We wrap-up our ramp-up to fantasy baseball 2013 with a list of 12. Before the 2012 fantasy baseball season I wrote a list of 12 players I thought outperform their listed projections. I’ll revisit the list, quote what I said about them then, give a scorecard of my accuracy, then look ahead to their value in the 2013 fantasy baseball season. It’s important for us to be accountable for our predictions and for you readers to know if you can trust us. Let’s begin!
Josh Hamilton, OF, Rangers The thing about Hamilton is we know the talent he has, but we also know that because of injuries he can’t stay on the field. But what if this season he does stay on the field? I think this is the year that he stays healthy, stays on the field, and accumulates enough ABs to handily beat his projections…
Hamilton indeed stayed on the field and despite a nasty mid-season slump he put up monster numbers:
Even though I nailed this one, it doesn’t feel like win as Hamilton was booed in what may have been his last at bat as a Ranger. He’s the biggest name in free agency and I’ll send you to DIxon who wrote a comprehensive article on his possible landing places. (Score: 1 for 1)
Mike Napoli, C, Rangers I think this the year where the entire Texas lineup shows us all that they came to play. I think we’ll see scoring numbers from them this season that rival some of the great year’s past. I also think that Napoli is a huge part of that. I’m confident that – though not by much – he’ll beat his already high projections and you’ll be glad you drafted him as the first catcher off the board.
I absolutely blew this one. Napoli did have 24 home runs, but he hit a miserable .227 and his runs and RBI took a dive as he dropped to the bottom of the Texas lineup. Napoli will test the free agent market in 2013, but the market for his services will certain be more tepid after this season. He’ll still hit for power but he’ll no longer be one of the top 5 catchers off the board in 2013. (Score: 1 for 2)
Ben Zobrist, 2B, Rays I’ve heard from several folks who believe that Zobrist has a pattern of good season, followed by a bad season. Believe that if you want to, but I believe he’ll beat his projections. Now here’s his walk-up song, sung by Mrs. Zobrist.
Not only did I get his on-the-field performance right, but he added some gravy by gaining short stop eligibility. While his steals did go down a titch, he hit 20 homers for the second straight year. Add a not-gonna-kill-ya .270 average and a crazy OBP, and you’re talking about a solid fantasy baseball player in 2013 at a thin SS position. (Score: 2 for 3)
Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Giants Panda’s 2010 season is still lodged in everyone’s memories. Yes, it is hard to forget, but the man was going through a divorce that year. Who is at their best when your heart is torn out and beaten on the clubhouse floor with a Louisville Slugger? Am I right, fellas? He was eating cupcakes to hide his pain. Sometimes we forget that these are real people with real emotions. Last year he showed that he can bounce back, but this is the year he explodes. I think he beats the projections below.
Panda’s numbers did not explode this year, but his waistline did. Sorry for the cheap joke, but I can’t help myself, much like I – like Panda – can’t help myself around cupcakes. Panda is one of my favorite ballplayers and I’m always rooting for the big man, particularly when he hits half as many homers in the playoffs as he does the entire 2102 season. He plays fantastic defense for a man his size and his skill at putting the bat on the ball is uncanny.
Although he lost time due to injuries, his 12 home runs prevent me from calling this a win, despite his World Series MVP trophy. I’m going ahead and calling a BIG 2013. (Score: 2 for 4)
Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Mariners Ichiro is a proud man with an unbelievable work ethic. I think last season embarrassed him, meaning he has something to prove this season. He won’t be the Ichiro of old, but he beats projections, showing for one last season that there is something left in the tank.
His numbers as a Yankee proved he had a little something left in the tank and my guess is that the Yankees give him a two year contract worth about $25-30 mil. (Score: 3 for 5)
Melky Cabrera, OF, Giants No one expected Melky’s season last year, even though the talent had always been there. Certainly, no one expects him to repeat last season. But I do. And I also see him just beating the projections below.
|Melky Cabrera||(2012 Projections)||555||92||21||60||21||.283|
Huston Street, RP, Padres Street is a fly ball pitcher, moving from Coors Field to Petco Park. That has to help the ‘ole ERA. Save opportunities will be hard to come by, but I still see him inching above his projection.
|Huston Street||(2012 Projections)||50||2||27||48||3.26||1.18|
Nailed it. Street was sick when he was actually on the field. He has his usual DL stints, but when he pitched it was shut down. They are moving the fences in at Petco in 2013, but it may not matter because there is no guarantee Street will even be a Padre. (Score: 5 for 7)
Carlos Lee, 1B, Astros People forget that El Caballo quietly has 349 career home runs and a .286 career AVG. He’ll turn 36 during the season, but I think a hot start will carry him past 370 career home runs and around a .290 AVG for the season. Consider him as late round Util flier.
|Carlos Lee||(2012 Projections)||535||76||21||80||3||.274|
I wasn’t even close on El Caballo. He didn’t hit before or after his trade from the Astros and I have doubts he’ll even be able to grab on to an AL club as a DH. Carlos Lee has an outstanding career but that’s sadly behind him now. (Score: 5 for 8)
Frank Francisco, RP, Mets I know, I know. But honestly he’s pitched a little better than people give him credit for. And even though saves will be hard to come for the Mets, there won’t be much bullpen competition. I’m not as confident with this one, but if things look OK as the season begins it’s worth a waiver claim to see if he returns to his 2008 form.
|Frank Francisco||(2012 Projections)||50||2||16||58||3.39||1.28|
Even though I hedged my bets with Fransisco and didn’t exactly promise the moon, I still missed badly. He was just one piece of the junk that was the Mets bullpen and 2013 doesn’t look much better. I have serious doubts that any team will ever give him a chance to close again. Plus, I’ve hit a rough patch with my predictions. (Score: 5 for 9)
Chris Sale, SP, White Sox In 2010 a relief pitcher was stretched out into a starter and had a 3.35 ERA with 170 K’s. That pitcher was C.J. Wilson and he and Sale have similar skill sets, except that Sale might throw a couple MPH harder. This first year of Sale going from reliever to starter might be rocky, but it’s worth a watch because he just might kill the below projections.
|Chris Sale||(2012 Projections)||140||10||0||148||3.45||1.29|
When I’m good, I’m really good. Sale looked unbelievable as he was stretched out into a starter. I don’t think 2013 will see Sale build upon his 2012 success. It’s not that I don’t think he’ll be a great fantasy baseball pitcher in 2013, it’s just that he took so well to the rotation in 2012. (Score: 6 for 10)
Jim Johnson, RP, Orioles He was 7 for 7 in save situations in September. I think he starts and ends 2012 as the Orioles’ closer. If that is the case then he will absolutely blow past his projections.
|Jim Johnson||(2012 Projections)||60||3||21||48||3.11||1.19|
Nailed another one. Johnson absolutely racked up the saves and if you were lucky enough to get him in 2012, you probably got great value out of him. Shy away in 2013, not because he won’t be good again, but only because you won’t be able to get him for as cheap. (Score: 7 for 11)
|Madison Bumgarner||(2012 Projections)||180||14||0||165||3.12||1.23|
I almost scored against myself on this one. Not because Mad Bum had a bum season, but I did set a really high bar for him. But he was superb in 2012, and at his age he’ll only get better. He faded a bit at the end of the season, but I don’t foresee that problem in 2013. I’ll be glad to roster him on my fantasy baseball teams. (Score: 8 for 12)
There you have it. 12 Players that I thought would outperform their projections. I took my own advice on several of these players and was happy with the results. I can’t say that these guys will be the ones I’ll target in my 2013 fantasy baseball drafts, but between now and then we’ll have tons of posts to help you decide.