In daily MLB salary cap leagues, you’re always looking for that low-cost sleeper who is going to net you big time points, and the best way to do it is with power. Speed guys are great as they’ll help you out with steals, runs scored, and total bases, but more often than not in fantasy baseball, you get the bulk of your points from the big power guys.
We already know the marquee names that you will want to use on a daily basis, so today we’ll look at a few of the potential breakouts this year that will be able to help you accrue points through power and keep the cost to a minimum.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B ARI – This 26 –year old is built in the image of such big-time sluggers like Mark Reynolds and pre-2011 Adam Dunn. You’re looking at big power, big production, but a low average. While that might be frowned upon in standard fantasy leagues, it’s perfectly acceptable in daily salary cap games. We’re looking for total bases, home runs, RBI, etc. Average doesn’t mean a thing here, but you do want to watch the strikeouts. Still, Goldschmidt should prove to be a very valuable asset for a fairly low cost.
He mashed 30-plus home runs in each of his last two seasons in the minors , earned himself a call-up to the majors rather than a promotion to Triple-A, and plugged eight home runs and nine doubles over 177 plate appearances for a .224 ISO. He’s the Diamondbacks’ starting first baseman this year and should be considered a fantastic option if you want to go expensive at other positions.
Lucas Duda, OF, NYM — At 6’ 4” and 250 lbs, this guy just oozes power and yet barely sits on people’s radar in fantasy leagues. His power has been developing rather nicely over the past two years while making the jump from Double-A to Triple-A and up to the majors, and his numbers have either grown or maintained over that period. He’s never hit fewer than 20 home runs and 20 double sin a season (combined levels, of course), and he stands a great chance to continue that trend this season with the full-time job in right field. If you’re in need of a low-cost outfield option who also qualifies at first base in some leagues, then Duda should be high on your list.
Dayan Viciedo, OF CHW – A star in Cuba, Viciedo had his troubles transitioning to the majors due to his defensive shortcomings. He’s always had a fantastic bat, but the White Sox have had their difficulties finding a home for him on the field. Well, that ends this year as the South Siders have slated Viciedo to play left field for them and we’re ready to see that power here in 2011. As he’s improved his defensive skills to earn a home in the outfield, Viciedo has also improved his work at the plate. He’s becoming a more selective and disciplined hitter, having increased his walk rate significantly over the past year and he’s limited his swings outside the zone while increasing his overall contact.
He’ll continue to hit his 20-plus doubles per season and the dimensions at U.S. Cellular field should help him reach that 20-HR plateau. Given his ranking amongst outfielders this early in the season, you should be able to grab him at a bargain price.
Mike Moustakas, 3B KC – Third base has been a position that, overall, has been lacking in depth in fantasy leagues. That just means that there are more low-cost options for daily salary cap games and Moustakas fits the bill perfectly. The Royals have been nice and patient with their young, third sacker and this is the year we expect him to begin his ascension up the ranks. His plate discipline is rock solid as he can draw the walk and avoid the strikeout while consistently making good contact. Prior to last season’s call-up he had been raking in the minors, posting 20-plus home runs with quality RBI totals and sound on-base skills.
His tepid spring can be attributed to getting hit on the knee with a pitch and a stomach virus, but if you noticed his last two weeks, he was incredibly strong at the plate. Hopefully, his inexperience and weak spring stats can keep the price down and allow you to steal him early in the season.
Shelly Duncan, OF CLE – This one should be tabbed super-super-sleeper as most people respond with, “Who?” when you mention his name. The former Yankees prospect is similar to the aforementioned Goldschmidt and could be a huge steal in daily fantasy salary cap games. You can forget about the batting average and just concentrate on the 20-plus home run potential, the good RBI spot in the batting order and the fact that he is so unknown, that his cost should be the bare minimum.
With Grady Sizemore out for atleast two months due to back surgery, the often banged-up Michael Brantley moves over to center while Duncan has earned himself the starting left field job. So long as he’s getting the playing time, he should be racking you up points early on in the season. That may fade once Sizemore returns, but for the price at which you’ll land him, it’ll be a very worthwhile two month rental.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for other questions, thoughts or comments you can email him at email@example.com.