So…you find yourself in a fantasy baseball league and want some Rangers on your team? We are here to help you draft your favorite players and not look like a homer. Basically what follows is a list of key offensive players on the Rangers and where they project for this season, I’m listing guys that will make an impact and could be a starter on your team. If you are new to fantasy baseball and want to learn more I’ve included some links at the end to get you started.
All of the details follow after the jump
Josh Hamilton is projected out as the number 5 outfielder overall, last season he hit 32 home runs, picked up 100 RBIs and had a .359 average. I’ve seen those stats a few times and always have to look twice in disbelief but that’s why he was the American League MVP. ESPN has his projected stats taking a bit of a dip and has concerns about his health, he is still projected with good numbers 24 HR and 90 RBI and a much lower .313 batting average. None of these statistics are bad, just not as good as last season, draft him if you can get him but make sure to not overpay.
Nelson Cruz is set for a truly monster year in my opinion, he is projected out as having 34 home runs after 22 last season and over a hundred RBIs after 78 last season. Nellie spent time on the disabled list three different times last year so is poised if healthy to go on an offensive tear. Also a sleeper statistic for Cruz would be steals; if healthy he could possibly get 20 stolen bases.
Overall these are the only outfielders I would draft or spend money on, Borbon and Murphy are both talented but with uncertainty at that 3rd outfield spot it’s better to hold off. If you really like either of them you would be safe to wait until the later rounds of your draft and hang on to them as bench players. Of Josh or Nellie I would pick Nelson first, but honestly it’s like picking one of the Beatles as they are both outstanding and will be dominate forces in Fantasy Baseball.
Ian Kinsler is rated as ESPNs number 5 second baseman and CBS Sports has him at number 4. He is projected to have 20 home runs 22 stolen bases and to bat for a .287 average. Kinsler has been on fire this spring and I have increased my expectations for him. With the home run machine he has been so far I predict him to possibly have a 30 home run 30 stolen bases season. Like Cruz, Kinsler spent time on the disabled list and if he can stay healthy I think his 6th season as a Texas Ranger will be his best.
Third base is an interesting position as Texas has the 5th and 7th best projected players Adrian Beltre and Michael Young respectively. We will start with Beltre, ESPN projects him to have a 29 HR season with 79 RBIs and a .296 average. There is some early injury concern as he has been out with a calf sprain. The Rangers hope he will be better by opening day, however it’s possible that the injury could help Beltre drop into your lap at a reasonable price. I am not concerned with the injury but definitely do not overspend.
Michael Young is an entirely different story, his “Super Utility” title will make him extremely valuable for any fantasy owner. If you’ve played fantasy baseball before you have seen injuries destroy a good lineup and this is where Young will be valuable. Most leagues will allow you to play a player at any position they have at least one start in. It’s unclear how quickly he will pick up starts at the various positions but he will be the wild card of your fantasy lineup. Young’s projected stats have him at 18 HR 79 RBI and a .288 average, he is not a superstar but could be your “Super Utility” player and may save your season.
Elvis Andrus is ranked as the number 6 shortstop, ESPN projects him at 42 stolen bases after 32 last season. He has certainly earned his keep and should get the green light to steal more often. This is really the only statistic of note for Andrus but I would look for his batting average to go up as he gets more experience.
Of the infielders I would definitely try to grab Kinsler and Beltre in the earlier rounds and if you see Michael Young drop grab him. Unless you play in a league with other Rangers fans your opponents may look away from drafting Young with all the controversy surrounding him.
At first base Mitch Moreland is still young and I would advise against relying on him as your starting first baseman unless you play in a keeper league. He is a talent but will take some time before having some big fantasy numbers. David Murphy and Julio Borbon have too much uncertainly around them to pick up on draft day, hold off and maybe get them once we have a better idea at the position. Mike Napoli should be a good late round sleeper pick, he is technically the team’s third catcher and a part time first baseman, it is still unclear how much playing time he will see. As for Yorvit Torrealba he is purely a defensive player and will not be much help to your fantasy team.
New to Fantasy Baseball?
ESPN, Yahoo, CBS Sports and MLB.com all have leagues you can join and plenty of experts to learn from. I find ESPN to have the best beginner functionality but Yahoo and CBS aren’t far behind. I personally don’t have any experience with the MLB.com leagues but their website has plenty of information.
Here is a good read to prepare for your fantasy draft, Matthew Berry’s Draft Day Manifesto. Also a link to ESPN’s Complete 2011 Projections. Yahoo help also has a list of good Fantasy rules to get you started.
Make sure you guys keep us posted on how your draft goes!