Fantasy baseball player scarcity - AL

by Tim Heaney on February 4, 2010 @ 00:00:00 PDT

 


Fantasy baseball player scarcity: AL | NL | MLB

A quick overview of the depth at each position in AL-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.

Catcher

Depth: Shallow | Distribution: Top-heavy

If you don't pay heavily for Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins) or Victor Martinez (Boston Red Sox), you'll find a slew of acceptable backstops - some inspiring, some not - with some uncertainty.

Waiting for more question marks after that? You'll settle for playing time, speculate on the next big thing (Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians) or pluck a platoon option.

First basemen

Minnesota Twins C Joe Mauer
Without Mauer, will you be sour?

Depth: Intermediate | Distribution: Top-heavy

Power production will leave the board fast. The four premier targets are followed by slightly shakier high-level power options. You could wait a little bit here, but not too long.

If you miss out on the top seven, capped by Billy Butler (Kansas City Royals), you'll be taking even bigger chances. You won't find many enticing options to fill a corner infield spot in deeps, either.

Second basemen

Depth: Intermediate | Distribution: Balanced

As with first base, a short hesitation could work, but expect the top names to exit quickly and for relatively big tags. Believers will pay extra for Ben Zobrist (Rays) and soon-to-be keystoner Gordon Beckham (White Sox).

You can probably get away with some middle-tier experimenting here, with someone like Howie Kendrick (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). Cheap options - Chris Getz, Scott Sizemore - could pay off. There's some promise for your middle infield area, but not much.

Third basemen

Depth: Deep | Distribution: Balanced

It's a noticeable drop-off from the three East-division centerpieces, but this ranks as the deepest of all AL infield positions. Adrian Beltre (Boston Red Sox) presents one of the best value opportunities.

The hot corner offers better profit opportunities for CI spots than first base; a fallen Brandon Wood (Angels), for instance, might give you unmatched depth.

Shortstops 

Depth: Shallow | Distribution: Top-heavy

The undisputed wading pool of the Junior Circuit. Elvis Andrus (Texas Rangers) is a popular patience option. There are maybe 10 fantasy-relevant starters, ending with J.J. Hardy.

Don't get caught trying to bank on an injury or employing, say, the Kansas City Royals' Yuniesky Betancourt. This risk should be taken if necessary only at your middle infield spot, which is a little more promising at second base.

Outfielders 

Depth: Intermediate | Distribution: Balanced

A giant tier of acceptable No. 1 and No. 2 options contains a big group of question-riddled but effective names, including the likes of the Toronto Blue Jays' Adam Lind and Curtis Granderson. Drafters can pay a discount for an anchor.

Five-outfielder processes will stress urgency for owners to fill their top three spots. If that leads to overpricing, it may be smarter to shop thriftily in the top names and do a little mid-range buying. Be ready to adjust.

A subsequent option often winds up being a part-timer. Don't make that your plan, but you can get an end-gamer here. Several in-season risers surface in this position, merely based on its sheer size.

Designated hitters

Tampa Bay Rays SP Matt Garza
Garza may help you save cash

Depth: Shallow | Distribution: Top-heavy

If you can get away with clogging your managerial flexibility, you'll find 20 homers, potentially discounted, from Hideki Matsui (Angels), Vladimir Guerrero (Texas Rangers) and David Ortiz (Red Sox). It's hard to draft another DH-exclusive commodity with any confidence.

Starting pitchers

Depth: Deep | Distribution: Balanced

You'll have to empty your wallet for the top tier, which blurs at Jake Peavy (White Sox). The AL crop boasts plenty of No. 2s and No. 3s with No. 1 potential, like Matt Garza (Rays), but they won't carry bargain-basement prices, either. Buying two of these instead of a No. 1 might be a better investment, though.

Like outfield, many risers emerge during the season, but you at least want to provide as much stability as possible with your top three or four. There's ample speculation for the late rounds and end game.

Relief pitchers

Depth: Intermediate | Distribution: Balanced

Starters, redux: The big names will be paid for, as usual. There's no shame in waiting to gather midrange options; it could be more profitable this year. Uncertainty's cloud looms largest here, even with the headliners.

Setup men who may also be speculative options, headlined by the Angels' Fernando Rodney, are always necessary in single-universe setups. You can pair a closer with one of them or a LIMA gem like Neftali Feliz.

Fantasy baseball player scarcity: AL | NL | MLB

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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, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.


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