The folks over at Mockdraftcentral.com are already hot and bothered about fantasy baseball, and who can blame them?
Let’s take a look at the Rangers currently drafted (on average) from picks 120 – the end of drafts.
ADP = Average draft position
E: earliest pick so far for that player
L: latest pick so far for that player
Mike Napoli – ADP = 119, E = 75, L = 142
Napoli is a unique commodity. He’s eligible at catcher and can jack 20+ home runs, but his role has yet to be defined. He’s currently listed as the third catcher and backup DH, but he’ll work his way into the lineup against left-handed starters. The last two seasons he’s hitting .321 against lefties and has an even 1.000 OPS.
The downside is that he’s only cracked 450 at-bats once in his career, and that was last season. It’s reasonable to expect he’ll get somewhere around 400 if no one gets hurt. If an infielder is injured, his value as an everyday player increases dramatically, as Michael Young would move to that position and Napoli would be the full-time DH.
With too many questions surrounding his playing time, Napoli shouldn’t be a top-100 pick, but in the 13th or 14th round is a solid balance of risk/reward.
C.J. Wilson – ADP = 225, E = 145, L = Not Drafted
C.J.’s 2010 season was sneakily good. He was 5th in the AL in wins with 15, 10th in the AL in ERA, 15th in strikeouts, 14th in K’s/9, 2nd in batting average against, and led all of major league baseball (tied with Ubaldo Jimenez) in opposing slugging percentage. The only anomaly? His Satan-friendly 6.66 runs in support per game.
But that’s last season. What can he do for an encore? Wilson will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2011, and it’ll be his first big-money contract of his career. Even if “career year” and “Texas pitcher” aren’t usually associated, Wilson is a fine 5th starter and should come very close to his 2010 numbers.
The Rest (ADP of 300 or greater):
Despite his horrific World Series appearance, Holland is penciled in as the 5th starter for the Rangers. He’s shown flashes of greatness, but still throws too many pitches (only 3 of his 10 starts did he go more than 6 innings), and the Rangers have several options should he falter. He probably shouldn’t be drafted except in AL-only or extremely deep leagues, but for standard leagues, keep him on your watch list.
Rangers’ fans have dreamed of Webb’s sinker splitting bats in Arlington for years, and now he’s finally there. He’s on schedule with his rehab, and is expected to compete for a spot in Spring training. Webb’s track record of success makes him more worthy of a draft pick, but not until the last 2 rounds.
Sadly, Yorvit has nothing to do with Joe Torre or Jessica Alba, both of which would be better additions to the Rangers than the Venezuelan veteran. He’s expected to catch roughly 120 games (a number he’s NEVER reached in his career) and never really done much with his bat. There are more than 12 better catchers than him for fantasy purposes, so avoid wasting a pick.
The 1st base job is Moreland’s to lose in Spring training. He’ll start against right-handed pitchers (in which he had a respectable .869 OPS against) but likely will cede to Napoli’s prowess against lefties. There are about 20 other 1st basemen with better track records and upside, but has shown enough to warrant a bench spot in deep leagues.
Borbon was a popular sleeper pick last year, hitting leadoff at the start of the year. 40 steals and 100 runs were a possibility, but his April (.191 average, .214 on-base percentage, 4 steals) derailed that train. However, he went on to his .292 for the rest of the season, finishing at a respectable .275. In deeper leagues he’s worth a look for VERY cheap speed, as the Rangers were 5th in the AL in team steals. Like the rest of this list, he’s worth a spot in very deep leagues, but should be a wavier-wire watch otherwise.