With spring training underway, it can mean only one thing: your fantasy baseball draft is just around the corner. With that in mind, the Yahoo fantasy baseball collective offer up players that are the models of reliability:
Q. What infielder doesn’t get enough respect in fantasy drafts despite perennially delivering solid, reliable production?
Brandon Funston: IAN KINSLER. Dalton Del Don might be right that Kinsler is due for some regression this season, but I’m not sure he’s going to fall back too far. Here’s Kinsler’s finishes in the Yahoo game in each of the past six seasons: No. 30 in ’16; No. 55 in ’15; No. 23 in ’14; No. 80 in ’13; No. 58 in ’12; No. 19 in ’11. Here is Kinsler’s current Yahoo ADP: 67.3. Coming off a top 30 season, I wouldn’t be afraid to call his name at least 10-12 picks before where the Yahoo consensus has him slotted.
Dalton Del Don: EVAN LONGORIA. He’s averaged 28 homers, 82 runs scored and 88 RBI over the past four years without killing your batting average, playing in at least 160 games during all four campaigns. That’s steady production for a third baseman regularly available in round nine. At age 31, it’s not like his prime is necessarily behind him either. Longoria is one of those boring veterans you can grab later than his reliable production should warrant thanks to those searching for the next shiny new toy.
Scott Pianowski: I was screaming for the Red Sox to re-sign ADRIAN BELTRE after the 2010 season. Instead, they wasted money on some cat named Carl Crawford. Good job, good effort. Beltre has topped 30 home runs in four of the last six years, and he’s never batted less than .287 over that span. He’s cruising into the Hall of Fame, and yet still affordable at Pick 60 in Yahoo drafts. I also like the Longoria pick; he’s in his Ibanez All-Star years.
Q. What outfielder doesn’t get enough respect in fantasy drafts despite perennially delivering solid, reliable production?
Funston: JAY BRUCE. Bruce’s batting average can be a rollercoaster ride with some crazy drops in it, but over the past seven seasons, he’s played 147-plus games, hit 25-plus home runs, produced 150-plus RBI+Runs and finished inside the top 135 players in Yahoo default leagues six times. Even in the one season in that span that he didn’t hit those aforementioned marks (2014), he still finished No. 188 overall, which bests his current ADP of 192.2 in average Yahoo drafts. It’s easy to talk yourself out of Bruce on draft day, but when the dust settles, there’s a good chance that he’ll have returned a value well above his current draft day price.
Del Don: ADAM JONES. He’s hit between 27 and 33 homers in each of the past five seasons, averaging 90 runs scored and 90 RBI over that span. It doesn’t get much more consistent than that. Jones’ days of contributing on the base paths may be finished, but he’s been remarkably durable, and you can pretty much mark his production down in ink every year. Yet Jones has an ADP of 85.3, as he’s the No. 25 outfielder off the board.
Pianowski: I was going to say Adam Jones, but as usual D3 is cribbing off my sheet. Someone should say a kind word about RAJAI DAVIS, so I’ll take that baton. Davis has swiped more than 34 bases in eight of the last nine seasons, and last year he added 12 homers to the fun (not including one legendary playoff homer). Davis is also 36 and a so-so fielder, but the Athletics don’t seem concerned by such things. They’ll let Davis play, and they’ll let the rabbit run. Even with a drain on batting average, this is a heck of a value around Pick 240.
Q. What pitcher doesn’t get enough respect in fantasy drafts despite perennially delivering solid, reliable production?
Funston: COLE HAMELS. Hamels has produced at least 200 IP and 190 Ks in seven straight seasons, with no higher than a 3.66 ERA during any season in that span. Pretty nice quality assurance for the No. 20 overall starter being selected in average Yahoo drafts this spring.
Pianowski: A reliable pitcher, that’s a good one. At least JULIO TEHERAN has answered the bell in three of the last four years; no ERA over 3.21, no WHIP over 1.17, 30-plus starts in each season. The NL East is a tidy place to conduct your business. I’m asking you to kindly overlook the missteps of 2015. Teheran is available around Pick 100, roughly 45 picks after the Strasburg folly. Good things come to those who wait.
Del Don: JOSE QUINTANA. In each of the last four seasons, his ERA has been between 3.20 and 3.51 and his strikeouts between 164 and 181, reaching at least 200 innings every year over that span. Maybe it’s because the wins haven’t been there, but Quintana continues to be overlooked, as his ADP is outside of 100. He’s the No. 25 starting pitcher off the board despite that reliability.
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