From all of us here at Fantasy Baseball 365, have a great Thanksgiving weekend! Here are the players we were thankful for in 2011 and the one’s we’ll be thankful for in 2012…
Thankful to own in 2011: Alex Gordon - I've drafted Gordon late in drafts for the last few years, hoping that he would finally break out as most thought he would when he was a top prospect. This past season, my patience and persistence finally paid off as Godron went on to hit .303/.376/.502 with 23 home runs, 17 stolen bases 101 runs scored and 87 RBI.
Thankful to own in 2012: Adam Dunn - I was definitely NOT thankful to have Dunn on a few of my fantasy teams in 2011, but if he falls to the late rounds in 2012 due to his tremendously bad 2011 season I'll be on him like Rex Ryan on a party platter. What's more likely: Adam Dunn is finished as a productive major league hitter at the age of 33, or that he will get back to doing what he had done every single year since 2001 (hit the ball real far)?More after the jump...
Player I'm Thankful for: Jose Bautista: Everyone was thinking that Bautista would slide back down to earth after a 2010 season that came from just north of Mars. Instead Bautista became a more complete fantasy player by hitting over 300 on top of still being one of the best power threats in the game. He did this in the face of a year that seemed to be cursed for third basemen. A-Rod, David Wright, and Ryan Zimmerman all missed more than 60 games while Evan Longoria's batting average did the opposite of what Bautista's did. Best of all for keeper leagues, he decided to play just enough third base to regain eligibility next year.
Player I'd Be Thankful to Have: Matt Moore: He gave up 3 hits in 10 playoff innings against the Rangers. He had 15 strikeouts in 9.1 innings. The hype is real. Anyone who says the sample size is too small is lying to you so they can get him at a better value. The only thing that can stop him is an injury, but looking back at other pitchers the Rays have developed it's hard to find an injury problem. They treat all their prospects with kid gloves for that exact reason, and as the payroll and playoff appearances would indicate, it's working.
Thankful to own in 2011: Brandon Beachy - I owned Beachy in numerous leagues, and the cost was minimal in all of them. He exceeded even the most optimistic prognostications, and was a strikeout machine. Teammate Craig Kimbrel is getting much of the rookie love in Atlanta, including receiving the NL ROY, but Beachy was beastly.
Would be thankful to own in 2012: Evan Longoria - Don't mislabel Longoria as an all-or-nothing hitter capable of offering home run power at the expense of average. His .244 average should drive him down a bit in drafts, 14-20 range, and I'd be happy snapping him up there. He had a career best walk rate, 13.9 percent which is three percent better than his previous best, while cutting back on the strikeouts, as he has every single year in the majors. The biggest culprit for Longoria's "down year," was his awful .239 BABIP (career mark is .301). Part of the reason was likely that he wasn't healthy for a significant chunk of last year. A healthy Longoria is a stud at third base, and I'll be thankful to own him in multiple leagues in 2012.
2011: Lance Berkman - Best. Free agent pickup. Ever. Left for dead and undrafted in many leagues after a disappointing 2010, Lance found a fountain of youth with St. Louis. His power numbers trailed off considerably the 2nd half, but the savy owner was able to unload him at the All Star Break giving many an opportunity to pick up a more reliable commodity. Thank you Lance. You helped me land Jose Bautista.
2012: Brett Lawrie - A third baseman that can go 20/20 with the potential for 90 runs? Third is a weak position loaded with inconsistent guys. I know we're only going into his 2nd season but his upside is something to get excited about.