The beginning of spring training signals not only that the baseball season is approaching, but the fantasy baseball season is approaching as well. While the Mets may or may not be relevant this season, there are some players on the team who should be of help to a fantasy lineup. While I am by no means a fantasy expert, below are some thoughts regarding certain Mets players and their respective fantasy values.
Ike Davis: Ike was off to a torrid start in 2011 (and carrying my fantasy team) before injuring himself in May. First base is traditionally a deep position, with studs like Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and Adrian Gonzalez going early (Pujols and Cabrera probably within the first five picks). Davis has the ability to produce a solid slash line while hitting 25 homers and could be a solid sleeper pick because of last year’s injury and the fact that he will likely bat cleanup and receive RBI opportunities. Ike possesses more value in NL-only leagues due to fewer outstanding options at first base compared to the AL.
Daniel Murphy: Much like real life, Murph’s value comes from the fact that he can play several positions; in the case of fantasy baseball, he’s eligible at first, second and third base. He’ll receive plenty of starts and if he bats second, will have the opportunity to score runs, but doesn’t hit for as much power as a lot of other second baseman on the boards (not just the big guys like Robinson Cano and Dan Uggla, but others such as Kelly Johnson and Danny Espinosa). He could help out in the average and OBP departments, but he’d probably be better off on a fantasy bench due to his eligibility at multiple infield positions.
David Wright: Despite missing most of 2011 with a back injury, Wright is still a top-five fantasy third baseman. The combination of his health and new Citi Field dimensions should boost his power and .254/.345/.427 slash line from last season. There is a chance Wright might slip to later rounds, but odds are his name value alone will have him drafted early.
Ruben Tejada: Although I’m a fan of Ruben Tejada in the real world, he possesses little fantasy value, given his lack of power and mediocre speed. He might contribute with a high batting average and OBP, but that would be about it.
Josh Thole: Pretty much the same as Tejada, except he has zero speed.
Jason Bay: The only thing helping Bay’s fantasy value is the new Citi Field dimensions. He might be worth taking a chance on in the late, late rounds while filling out a roster.
Andres Torres: If Torres can regain his 2010 form, when he hit .268/.343/.479 with 16 homers and 26 steals, he will have fantasy value. If he plays like he did in 2011 (.221/.312/.330 with four homers while battling injuries), he will be pretty useless. I expect Torres to wind up somewhere between those two slash lines with somewhere between 8-10 homers and 20+ steals. He could be an OK bench option.
Lucas Duda: I’m a big Duda supporter in both the real and fantasy world. Because he is still relatively under the radar, there is a good chance he will still be available in later rounds. Duda has the ability to hit for average and power while still getting on base at a high rate. He also has first base eligibility, adding to his value. Duda could wind up being a steal if he sticks around in the second half of the draft.
Starting Pitchers: Johan Santana has a lot of upside, but carries a ton of risk, despite the glowing reports from spring training. Still, a decent Santana is still better than a lot of other options, and he might be worth a pick towards the end of the draft. Jon Niese has the potential to excel fantasy-wise this year, given that he has another Major League season under his belt and has the talent to produce strikeouts and maintain a low ERA and WHIP. R.A. Dickey could help in the ERA and WHIP categories, while Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee are pretty undesirable unless they can develop more consistency.
Relief pitchers: Frank Francisco should get most of the save opportunities and has a chance to put up solid numbers, given his move to the National League. How many save opportunities he’ll get is entirely a function of how the team will perform, however, which isn’t clear given the state of the Mets. Jon Rauch should be in line for some holds and maybe a few saves, depending on Francisco’s usage and performance. None of the other Mets relievers have much value on draft day.