Aaron Hill's numbers should provide plenty for fantasy owners to chew on. (Getty)
They say timing is everything. That might be giving "timing" a little bit too much credit. But at least in the case of fantasy baseball drafts, it's spot on. When 2013 comes to an end, you can count on this page to be top-heavy with players that not only had successful fantasy campaigns, but were also afterthoughts on draft day. With that in mind, here's an All-Value team for 2013 - again, it's all about the timing (ADP).
First Base - Chris Davis, Baltimore (Yahoo! ADP 160, Y! '12 rank 89): Players that can hit 30 home runs don't grow on trees, especially those that can also do it with a batting average above .250. Without question, Davis had some difficulty with the batting average aspect of things at times in Texas, but one shouldn't cement their opinions about a player when he is in his early 20s. Davis hit well above .300 during his minor league career and is sitting on a .258 mark (hardly a fantasy deal breaker) through 436 career MLB games, which includes his two-year slump in Texas. Sure, he strikes out a lot, but that certainly doesn't make him unique on fantasy cheat sheets. A middle-of-the-order hitter with Davis' power upside belongs in the same neighborhood (No. 122 ADP) as that of Ike Davis, another young first baseman who projects similarly.
[Baseball 2013 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]
Second Base - Aaron Hill, Arizona (Yahoo! ADP 70, Y! '12 rank 26): Hill is the seventh second sacker off the board, on average, in Yahoo! live drafts. But he finished No. 2 in fantasy value at the position a year ago. So the assumption here is that most aren't fully buying into what he did in his first full season in Arizona. My question is, what part don't you believe? The 26 home runs? Well, he hit totals of 36 and 26 in back-to-back seasons in Toronto in '09 and '10. What about the .302 average? He hit .315 in his first 33 games with the Diamondbacks in '11, and he recorded three full seasons in Toronto with a batting average of .286 or better. As for the run production and steals, none of his '12 numbers were career highs. A .280/25/80/80/10 line in '13 is well within Hill's grasp, which means owners should consider moving him up about a round-and-a-half on their draft boards.
Third Base - Aramis Ramirez, Milwaukee (Yahoo! ADP 79, Y! '12 rank 23): Although consistency is king in our roto racket, Ramirez somehow manages to get the shaft. Let's review Ramirez's record: .289 or better in nine of past 12 seasons; 25-plus home runs 10 of past 12; 90-plus RBIs nine of past 12 ... we're talking Hall of Fame credentials, and he's still only 34 years old. Consider him at least 20 picks earlier than his current ADP, and also think about buying some extra insurance at the hot corner for the first couple months of the season - Ramirez has become notorious for his April/May dry spells. But once June comes around, you'll want to ride his bat for all it's worth.
Shortstop - Alcides Escobar, Kansas City (Yahoo! ADP 177, Y! '12 rank 126): While Escobar was going mostly undrafted last season, fantasy owners were busy paying top dollar (No. 44 ADP in '12) for shortstop Elvis Andrus. Yet, when the when the final numbers were counted for last year's campaign, it was Escobar out in front of Andrus in the Yahoo! rankings. If the .275 average, 30 steals and 80 runs that Andrus offers is so important to you, save yourself some cash and wait about 6-8 rounds later for Escobar.
A Pagan offering won't cost much on draft day (Getty)
Catcher - Ryan Doumit, Minnesota (Yahoo! ADP 221 , Y! '12 rank 249): In one-catcher leagues, Doumit is an ideal late-round target. At this point in his career, he's more of a DH/OF than a catcher, which is just the way you should like it - the less time in the line of fire behind the plate, the better. With a likely 450-plus at bats, Doumit has proven he can deliver a batting average north of .275 to go with double digit home runs and solid (for the position) run production. Ignore the ADP/Rank numbers next to Doumit's name, as they don't apply as well for catchers. Just recognize that Doumit was a top 10 fantasy catcher value last season that you can get, on average, as the No. 15 backstop in '13 drafts.
Outfield - Angel Pagan, San Francisco (Yahoo! ADP 168 , Y! '12 rank 82): Pagan is a career .281 hitter that has averaged 33 steals over the past three seasons and is coming off a year in which he set a career high in Runs (95) despite hitting out of the leadoff spot for the Giants in just 80 games. Expected to settle in at the top of San Francisco's batting order full-time this season, Pagan is a proven three-category helper in fantasy, one that should be going, based on his '12 numbers (that are definitely repeatable), much higher than where he's currently landing.
Outfield - Torii Hunter, Detroit (Yahoo! ADP 208 , Y! '12 rank 49): At 37 years of age, Hunter seems to be a clear victim of ageism among the fantasy community this spring. The guy is showing no signs of deviating from the standard .280/20/80/80/10 fantasy lines that he's been churning out for the past dozens seasons. The underlying numbers do point to a reasonable amount of luck for Hunter in his top 50 Yahoo! finish last season, and hitting behind Mike Trout certainly didn't hurt. But a spot in front of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, and following Austin Jackson isn't too shabby, either. So, while you should count on some regression for Hunter in '13, just know that he keeps himself in excellent condition and has landed near the top of a lineup that finished seventh in MLB in OPS last season.
Outfield - David Murphy, Texas (Yahoo! ADP 252 , Y! '12 rank 159): Murphy's Law in Texas for the past half decade has been .285/15/60/60/10. For most of that time, he's played the role of a left-handed platoon partner. But after posting a .845 OPS in 75 ABs against southpaws last season and given Josh Hamilton's defection, Murphy is in line to play a bigger role in the Rangers' outfield than ever before. He will likely lose 10-20 points off last season's average (.304) with a more steady diet of left-handed pitching, but he could also set career highs in every other fantasy category, which is a more than acceptable tradeoff for fantasy owners.
Starter - Marco Estrada, Milwaukee (Yahoo! ADP 175, Y! '12 rank 182): Among those with at least 120 IP last season, Estrada ranked third in K/BB (4.93), eighth in K/9 (9.30) and 16th in OBP Allowed (.285). In his final 102.1 IP of '12, Estrada delivered a 3.34 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 109 Ks, ranking as a top 30 fantasy starter from late June to season's end. He's currently the No. 47 starter taken on average in Y! drafts. Do the math, and recognize the bargain.
Closer - Glen Perkins, Minnesota (Yahoo! ADP 189, Y! '12 rank 136): For my money, Perkins is the safest (if there is such a thing at closer) cheap saves option on the board. He's going No. 22 among relievers in Yahoo! drafts, but after he settled in as the Twins closer, he was the sixth best ninth-inning stopper in fantasy over the second half of '12. He's a strike-throwing machine that doesn't have issues getting right-handed hitters out despite being a southpaw. Perkins struggled earlier in his career as a starter, but his ERA has settled in at 2.50 and he's getting better than a K per IP the last two seasons as a full-time reliever.
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