Young guys, old guys that can help you:
As a fantasy baseball columnist I should have a theme to my weekly columns. One that seems to be pulling at my subconscious is the role age plays in Fantasy. No, not the bedroom kind, but the baseball kind. Shame on you (or me!) for even so much as thinking the former! For starters, I will just point out a few young guys (generally 26 or younger) as well as a few older gents (32+) that are hot and can make an impact.
First, the hitters:
1) Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves – Did you pick him up last time I wrote about him? No? Well he was getting better at the time, and now he is one of the hottest 1B in the majors, and just 21 years old, to boot. If it’s not too late, pick him up- this guy is supposed to be the Braves’ top prospect, and now he looks the part.
2) J. P. Arencibia, C, Blue Jays – Okay, so I’ll admit, the AL is a little harder to mine young talent that may actually be available in most leagues. There’s no way the obvious choices such as Hosmer and Andrus are available in your league. At catcher, however, J. P. is a 25-year-old that is out performing all but the best at his position right now.
3) Danny Espinosa, 2B, Nationals – Espinosa’s fantastic past seven days (8 for 24, 3 HR, SB) have vaulted him toward the top of fantasy 2Bs. But many fantasy owners have yet to notice. Should you be lucky enough to see him floating on the waiver wire, add immediately.
4 and 4a) Allen Craig and Jon Jay, OF, Cardinals – Okay, so this pair of 26-year-olds are on the old side of young, but have you looked at their production since the injuries to Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman? I have a hypothesis: Put anyone with opposable digits in the lineup around Ryan Theriot and you get pitchers begging them to swing at strike after strike. What? You don’t think it’s because of Theriot? Well what could it be then? Playing time may be an issue with so many capable OF in the Cards’ dugout, but if Pujols can manage at third on occasion, and the two oldsters mentioned above need frequent rest, it may not be.
Now oldsters. I think I missed my opportunity to effectively recommend 5) Raul Ibanez, OF, Phillies, since his play has improved to the point where he is no longer present in many free agent pools. but if you haven’t noticed, and no one else in your league has, he’s hitting like a pro once again. And yeah, he’s almost 40.
6) Endy Chavez, OF, Rangers – A 33-year-old OF that has never provided a whole lot other than speed, he has ten percent of his career homeruns in the last ten days. That’s an eleven year career too. He also has three steals over that time. A lack of playing time, not too mention the law of averages, should cool him down. But steals may still come, in extremely deep leagues.
7) Ty Wigginton, IF, Rockies – He’s 33, and don’t you dare call me old in two years, but he has all kinds of eligibility, and is currently producing in every 5×5 category, save steals. And, hey, we ARE talking about Coors field here.
8) Corey Patterson, OF, Blue Jays - Maybe 31 is not quite old yet, but since I’m a Cubs fan, Patterson has been on my radar for a good 20 years. He never quite put it all together for the cubs, but he has been putting it together for the Jays the past two weeks. I would expect the hot streak to fade, but until it does, he’s a solid HR/SB contributor.