | Distribution: Top-heavy

You'll notice plenty of suitable aces and sidekicks, so you have an opportunity to save a few bucks here and there. When you hit the middle, you better know your product. Jonathan Sanchez (San Francisco Giants) or Tim Hudson (Atlanta Braves)? Yep, really. Homer Bailey (Cincinnati Reds) or Joe Blanton (Philadelphia Phillies)? You may be faced with such choices.

Milwaukee Brewers OF Ryan Braun
Be careful when breaking down OFers

Pitching always produces bargains. You'll find rebound possibilities in the low middle, like the San Diego Padres' Chris Young or Atlanta's Derek Lowe. Upside? The Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg resides here, too. Once they dry up, relatively few flier picks inspire. Skills-based picks like SD's Mat Latos have some potential. There will be a lot of weeding here.

Relief pitchers

Depth: Intermediate | Distribution: Top-heavy

What else is new? No certainty. At the top: the Los Angeles Dodgers' Jonathan Broxton and the New York Mets' Francisco Rodriguez (if you're comfortable saying so). Skepticism reigns afterward. Your auction may set a market for closers completely unlike what you expect for some, from the Chicago Cubs' Carlos Marmol to the Colorado Rockies' Huston Street.

Low-end closers carry huge risk, but a couple of them have track records and therefore could be great buys. You can find a few speculative targets for saves. The best (the Philadelphia Phillies' Ryan Madson) will go for more than a few bucks anyway. Plenty of ratio helpers will reveal themselves after your draft.

Fantasy baseball player scarcity: AL | NL | MLB

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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