2012 Fantasy Baseball Preview: Players to Watch in Dynasty Leagues

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After breaking down over-drafted players in Dynasty leagues, the obvious next step was who I would be targeting, and under-drafted players across positions and leagues. These were players who offer more value in a dynasty league than a regular league, or tend to be undervalued. Patience is a definite virtue in any keeper league; developing young risks into potential difference-makers is what wins championships.

Devin Mesoraco, C, Cincinnati Reds

In a deep league, catchers fail to stand out after the top two tiers. Mesoraco should stand out in dynasty formats for his ability to jump into those top tiers as he develops. I ranked Mesoraco 20th overall in my top 125 prospects article (found here: http://rotoanalysis.com/2012/03/03/top-125-prospects/) due to his plus power and solid-average hit tool. While he won’t stand out as much as a Napoli or Mauer in any one category, and doesn’t have the upside of a Santana or Posey, Mesoraco should be a top-10 catcher in future years. I would begin targeting him in that #12-#15 C range in any deep dynasty league.

Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland Indians

Kipnis became one of my favorite fantasy prospects for his combination of power and speed. With a firm grasp on the job in Cleveland, he will have his first full season in the bigs. Kipnis showed flashes of greatness in 2011, with 7 homers and 5 steals in just 150 at-bats. To put that in perspective, his isolated power (.235) put him ahead of the best second basemen in the majors, Robinson Cano (.231), and just behind sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols (.241 and .240 respectively). This seems to be an abberation; however, I do think that Kipnis can develop into a top 5-10 fantasy second baseman in the mold of Ben Zobrist with 20/20 seasons in reach. I would reach for him over many of the “eh” guys at the position ahead of him on ADP charts in drafts for dynasty and even non-dynasty leagues.

Brennan Boesch, OF, Detroit Tigers

Arriving on the scene in 2010 with what many pundits though was a “fluky” performance; Brennan Boesch backed up that strong play in 2011, and proved a lot of experts wrong. Somehow, in 2012, he is still being undervalued. This is a player that will hit #2 in one of the best lineups around ,with ample run support from Prince & Miggy behind him. Opposing pitchers will have to get to him, and I see a real breakout coming for a guy still drafted as the #51 outfielder in ESPN standard leagues right now. I see Boesch as a top 35-40 OF, and one who doesn’t carry much risk.

Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington Nationals

If you don’t like carrying risk on a fantasy team, turn away. But there is no doubt in my mind that in any dynasty league where you can keep a player for an extended period of time, Strasburg has top-5 pitcher value. 160 innings of his tremendous play should be plenty for this season. Scouting reports point to him returning to his 2010 form, and pure domination in his sights. Is there a ton of risk? Of course, but what one must account is that as soon as his innings limit is released (in 2013), he becomes a top 5 pitcher, and has the ceiling to surpass Verlander, Halladay, or even Kershaw. In any dynasty format, Strasburg’s value is boosted tremendously; I would even target him in the top 5 SP.

Addison Reed, RP, Chicago White Sox

Craig Kimbrel came up to lead the league in saves in 2011 as a former prospect. While Reed doesn’t have the job to start the year or quite as explosive a fastball as Kimbrel, he is a supremely talented reliever who should take over soon in the White Sox bullpen. If you snag him in the late rounds or at a cheap price in an auction, you will reap the benefits both towards the second-half of this year, and in future years with a top-tier closer.

Older Players, Everywhere

It is tempting, and usually prudent, to scour after younger talent in any dynasty league. However, what this does is create a gap in the present and future values of players. By factoring this into one’s rankings, anybody can see that owners will reach for a young arm such as David Price over a sure thing like Dan Haren. While a difficult long-term strategy to manage a team with, don’t be afraid to sprinkle some age into any dynasty league roster. While this varies in any league, capitalizing in the present is always a necessity; making that strong play for this year, ignoring things farther in the future, and not always the classic “next year, next year” strategy in dynasty leagues that could be what wins you a championship. 

By Matt Cott, exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com.

Read more of Matt's excellent fantasy insight over at RotoAnalysis.com. Have a fantasy related question? You can follow the site on Twitter @RotoAnalysis or Matt on twitter @KidCotti21.

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