2012 Fantasy Baseball: 5 Players You Should Try to Pick Up ASAP


Monday was Patriots Day in Massachusetts, one of the best days to live in the Commonwealth. Patriots Day is a holiday in just two states, Massachusetts, where the day commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord - battles that began the American Revolutionary War - and Maine, where the day commemorates some former state legislator being smart enough to seize an opportunity for a day off.

There are many ways to celebrate Patriots Day; you can run the Boston Marathon, you can take in the Red Sox traditional home game that starts at 11am EST, you can enjoy a spring day in the park, or you can get rip roaringly drunk, like your forefathers would have demanded.

The Boston Marathon ends on Boylston street, in the Back Bay section of Boston, a street that conveniently houses a number of reputable drinking establishments. Convenient because nothing gets the binge drinking blood flowing like watching people achieve a lifelong dream, by finishing the Boston Marathon. Every true patriot knows, you have to celebrate these runners with solemn reverence and 12-15 drinks. Throw in the 8am start time and close proximity to Fenway Park and you get the type of day where you hand a bouncer your ID then immediately puke on his shoes.

It's a trap really, created by a confluence of heavy boozing triggers, resulting in statewide Tuesday hangovers and hazy shame-filled memories. Only after a few years of mistakes, of putting one's hand on the proverbial hot stovetop, is enough wisdom gained to recognize one's drinking must follow the example set by the marathon going on outside the bar.

That lesson - that the day's revelry should be a marathon, not a sprint - happens to be timed perfectly as a reminder for fantasy baseball team owners. Owners a few weeks into the new season, excited to have baseball back full-time, determined to win their league by making all the right moves. Focused on an absurdly small two week sample size and hellbent on tinkering with a team that was drafted just weeks before. Alan said it last Friday, but if you didn't get it then, let the Boston Marathon remind you today: fantasy baseball is a marathon not a sprint.

Got it? Good. Now go out and take advantage of the overzealous managers in your league that failed to heed that advice. Here are some potential buy-low candidates you should look to pounce on, if someone in your league is impatient enough to cut bait already.

Matt Holliday – Currently sporting a 4.8% BB%, versus a career 9.3%. As you'll see with most of this list, he's currently being BABIP'd to death, to the tune of a .194 BABIP versus a .345 for his career. Take advantage of the Pujols effect. Plenty of studies have found no conclusive evidence for the significance of protection in the batting order, but the myth still persists. See if your league's Holliday owner is worried about the lack of lineup protection, sans Pujols and offer to take the risk off their hands. Then enjoy his career .397 wOBA and 139 wRC+ over the rest of the season.

Mark Teixeira – A notoriously slow starter, his current April is no surprise. Sporting a .214 BABIP versus a career .295. Now is the time to grab Tex, whose April famines always portend May through October feasts. His career .335 wOBA and 100 wRC+ in March/April, make him a yearly buy-low for savvy owners looking to capitalize on the subsequent career .392 wOBA and 135.4 wRC+ over the final five months.

Kevin Youkilis – Youk has a 6.7% BB% to start 2012, but anyone familiar with his Moneyball moniker – The Greek God of Walks – recognizes this for the aberration it is, versus a career 12.6% BB%. Also being hurt by a .238 BABIP versus a career .328, the signs point to a random, small sample size, fluctuation for Youkilis, not the injury concerns that held down his draft value before the season. His manager was even nice (dumb) enough to help you sell the trade , calling out Youkilis' dedication to baseball. Definitive proof that Bobby Valentine got the Sox manager gig by promising the owners he'd perform double duty, managing the team and running his own smear campaign throughout the season, saving Lucchino and company the trouble when they run him out of town. If you can get Youkilis now at a discounted rate, do it.

Alex Gordon – Stymied by a 2012 .158 BABIP versus career .312. Last year was his big breakout year, in which he had a .382 wOBA and 144 wRC+. Consider this a continued vote of confidence in Gordon's 2011 being the norm not the outlier and try to grab him if his owner's faith is wavering.

Ike Davis – Davis started blooming in 2010 and 2011, before his career trajectory was detoured by an ankle injury. Davis had a .345 wOBA and 115 wRC+ in 600 plate appearances in 2010 and a .391 wOBA and 152 wRC+ in his 149 PAs  before the injury in 2011. He carried big sleeper potential going into the 2012 season healthy and his slow start hasn't changed that. Especially since, guess what, he has a .150 BABIP in 2012 versus a career .318, along with struggling in BB% (current 8.6% versus career 11.7%) and K% (current 31.4% versus 22.9% career). Taking into account his late ADP, you might be able to get Davis for a song from the sprint-minded manager in your league.

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Written by Ryan Coombs exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. Follow Ryan on Twitter @RMCoombs

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