Championships aren't won in the first few rounds of fantasy baseball drafts. Winning selections come in the middle and late stanzas, when fantasy baseball sleepers and undervalued players pop up. Who must you watch for in your rotisserie and head-to-head baseball drafts?
Ike Davis, New York Mets
How quickly some forget his torrid 2010 rookie campaign and progress in BB/K and slugging during his scorching 2011 stint, which was limited to 129 at-bats by a lingering sprain and bone bruise in his left ankle. Now, we can expect him to be ignored even more with the possibility that he has or may have had Valley Fever.
Even if so, fear could make him a great discount. Last year, his ankle injury wasn't properly taken care of; the protective boot Davis wore cut off circulation and slowed the healing process, which produced an agonizing, disappointing conclusion to his sophomore year. Surgery wasn't required, though, so there's probably less to worry about the following season than what would come from other long-term hobbles.
Skeptics will point to the small 2011 sample size and call the soon-to-be 25-year-old an overachiever, especially with his below-average contact rate. Taking that notion on its own would ignore the notable improvement he made in moving that frequency closer to an acceptable level. He's simply seeing the ball better and has the makeup to produce harder contact more consistently.
Further augmenting his allure: The lefty masher's natural power isn't restricted to right field. Of course, the team's shortening of the distance to the Citi Field power alleys and the height of the formerly imposing left-field wall won't hurt.
Fortunately for you, he remains a ghost to many fantasy drafters. A healthy lower half and clear lungs will once again bring out his 30-homer potential that you can snag at the price of a mixed corner infielder.
In NL-only setups, however, he might command a steeper price considering the uncertainty in the 3 pool after Joey Votto, so Davis might have to come close to his ceiling in 2012 to justify such a cost. That should be the upside, not the expected return. -TH
Fantasy baseball sleepers and undervalued: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP
Fantasy baseball busts and overvalued: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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