Among the hot topics in fantasy baseball for the past few years has been debating who is the best slugger in baseball. While a lot of players have deservingly so been mentioned, Alex Rodriguez, Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, the one name who seems to be a unanimous decision is Albert Pujols. The two-time World Series champ has thrived in St. Louis ever since he started playing for the Cardinals in 2001 in which he hit 37 home runs. And as Albert has thrived, his teammates have thrived as well. Guys like Matt Holiday, Scott Rolen, and Jim Edmonds have had some of their best statistical seasons being surrounded by Pujols, and fantasy baseball owners should expect the same from these years Los Angeles Angels.
At the top of most of the expert’s projections for the rest of the Angels begins with the pitchers, namely Jered Weaver and Dan Haren. Weaver for the better part of the year, had been in the talk for the AL CY Young award for a reason; his ERA had remained in the low 2’s, finishing a respectable 2.41 with a WHIP of 1.01 to go along with 18 wins even though the offense hadn’t been producing like expected. Haren’s WHIP was just as low finishing at 1.02 and he finished with 16 wins. Expect both of these aces, along with the other big free agent pick up C.J. Wilson, to be selected in rounds 3-5 in fantasy baseball drafts.
As for the rest of the bats, their seems to be a crowd of average hitters in this lineup that are all candidates to see likely stat increases with Albert in the lineup. Erick Aybar is a great candidate, considering last year he hit for a low average and low on base percentage.
Aybar spent the majority time in the leadoff spot and still managed to score 71 times. Howie Kendrick is another good candidate in 2012, especially since he is having an ultra hot spring training. Both these guys wont hit for power, but they will sure find a way to get on base. Even Torii Hunter said he expects for Kendrick to win the batting title this year. Both remain good values in rounds 10-13 in 2012 fantasy baseball.
Another guy to watch out for is Vernon Wells. Hitting career low numbers across the board, Vernon can’t get any worse right? It was borderline depressing to watch him really struggle at the plate despite hitting 25 hr’s last year. Most likely to go undrafted for fantasy baseball, Wells definitely has the opportunity to redeem himself since he’ll most likely have more RBI chances this year.
In most drafts, besides the obvious in Pujols and the pitchers, more likely than not tremendous value will be found in the later rounds. Pujols is that good of a player to make his teammates better. He gets on base, hits for power; he backs up the label of being the “machine”. Expectations for fantasy baseball owners should be high for the rest of the Angels and rightfully so.